Credit: Kylie Cosmetics
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 than other channels’ users to buy a product they find on the channel. TikTok describes its customer journey as an infinite loop, where there is no top or bottom of the funnel. Instead, customers are continuously participating in the sales funnel by making content about their purchases, driving conversations about your brand, and leading to other viewers discovering your product.
Social commerce has never been more powerful than it is in the entertainment era, and brands that take advantage of this looping customer journey will set themselves apart.
So what is TikTok shopping, and what does that mean for the future of TikTok e-commerce? Brands are using multiple methods to send TikTok’s engaged audience from the ‘For You’ page to checkout, however, the method that is directly integrated into the channel is named TikTok Shopping. Brands are able to integrate their e-commerce solutions with their TikTok account, adding a new tab to their profile, and creating an avenue for their viewers to shop for the products they see in videos with a few button taps.
TikTok got started with social commerce with its high-profile partnership with Shopify, and the channel continues to announce upcoming support for additional vendors all the time, including the following e-commerce platforms:
Tip: TikTok Shopping is not yet available in all regions and markets. If a storefront appears blank for you, it means the feature has not yet launched in your area. Keep checking in, as TikTok is continually launching its e-commerce partnerships in new regions.
In order to get started, your brand must have a TikTok for Business account. 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 an option to switch to a business account. Once you choose your category, your brand will be all set up.
The next step is to ensure your e-commerce platform has a TikTok solution. If it does, they will either offer TikTok for Business features directly in their app (in the case of Shopify merchants with a TikTok for Business account), or as an additional app you can download (in the case of BigCommerce and several other platforms). Depending on your e-commerce platform, you may be asked to integrate a TikTok Pixel in order to help you measure your lift from the TikTok you post.
Once you’ve set up your TikTok social commerce experience through your e-commerce provider, your account will have a new icon, indicating that users can navigate your TikTok shopping account as a new digital storefront. In order 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 that you can customize for your feed.
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 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 that is perceived as being authentic will perform significantly better than studio video.
Luckily, finding success on the channel can be as simple as picking up a phone and making use of 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 moving at speed is more valuable than spending too long on one TikTok video.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Social commerce is becoming more entertainment-driven and interactive over time, and TikTok is playing a significant role in the shifting industry. 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.
TikTok’s user base, both enormous and incredibly motivated to shop online, cannot be ignored by marketers. TikTok and Shopify identified the potential this user base had for e-commerce, which was the catalyst behind the TikTok Shopping feature, and brands should take notice. The channel is making waves by partnering with retailers such as Walmart on live shopping events, and continues to roll out new e-commerce capabilities all the time. Other social channels are adjusting their own products in order to better compete with TikTok, affirming its role as a market leader in social entertainment.
TikTok users are now able to shop for products directly in the platform. The profiles of brands that can be shopped from have a special 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.
A TikTok shop is a feature on a brand and seller's profile where users are able to go in and shop for their favorite or new products they may have seen featured in brand or influencer video. TikTok shopping takes away the middle man of needing to go to a brand's site to make purchases.
TikTok LIVE allows brands to host live streams on the channel, sharing links to products throughout the stream. Once a brand has their e-commerce platform connected with TikTok, they are able to send users directly to product pages in real time.
Note: TikTok LIVE is no longer an available feature.
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.
It depends. As long as you are using TikTok to shop and buy from reputable brands, reading reviews and doing your own research, the buying process can be extremely safe. If something feels wrong when it comes to a purchase, maybe 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.