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Everything You Need To Know About TikTok Shopping and Social Commerce

John Beaton
February 18, 2022
Last Updated On
January 29, 2024
tiktok shopping blog header

Social commerce is evolving. There have never been more options for brands to get products in front of social media users, and TikTok shopping allows your brand to mobilize the channel’s energized viewers and drive e-commerce results.

TikTok users love online shopping and are 1.4x more likely to buy a product they find on the channel than other channel users. TikTok describes its customer journey as an infinite loop, with no top or bottom of the funnel. Instead, customers continuously participate in the sales funnel by making content about their purchases, driving conversations about your brand, and leading other viewers to discover your product. 

Social commerce has never been more powerful than in the entertainment era, and brands that take advantage of this looping customer journey will set themselves apart.

What Is TikTok Shop?

Brands are using multiple methods to send TikTok’s engaged audience from the ‘For You’ page to checkout — however, TikTok integrates directly into the channel. Brands can integrate e-commerce solutions with their TikTok account, adding a new tab to their profile and allowing viewers to shop products they see in videos in just a few taps.

TikTok started social commerce with a high-profile partnership with Shopify. The channel continues to announce upcoming support for additional vendors all the time, including the following e-exchange platforms:

  • Square
  • Shopline
  • BigCommerce
  • OpenCart
  • Ecwid
  • Wix
  • Base
  • Prestashop

Tip: TikTok Shopping is not yet available in all regions and markets. If a storefront appears blank for you, the feature has yet to launch in your area. Keep checking in as TikTok continually launches its e-commerce partnerships in new regions.

Image credit: Kylie Cosmetics

How To Set Up TikTok Shop?

There are a few key steps to set up your TikTok Shop and sell products directly through the app — here’s how to set up your TikTok Shop:

  • Ensure your brand is eligible: TikTok Shop is available to businesses in certain regions and sectors. You'll need to have a TikTok account and meet specific criteria set by TikTok. To switch your account over, navigate to your profile on TikTok. Once you’re there, select the menu in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. Click ‘Manage Account,’ and under ‘Account Control,’ you will see the option to switch to a business account. Choose your business category from there — your business account is now set up.
  • Create a TikTok Business Account: If you haven’t already, switch to a TikTok Business Account. This is essential to access TikTok Shop features. It’s a simple process within the TikTok app settings.
  • Apply for TikTok Shop: Once your Business Account is set up, apply for TikTok Shop through the TikTok app or website. You’ll need to provide business information and possibly undergo a verification process.
  • Set up your shop: After its approval, you can set up your shop. This involves listing your products, setting prices, and customizing your shop’s appearance. High-quality images and detailed product descriptions are critical.
  • Integration with fulfillment processes: Ensure your fulfillment processes are integrated. This includes stock management, shipping, and handling returns. TikTok may offer integration options with existing e-commerce platforms — TikTok might prompt you to add a TikTok Pixel to your site to help you measure your lift from the TikToks you post.

Once you’ve set up your TikTok social commerce experience through your e-commerce provider, your account will have the TikTok Shop icon, indicating that users can navigate your TikTok shopping account as a new digital storefront. To drive click-throughs to your website directly from TikTok, you can leverage Dash Hudson’s TikTok link-in-bio to create a standalone URL customized for your feed.

Who Can Use TikTok Shop?

While TikTok Shops can be used by specific brands with a business account, TikTok shopping is for everyone. Both the buyer and the seller. TikTok shopping allows brands to link their product within the TikTok app on their profile. 

Industries Finding Success on TikTok Shop

TikTok Shop has taken the platform by storm — and certain industries are leading the charge. Dash Hudson’s research with Neilsen IQ uncovered that a third of all TikTok sales came from the beauty industry. Of these beauty brands, Made by Mitchell, Nature Spell, PLouise, BPerfect Cosmetics and The Beauty Corp were the top-performing brands. They received 121% more shares than the industry average and 81% more video views than the industry average. Their key to surpassing these industry benchmarks is creating entertaining content that audiences find relatable. Part of this relatability factor is the use of UGC — approximately 42% of successful beauty brands on TikTok shop leveraged UGC creator partnerships. Brands like Sol de Janeiro and Summer Fridays, who previously had products go viral on the app, also saw success on TikTok Shop. Brands experiencing positive engagement from ‘hero’ products on TikTok could benefit from social commerce via the TikTok Shop.

Free People's Shoppable TikTok Gallery
Credit: Free People

Tip: Dash Hudson recommends that brands utilize both TikTok Shopping and a link-in-bio solution, if possible, in order to maximize potential conversions. You can’t go wrong by giving your audience multiple touchpoints to navigate their journey from discovery to checkout.

TikTok Shopping Features 

TikTok has revolutionized how brands interact with their audiences, especially with the introduction of TikTok Shopping. This feature-rich platform offers a suite of tools designed to integrate e-commerce into the TikTok experience seamlessly. Let's delve into some of the key shopping features that TikTok offers.

Product Links

Product Links allow you to tag products in your TikTok videos. When viewers tap on these tags, they're taken directly to the product page, where they can purchase. This feature bridges the gap between content and commerce, making it easier for viewers to shop the products they see in your videos.

Live Shopping

Live Shopping takes engagement to the next level. During a live stream, you can showcase products in real-time, answer questions, and interact with viewers. Products are shown at the bottom of the screen, and viewers can click to purchase, creating an interactive shopping experience.

TikTok Shop Tab

The Shop Tab is a dedicated section on your TikTok profile displaying all your listed products. This virtual storefront makes it easy for followers to browse and shop your products directly from your profile, enhancing the shopping experience within the app.

Collection Ads

Collection Ads are a dynamic way to showcase your products. These ads appear on the For You page, featuring a main video or image with smaller product images underneath. When users tap these ads, they can browse a catalog of products without leaving TikTok.

Dynamic Showcase Ads (DSA)

DSA allows you to create personalized ads based on your product catalog. These ads are tailored to individual users based on their interests and interactions, making your marketing efforts more targeted and effective.

Hashtag Challenges

Hashtag Challenges with a shopping twist can be a powerful way to engage with your audience. Creating a challenge that features your products encourages user-generated content that spreads awareness and drives sales.

Analytics and Insights

TikTok provides robust analytics tools to track your shop's performance and campaigns. These insights help you understand customer behavior, track sales, and optimize your strategy for better results.

Each feature offers a unique way to integrate shopping into the TikTok experience, making it a social platform and a vibrant marketplace. By leveraging these tools, brands can create a more engaging, interactive, and streamlined shopping experience for their audience. As TikTok grows, these shopping features become essential for brands looking to impact the digital world.

How To Create A TikTok Shop Strategy

When crafting a strategy for TikTok Shop, it's important to structure your approach with clear, focused headings. This helps in organizing the strategy into manageable and actionable segments. Here's how you can structure your TikTok Shop strategy.

Understand Your Audience

Begin by diving deep into the demographics and interests of your TikTok audience. Analyze trends, hashtags, and popular content within your niche. This understanding is crucial for tailoring your products to the preferences of your target audience on TikTok.

Engagement and Community Building

Engagement is the heart of TikTok. Regularly interact with your audience through comments, challenges, and live streams. Use these platforms to showcase your products, offer exclusive insights, and build a community around your brand.

Leveraging E-commerce Features

Integrate TikTok’s shopping features into your strategy. Utilize product links in your videos, maintain an organized Shop Tab on your profile, and explore the potential of Live Shopping sessions. These features should be used to enhance the shopping experience and make it easy for users to purchase.

Paid Advertising and Promotions

Incorporate paid advertising into your strategy. Utilize TikTok’s Collection Ads and Dynamic Showcase Ads to reach a wider audience, and ensure that your ads are as creative and engaging as your organic content.

Analytics and Adaptation

Regularly analyze the performance of your TikTok Shop. Use TikTok Insights or TikTok’s analytics tools to track sales, engagement rates and audience growth. Adapt your strategy based on these insights, and stay flexible so your team can pivot according to trends, seasonal events or shifts in consumer behavior.

Continuous Innovation and Trend Monitoring

Stay updated with the latest TikTok trends and features. Continuously innovate your content and strategy to keep up with the evolving social media landscape and incorporate these elements into your strategy.

Following these structured steps helps your team create a comprehensive and effective TikTok Shop strategy. Remember, success on TikTok revolves around understanding your audience, creating engaging content and using the platform’s features to their fullest potential.

6 Tips for TikTok E-commerce Success

TikTok Shop brings a unique twist to online shopping, blending immersive content with seamless purchasing experiences. Here are five tips to succeed with your social commerce strategy on TikTok. 

1. Tailor Your Content to What Works on the Platform

TikTok is more of a social entertainment platform than a social platform, and brands should understand that their strategy on the channel will be vastly different than anything they’ve done before. Users on TikTok are motivated by content that makes them feel joy, and content perceived as authentic will perform significantly better than studio video.

Luckily, finding success on the channel can be as simple as picking up a phone and using TikTok’s robust in-app sounds and effects to make something short and fun. Don’t overthink it — this is a channel of experimentation where trends change daily, and speed is often more valuable than spending too long on one TikTok video.

2. Post Exciting and Trendy Content

Hard sells don’t work on TikTok. 39% of TikTok shopping users say that “lifting spirits” is a key factor when they decide to buy a product. In order to inspire viewers to shop your brand, you need to build a presence on the channel by creating entertaining videos, first and foremost. Have fun with your brand by participating in trends, bringing humor and levity to your content, and figuring out how to participate in the world of social entertainment in a way that only your brand can.

3. Promote Your Shop and Product Links

When it comes to educating viewers about your TikTok shopping product and driving sales, make sure you’re framing your content from the perspective of the value your brand brings, whether it’s in the form of life hacks, before-and-after comparisons, or tutorials, and always tie it in with the trendiest sounds in order to be discovered by the most people. Remember: great content is what will motivate users to view your products, as well as visit your online stores for checkout.

Four teens in a TikTok promotional video
Credit: Teen Vogue

4. Tap Into Younger Audiences

TikTok’s audience skews younger than other social channels. Older people are becoming a sizable audience on the channel as well, but TikTok’s culture is still heavily defined by Generation Z. Brands must ensure that they are speaking to TikTok shopping users in a way that they can relate to, and that means rooting your feed in authenticity, rather than curated perfection, and keeping it casual. People come to TikTok in order to have fun, and Gen Z is known for being driven by experiences above all else.

5. Leverage Influencer Power

TikTok creators are the heart of the channel, and it’s their charisma that makes short-form video so engaging. If you look at the trending sounds and hashtags, what do you see? People front and center. This differs heavily from channels that prioritize static imagery, where product shots alone were traditionally enough to get engagement. This may require your brand to rethink its social media approach, but it doesn’t have to be too difficult.

Lo-fi content performs best on the channel, and getting started with TikTok creator marketing is as simple as picking up your phone and filming yourself. Every creator has to get started somewhere, including social media managers, and who knows—you could be at the front of many ‘For You’ pages one day. We’ve written about TikTok influencer marketing in case you want to learn more.

6. Utilize Social Marketing Tools

Social marketing tools like Dash Hudson offer TikTok Insights that give brands access to a full suite of features that makes marketing on TikTok and integrating your TikTok shop into your strategy even easier. Not only do most social marketing tools make things like scheduling content, reporting performance and managing influencer relationships simple, they also offer insightful data that can help fine-tune your strategy in the long-term.

Is TikTok Shopping the Future of Social Commerce?

Social commerce is becoming more entertainment-driven and interactive over time, and TikTok plays a significant role in this industry shift. TikTok Made Me Buy It, a TikTok Shopping trend where users celebrate purchases of items they discovered on the channel, is a rare evergreen trend that continues to gain traction with time. Moreover, one in four TikTok users are inactive on any other channel.

TikTok’s user base is enormous and incredibly motivated to shop online, which marketers can't ignore. TikTok and Shopify identified this user base’s potential for e-commerce, which was the catalyst behind the TikTok Shopping feature. The channel is making waves by partnering with retailers such as Walmart on live shopping events (utilizing its tool known as TikTok LIVE). It continues to roll out new e-commerce capabilities constantly. Other social channels are adjusting their products to better compete with TikTok, affirming its role as a market leader in social entertainment.

TikTok Shopping FAQs

Can you shop from TikTok?

TikTok users are now able to shop for products directly on the platform. Brands with TikTok Shop enabled have a unique shopping tab, represented by a shopping bag icon, which directs users to mini storefronts. You are also able to shop from the link in a brand’s bio as well.

What is a TikTok shop?

A TikTok shop is a feature on a brand and sellers profile where users can go in and shop for their favorite or new products they may have seen featured in brand or influencer video. TikTok shopping removes the middleman of navigating to a brand's site to purchase. 

How does TikTok LIVE shopping work?

TikTok LIVE allows brands to host live streams on the channel, sharing links to products throughout the stream. Once a brand's e-commerce platform connects with TikTok, it can send users directly to product pages in real-time.

Note: TikTok LIVE is no longer an available feature.

How do I access TikTok shopping?

Brands with a TikTok for Business account will have a new tab to their TikTok store unlocked once they have integrated their e-commerce platform with their account, and navigating to their TikTok shop is as simple as selecting the shopping bag icon on their profile.

Is buying stuff on TikTok safe?

It depends. As long as you are using TikTok shopping and buying from reputable brands, reading reviews and researching, the buying process can be very safe. If something feels wrong regarding a purchase, think again. Along with a recent partnership with Shopify to make purchasing safer, TikTok has also implemented a pop-up when users are about to leave the app to travel to an unprotected website, so always keep an eye out for that. 

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