TikTok is coming for brick-and-mortar, and its first stop is Westfield shopping center in west London.
The short-form video app will open its new pop-up venue, TikTok For You House, on July 22, kicking off several weeks of creator activations, bookable experiences and educational sessions. The 4,000-square-foot space will be divided into multiple themed rooms, including a kitchen (where visitors might witness the making of a viral recipe like the baked feta pasta that flooded users’ “For You” pages earlier this year), a dressing room for fashion and beauty content and a garden for sports and dance challenges.
For 5 pounds (about $7), aspiring creators will be able to book sessions with some of the platform’s stars — teen influencer Kyle Thomas, comedian Ehiz Ufuah, “Poppy Cooks” chef Poppy O’Toole and freestyle soccer players Jeremy Lynch and Ben Black — on how to create and edit winning content. Parents will also have the opportunity to learn more about the app in Trust and Safety sessions.
While the venue won’t have any merchandise for sale, there will be freebies handed out at events, and Westfield is no doubt counting on the traffic to drive visits — and sales — throughout the rest of the mall.
The shopping center group — part of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, the largest commercial real estate firm in Europe — also hosts a TikTok-themed experiential museum in its Amsterdam mall. Youseum, Westfield Mall of the Netherlands, has enticed crowds with creator meet-and-greets and social media-ready backdrops like a ball pit and a room with mirrored walls.
Brands and retailers are flocking to TikTok to try to harness its marketing potential, though the relative nascency of the platform (it launched in the U.S. less than five years ago) means most of these efforts are highly experimental.
Hollister, for example, developed a new apparel brand, Social Tourist, with two of the app’s most-followed stars, sisters Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, on the heels of a successful sponsorship deal. Kate Spade, meanwhile, has found that the right user-generated video can make its novelty products fly off the shelves, as one of the brand’s digital marketing executives explained at NRF’s Retail Converge conference.
TikTok For You House will be open through Aug. 8 at Westfield London.