TikTok Shop presents a massive opportunity for brands, combining TikTok’s powerful discovery engine (#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt) with in-app e-commerce capabilities to create a new shopping experience (#IBoughtItonTikTok). Still, these new TikTok shopping features come with a learning curve.
For example, you might be wondering how to integrate it into your social strategy in a way that fits the platform and doesn’t overcomplicate your current approach. Or maybe you’re already managing other social media storefronts and you want to know how to add TikTok Shop to the mix.
This article provides an in-depth overview of TikTok Shop and how to make the most of it for your brand by covering the following topics:
Table of contents:
What is TikTok Shop?
TikTok Shop is a suite of e-commerce features that allow brands, merchants, and creators to sell products directly within the TikTok app.
From drink tumblers to hair dryers to pickle sweatshirts, you’ve probably heard of at least a few products that became massively popular after going viral on TikTok. This phenomenon even spawned the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt with over 73.3 billion views and a seemingly endless array of promotional videos from brands, influencers and everyday consumers.
With the launch of TikTok Shop, the app is evolving from a product discovery app to an all-in-one marketing and sales platform. Once a product catches a user’s eye, they can buy it in just a few clicks without leaving the app.
TikTok Shop is currently available in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. The TikTok Shop experience and eligibility requirements also differ for creators, partners, shoppers and sellers.
Keep reading to learn how to use these features as a brand, user or influencer.
TikTok Shop for Creators
TikTok Shop allows creators to showcase and promote products they love to their community and launch new revenue streams. For example, through TikTok Shop’s Affiliate Program (more on this later), creators can earn a commission from products they promote in videos and livestreams.
TikTok Shop Creator eligibility requirements vary. In the U.K., creators must be located in the country, over 18, have a minimum of 1,000 followers and have posted a video on TikTok in the last 28 days. If you’re in the US, you can start selling via shoppable and livestreams even if you have a new account and zero followers. More information is in the FAQs.
TikTok Shop for Partners
TikTok Shop Partners provide e-commerce or marketing support to TikTok sellers or creators. For example, TikTok Shop partners might provide services like short-form video production, account onboarding support, content strategy, short video ideation, live shopping moderation and business analysis. To register as a TikTokShop partner, users must create an account, select their category and market, and submit an application.
TikTok Shop for Shoppers
If you’re a TikTok user based in a country with TikTok Shop, you should have access to the in-app shopping features—no additional registration is required.
TikTok Shop for Sellers
Brands that want to sell their products using TikTok Shop must complete a four-step application process.
- Sign up. Sign up for TikTok Shop using a U.S. phone number and email address.
- Complete an application. Verify your identity with a certificate of incorporation, a U.S. passport or a U.S. driver’s license. You also need to provide payment and tax information.
- Check your email for confirmation of your approval. The application review time varies but is typically three to five days.
- Link your TikTok account to your Shop. Once approved, you’re ready to set up your Shop.
How to set up TikTok Shop
According to TikTok’s Seller University, setting up a TikTok Shop involves the following key steps—shop setup, executing sales and fulfillment.
You’ll need to provide more company information and documents during this phase. Here are the following key tasks
- Upload shop documents and legal information
- Add warehouse and return address
- Link bank account
- Select your shipping option (shipped by seller or by platform)
- Configure shipping template
You may also need to provide product certification and brand authorization at this stage.
Selling and fulfillment
To list products on your profile, either add them individually, batch upload multiple products or integrate TikTok Shop with your existing e-commerce platform. To fulfill orders, use TikTok’s fulfillment services or handle it yourself. If you go the latter route, you must book a courier and pack and prepare your products for shipping.
Other factors brands need to consider
Everything you need to set up and manage your TikTok Shop is in the TikTok Shop Seller Center, which you get access to once you’re account is approved. The Seller Center even has a Growth Center where sellers learn to manage their TikTok Shop by completing ‘missions’ and collecting rewards like ad vouchers and commission deductions.
Still, managing a social commerce platform takes a lot of time and effort. There are a lot of different responsibilities involved, such as
- Inventory management
- Order tracking and fulfillment
- Managing returns and refunds
- Customer service
- Promotions and ads
- Influencer and affiliate management
- Financial reporting
- Data analysis
TikTok Shop is essentially a digital store, so consider the following questions before you dive in:
- How will you balance managing your TikTok shop with any other ecommerce sites you have?
- What resources will you need to cover the various aspects of the retail experience?
- How will you adapt your ecommerce strategy to fit TikTok’s audience and align with their expectations on the platform?
7 ways to sell with TikTok Shop
TikTok Shop adds even more ways to make money on TikTok. From Home Shopping Network (HSN)-style livestreams to shoppable ads, here are all the different ways to sell with TikTok Shop.
Include shoppable product tags in your posts so your audience can purchase right from the video.
Like HSN for a new generation, LIVE Shopping allows brands and creators to include shoppable product tags in LIVE videos. Promote, sell and engage with your audience, all in real time.
Display your entire product line-up or curate custom collections within your in-app Shop. This feature lets your audience browse product tiles, read reviews and purchase directly from a brand’s profile
This feature enables businesses to display products in a marketplace where customers search and discover promotions. Customers can also view product recommendations and manage orders in the Shop tab.
An alternative to brand partnerships, TikTok creators earn commissions on products they promote in videos and livestreams through the Affiliate Program.
Promote your TikTok Shops to potential buyers with paid ads. Boost your reach and increase conversions since customers discover and complete purchases in one platform.
Fulfilled by TikTok
Similar to Amazon, TikTok has fulfillment centers that pick, pack and ship products to customers for sellers.
8 tips for integrating TikTok Shop into your social strategy
Incorporating TikTok Shop into your social media strategy can be exciting but daunting. Most users think of TikTok as an entertainment app, so how do you drive them to your Shop without being too sales-y? From leaning on creators and affiliates to turning viral organic content into ad campaigns, here are some tips to help you make the most of TikTok’s new selling features without exhausting your audience.
Ensure your brand and products fit the platform
Consumers are still getting used to shopping on TikTok, so purchases are usually lower-cost, low-risk “impulse buys”. TikTok is also a video-first entertainment content platform with a large Gen Z demographic. If you feel you can reach your target demographic on TikTok, and have products that translate well to video and hit the right price point, TikTok Shop could be a great fit for you. But ultimately, you should adopt a test-and-learn approach before diving in headfirst.
Optimize your bio
TikTok doesn’t give you a lot of characters, so make them count. Clearly describe your brand, include keywords for searchability, use emojis to add personality and end with a strong call-to-action to drive sales.
Make purchasing instructions crystal clear
Help your audience get familiar with TikTok Shop. Mention where they can buy, include clear links and explain how people can shop from your store.
Use live sessions to launch new products
Build hype around new arrivals or collections by hosting a LIVE Shopping event. Show off your latest products and answer questions—all in real time.
Promote your catalog (but not in every video)
Your audience may get fatigued if all of your content feels like advertising. Keep viewers engaged by posting a mix of promotional and entertaining videos or adding humor to sales-focused content.
Leverage creators and affiliates
TikTok is a video-first platform, so you’ll need to invest heavily in video creative to establish a presence on the app. Partnering with popular creators and affiliates will lighten your creative load and get your brand in front of a wider audience.
Connect your organic and paid strategy
Brands like Love and Pebble and MySmile have boosted sales by re-using high-performing organic content as creative for paid ad campaigns. Just make sure you get permission from the original creator first if you didn’t create it.
Tap into your existing community
Use retargeting ad campaigns to bring website visitors to your TikTok Shop. Or use LIVE Shopping to engage your existing TikTok community. For example, skincare brand Glow Hub hosts weekly LIVE Shopping events to showcase products, educate followers and show them how to build a skincare routine.
Upgrade your social strategy with TikTok Shop
TikTok is already a valuable marketing channel. With the launch of TikTok Shop and other platforms like YouTube adding similar shopping features, it’s clear that we’re entering a new social media era—shifting from an awareness play to a full-funnel strategy.
Integrating sales and e-commerce goals into your social media strategy requires research, strategy and cross-functional collaboration. To jump-start the process, we created a tool to guide those initial conversations, define priorities and get everyone on the same page.
Download the Social Commerce Strategy Interview Guide to start building your social commerce strategy.
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