Tik…Tok… The clock is ticking and if you’re wondering whether you, as a brand, should be on the world’s fastest growing social platform (with over one billion users already) and using it to drive commerce sales, the answer is a resounding yes.
And sure, if you’re new to the social commerce scene, uncharted territory can be scary. But not as scary as missing out on the business value you can see by taking the leap and pushing record on authentic content.
What is TikTok commerce?
TikTok e-commerce is using TikTok to buy or sell a product or service. Simple enough.
Social commerce is the future and social platforms like TikTok are making it easier than ever to meet shoppers right at their fingertips. Social commerce sales in the U.S. alone were estimated to be $52 billion and a whopping $200 billion in China in 2022. They’re expected to reach $145 billion by 2028.
So why would you want to leave money, quite literally, on the table?
Now, we know just how hard it is to get into the mindset of Gen Z and Gen Alpha. And while that’s a separate conversion in itself, what we can tell you is that Gen Z is on TikTok. Gen Z and a lot of others who may or may not have heard about your brand.
And guess what, users are increasingly using TikTok for inspiration, and purchasing. Last year, 27.3% of TikTok users made a purchase via the platform, up from just 5.7% in 2020. The #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt trend has garnered 42 billion views alone at the time of writing, and the trend itself is not only driving TikTok commerce sales, but also building communities — also known as community commerce.
Maybe you’ve heard of people purchasing a novel they’ve discovered on BookTok, someone switching up their skin routine because of a tutorial on BeautyTok, or a new mom sharing her favorite hack and products on MomTok? TikTok commerce allows you to meet your audience where they are, while allowing newbies to discover something they never knew they needed.
If benefits like brand awareness, expanding your audience, aiding in product discovery, and increasing conversion are important to you, then keep reading.
How to build a winning TikTok commerce strategy
There’s a number of strategies you can start right now to be successful at TikTok e-commerce. In our expertise, these are the most effective.
Hashtag you’re it
Just like on other social media platforms, hashtags allow users to search and share content based on their interests. This is the best way to boost your visibility on the platform. By making your content discoverable, when someone uses said hashtag other users will stumble on your content when they otherwise might not have.
Make sure to use hashtags in your captions — you can use as many as you want but three – five tends to be the sweet spot.. This also pairs nicely with hashtag campaigns if you’re pushing specific products.
If you’re wanting to do more than the organic route, you can promote your products and drive sales through TikTok ads in-app. 70% of TikTok users say it seems easy to purchase through the TikTok shopping-related ad they saw. More on this to follow, but for now just know that you can use ads to get your shoppable video in front of users.
Partner with influencers and creators
Did you know that the influencer market is valued at about $16.4 billion? That’s because consumers want to see content from their fellow consumers, not brands — we live in a creator economy, where the everyday social media users have more influence over your brand than you do.
Work with influencers (both micro and macro) and creators to produce content that appeals to your community in an authentic way.
If you’ve got a good product, let people know, nay, see and spread the word through partnered campaigns, live shopping events, and ads.
Create a community
People like a brand they can trust but love a brand that has a community for them to be a part of. Research has shown that 82% of Gen Z, the biggest user of TikTok, want to be part of a community.
And be consistent with it. Not only in the amount you post, but also in the type of content you create and the audience you’re speaking to. What does your company stand for? What excites you as a business? And what values do you have as a brand?
You shouldn’t be just a business selling a product — showcase the type of brand you are and the type of person that supports your mission. Building a community will be one of the most valuable things you can do. But how can you do that?
Entertain, then explain
TikTok is a world that allows you to fail fast or go viral overnight — especially if you know the right trends. Consumers like to see authentic, entertaining content and it shows with TikTok screen time per user sitting currently at 26 hours per month. Big brands are rethinking their TikTok strategies because of this.
You’ll reach a wider audience by showing creative, fun, valuable content — education or entertainment — and then including your product. Let go of the reins just a smidge in the TikTok universe and let authenticity shine.
Listen to data and feedback
TikTok provides analytics right in the app that will show performance insight into your reach, engagement, and conversion rates. This way you’ll be able to track the content that’s resonating with your audience the most, and any dollars that can be directly attributed to your efforts like ads.
Looking at your TikTok analytics matters because different metrics mean different things. For example, the number of views means your content is reaching users and driving brand awareness, but the number of likes/comments/shares mean users are actually engaging with your content.
The comments section is also a great place to hear directly from customers and potential customers and what they think of your products. Lean in and listen to what people are saying — do you have a viral product that’s about to sell out? Is there room for improvement? Do people want to see something new?
TikTok communities can provide this invaluable insight, you just have to be ready and willing to listen. Or you can invest in the right tool to do it for you.
Add product links and TikTok Shop
TikTok can provide a suite of solutions (more to follow) that can help your business create a shopping experience for your viewers. You’ll want to make sure you have TikTok Shop implemented to make it easy for people to shop your product. Pair with livestream shopping events, you’ll be golden.
Last but not least, you should really get verified on TikTok. TikTok verification, in the form of that little blue tick, adds credibility and authority to your brand but more than that, it deems you trustworthy.
In a time when consumer trust is more important than ever, verification increases the consumer trust needed to inspire them to actually purchase make a purchase from you.
Brands doing TikTok commerce well
Like with any commerce strategy, sometimes it’s easier to show than tell. Here’s five of the best-in-feed TikTok commerce examples from the social commerce-sphere.
1. Scrub Daddy: Shopping directly in-feed
It’s almost not fair to bring up Scrub Daddy as quite literally everyone and their mother knows and loves this brand on TikTok. But just in case you haven’t:
With 3.1 million followers and 64 million likes, Scrub Daddy has been killing TikTok commerce for a while now. They entertain before they explain, they’ve built a supportive community (ahem, #cleantok), know how to use a hashtag, and are currently driving directly to their newest and latest spring line at Walmart.
Not only that, you can shop their feed directly. This is one we’ll just never get over.
2. Last Crumb: Creator collaborations
If you’re unfamiliar with Last Crumb, they’re a luxury handmade cookie company out of LA and have everyone wondering, are $150 cookies worth it?
Things this brand does very well: they know when to hop on a trend, they use audio well, they hit all of the senses with their mouth watering videos, and they’re fantastic at creator collaborations.
The brand hand delivers boxes of cookies to specific creators, who then unbox, eat and review their hot and fresh cookies live for their audience. Chef’s kiss.
3. Vuori clothing: Shoppable TikTok
Let’s talk about TikTok commerce by Vuori Clothing. It’s seamless and you can click directly to their product page to purchase products viewed.
And while they’re just getting started, we love how their page not only recommends products but promotes a healthy lifestyle inclusive of recipe videos and workouts you can do at home in your new matching sets.
4. Rare Beauty: Winning the #beautytok trend
It may be because its founder, Selena Gomez, is one of the biggest TikTokers in the game, but Rare beauty has a great page. With 2.7 million followers, 36 million likes, and multiple products that have gone viral to date, they’re crushing #beautytok.
Not only do they also have a direct shop on TikTok, but they also often host livestream shopping events and partner with their retailers for new product drops.
5. Stitch Fix: TikTok commerce goals
Last but not certainly not least is Stitch Fix. With links that take you directly to site to sign up for their services, categories that highlight their stylists, engaging ads, and products links that drive directly to category pages on their website, they’ve really nailed their strategy.
They’re a bit unique since they’re a styling service first, product second brand, but they’ve really figured TikTok commerce out.
Best tools for TikTok commerce success
We’ve looked at the why and the who, but what about the how? TikTok has a number of tools and solutions that make it simple for brands to get started on their commerce game.
- TikTok for Business
Create a business account and get access to the business suite where you can see analytics, inspirational content, manage leads, and promote videos.
You do need to register your business to take advantage of this.
- TikTok ads
Here you’ll find options for different types of paid ads: In-Feed Ads, TopView, branded hashtag challenges, Spark Ads, and branded effects. These all can help increase reach, awareness, and engagement.
- Creative Center
Need help with the whole creative part? TikTok offers a number of creative solutions to help you be innovative and unique while still showing up in a TikTok sort of way. Be inspired in the Creative Center, link up for the perfect collaboration in the Creator Marketplace, or go full-service support if that’s your need.
- Commerce solutions
Did you know that 56% of TikTok users say that ads on TikTok lead them to discover new products or brands? Use this to get your brand in front of the shoppers who are more likely to purchase based on their interests.
- Shopping Ads
Use video shopping ads to target and reach shoppers who are more likely to buy based on engagement. (These ads work on me all the time to be honest!). Or go the LIVE Shopping Ads route to drive more people to your LIVE Shopping events, where users can interact and learn more about your products.
Both are limited availability in the US at this time so be sure to check directly with TikTok on timing.
- TikTok Shop
Be available where your shoppers are. Use TikTok Shop to create a seamless journey directly from your shopping tab on profile, straight to checkout. Things like Product Links and LIVE Shopping make it fun and easy for customers to interact with the brand and easily purchase products they’re excited about.
Start your TikTok commerce marketing strategy now
Leveraging a new platform and flexing a new creativity muscle can seem like a lot. But TikTok was made to entertain so the best thing to do is jump right in. The important points to remember:
- Consistency is key — with content cadence and your community. Understand your brand values to help build your community and partner with creators that emanate that
- TikTok is fun. Entertain, then explain. People want to see snackable, relatable content that adds value to their lives. Make your point first, your product second
- Hashtags help and ads work well. Meet your consumer where they are. Make it fun and easy for them to engage and purchase
- TikTok has a host of solutions to help and are leaning heavily into their commerce business. Use the tools, watch the metrics, and remember not every video will go viral. But that’s okay, because there’s always the next one
It can seem overwhelming at first, but 92% of TikTok users take an action after viewing content on the platform. That’s over 900,000,000 people. Each one of those is a potential sale, so it’s obviously worth it.
Not sure where to begin? Our complete guide to TikTok marketing will help you get started.