Having emerged as a platform for entertainment, TikTok is now a social media platform that e-commerce stores must invest in. With 1 billion active users that engage with the content deeply, TikTok is one of the best places to acquire new users, form a dedicated community, and successfully sell your products— all through immersive content.
If you haven’t yet leveraged TikTok for your e-commerce store, we’ll help you understand the social media platform. In this guide, we’ll share how you can start selling on TikTok and commerce tools that boost your discovery and purchase.
Don’t know what TikTok is?
If you aren't in the know, here's a quick primer on TikTok.
It's a social media platform for creating, sharing, and discovering short videos. Unlike Instagram, the platform feels much more "unregulated", allowing anyone to express themselves.
The platform sees a wide range of content from singers, dancers, and comedians to videographers, artists, and writers. Again, unlike other social media platforms, every kind of content can go viral.
The Power of TikTok: Why Brands Need to Leverage the Video Platform
TikTok has about 80 million monthly active users in the United States alone. And this large audience is very involved with the conversations on the platform.
TikTok's biggest draw is micro-entertainment. Through quick videos, users are entertained (music, dance, acting, comedy) and even educated (on topics as broad as self-help to terrariums to history) by different kinds of content.
Among such content, users have also been able to find unique products. Through creators' posts, specific brands have found popularity through the app.
No one could miss the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt trend. Shoppers shared how they discovered a new product (from cool leggings to household cleaning tools to portable blenders) through TikTok. The trend saw 7.4 billion views in 2021.
According to TikTok, how consumers discover products on the platform vastly differs from your usual purchasing journey. The infinite content loop allows brands to show up on users' feeds more often. You can nudge users to buy through your entertaining and value-adding content. 37% of users discover a product on the app and immediately want to buy it.
There's a community aspect of selling that is more exciting for users and helps brands even to sell out. 29% of users say they couldn't purchase something that was trending on the platform because it was sold out.
With creative content and timing, any brand can use the profound influence that TikTok has to increase brand awareness and drive more purchases for your products.
How to Start Selling More With TikTok Content?
Before you can start selling, you must set up a foundation for your brand, building your presence and immersing yourself in the community. Here’s how you can get started:
1. Start by creating and sharing videos
You can't just start promoting your products from day one. You need first to create value and connection. Talk about problems that your products solve and share solutions.
For instance, a beauty brand can share videos about skincare and haircare routines, ingredients that help with problems like acne or pigmentation, etc. Home decor brands can educate users on ways to use color in their homes and office for different moods and needs. Educating your audience is the best way to get their buy-in.
It doesn't just need to be educational. You can also entertain your audience through your core topics. A fashion brand could share multiple ways to style one piece of clothing or show fun and creative ways to dress up.
By creating TikTok videos that create value— entertaining or educational— you can earn their trust and then subtly link your products to the right places to turn users' interest into a purchase.
2. Get discoverable with hashtags
Hashtags allow users to find content around topics that they are interested in. By smartly using hashtags around the topics you post on, you can be discoverable to your potential audience easily. As a newer platform for e-commerce, you'll be able to get better traction with these hashtags (as compared to other platforms like Instagram).
For instance, a skincare brand can use hashtags like #skincarejourney, #skincareroutine, #acnejourney, etc., to discuss pain points. TikTok users who like such content will eagerly comment and engage with the video, even sharing their journey. These users could then explore the brand's products and be motivated to buy because of the authentic content they found through the hashtags they follow.
3. Engage with the community
TikTok has built out a range of features that make it easier to communicate with each other and feel like you're a part of a community. Besides encouraging comments as responses to your videos, you can also leverage these advanced features:
Using Stitch, you can stitch (or add) another user's video into your own, collaborating with their idea for your video. For instance, a haircare brand could stitch with another video showing how to get rid of frizzy hair with a fun hack, testing the hack themselves.
Duet allows you to play another user's video in a split-screen format next to yours. With this feature, you can show off another user's video that aligns with the topics you talk about and either react to it or do your video version.
Add a Q&A profile link to your bio, turn comments into questions you can answer, and create two-way communication with your audience. Many brands use Q&A to clear users' questions about their products, using the new video to show the product better or bust myths.
4. Create more dialogue by collaborating with creators
Creators have a clear impact on the opinions of TikTok users. A product shown by a brand is more promotional than a creator sharing their experience with the same product. Partnering with creators should be your priority if you invest in TikTok as a platform.
When considering a purchase on TikTok, 39% of users claim that videos posted by a creator play a considerable role.
TikTok's Creator Marketplace lets you discover creators sharing videos within your domain, see how their content is performing, and reach out to collaborate with them.
Pro-tip: Creators with a smaller audience have higher Engagement in their videos and more trust in their recommendations. Find and partner with micro-creators who share videos on the same topics as you.
When partnering with creators, you can:
- Send them products to try out and review.
- Allow them to get creative with the products you send. Creators come with their approach and style to the content they want to share, so listen to their ideas on how they want to work with your brand.
- Partner with them to host a giveaway with your products as the prize. Using their dedicated audience, you can bring more visibility to your brand.
- Allow them to take over your brand's account and share a part of their lifestyle that aligns with your values. For instance, on a skincare brand's TikTok account, a creator would share how they take care of their skin every day.
5. Make use of TikTok tools and libraries
Whether you're looking for trending audio or inspiration for your new video, you don't have to go on an endless scroll through TikTok. TikTok has collated resources to make it easier for you.
TikTok's Creative Center gives you many insights into trending trends, from videos and audio to hashtags and strategies. You can routinely check in to find new audio for your videos, see what ads are working, and find new ways to level up your TikTok strategy.
6. Bring your TikTok conversations to your Shopify store
Besides discoverability, you can also use TikTok for social proof among new visitors to your site. Many brands pull their TikTok videos onto their Shopify store to showcase their popularity.
By adding your TikTok videos, especially the user-generated ones, to your Shopify store, you can prove how popular your brand's popularity and give new visitors a glimpse into what other shoppers have to say about you. Potential customers will be able to get a second opinion they can trust, see how community first you are and be more convinced to shop from you.
You can easily add your TikTok videos to your Shopify store with Videowise. Once you've uploaded your TikTok videos, you can place them anywhere on your store. A haircare brand can add videos showing the before and after effects of using a product to the relevant product page. These videos may be made by creators on the platform, letting the brand use actual customers to show the product's benefits.
Commerce Tools on TikTok
Adapting to user behavior is crucial whether you're a brand or a social media platform. When TikTok realized that more users were turning to the platform for product recommendations, they decided to provide features and tools to help users buy and to allow e-commerce brands to market and sell better.
As a brand, it's now easier to take advantage of TikTok. Here are all the commerce tools on TikTok that will help you sell better:
Disclaimer: A lot of commerce tools are available only for select markets. Check if TikTok provides the tool or feature for businesses in your area.
1. Product Links
37% of TikTok users discovered something on TikTok and immediately bought it. Instead of making your viewers search for your product page after watching your video, you can directly take them to buy with Product Links.
If your video features a product, you can link the relevant product page so users can click through and purchase the featured item.
2. Live Shopping
Live shopping is still an emerging trend but is proven to help brands connect and sell better. Hosting real-time virtual events allows you to build a stronger rapport with your customers, give them a better look at your products, let them ask questions, and ultimately, drive higher purchases.
With Live Shopping events (especially by having TikTok creators host them), you can show off your products in real-time, make users feel like a part of your brand, and convert them through this uniquely immersive experience.
3. Ads designed for commerce
Since TikTok ads are immersive and native to users' experience, they are much more likely to engage with them and be motivated to click through and learn more about your products.
Before you can create ads on TikTok, you need to make your catalog and upload your products. You can install the TikTok app on your Shopify store to seamlessly connect your store and start selling. Read more about what you need to connect your store to your TikTok account.
There are many ad formats available on TikTok. However, we've listed only the perfect ad formats for commerce.
4. In-feed Ads
In-feed ads show up while users are scrolling through the app. They are shown to users based on other content they have engaged with, allowing you to target audiences more likely to engage and convert after viewing it.
5. Dynamic showcase ads
These ads are made to showcase your products. Dynamic Showcase Ads are automatically generated video ads that feature your products and are shown to targeted audiences who are sure to be interested in your products.
6. Collection ads
Create a carousel of product cards and feature them alongside your in-feed ads. With this, users can easily tap on your products and be taken to browse through them and start shopping from you.
7. Live Shopping ads
Run ads targeting users with similar interests when you're hosting a LIVE Shopping event on TikTok and attract a broader audience to the event.
Ready to start selling on TikTok?
When selling on TikTok, brands prioritize value and entertainment, engaging with their community first. This means meaningful experiences for customers and, ultimately, better conversion and retention for the brand.
Using TikTok within your strategy can also build stronger relationships with your audience and quickly convert them.