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TikTok Influencer Marketing

Everything Marketers Need to Know about TikTok Shop

Here's what you need to know about TikTok Shop — from the pros and cons of selling on the app, to actionable tips to maximize sales via creators on TikTok Shop.
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With over 150 million monthly active users in the US, TikTok is the platform for entertainment, inspiration — and now — shopping. After testing in various markets for nearly a year, the company officially launched TikTok Shop in the US last September. 

The launch follows years of community-driven trends like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, inspiring users to discover new products from their favorite TikTok creators. Now, with TikTok Shop, TikTok is revolutionizing the social commerce game by leveraging the existing power of TikTok creators to drive conversions for brands — without ever leaving the platform. 

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about TikTok Shop — from the pros and cons of selling on the app, to actionable tips to maximize sales via creators on TikTok Shop. 

What is TikTok Shop?

TikTok Shop is an ecommerce solution for brands and creators that allows them to sell products directly on the TikTok app through in-feed videos, LIVEs, and the Showcase tab. Brands can set up a TikTok Shop to sell products as a merchant, while creators can sign up to sell as an affiliate, making commission on selling TikTok Shop products via links in their content.

Source: TikTok

How to Set Up TikTok Shop 

To start a TikTok Shop as a merchant, follow these simple steps.

  1. Create a business account on TikTok if your brand doesn’t already have one.
  2. Register for TikTok Shop on the seller registration portal and fill out the application. It’ll require a few official documents, such as your ID, proof of residency, and proof of business ownership. Within one to two days after applying, you’ll receive an email about your application result. Once accepted, you’ll be able to use TikTok’s shopping features!
  3. Link your TikTok account to your TikTok Shop to start selling on the platform. Once you do, you’ll be able to add products and promote your shop in your bio and content.

To sign up as a TikTok Shop affiliate, creators need to meet TikTok's community guidelines and other criteria, such as being at least 18 years old and having at least 5,000 followers. If eligible, creators can apply to be an affiliate here. Once accepted, creators can connect with sellers, share their products in their content, and earn a commission on their videos with each sale they produce. 

The Pros and Cons of Selling on TikTok Shop

There are both benefits and drawbacks of selling your products on TikTok Shop. 

The benefits: 

  • Wider reach: Selling on TikTok Shop allows you to reach a much wider audience than if you just stuck to selling through your own website or other retailers. This is thanks to TikTok's engaged user base, primarily aged 18-24, who are eager to shop based on the content they see on the platform.
  • Sales booster: TikTok is known to drive urgency and drive immediate sales through authentic content. Now, by leveraging TikTok Shop, brands and creators can supercharge viral sales directly through shoppable content on the app.
  • Easy setup: The process of setting up your TikTok Shop is easy and seamless. Unlike setting up a website, starting your TikTok Shop doesn’t require any coding and you can follow a few simple steps to have your Shop live in a few minutes. 

The drawbacks: 

  • Commission fees: Similar to e-retailers like Amazon and Etsy, TikTok Shop charges a commission fee to sell through the app — which means you’ll profit less than if you sold directly to consumers through your own website. However, compared to other third-party marketplaces, TikTok Shop charges a lower commission fee. Currently, the commission fee is 2%, but recent reports say TikTok is hiking up its fees to 6% in April, then to 8% in July, with an additional 30 cents per transaction. Despite the change, this is still a lower rate than most platforms. 
  • Not available in all countries: TikTok Shop is currently only available in the US, UK, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines — which limits who can purchase your products through the app. If your target audiences are in countries not listed above, TikTok Shop may not be the best option until the company expands the feature more globally. 
  • Restricted products: Not all products are allowed on TikTok Shop, which means not all brands can sell through TikTok Shop. Unsupported products include medical devices, alcohol, tobacco, weight loss products, secondhand products, and more (see the full list of restricted products here).

4 TikTok Shop Tips for Influencer Marketers

It can feel daunting for marketers to get oriented with any new feature that social platforms release. The good news is that TikTok Shop won’t be hard to adapt to if you’re already running influencer marketing programs on TikTok. Once your Shop is up and running, you can simply continue working with TikTok creators to produce engaging content — but this time, their content will be shoppable. 

Here are our top tips for leveraging influencers to maximize success on TikTok Shop.

1. Showcase real-time results to supercharge conversions. 

TikTok videos are quick and digestible, so it’s crucial to grab the viewer’s attention in the first few seconds of the video before they scroll away. This means TikTok Shop creators need to post extremely engaging content. 

Brands report seeing TikTok Shop success when their partners post before-and-after content to showcase the true impact of their products in real time.

For example, beauty brand Caliray recently launched its Hideaway Brightening + Concealing Undereye Corrector exclusively on TikTok Shop, prior to even the brand’s DTC website and Sephora. According to the team, this launch was primed for success on TikTok Shop because it’s an “instant gratification product” that shows immediate difference when applied to the under-eye. 

@itsmekelsc Replying to @AmandaL09 SHE’S HERE ✨ @caliray beauty hideaway color corrector! I’m so excited because i’ve been using this nonstop the last few weeks and its finally out EXCUSIVELY on TiktokShop! This is serum based, super comfortable color corrector/concealer/brightener that I have been absolutely loving. Use the chart when you click the link to find the right shade for you! I hope you love it! #caliray #hideaway #concealer #colorcorrection #makeuphacks #makeuptips #colorcorrector #fyp #viral #tiktokmademebuyit #fyp #viral #viralmakeup ♬ original sound - Kelsey ✨

Content like try-on hauls and #GRWM (Get Ready With Me) videos work extremely well, too, because viewers can find a creator with their body type or skin tone to help model a specific product prior to purchase. 

The key is to showcase real-time results in the video, adding social proof to your products and injecting unique voices into your brand’s marketing. These are the types of authentic, powerful videos that will encourage consumers to buy your products to try it out for themselves. 

2. Build deeper relationships with your TikTok Shop creators.

In many ways, creators are like an extension of brands’ marketing teams. While influencer marketing used to be more of a top-of-funnel, awareness strategy, creators today are actively driving bottom-of-funnel actions. That’s why the savviest brands are investing in TikTok Shop-focused creators early on. 

Because there’s a somewhat low barrier to entry into TikTok Shop’s affiliate program, many of the creators involved may be relatively new to the influencer marketing world — but that doesn’t mean they’re any worse at driving sales for your brand. 

Brands like the aforementioned Caliray and legacy beauty brand Benefit have been inviting TikTok Shop influencers to enviable trips and events to build relationships with these powerhouse sales drivers. These in-person activations provide opportunities for creators to learn more in depth about the products they're promoting and meet the people behind the brand, increasing brand affinity and paving the way for more authentic partnerships.

Source: Glossy

Vivianna Blanch, Benefit’s SVP of US Marketing, explained, “We’re investing in this group of new-to-Benefit creators to see if we can build brand affinity and advocacy in both the short term and the long term. We want to be a part of these creators’ careers at the onset, versus trying to reach them at their pinnacle.”

According to Caliray founder Wende Zomnir, who also previously founded Urban Decay, “[TikTok Shop influencers] are so fresh in the influencer world. They’re excited, they were stoked to be at an event. They knew what content to capture at the event, and they know what drives sales.”

3. Experiment with different ways of promoting your TikTok Shop. 

As mentioned above, there are 3 ways creators can drive audiences to your TikTok Shop: in-feed videos, LIVEs, and the product Showcase tab. While it may be your first instinct to promote your TikTok Shop through regular shoppable videos, don’t be afraid to test out livestreaming and the Showcase tab.

Selling products through TikTok LIVEs is like “QVC for Gen Z,” where creators can answer questions about product quality, styling, and functionality in real-time, giving potential customers all the product details they need and instantaneously guiding them through the buyer’s journey. 

So far, brands are seeing great results from TikTok LIVEs. For instance, Tarte hosted a TikTok LIVE featuring employees in the Tarte office, which averaged 25,000 viewers and sold several hundred units. Of the sales, 70% of shoppers were from people who do not follow Tarte on TikTok.

@tartecosmetics Last week was CRAZY! 😅 We’ll be going LIVE on TikTok EVERY WEEKDAY so comment below to let us know what you want to see next! 👇 Tune in for giveaways, MUA tips & tricks, & so much more! 🎉💖 #tartecosmetics #tiktokshop #tiktoklive ♬ You Wanna? - JVST SAY YES

Creators can also leverage TikTok’s Product Showcase tab to curate a dedicated storefront of all of their favorite TikTok Shop products on their profiles. That way, audiences who are interested in, say, a sweater that the influencer is promoting can simply head to their Showcase tab to find and purchase the item from TikTok Shop.

By working closely with TikTok creators, you’re activating a high-trust commerce experience, thereby boosting TikTok Shop sales and gaining a closer relationship with your customers. 

4. Strike a balance between promotional content and “regular” content. 

Obviously, the goal for your TikTok Shop is to drive sales. It’s smart to promote your catalog in your videos, but don’t make every single video overly promotional. Mix in shoppable content with other “regular” content, such as videos that pertain to current TikTok trends. This goes for both the videos in your brand’s feed, as well as in your affiliates’ feed. 

The Future of Commerce is Social

As more brands embrace TikTok Shop, there’s no doubt social commerce is leading the future of ecommerce. As social media platforms continue to build out their in-app shopping capabilities, brands need to leverage creators to produce high-converting content in order to drive sales and foster long-term brand relationships. 

Need help building and executing your TikTok influencer marketing campaign? Talk to an expert from our Agency Services team or book a demo to see if Aspire is the right solution for you.

Learn more about how to leverage TikTok creators to drive brand growth in our webinar, Aspire x TikTok Present: How To Supercharge Ads Through Creator Marketing.

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