While the platform has gotten plenty of flack from concerned parents and governments alike, no one can deny the allure and rapid growth of TikTok. 

Controversies aside, in this post we explore the marketing potential of TikTok for e–commerce companies, how to turn this into direct sales, and how to keep pace with the growing demand on your fulfillment operations. 

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a video-based social media network owned by Chinese company ByteDance. Launched in 2016, the company gained popularity in Western countries in 2018, and by October of 2020 had achieved 2 billion downloads of its app worldwide. 

The app’s top influencers have risen in notoriety through various viral dances. However, there is an increasingly large amount of TikTok content that doesn’t feature these trendy dances. 

There are humorous skits, voiceovers, and of course plenty of short videos that feature neither acting nor dancing. 

Many have compared the company to Vine, except that TikTok videos can be 15 seconds, whereas Vine videos were up to 6 seconds long. 

Why is TikTok a great opportunity for e–commerce companies?

Truthfully, any social media platform growing rapidly with consumers is worth exploring. While the largest generational population on TikTok remains Gen Z (41% of users are between the ages of 16 and 24), there are plenty of Millennials and even Boomers joining monthly. There’s a strong chance that the target audience for your e–commerce brand can be found on TikTok.

TikTok users are loyal. 91% of TikTok users visit the app more than once a day, and the average time spent in the app is 52 minutes. This means that there are plenty of opportunities to be seen by your ideal audience. 

What else makes the app special? It’s an algorithm. Unlike Instagram or Twitter, TikTok content can be shown to users who aren’t following you. Similar to YouTube, viral content is shown to any user that the algorithm deems a good fit. Your brand has the chance to gain visibility beyond your followers and core audience.

How to promote your products on TikTok

Clearly, there’s a ton of opportunity. How should your brand approach this platform?

Post your own TikTok content

Kendra Scott is a billion-dollar accessories brand that does most of its sales volume via its online store. On the brand’s TikTok channel, they post the following types of videos:

  • New product and product line announcements
  • In-store displays
  • Inspirational messages from their female founder
  • User-generated content
Tik Tok E–commerce

Partner with influencers

Brands can also partner with influencers to gain visibility on TikTok. Watch brand Daniel Wellington partnered with well-known TikTok influencer Addison Rae, who has over 70 million followers on the platform. 

Addison posted a video of herself transforming from a basic outfit into something dressy, and featured an up close detail of her wearing one of the brand’s watches. 

Tik Tok E–commerce

Most e–commerce brands have the most success when they both create their own content and partner with influencers. Growing your own account gives you free access to your own followers, while paying influencers allows you to rapidly grow brand awareness and reach massive numbers of potential customers. 

Keep it real for higher engagement

The best-performing content on TikTok is all about “realness.” 

What does this mean for brands?

It means you’ll have more success if you create content as if sending a video to a friend than trying to craft the perfect scene. Ditch picture-perfect content and film raw videos instead. Marketers and employees should film videos with their phones (not fancy cameras). 

People want social media content to feel real and organic, and TikTok delivers this in spades. So it’s no wonder that creator’s content gets 5 times the engagement when compared to other platforms. 

TikTok and Shopify: How to sell via social commerce

The opportunity for e–commerce brands on TikTok gets even more exciting when we explore the social commerce potential. 

The power of social commerce

TikTok offers social commerce, the ability to sell on social media with an experience that feels native to the social platform.

Social commerce better integrates the social media marketing channel with the online storefront. This is important because brands are able to better interact with users without requiring them to leave the platform. 

The ultimate goal for social commerce is not just increased interaction but also higher sales, as more and more social media platforms become direct shopping channels. Like Facebook, TikTok is now adding the ability for direct sales too. 

What the TikTok and Shopify partnership means for shoppers and brands

TikTok has entered the world of social commerce with its partnership with Shopify

The collaboration offers the following features:

  • Optimized marketing campaigns – Brands can create native, shareable video ads with detailed targeting criteria.
  • Conversion tracking – Brands can easily track Shopify conversions from TikTok ads with a new, advanced pixel.
  • Shopping button – Video ads can feature a call-to-action button that will take users to the company’s Shopify store. 
  • In-app shopping – Users can purchase from a Shopify store in TikTok (this feature is currently in development).

Brands that advertise on TikTok can take advantage of its improved targeting and benefit from any free, organic sharing of their video ads.

For now, brands will be able to track activity through to a conversion on Shopify, but soon TikTok users will be able to purchase a product without ever leaving the TikTok app. 

How to manage shipping of TikTok channel orders 

With increased sales come operational challenges.

How can e–commerce companies fulfill orders quickly? The right shipping software allows you to automate order fulfillment while providing the shipping experience consumers want. 

Today’s online shoppers demand…

  • Multiple shipping options such as fast shipping or pick-up
  • Proactive communication at every step of the delivery process
  • Simplified returns with pre-paid, printable labels and returns fees that are either free or flat rate

ShippyPro offers all of these, plus integrations with top e–commerce platforms and shipping carriers. 

You can register for free and test our most advanced features. Our free trial offers 500 free shipments, so you have plenty of time to test how ShippyPro helps you provide a superior shipping experience to customers.