Everything you need to know about TikTok shopping

TikTok, a former student of dance teenagers and lovers of dub lips, is currently home to a wide range of content for all demographic categories — and a source of inspiration for the purchase of its 732 million active global users.

Just this week I tried to buy a lipstick I saw in one TikTok from a creator I had never come across before, only to find out it had sold out all over Canada days earlier.

But that is just a personal anecdote. If you need solid evidence that TikTok sells, take a look at this Elf Cosmetics case study. Or read about the great shortage of feta cheese in 2021 caused by the recipe of baked pasta that was in trend in the application. Or check out these statistics from Walnut Unlimited’s TikTok survey:

  • 42% of TikTok users say they use the platform to discover new things.
  • 67% of TikTokusera say that the platform introduced them to products they were not even aware of before.

Until recently, shopping inspired by TikTok took place “organically”: the creators talked about the products in their TikToks, and viewers stormed the e-commerce and local store websites to find the listed products. But it was only a matter of time before TikTok decided to introduce a social commerce feature that would allow users to shop without leaving the app.

And that time has finally come. In August 2021, TikTok and Shopify announced the launch of TikTok Shopping: a social commerce experience that will bring in-app shopping to the platform and simplified product discovery.

Download the full report on social trends to get an in-depth analysis of the data you need to inform your 2021 social strategy.

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 card to their TikTok profiles:

Source: Kylie Cosmetics on TikTok

The card will withdraw products from their Shopify product catalog, allowing other TikTok users to browse products without leaving the app and easily navigate to the creator’s online stores for payment.

The product page on the TikTok profile Kylie Cosmetics contains "Payment on the website" button

Source: Kylie Cosmetics on TikTok

Creators with TikTok showcases will also be able to tag products in organic TikTok content using dedicated 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, early access to TickTok Shopping has been granted to merchants in the United States and the United Kingdom. A select group of Canadian retailers will join the introduction in the next few weeks, and the new regions will gain access to the pilot in the coming months.

How to set up a TikTok purchase

According to Shopify, merchants can request early access to TikTok purchases through Shopify’s TikTok channel. For more information, download the TikTok app for Shopify.

Tips for creating a successful TikTok store

Once you gain access to TikTok Shopping, follow these steps to set yourself up for success.

1. Optimize your product catalog for TikTok

The shopping card in your account will be your TikTok showcase, so make sure it’s optimized to attract customers.

When adding images focus on quality and style. Photos of your products should be as easily recognizable as yours and in line with the way you present your brand on TikTok (and, ideally, on other platforms).

Product titles should fit within the 34-character limit and include basic product information. The description can be longer and should contain as much detail as possible. Please note that links in product descriptions on TikTok cannot be clicked.

Inside the TikTok shopping card on the Glow Recipe skincare brand profile

Source: Great recipe on TikTok

2. Tell your audience about your TikTok action

Once you get access to TikTok Shopping, don’t wait for your fans and followers to find a shopping card for themselves. Shout from the rooftops! Create a few dedicated TikToks that will steer your audience in the right direction.

3. Promote your products

Whether or not 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 in your TikToks from time to time.

And don’t be afraid to get creative! Your audience will not get tired of looking at items from your catalog if you add a touch of humor to the mentioned products, like Glossier:

@glossierpov: you’re Balm Dotcom in the room while writing Getaway Car #glossier #taylorswift ♬ sonido original – lyrics by Taylor Swift

4. Partner with influencers

TikTok is more than just a social network – it’s called a cultural phenomenon.

If you’re not well versed in its unique trends, subcultures, and inner jokes, it might be better to leave the creative focus to someone who lives and breathes the platform. Especially when you are promoting a product and the stakes are high (you can make a lot of money or lose content in the TikTok algorithm).

Partnering with TikTok influencers to promote your products or services is a great way to attract new audiences in an interesting and authentic way. Just find creators who really feel your brand. When you do, big things can happen, like in this collaboration between Casper and Ben Kielesinski:

@benkielesinski #ad Let the cat sit for you and you might end up with a new @casper mattress to keep you cool #ad ♬ SUNNY DAY – Matteo Rossanese

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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