How to sell on TikTok Shop

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8 min
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January 6, 2023
Digital Marketing, eCommerce & Retail Insights

There always seems to be a new social media platform around the corner in this fast-paced, digitally-led world that we live in.

You should be well aware of TikTok by now. The fastest-growing social media platform on the market was recently the most-downloaded app from Google Play Store.

TikTok announced ‘TikTok Shop’ in September 2021, describing: “a suite of solutions, features, and advertising tools that empowers brands and merchants to meaningfully engage with their customers.”

By ‘meaningfully engage with’, they mean ‘sell to’, of course.

This huge commercial opportunity remains relatively untapped. In 2021, TikTok generated $4 billion in ad revenue compared to Facebook’s mammoth $115 billion.

This gives retailers a massive opportunity to put their products in front of millions of eyes in a fresh and engaging way, critically, before their competitors do.

Our latest article assumes a basic understanding of TikTok and social media marketing and tells you more about:

  • What TikTok Shop is
  • Why you should use TikTok Shop
  • How to get started on the platform
  • The different ways you can advertise your products
  • How you can create an advertising audience
  • Some of the best-selling products on TikTok
  • How much it all costs
  • How we can help Venditan customers

What is TikTok Shop?

TikTok Shop is the platform’s shopping feature which enables merchants, brands and creators to showcase and sell products directly through TikTok.

You can load your products to TikTok Shop by signing up at the TikTok Shop Seller Center; this allows you to manage your shop, inventory and orders from the platform.

A shop icon will be added to your TikTok profile allowing users to browse your products from within the TikTok app, clicking through to your website to complete the transaction.

You can also tag the relevant products into your showcase content and run targeted advertising to user segments that you specify yourself.

what is tiktok shop?

Why should I sell on TikTok Shop?

Let’s try and provide some justification through quick-fire facts and stats.

  • TikTok has over 1 billion active users (TikTok)
  • TikTok was the most downloaded mobile app of 2021 (Apptopia)
  • TikTok’s algorithm gives preference to content similar to that which is already trending, meaning any creator can ‘go viral’ regardless of how many followers they have (Backstage)
  • TikTok offers a wide demographic, with 37% of its global active users aged 30 or above (Business of Apps)
  • TikTok has launched TikTok Shop to help marketers leverage the platform and create targeted ads to reach specific, targeted user segments (TikTok)
  • 10.1 billion views of the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag (TikTok)
  • 79% of UK TikTok users discovered new brands through TikTok (TikTok)
  • 54% of UK TikTok users have purchased a brand after seeing it on TikTok (TikTok)

You may consider TikTok to be the social media platform of choice for children, teenagers and young adults only. While this is the case (43% of the global user base is aged between 18-24), it is not exclusively used by this generation.

TikTok is a growing platform that offers commercial opportunities across multiple demographics. Facebook and Instagram have shown that younger generations are the early drivers of growth for these emerging social media platforms. The adults soon follow, and data shows that they are now downloading TikTok in their millions. Even if you are focused on high-ticket items, TikTok can still help you drive that early awareness of your product across a very targeted audience that you specify yourself.

Although we are discussing targeted social media advertising, you should see TikTok just as you would any other marketplace, like Amazon or eBay. If your audience is spending time there, you should be too.

You can create a TikTok account for your company and begin selling even if you have 0 followers and have never posted before. Setting up your accounts is free, but you will need to pay the TikTok platform to run advertising.

how to sell on tiktok

How do I get started with TikTok Shop?

  1. Create a TikTok account for your business

You can create an account by going to TikTok’s website or by downloading their mobile application on iOS and Android.

Once you have completed the registration process, you will need to convert your account from Personal to Business. This can be done through Manage Account within Settings & Privacy. You will be asked to select your business category and verify your business.

  1. Register as a Merchant on TikTok

Now you are set up with a business account, you will need to head to TikTok’s Seller Center and register as a Merchant: https://seller-uk.tiktok.com/account/register

You will need to verify your contact information.

For corporations, a UK Company Registration Document and the Company Owner's passport or driving license will also be required for verification.

Once you have completed this process, you will be taken to the TikTok Seller Center dashboard. From here, it will prompt you to add your first product. You can do this manually, but it is suggested that you integrate your TikTok shop with your eCommerce platform. More on this in point four.

  1. Add a Shipping Template

TikTok requires you to set up shipping information within Seller Center before you begin to promote your products. You will be able to specify your different fees and rates depending upon area and weight, as well as exclude postcode areas. 

Note: If you are selling from the United Kingdom, you will be limited to shipping only within the United Kingdom. Last reviewed December 2022.

  1. Connect your inventory to TikTok

This step involves syncing your online store’s product catalogue to TikTok Shop. Your products will then display in a Shop tab on your TikTok profile. This saves you time and ensures that orders placed through TikTok are reflected in your master stock database.

Inventories are connected to TikTok in the form of a product ‘Catalog.’ The steps to do so are described in full detail here, but there is a technical step that involves creating a Business Center Catalog with TikTok’s Marketing API.

Syncing your inventory will differ depending on the eCommerce platform you use to run your online store. Unless you use one of TikTok’s Partner Platforms, this will need to be set up manually by yourself or your website support partner. If you are a Venditan customer, scroll down to the end of the article to find out more about how we can help you.

  1. Pixel

“The TikTok Pixel is a piece of code that you can place on your website that allows advertisers to share website visitor events to TikTok via a browser.”

The final step involves generating your TikTok Pixel code and inserting this into your website. Some website platforms will have settings that allow you to paste this into the website without any coding experience; others will require you to access the website code. If you are in doubt, consult your website provider instead of attempting this yourself.

I’ve created my TikTok Shop, how can I start selling?

TikTok Shop gives retailers three functions to build revenue streams:

In-feed videos

In-Feed is TikTok’s standard ad format. It allows creators to publish a video ad that auto-plays within a user’s TikTok feed. These ads can run for 15-60 seconds. They have the same user interface as standard, organic TikTok posts.

In-Feed content can be run through TikTok's Ad Manager utilising a variety of different campaign objectives:

  • Reach
  • Traffic
  • App Installs
  • Video Views
  • Conversion Objectives, such as website purchases

Advertise your product with an In-Feed Video

As TikTok is a video-led platform it is important that you invest some time and resource into the media you are going to use to advertise your product. That said, you do not need to go out and buy a state-of-the-art video camera to make an impact on TikTok.

Consider what style of video may lend itself best to your product. Does the product look amazing, and can it be marketed purely on aesthetics? Perhaps it is more complex and requires demo-style content to communicate the selling points.

Format your In-Feed video ads to display vertically, and remember that there are safe zones you need to work within, keeping your key visual elements away from TikTok’s user interface overlay.

how to sell on tiktok using infeed ads
Image credited to TikTok’s Business Help Center

TikTok LIVE

If you have the resources to pull it off successfully, you can set up a live stream on your TikTok account. LIVE Events allow companies to let their audience know when they'll be going LIVE. This means their audience can discover, register and get notifications about the upcoming LIVE stream.

LIVE streams can be utilised for product launches, demonstrations and Q&As. Products can be tagged into the LIVE stream so the audience can seamlessly engage with the product information during or after the event.

As an example, this function has been heavily adopted by beauty brands and creators. They will apply the latest makeup products to a model or themselves on a LIVE stream so TikTok users can watch the makeup being used first-hand.

The makeup products are tagged into the LIVE stream so the audience can engage with TikTok’s commerce functionality if they feel inspired to make the purchase.

Catalog Sales and Dynamic Showcase Ads

Catalog Sales is a campaign type that allows you to run ads featuring specific products to people who have engaged with them on your website or mobile application. They are the ideal method for companies with a large product inventory that still want to deliver personalised ads for the user.

With your product catalogue uploaded to TikTok, and a TikTok Pixel firing on your website, you can create a campaign that automatically generates ads featuring the products in your catalogue.

There’s a catch, though. This campaign type is only available for managed accounts. If you’re new to TikTok, this will not be available to you.

how to sell on tiktok using dynamic showcase ads
Image credited to TikTok’s Business Help Center

How can I create an advertising audience on TikTok?

TikTok lets you create your own audience using a mixture of age, gender, location, interests, and more. You can also create custom audiences and lookalike audiences using your TikTok Pixel.

Demographics:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location
  • Language

Interests:

TikTok offers a wide range of interests categories which you can browse here.

Behaviour:

  • Engagement (video completion, like, comment, share) with organic video content in the past 7 or 15 days
  • Users that follow specific type(s) of creators
  • Users who have viewed the profile pages of a specific type(s) of creators in the last 30 days

Shop retargeting:

Show your ads to people who have interacted with your TikTok Shop. Currently testing and available to allow listed accounts only.

Website traffic:

Create an audience of users who have visited or taken a specific action on your website. 

For a full and detailed insight into the targeting opportunities available through TikTok, you can consult their Business Help Center.

fashion blogger make up tutorial on tiktok shop
Beauty and skincare products are incredibly popular on the TikTok app

What products sell best on TikTok?

TikTok’s wide user base and detailed targeting parameters mean that there is an opportunity for retailers in most contemporary industries.

However, the predominantly younger demographic and short, video-led content format means that the platform does lend itself superbly well to certain product types.

Beauty and skincare

Cosmetic products are well in tune with TikTok’s most active demographic. There are a wealth of influential content creators in this space, as well as the LIVE functionality we discussed earlier.

Toys and gaming

The 10-19 age range makes up 25% of TikTok’s global audience, so there is a huge opportunity to market the latest toys and gaming products through targeted advertising that utilises TikTok’s specific gaming interest segments.

Fashion

Like beauty products, clothing and jewellery pieces are tailor-made for the TikTok platform. TikTok’s full-length media layout favours those looking to demonstrate full outfit ‘looks’, and video is often utilised to show how this is pieced together layer by layer.

Homeware and decor

Homeware, decorations and cleaning products are thriving on the TikTok platform. Content that displays aesthetically pleasing rooms goes viral frequently. Pinterest has long been used as the go-to platform for homeware inspiration. Still, TikTok’s video format has given life to a new wave of creators documenting their home improvement journeys.

Sports and health

There is a plethora of sports-related content on TikTok, with fitness and health content proving very popular, as well as nutrition, sports clothing and lifestyle content. All of the major sports brands and teams are making prolific use of the platform.

How much will it cost to sell on TikTok?

Let’s get into the financial side of this.

Creating a TikTok page for your business and getting set up on Seller Center and Ads Manager is completely free, with no ongoing costs attached.

TikTok does not charge you when integrating your product inventory with your TikTok account. Adding a ‘Shop’ tab to your page to display your products is completely free. However, you may be charged by your website provider to help in the integration of your product inventory through to Seller Center if you are not on an eCommerce platform that has a direct integration.

TikTok charges commission fees on sales through the platform, but they are lower compared to other marketplaces. For the first 90 days after setup, you will gain a lower commission fee of 1.8% for each product sale. After 90 days, the fee will increase to 5%.

It does cost to run targeted advertising through Ads Manager. Costs will depend on your ad objective, bidding method, audience and industry, but it is important to note that TikTok’s advertising rates are not cheap. TikTok ads start with a minimum daily budget of £50 when using Campaign Budget Optimisation and a minimum of £20 per ad set when using Ad-set Budget.

selling on tiktok through tiktok live

How Venditan can help with TikTok Shop

For those who are unfamiliar with Venditan, we are a retail technology and eCommerce platform provider based in Manchester, UK. Our platform offers interconnectivity across all aspects of a retail operation; multiple websites, mobile commerce, physical stores, click-and-collect, and online marketplaces like TikTok Shop.

We are only able to provide support to existing clients who use our Venditan Commerce platform for order and stock management. We do not offer social media advertising services and would be unable to help manage any TikTok campaign. If you would like to find out more about our eCommerce platform, you can book a demo.

Existing Venditan customer? Here’s how we can help

Once you have created your accounts and gone through the registration steps, we are able to install your TikTok Pixel code using Google Tag Manager.

We can help you sync your product inventory with TikTok Shop by generating a product feed from Venditan Commerce. This feed regenerates daily and keeps your TikTok Catalog up to date with any changes to your product information. Its format is very similar to the Google Product Feed.

TikTok users are then able to engage with your products and click through to your eCommerce website to complete the purchase.

Taking it one step further

We recently integrated Venditan Commerce with Channable, our specialist partner for multichannel feed management. This may be an interesting solution for any clients that are looking to explore additional marketplaces after TikTok, such as Amazon and eBay. 

As announced in September 2022: “This partnership opens up our retail partners to an array of global affiliate networks and marketplaces, but most importantly, our integration will ensure that all orders synchronise back to Venditan Commerce, no matter the marketplace that facilitated the sale.”

We hope this has provided you with a solid overview of how to sell onTikTok Shop, from getting set-up through to the various ways that the platform lets you promote your products. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you with TikTok Shop, or you are interested in Channable, then you can contact your account manager for more information.

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