Neil Patel

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TikTok Shopping: What Businesses Need to Know

A graphic that says "TikTok Shopping: What Businesses Need To Know."

Not long ago, it was all about Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but now everyone is talking about TikTok.

It seems like every top brand is on there, and even smaller businesses like Elf Cosmetics and start-ups like Vessi are taking the platform by storm.

The social media site is so popular that in 2023, its total user spending reached over $14 billion. With eager buyers already lined up, it shouldn’t be surprising that TikTok has joined the social commerce train.

Recently, the social media site announced a new feature called TikTok Shopping. Given its vast audience of 1.5 billion users, the potential is obvious.

But before you start, you might have questions like is TikTok Shopping for you, and how does it work? That’s exactly what I’ll talk about here.

Key Takeaways

  • You can set your TikTok Shop up for success by offering discounts, optimizing your store, and creating engaging, authentic content.
  • Monitor your analytics before, during, and after campaigns, so you can see what is working.
  • Use clear CTAs to direct shoppers through the buying journey and inspire action.
  • TikTok Shop offers in-feed shopping ads and Dynamic Ads.
  • TikTok’s Creative Center shows which products are selling well and can help you find trending items.

What Is TikTok Shop and How Does It Work?

If you’re scrolling through TikTok and want an easy way to buy a product that catches your eye, TikTok Shopping allows you to do just that.

In its launch statement, TikTok explained:

“TikTok Shopping is a suite of solutions, features, and advertising tools that give businesses the opportunity to capture the full power of TikTok’s influence on purchase decisions.”

An example of  TikTok Shopping.

How does TikTok shop work, though?

The social media site explains that TikTok Shopping allows merchants to ‘enjoy a full-service commerce solution’ with TikTok managing the retail side, from product upload and purchase to shipping and fulfillment.

Sellers have two options. TikTok’s Shopping Direct Integration creates an e-commerce experience for creators/merchants that want to run their e-commerce stores directly from the

TikTok platform. This option provides a full e-commerce experience with everything, including post-payment processes, occurring inside the TikTok app.

Then, there is Partner Integration, where sellers can add product catalogs via a TikTok Business account, and buyers can browse and purchase inside the TikTok app. However, post-payment processes like returns occur outside TikTok on the partner’s app or website.

As a buyer, you find TikTok shops as a tab on a seller’s account. You place your items in the shopping bag, just like regular e-commerce sites. Once you click on it, it takes you to the product catalog.

From there, you browse the store as usual and add items to your basket. When you’ve finished shopping, you can check out in the app or go to the company’s website.

To make TikTok shopping possible, the social media site is teaming up with well-known shopping brands, including:

  • Shopify
  • Ecwid
  • Square
  • Prestashop

Additionally, TikTok says the likes of Wix, OpenCart, BASE, and ShopLine are coming on board soon.

Who Can Use TikTok Shop?

Currently, TikTok for businesses is open to account holders in the following countries:

  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Malaysia
  • Vietnam
  • Thailand
  • Indonesia
  • Philippines
  • Singapore

If you have a Shopify, Square, Wix, or other TikTok shopping partner account, you should be able to set up a store.

Should Your Business Use TikTok Shop?

Before learning how to sell on TikTok Shop, decide if TikTok is right for you. It makes sense to start by looking at your overall strategy and customer base.

First, you must ensure that your target audience is active on the platform. If they’re not, you won’t get much traction selling your products on TikTok.

According to Statista, 18 percent of TikTok’s audience are women aged 18-24, and men in the same age group account for 18 percent. Further, women aged 25-34 make up 15 percent of TikTok’s demographic, while men in the same age bracket account for 17 percent.

Then, look at TikTok’s Creative Center to see which products are selling well on the platform. Here, you can find information about Top Products, Creative Insights, and Keyword Insights, and potentially spot new trends.

TikTok's creative center.

For example, the site’s top categories include fitness and sports, recipes and cooking, fashion, home renovation, and beauty and skincare. You could be a good fit if your business is in any of those niches.

Next, you need an engaging and creative sales strategy. Since TikTok is all about short videos, can you capture the audience’s imagination in minutes while saying what you want to say? You can? Great. Now, you just need to ask yourself one more thing.

Is TikTok Shopping worth your while? Or could you put your time and energy somewhere else that would be more beneficial? Often, you won’t answer this question until you give it a try. It never hurts to have additional sales channels, and if social media shopping fits with your business strategy, then it might be for you.

How To Set Your Business Up on TikTok Shop

Before tackling how to set up a TikTok shop, you’ll need to register. Here’s how to do it:

  • Either log in or sign up.
  • Verify your phone number (only available for the UK) or email address and documents.
  • Choose a shop name. It must not include special characters, and TikTok recommends not using ‘flagship’ or ‘official’ in your shop name.
  • Upload your passport or driver’s license.
  • If TikTok approves your site, you’ll get an email confirming your registration, or if there’s an issue with any of your documents, TikTok asks you to resubmit them.
  • Then, the review process begins and takes up to three days.
  • Link a bank account and add your bank details.
  • You’re registered!

Now you’re signed up, let me explain how TikTok shops fit into existing TikTok campaigns.

TikTok Shopping is ideal for use alongside its other advertising solutions. Here’s a look at some of TikTok’s offerings:

1. In-feed TikTok Shopping Ads for Online Shopping

If you already have existing TikTok campaigns, you can use in-feed TikTok shopping ads.

TikTok provides three in-feed shopping ads: Collection Ads, Dynamic Showcase Ads, and Lead Generation. Collection ads let brands promote products by adding custom, swipeable product cards to their in-feed videos.

2. Dynamic Showcase Ads.

These let you advertise thousands of product SKUs with personalized video ads. Lead Generation appears inside in-feed video ads, letting your business collect TikTok users’ details with online forms.

Setting Your TikTok Shop Up for Success

With your TikTok Shopping account set up, it’s time to announce your new sales outline. But what goes into a successful strategy?

1. Optimize Your Product Pages

As Kayla Bautista, Social Media Manager at NP Digital, explains:

“Understanding and optimizing TikTok’s algorithm is crucial, including posting consistently, using trending hashtags and sounds, and engaging with the audience to boost visibility and engagement. Utilizing TikTok’s shopping features, such as product links and shoppable tags, streamlines the purchasing process for users.

Bautista adds:

“Make sure to have clear CTAs to guide viewers toward taking the next step in the purchasing journey.”

That means treating your TikTok shopping product pages like any other e-commerce or social media site. You should also ensure you use high-quality images, keywords, and consistent branding.

Finally, create detailed descriptions, tell customers all they need to know, and keep titles within the 34-character limit.

2. Start Spreading The Word

One of the most important steps of any TikTok Shopping advertising campaign is spreading the word. That means telling friends and family, sharing the link on your other social media channels, and posting regular videos.

You could also consider teaming up with brand ambassadors or encouraging user-generated content to cause a stir.

3. Get Tagging Down To A Fine Art

Want to stand out? Then add tags. TikTok Shopping allows businesses to tag products in their videos, making it easy for viewers to learn more about and purchase the products they see. One way to find suitable tags is to see what’s trending. Go to the ‘Discovery’ tab to view the tags users regularly add.

This is how Gymshark uses tagging:

Tags from Gymshark on TikTok.

Gymshark uses branded hashtags and common words, while keeping its hashtags to a minimum. This avoids confusion and stops searchers from feeling overwhelmed by heaps of text.

4. Offer Discounts

Who doesn’t love a discount? Encourage people to come to your store by offering exclusive deals. Make any offers time-limited to create a sense of urgency and provide unique deals shoppers can’t get anywhere else. For instance, if you sell cosmetics, create a branded product bundle.

5. Collaborate with Influencers

Working with influencers is a simple way to promote your products and get them in front of a wider audience. You can use this tactic to enhance brand awareness, as part of your TikTok shopping promotional strategy.

As Bautista states:

“Collaborating with influencers aligned with your target audience adds authenticity and credibility to the brand and can help amplify your message.”

Want an example? How about Charli D’Amelio? She has 151.9m followers and staggering estimated earnings of $17.5 million. This gives her an extensive reach and offers visibility to brands working with her, like CeraVe, Prada, and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Charli D'Ameilo's TikTok.

6. Create Engaging and Authentic Content

“To succeed on TikTok Shop, digital marketers should prioritize creating engaging and visually appealing content that showcases their products in action. Try incorporating storytelling techniques and creating narratives around the products to resonate with TikTok’s audience,” Bautista explains.

Fortunately, TikTok has plenty of tools to improve and engage your audience, like filters, effects, and music.

As the TikTok platform relies on short-form content, you’ll want to capture attention and encourage interaction through fun, entertaining content like Duolingo. The language learning app features the mascot Duo the Owl in funny, memorable videos to entertain its audience.

A Duolingo Tiktok.

7. Utilize TikTok Ads

Once you’ve tried the organic methods, you might want to consider investing in TikTok ads. This approach increases visibility and engagement with your target audience as you promote your TikTok Shop products.

You can try different ad formats, like in-feed ads, branded hashtag challenges, and branded effects, to increase visibility and engagement with your target audience. Before, during, and after your TikTok Shopping ads campaigns, monitor your analytics and see what works for you.

As pictured below, TikTok offers four types of adverts, and you can set them up through TikTok’s Shop Ad Central.

TikTok Shop Ad Central.

FAQs

What Is TikTok shopping?

TikTok shopping is an e-commerce platform that lets business sellers create a product catalog. It started with a pilot scheme in several countries, including the United Kingdom.

How Will TikTok Shopping Impact My Business?

It’s difficult to say at this early stage. It depends on which category you’re selling in and whether your target audience is on the platform. However, it does provide a fresh outlet to sell from and a new way to reach consumers.

How Do I Sell On TikTok?

Business sellers can register for an account, and then they have to wait 2-3 days for approval. Once you get an approval email, you can start selling on TikTok Shopping.

How Do I Buy On TikTok?

Go to TikTok and click the “Seller” link, then click on the “Get Started” link on the next page. Then sign up for a business account, complete verification, and start listing products. Ensure you connect your TikTok account with your Shop account.

Conclusion

TikTok has an audience of more than one billion users, and with the growing popularity of social shopping, it makes absolute sense that it would launch into e-commerce at some point.

Like any other platform, it won’t necessarily be right for your business. However, if your ideal customer is likely to use the platform, so consider having a presence there and see how it goes.

It’s easy to set up a store, and there’s only one real way to find out what TikTok Shopping can do for your business, and that’s to give it a go.

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