The Rise of TikTok Shop and What it Means for eCommerce Businesses

TikTok Shop is a new addition to TikTok, the popular entertainment app that allows merchants to sell products directly through the platform. This can be done via in-feed videos, live videos and a product showcase.

For the most part, selling on TikTok Shop involves teaming up with creators to sell your products. It’s something that many eCommerce businesses are already using, but it’s by no means a route that will work for everyone.

How Merchants Make the Most of TikTok Shop

Many benefits come with using TikTok Shop as an online merchant, especially if you can strike the right deals with popular creators. As is the case with a lot of entertainment platforms, there has been a significant rise in the number of creators using TikTok, and many of these individuals have gone on to become influencers in their own right. Influencer marketing is huge at the moment, and TikTok Shop gives merchants a way to cash in.

 

Connecting With Relevant Creators

If you are a merchant in the right sector, and there are creators specialising in your niche, then creators can be an extremely powerful eCommerce tool on TikTok Shop. This is especially beneficial to businesses selling fashion and cosmetics, as there is a natural link between these products and what is popular on the app, but it’s less beneficial to merchants selling products that aren’t in line with TikTok trends. 

 

For example, it might be harder to utilise creators if you are selling furniture or household goods. You can find beauty influencers on TikTok in seconds, but we are not hearing much about washing machine influencers. 

 

Spending Your Marketing Budget Wisely

TikTok Shop can be a viable use of your marketing budget, but only if the right deal can be struck with the right creator. The biggest influencers command large fees, which can be out of reach for many small businesses. However, that is not to say that you should discount this marketing route entirely. 

 

Micro influencers – those with smaller, but more niche followings – can be an incredibly valuable resource to smaller merchants on TikTok Shop. Though you will likely see a smaller volume of sales, the ROI might be higher. 

 

Making the most of TikTok Shop comes down to determining how much you are willing to spend to make a sale and which creators are relevant to your product niche. Once you know how much you are happy to spend, you can begin to make calls on whether an influencer deal is right for your business.

The Pros of TikTok Shop Features for Merchants

 

  • Adding Products – In order to make the most of TikTok Shop, you will need to navigate the Seller Centre. This operates similarly to a regular eCommerce platform, such as Shopify, but it’s by no means a quick task. Uploading products, adding variations and shipping rules are all time intensive. You are essentially setting up a new store from scratch, and this takes time, but it also means that you can select fewer products to sell on TikTok if you wish. 

 

  • Tracking Performance – The TikTok Shop Seller Centre has a familiar-looking dashboard, complete with sales and product performance, making it relatively easy to track your shop’s performance. The number of shop visitors you have had and the conversion rate can also be accessed, as well as showing which influencers you are working with and the volume of sales they are driving. You can also manage returns and refunds from the backend of the TikTok Shop Seller Centre.  

 

  • Two Checkout Processes – There are two checkout processes available on TikTok Shop, and the one you choose will come down to how you want to operate. You can either sell products directly on social platforms or link products purchased through your website. So far, most merchants opt for the latter, which involves promoting a product on TikTok Shop, guiding users to click with interest and then directing them to the website checkout process.
TikTok Shop Won’t Work for All eCommerce Businesses

There is certainly an argument for every eCommerce business to at least test how their audience feels about buying from their social media feeds; it will work for some but not for others. It’s likely to be the case that younger customers feel more comfortable about buying from social media, whereas older generations are likely to be more hesitant. This gives businesses with a younger market an advantage and suggests that social commerce could become a dominant platform for the businesses that have gained traction by using influencers to raise their profile. For more traditional brands, social commerce might take more time to have a significant effect, but it certainly offers the chance to reach new customers and make new sales.

 

It’s not just the business audience that determines how well TikTok Shop will work, but also the type of products on offer. TikTok Shop could mean big business if you sell products within specific sectors. However, it’s certainly not for everyone. There is an obvious appeal to companies selling fashion, cosmetics, jewellery and beauty products; beauty and fashion brands have already started to utilise TikTok Shop in a big way. This works because so much of the content on TikTok is centred around these niches. 

 

For example, there is a lot of TikTok content about hair and beauty hacks, which means there is a market for hair and beauty products on TikTok Shop. However, it’s unlikely to be quite as beneficial if you sell products in an industry that doesn’t command space in the TikTok world, such as car parts or gardening tools. 

Final Thoughts on TikTok Shop

At Quickfire Digital, we can see why TikTok Shop is something that many merchants are considering, and there are undoubtedly opportunities for merchants to sell products successfully. 

 

However, there is a considerable amount of set-up and ongoing management involved – in a way, TikTok Shop requires you to create a second online store alongside your original – so it’s by no means a ‘quick fix’ for selling on social media. Arguably, the best route is to promote your store and products on TikTok first and then drive customers to your eCommerce store before making the big leap into utilising TikTok Shop.

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