TikTok has seen explosive growth in recent years. It has not only become a destination for fun hashtag challenges and viral music trends, but it also offers brands the opportunity to attract customers using TikTok for ecommerce.
Brands are recognizing how important it is to jump on this exploding global trend. That’s because no other social media platform has the level of engagement that TikTok earns from its users. Whether you’re a business owner selling your own products, an influencer monetizing your personal brand, or an affiliate entrepreneur partnering with businesses, TikTok is worth the investment.
Ahead, learn why you should consider TikTok for your ecommerce brand, along with tips to make the most of your presence on the platform and real examples of businesses winning on TikTok.
What is TikTok ecommerce?
TikTok ecommerce refers to selling products through the TikTok app. This can be achieved by switching to a business TikTok account and setting up a TikTok shop. Other ways to sell on TikTok involve using video shopping ads or using an affiliate program to promote products from other brands. TikTok can also be used as a marketing channel to drive sales in your online store.
Why should your business be on TikTok?
If your business aims to attract Gen Z, this group makes up the majority of TikTok users. However, other demographics are also increasingly becoming users of the platform. TikTok is known for its discoverability, as more consumers turn to authentic reviews from their favorite creators. TikTok users are 1.5 times more likely to buy a product they discovered on the platform compared to other social networks.
The benefits of TikTok for ecommerce
TikTok is part of a larger trend of retail social commerce, an industry expected to reach $80 billion in the US by 2025. While this industry was growing on its own, TikTok has made a unique and significant contribution. This is due especially to the natural tendency of its users to engage in social shopping.
Take for example the viral hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt. Since its birth, the hashtag has generated 60 billion views (as of the time of this writing)—and it’s used by consumers, partners, and brands to discover new products and jump on hot trends.
7 ways to grow your audience and increase sales with TikTok
- Lead with entertainment, not a sales pitch
- Strive for virality
- Set up TikTok Shop to sell directly to fans
- Use TikTok features to engage with potential customers
- Partner with influencers in your industry
- Get more traction with TikTok ads or promoted posts
- Use affiliate links to promote products and partners
Now that you know how incredible TikTok can be for brands, it’s time to get your hands dirty. These tips will help you build a TikTok ecommerce strategy, start creating content, reach your target audience, and publish TikTok videos that convert.
1. Lead with entertainment, not a sales pitch
Don’t repurpose your boring marketing content to TikTok. This is a unique social media platform with a certain “personality” to its posts. Take some time to get to know the platform’s quirks and trends.
Dig deep into what potential customers are looking at and talking about. Stay on top of what’s trending, including memes and popular hashtag challenges. TikTokers log in to learn, explore, and discover—but above all else, they want to be entertained.
The more fun and engaging your content, the more likely you are to hit glorious viral TikTok status with one or more of your posts. If your brand voice permits, get silly with it. Skin care brand Habit creates meme videos using trending TikTok sounds and featuring its products as the stars.
🎵 Read more: 15 TikTok Video Ideas Your Customers Will Love
2. Strive for virality
The ultimate goal on TikTok is to create viral content. Generally speaking, a surge of attention almost always equates to a spike in sales—whether it’s a quick, temporary pop or a sustained boost in your numbers.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to go viral thanks to some coveted user-generated content (UCG). This is where a user creates content that includes your brand or products. You can encourage customers to post UGC with incentives like discounts and other perks.
A great example of UGC is the story of catnip product Cat Crack: a video a user posted of their cat going crazy over the product gained more than 20 million views. According to Junglescout, Cat Crack sold more than 2,000 units in two days because of the post.
🎵 Read more: TikTok Trends: The Ones To Watch
3. Set up TikTok Shop to sell directly to fans
If you run an online store, consider adding TikTok as a sales channel. Many social media platforms offer ecommerce features, and TikTok is no exception. As a business account, you can apply to set up a TikTok Shop and access features like a profile shopping tab, live shopping, and paid advertising.
Creating video shopping ads lets you insert product links directly into engaging content. This makes it an effective ecommerce tool. Your ecommerce brand benefits from setting up a TikTok store because of the way the social media platform has become a destination for product discovery and the genesis of trending products.
4. Use TikTok features to connect with potential customers
TikTok has several features that create a direct communication channel with your viewers to learn more about them and build more meaningful connections.
One of them is the Q&A feature, which allows your audience to ask you questions directly through your profile, in the comment section of a video, or during a TikTok LIVE. Try having users ask you questions about you, your brand, and specific products you offer or promote.
Two other community-building features are Sitch and Duet. Stitch lets you “stitch” another user’s video into yours. Duet plays another user’s video next to yours in split-screen format. These tools have great viral potential.
5. Partner with influencers in your industry
TikTok influencer marketing can be a boon for your ecommerce store. While there are thousands of creators ready to work with brands, make sure the influencers you choose—and the audiences that follow them—are aligned with your products. This will ensure that the sponsored content feels authentic.
A great place to start is TikTok’s Creator Marketplace. It’s a “matchmaking service” to help brands find the right influencers. You’ll see helpful features like creator discovery, campaign management, and reporting.
There are plenty of ways to partner with an influencer, such as:
- TikTok video reviews of your product
- A co-sponsored giveaway
- A brand takeover of your business account
- Asking them to push their audience to your TikTok storefront
6. Get more traction with TikTok ads or promoted posts
Creating organic marketing content and building your following this way can be a lot of work. If you have extra budget and you’d like a boost to help reach your goals faster, TikTok ads or promoted posts are great options.
TikTok ads work much like ads on other social media platforms. Using the Shopify TikTok app, you can create campaigns with specific objectives, then build your ads within them. Once the ads are live, use the dashboard in Shopify to track their performance and optimize.
If you don’t want to invest in full ad campaigns, you can promote individual posts. The Promote feature is fairly straightforward. Choose your budget and duration, as well as a few other settings, including whether you’re interested in getting more views, website visits, or followers.
7. Use affiliate links to promote products and brands
Creating an affiliate program can help you spread the word about your brand on TikTok by allowing other TikTok users to promote your products and earn a commission on sales.
On the other end of the spectrum, affiliate marketing is a great way for those without a dedicated brand to earn some income while promoting your favorite products and businesses.
TikTok examples from successful ecommerce brands
Need some inspiration from the pros? Here are three examples of ecommerce businesses that are killing it with TikTok marketing and generating sales from the video-sharing social network.
This ecommerce phenomenon is also helping brands get noticed. Sarah Forrai, the founder of Contour Cube, embraced TikTok to build awareness of and sell her face-contouring products. The brand’s TikTok account has grown to nearly 200,000 followers and more than 2.9 million likes across all its videos.
Within three months of launching its product on TikTok, Contour Cube was approached by large retailers such as THE ICONIC, Uncommon Goods, and Dolls Kill. “TikTok has since become our primary marketing platform, accumulating over 30 million views to date, which is amazing for a startup like us,” says Sarah.
Glow Recipe takes a different approach to ecommerce on TikTok. The Korean natural skin care brand uses a link-in-bio tool to send its followers to a curated collection of all its content.
This collection includes shoppable links for the products featured in Glow Recipe’s videos, so its followers can buy items directly on its website, as well as access other important links for its business.
Challenges are one of the biggest trends on TikTok, with many brands using them to earn UGC and build a reputation with the TikTok community.
One of those brands is fitness brand GymShark. Its #gymshark66 challenge, which asked users to transform their body within 66 days for a chance to win a free year’s supply of GymShark goods, garnered more than 45.5 million views, 1.9 million likes, and 12,500 comments.
Naturally, the entries also included participants who regularly wear GymShark apparel. These entries gave exposure to the brand’s products and helped maximize its credibility and sales.
Now is the time to step up your TikTok ecommerce game
As you’re building your TikTok strategy, remember to have fun with your content. Build relationships with your audience and key influencers. Explore TikTok’s helpful tools and features. If you can entertain and connect with your potential customers, you’re already paving your path to growth.
TikTok for ecommerce FAQ
Does TikTok have ecommerce?
With the TikTok app for Shopify, you’ll be able to make your TikTok profile shoppable, promote your latest products, and optimize your TikTok ads from within your Shopify admin. TikTok also offers in-app ecommerce features in certain markets. Set your TikTok account to a business profile, apply for TikTok Shop, and enable online shopping features on your profile.
How do you use TikTok to promote a product?
One way to promote a product using TikTok is with the viral hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt. The hashtag has generated 60 billion views since its inception and is commonly used by buyers, partners, and merchants to discover new products and find new trends. You can drive users to your online store or sell products directly in your TikTok profile.
Is TikTok a good platform to sell products?
Alongside an ecommerce platform, social selling channels like TikTok can help expand your reach and access new audiences. TikTok is an effective channel for ecommerce businesses looking to sell products. Social commerce is on the rise, with more users discovering and buying products right in the TikTok app. Using influencer marketing, entertaining content, and product links embedded in ads, you can boost sales using TikTok.
What is a TikTok shop?
TikTok Shop allows brands and creators to sell products directly on TikTok. It offers a variety of features, like live shopping, and access to an ad account through TikTok for business. With a TikTok shop, your brand can more easily convert viewers to buyers.