FEATURE26 October 2022

Filming success: TikTok in the retail world

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A chatbot study with young South Africans and Kenyans has helped Woolworths adjust to the world of TikTok. By Liam Kay.

Tik tok symbol on phone screen

The past two years have been revolutionary for TikTok. The app was the most downloaded in the first quarter of 2022, according to research by Sensor Tower, with TikTok claiming more than a billion users worldwide.

The result is that brands have begun to take the platform seriously. Woolworths is a major retail brand in South Africa, with a smaller business in Kenya, and wanted to connect with 18 to 24-year-olds. TikTok is used by 74% of South African 18 to 24-year-olds and 67% of Kenyans in the same age bracket.

The company hired Hello Ara, a South African conversational artificial intelligence (AI) business, to provide greater insights into young people’s use of TikTok and their thoughts on the Woolworths brand and social media presence.

Hello Ara used a chatbot, called Kia, to speak to young people in Kenya and South Africa about Woolworths.

The researchers carried out a survey of approximately 100 Kenyans and 150 South Africans aged 18 to 24, all living in ...