TikTok has experienced an explosive rise in popularity since its launch in 2016. The platform boasts 1.1 billion monthly active users worldwide and over 150 million users in the US alone.
Our CEO, Shou Chew, shares a special message on behalf of the entire TikTok team to thank our community of 150 million Americans ahead of his congressional hearing later this week.♬ original sound – TikTok
Because of its immense popularity, TikTok has evolved beyond just being a social media platform. You can now use it to promote your products through hashtags and challenges, and even sell your products on TikTok Shop.
The recently launched social commerce feature, TikTok Shop, allows creators and brands like you to link products in your TikTok videos. Your followers and viewers can directly shop for those products without leaving the TikTok app.
In this guide, I'll explore the key features of TikTok Shop and how to set it up. I’ll also discuss ways brands and creators can benefit from the social commerce platform.
Quick Answer ー TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)
TikTok Shop is a shopping feature within the TikTok platform that allows users to buy products without leaving the app.
As a seller, you can directly integrate your online store with TikTok or upload your product catalogs through a TikTok Business account. The platform will facilitate everything from shopping to shipping and payments.
However, TikTok charges a 5% commission on sales.
To get started, you would need to register a TikTok Seller Center account to open a TikTok Shop. I’ll tell you how in this article.
What is a TikTok Shop?
TikTok Shop is considered as one of the most popular e-commerce marketplaces today, with 18% of marketers utilizing the platform to boost their brands’ sales performance. TikTok has enough audience within the app, so with TikTok Shop as a shopping feature, brands are assured of a wide captured market.
As a seller, you have two options when creating a TikTok Shop:
- Direct integration: You can establish your online stores directly on the TikTok platform. Shopping and all post-payment processes take place within the TikTok app.
- Partner integration: You can upload your product catalogs through a TikTok Business account, and sell within the TikTok app. However, in the event of a return, your buyers will use Shopify, Square, PrestaShop, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, or the merchant's app.
When a buyer wants to buy from your shop, they visit your seller’s account and find the shopping bag icon.
By clicking on your product catalog, they can browse the store and add items to their basket. When done shopping, the buyers can check out on the app or be directed to your merchant website.
@kirsten.rohanna Replying to @Tina Michelle How to go on the TikTok shop to buy stuff like the freeze dried candy? It can be ovewhelming at first but it’s very easy. Fair warning this is addicting 😂 #tiktokshop #tiktokmademebuyit #tiktokshopping #tiktokmademebuythis #tiktokfinds ♬ original sound – Kirsten| shopping TikTok finds
TikTok Shop is currently available in the following countries:
- The Philippines
- The United States
- The United Kingdom
The Key Features of a TikTok Shop
With a TikTok Shop, you can sell your products through shoppable TikTok videos, TikTok Live streams, and through the product catalog.
Let’s look at the features of TikTok Shop.
- In-app shopping functionality: TikTok Shop allows your target customers to buy your products within the app. They can also monitor when their order has been fulfilled and even process returns.
- Product listings: Each product on TikTok Shop has a listing page where users can view the product image, price, description, and link to buy.
- Fulfilled by TikTok: TikTok Shop stores, picks, packs, and then ships your products to customers while you focus on promoting and selling your products.
- Integration with existing ecommerce channels: If you already have an established online store, you can integrate it with your TikTok Shop. The feature helps you streamline the purchasing process and reach a wider audience.
- Smart selling algorithm: TikTok Shop uses a smart algorithm that analyzes your preferences and activities on the platform.
- User data: TikTok Shop gathers shopper’s data on browsing and purchase history to offer you insights into their target audience. This information helps your business in creating targeted marketing campaigns and improving your customer’s experience.
- Shop Ads: In TikTok Ads Manager, you can create a new campaign by selecting Product Sales as the objective and TikTok Shop as the product source.
It allows you to run three types of ads – Video Shopping Ads, LIVE Shopping Ads, and Product Shopping Ads. With these Ads, you can reach out to relevant audiences across TikTok feed, search, and Shopping Centre placements.
- Affiliate program: As a seller, you can choose an affiliate plan that’s the right fit for your brand to let other creators bring you sales.
On the other hand, as a creator, you can team up with TikTok sellers and earn some sweet commissions by showcasing their products in your short videos and Live streams. It’s a fun way to turn your creativity into cash.
How TikTok Shop Differs From Other Ecommerce Platforms
Unlike other ecommerce platforms, TikTok Shop strongly emphasizes social media marketing. It leverages influencers, user-generated content, and entertaining videos to build communities of loyal customers.
This approach sets apart TikTok Shop from other ecommerce platforms. Other key differences include:
- Easy to use interface: Compared to other ecommerce platforms, setting up and running a TikTok Shop is much simpler. The user-friendly interface and straightforward design allow users to create stores and promote products easily.
- Affordability: You can register as a seller for free on TikTok Shop. Once you make a sale, they deduct a 5% commission. This is in contrast to other platforms that have relatively higher fees. For instance, Amazon charges 8% to 15% commission per sale.
- Supportive in helping you build a loyal customer base: Unlike traditional ecommerce platforms, which rely heavily on paid ads and organic posting to generate leads, the short video and Live TikTok marketing approach is informative, engaging, and entertaining. It helps build trust and loyalty towards a brand.
- Accessibility to a younger audience: TikTok is the most popular with Gen Z (18–24). 61% of Gen Z trust user-generated content (UGC) rather than search engines or paid ads. If you’re a brand trying to generate leads with a younger audience, TikTok Shop offers more opportunities for success than other ecommerce platforms.
TikTok Shop is an effective and cost-efficient solution for your business if you’re looking to promote your products and services online. However, you have to use it the right way.
As a marketing tip, you can use a visual TikTok planner like Vista Social to schedule videos on TikTok with trending TikTok audios to increase reach and engagement. This tool also helps you find UGC content like your customers’ stories, which you can reshare as social proof to increase sales.
Why Should Brands and Creators Leverage TikTok Shop?
Whether you run a business or you are a creator selling others’ products, setting up a TikTok Shop can help you earn money by promoting and selling products.
This social commerce platform offers the following advantages to everyone who wants to make money on TikTok:
- In-app shopping experience: TikTok Shop offers seamless functionality that allows you to market and sell your products to its large user base without leaving the platform, creating a straightforward conversion process.
- Increased visibility: Leveraging TikTok Shop provides you with the potential to reach a broader audience and attract users who are genuinely interested in your products.
- Affiliate program opportunities: You can collaborate with influencers by tapping into their reach to promote your products effectively. Through these partnerships, creators and sellers can earn commissions based on the number of sales.
- Cost-effective promotion: TikTok Shop offers a cost-effective means of promoting products and services, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises with limited budgets. Unlike cost-per-click (CPC), which is based on the number of clicks, you only pay influencers after a sale.
- Secure checkout: TikTok uses reliable payment platforms for quick, smooth, and secure checkouts on TikTok Shop. Plus, it protects US user data in the US only, managed by U.S. Data Security (USDS).
How to Set Up a TikTok Shop: The Step-by-Step Process
To set up a TikTok Shop, you must create a TikTok Seller Center account.
TikTok Seller Center is an all-in-one portal for merchants to manage their ecommerce business on TikTok.
Here’s what you need to create a TikTok Shop:
- Access to TikTok Seller Center
- Business documents for verification
- Bank account for payment processing
Once you’ve all of the above, follow the steps below to set up your TikTok Shop.
- To start, go to your TikTok profile and select “Creator tools”.
- Click on “TikTok Shop for Seller.”
- Sign up as a seller using a TikTok account or with a phone and email. If you’re already signed in, you can simply select “Sign up with TikTok Account.”
- Agree to the terms and conditions and click “Start Your Business.”
- You’ll then receive an email from TikTok to start the onboarding process.
- Select your business type (corporation or individual-owned business).
- Enter your shop’s name.
- Upload necessary documents based on your business type.
- For individually-owned businesses, you need to upload the front and back images of your passport, national ID, or driver's license.
- For a corporation, you need to upload a government-issued ID of the legal representative, company director, and business license or registration.
- Click “Submit” after uploading all required documents.
- Your TikTok Shop account application will be pending until approved.
Upon approval, you can link your bank account. If your account fails to pass review, you'll receive an email with instructions on how to re-submit your documents.
- From the TikTok Seller Center home page, click “Link Bank Account” and then “Link Account.” Enter your account name, bank name, bank account number, email, address, and building number.
Ensure the account name matches the registered name for individually-owned businesses or the company name for corporations.
- Click “Submit” after completing all required fields.
- Once your bank account is linked, you can start adding products to your shop.
The Best Practices for Setting Up Your TikTok Shop for Success
TikTok Shop is only available in select countries. This is a major challenge for businesses outside the currently supported areas. Additionally, algorithmic changes can negatively impact the visibility of products and shops.
Despite these challenges, many businesses find value in the unique opportunities TikTok Shop presents.
Here are some tips to help elevate your TikTok Shop potential:
- Be detailed and concise in your product descriptions. Inform customers of all they need to know but within the character limit.
- Optimize your product pages by using high-quality images and keywords related to your industry and maintaining brand consistency. The best TikTok photo editing hacks and editing apps might help.
- Share the link to your TikTok Shop on your other social media channels and keep posting regular videos.
- Team up with influencers to help widen your reach. You can search for relevant ones on Heepsy.
- Use trending TikTok songs, popular hashtags, and product-related hashtags in your videos to increase visibility.
- Offer time-limited discounts and deals to create a sense of urgency.
- Go Live regularly to answer questions and explain your products to your customers in real time.
Ready to Tap into the Power of TikTok Influence?
TikTok Shop has immense potential for brands, creators, and TikTok users alike. It provides a platform for sellers to build their brands, showcase products, and connect with a diverse audience. Creators likewise benefit from brand partnership opportunities and monetization avenues.
Meanwhile, users enjoy an in-app shopping experience, personalized recommendations, and the chance to discover and purchase products on an entertaining platform.
As TikTok Shop continues to expand across other regions, businesses should embrace the opportunities it presents and tap into the power of social media marketing.