TikTok has been growing into more than just a social media platform after it went viral in 2020. Some of the platform’s recent updates copy other applications such as “BeReal” or “Instagram,” and after years of trial and error, TikTok finally rolled out the “TikTok store”.
This recent update is a full-on entrance into the world of ecommerce by TikTok, and there’s a good reason why the company decided to enter this market. Social commerce sales are picking up pace and are growing every year. In fact, eMarketer believes that by 2025 the US market will reach $79.26 billion in eCommerce. Why wouldn’t TikTok want to be a part of that mix?! As one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world, it can offer exposure to over 1 billion users (and potential shoppers) worldwide. This update gives brands even more incentive to use the application and to try selling on it using a TikTok storefront!
What is TikTok Shopping?
The TikTok store, or TikTok shopping, enables viewers to buy products directly on the social media app without visiting another website or going to a separate store. You know how a video of a super cool product will come up as your scrolling on TikTok? Instead of googling that company if you’re interested in their product or service, you can click on their profile and see their shop! According to TikTok, “TikTok shopping is a suite of solutions, features, and tools that allow a business to tap into the power of ecommerce on TikTok.”
Now, what does this mean for business owners? If you have a business TikTok account, you will have a dedicated TikTok shopping tab on your profile! The shop is represented as a little shopping bag icon and, when viewers click on it, they can search for and browse through your product catalog within the application itself. From there, they can decide to purchase an item directly on TikTok or to get transferred to the company’s online store for checkout. It’s as easy as that!
The initial trials for the TikTok store were done with select Shopify users in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Since then, the shop has been rolled out on a much bigger scale and available to millions of more users.
Here’s an example you can check out right now: Kylie Cosmetics, Kylie Jenner’s well-known cosmetics store, was one of the first ones to allow its customers to purchase items directly on TikTok. It madesense for the company, since the account already had more than 30 million followers on the platform, and most of Kylie Jenner’s life and fame are associated with her social media presence anyway. If you want to see what it looks like in real time, check out her profile and browse her TikTok Storefront.
One of the most valuable features of TikTok shopping is the ability to link products in your videos; you can tag the item directly in the video whenever you’re posting a new commercial or product review. The people watching can click on the link and go directly to your TikTok store or your online storefront.
Is the TikTok Store Available for Everyone?
When TikTok first started its trials for the store, Shopify shared that “social commerce represents one of the fastest-growing channels for Shopify merchants, especially as more and more creators rely on these kinds of platforms to build their brands.” They also said that “Shopify merchants with a TikTok business account will soon be able to add a shopping tab to their profiles and sync the product catalogs to the social media platform so that it becomes a second mini-store.”. This is a win-win for both the owner and the consumer, since the former gets double the exposure and sales opportunity, and the latter doesn’t have to jump off TikTok and hunt down the company to buy your product!
As previously mentioned, TikTok only gave access to its shopping platform to a few selected Shopify-based stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. This is because TikTok wanted to ensure that the app was working properly before giving access to a larger audience. TikTok first announced its venture into the world of social commerce in September 2021, and now these new features are available in most countries. The social media platform is also planning to integrate its app with more ecommerce platforms, including Square, OpenCart, Wix Ecommerce, Base, Prestashop, and more. This will open up the TikTok Store to allow any business to link its products to videos, regardless of which platform the brand uses for their online store.
How to Set Up a TikTok Store
The first thing you need is to either create or switch to a TikTok business account. After that, you must download the TikTok Shopify app. With the Shopify app, you can create video ads, track stats and manage all the orders within the app. It also integrates with the Tiktok Business Manager!
There are apps for other store types as well. If you have a BigCommerce store, you can download the TikTok for Business app. This will automatically install the TikTok pixel on your storefront, so you will be able to see the results from your ad campaigns. Additionally, by syncing your BigCommerce store to TikTok, you will be able to create even more engaging, enticing ads that are of interest to your target audience.
During the trial, purchases could only happen within TikTok. At first, customers would watch the videos with the TikTok shopping links, then click on them, which would redirect them to the relevant TikTok shopping tab. However, TikTok moved away from this model, and now it takes the viewer directly to the online store’s checkout. Businesses now have the option to choose between the two purchasing methods and pick whichever one they assume fits their company the best.
If you have TikTok shopping, you need to treat it as an extension of the ecommerce online store you already have. That means that you want it to look as attractive as possible to your viewers and potential customers! Make sure to follow all of the standards that exist when creating any website: use high-quality imagery, make sure to present your products in the best possible light, ensure all necessary information is provided, etc. Limit your product titles to under 34 characters so that they remain fully visible; however, write the necessary description with as many details as you feel are needed to answer your customers’ questions.
How to Create a Successful TikTok Store
It’s highly unlikely that people will want to start using TikTok as a shopping platform from the get-go. Users will need time to adapt, and you can’t expect all your fans and followers to discover these new functions all on their own – the icon on your profile is super low-key and unnoticeable for most.
You need to promote your catalog in your videos, especially the ones that are product reviews or ads. You should avoid linking products in every video, as that will turn off the audience and seem too salesy, but you can still remind them of this new feature here are there! Mix up your promotional videos with other ones that are more entertaining or informative. You have to keep in mind that people don’t go on TikTok to shop – instead, they use the platform for entertainment. However, if you do your job well, you can persuade them to purchase an item from your store, or at least follow your account to see more of your products.
Here are few tips for creating a successful TikTok store.
Use Branded Hashtags
People won’t use TikTok shopping if they don’t know about it. As we mentioned, you need to do your best to promote this feature in a positive way. One way to do that is through Hashtag Challenge Plus, which allows viewers to shop for products that are related to a sponsored hashtag. In order for you to be able to do that, you need to tie in a paid-for hashtag with a particular challenge that you want your followers and viewers to do. The idea here is for the followers of the brand to try and do the challenges, posting videos on their own – if the trend catches one, that could lead to thousands of videos promoting the brand and its products.
The challenge should be related to a current dance trend or a trending sound, and it needs to be something easy to do. That way, more people will have the incentive to join the fun and share their content. Such campaigns will not only help you introduce your TikTok shop but will also give you exposure to a wider audience on the platform, thus helping to spread brand awareness.
Use Other Tools to Enhance the Experience
Platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify offer more than just a place where you can sell products from. Almost all of them can also serve as full-on marketing tools for all businesses that want to use TikTok for advertising. Some of the key features of TikTok for Shopify include:
- The ability to easily create new accounts, run ads, and set up payments.
- A video generator tool that helps you make high-quality TikTok videos quickly. It’s super intuitive to use and requires zero video production experience – you simply upload the clips, and the app does all the work.
- TikTok Pixel enables you to track your ads’ performance. It’s a great tool that helps you see how your ads are progressing and lets you know whether they’re as successful as you need them to be.
- The ability to target your audience based on location, demographics and behavioral patterns.
- The ability to see a snapshot of important data related to your current campaigns. That way, you will gain a better understanding of your conversion channel.
All in all, the integration between TikTok and these ecommerce platforms allows you to not only provide a smooth shopping experience for your customers but also to easily handle having two online stores. Additionally, by using the features of both TikTok and these platforms, you will be able to create better campaigns and further entice your audience into buying your products.
Don’t Forget About Influencers
As great as this new TikTok shopping feature is, it cannot match the power of influencer marketing when it comes to selling products. On all social media platforms, finding the right influencers for your brand and creating stable partnerships with them remains one of the most successful ways to promote your brand and its products.
When introducing this new feature to your TikTok, we urge you to involve influencers in the promotion process. With the help of their videos, your followers and new audience members will learn about your TikTok shop and will be more likely to browse and make a purchase.
What’s in Store for the Future?
TikTok is not stopping with the expansion anytime soon. In fact, the company sees a bright future for social commerce and plans to develop it further on its platform. TikTok is working on expanding the range of ecommerce platforms it can work with while also adding new ad products. It plans to release its own TikTok Shopping API (Application Programming Interface) in the future.
As of right now, TikTok has three in-feed ad products for businesses to use: Dynamic Showcase Ads (DSAs), Lead Generation, and Collection Ads. With Dynamic Showcase Ads, companies can promote their products using SKUs (stock keeping unit) via personalized video ads. Lead Generation lets businesses collect information from TikTok users as it’s available as a form within in-feed video ads. Lastly, Collection Ads enable brands to include product cards in their in-feed videos.
TikTok also started a “Seller University’ website that’s aimed specifically at its Indonesian audience. Its main idea is to help brands learn more about advertising their products on video and how to work with affiliates. We hope this will be opened up to other audiences soon!
As we can see, TikTok is expanding and offering users and businesses useful features that transform the way we consume content. In the future, it’s likely that the platform will also change the way we shop as it expands its social commerce features.
If you’re a company that already operates entirely online, then creating your TikTok store is a must. The process is easy and quick, and it will do more good than harm, even if it’s not a wild success. Come back and reference this article to help you as you create an enticing TikTok shopping experience for your customers.
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