Formerly a favorite of the dancing teens and lip balm enthusiasts, TikTok now hosts a wide variety of content for all demographics – and is a shopping inspiration to its 732 million global active users.
Just this week, I tried to purchase a lipstick I had seen on a single TikTok from a creator I had never come across, but found out that it was sold in Canada days ago.
But this is just a personal anecdote. If you need tangible proof that TikTok is selling, take a look at this Elf Cosmetics case study. Or learn about the massive feta shortage in 2021 caused by the trending baked pasta recipe in the app.
Until recently, TikTok-inspired shopping was “organic”: creators were talking about products on their TikTok, and audiences raided e-commerce sites and local stores to find said products.
Finally, in August 2021, TikTok and Shopify announced the launch of TikTok Shopping, a long-awaited social commerce experience that will bring in-app shopping and modern product discovery to the platform.
What is TikTok Shopping?
TikTok Shopping is a social commerce solution that allows TikTok creators to promote and sell products on the platform.
With TikTok Shopping, creators will be able to add a shopping tab to their TikTok profile:
Source: Kylie Cosmetics on TikTok
The tab pulls products from Shopify product catalogs, allowing other TikTok users to browse products without leaving the app and easily navigate to creators’ online stores for payment.
Source: Kylie Cosmetics on TikTok
Creators with TikTok showcases will also be able to tag products on organic TikTok content using custom product links.
Who can use TikTok Shopping?
TikTok Shopping is only available to Shopify merchants with a TikTok for Business account.
As of September 2021, merchants in the US and UK have been granted early access to TikTok Shopping. A select group of Canadian traders will participate in the rollout over the next few weeks, and new regions will have access to the pilot in the coming months.
How to set up TikTok Shopping
Merchants can request early access to TikTok Shopping through Shopify’s TikTok channel. Download the TikTok app for Shopify for more information.
Tips for creating a successful TikTok store
When you access TikTok Shopping, follow these steps to set yourself up for success.
1. Optimize your product catalog for TikTok
The shopping tab in your account will be your TikTok storefront, so make sure it’s optimized for attracting customers.
Focus on quality and style when adding images. Your product photos should be easily recognizable. your and it’s consistent with how you present your brand on TikTok (and ideally other platforms).
Product titles must fit within the character limit (34 characters) and contain basic product information. The description can be longer and should include as much detail as possible. Note that links in product descriptions on TikTok are not clickable.
Source: Glow Recipe on TikTok
2. Tell your audience about your TikTok store
When you access TikTok Shopping, don’t expect your fans and followers to find the shopping tab on their own. Shout it over the rooftops! Create a few custom TikToks that point your audience in the right direction.
3. Promote your products
Regardless of whether conversions are your main goal on TikTok, once you have a TikTok store, it only makes sense to promote your catalog in your account. So don’t be shy and mention your products on your TikTok from time to time.
And don’t be afraid to be creative! If you add a touch of humor to product mentions, as Glossier does, your audience won’t get tired of seeing items in your catalog:
@glossierpov: You’re a Balm Dotcom in the room while Getaway Car is being written #glossier #taylorswift♬ sonido original – Taylor Swift lyrics
4. Partner with influencers
TikTok is more than just another social media platform – it’s been called a cultural phenomenon.
Unless you’re knowledgeable about their unique tendencies, subcultures, and inside jokes, it may be better to delegate the creative side to someone who lives and breathes the platform. Especially when promoting a product and the stakes are high (i.e. you can make a lot of money or make your content disappear into the TikTok algorithm).
Partnering with TikTok influencers to promote your products or services is a great way to reach new audiences in an engaging and authentic way. Make sure you find creators who truly feel your brand. When you do that, great things can happen, like this collaboration between Casper and Ben Kielesinski:
@benkielesinski#ad Let Me Sit Cat For You and you can finally get a new @casper Mattress to cool you down #ad♬ SUNNY DAY – Matteo Rossanese