TikTok Ecommerce: What Every Brand Needs To Know

If you’ve been thinking about your TikTok ecommerce strategy and want to know how to get started, you’re in the right place.

Keep reading to better understand why TikTok is so valuable for ecommerce. Discover tips on how to leverage this popular platform to grow your brand awareness, reach new customers, and drive more conversions with this social media advertising platform for ecommerce.

Why TikTok needs to be on your radar

TikTok burst onto the social media scene and quickly became a critical part of the cultural fabric. Ordinary people are using the video-sharing app to become overnight success stories. Brands are using it to get closer to their customers. 

If it feels like “everyone” is using the app to stay entertained, informed and connected, well, they are. Predictions state that monthly active TikTok users will reach 1.5 billion by the end of 2022

TikTok is more than just the video-sharing app that Gen Z loves to spend time on. It’s the app they love to spend money on. Sixty-seven percent of users say TikTok inspires them to shop, even when they weren’t planning on it. 

But TikTok users span all age groups, according to Data Report.

  • Age 18-24: 386.6 million users
  • Age 25-34: 282.0 million users
  • Age 35-44: 115.5 million users
  • Age 45-54: 57.1 million users 
  • Age 55 and above: 30.5 million users 

Many merchants haven’t considered TikTok because they believe it only appeals to young users. While the app skews young, it isn’t limited to Gen Z consumers. And since it isn’t overrun by advertisers, it’s easy for brands to stand out.

“We got started on Tik-ok to increase our brand awareness amongst our target demographic and younger people in a way that is more cost-effective than the other more-established mediums such as TV and FaceBook,” Dan Derebenskiy, President of Go-Parts, told ThinkShop. “We have discovered that we are able to acquire followers on TikTok at costs that are multiple times cheaper than on FaceBook—therefore we feel that it is a good fit for our company.”

How the TikTok algorithm gets more eyes on your brand

In the beginning, brands like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube promised to level the playing field for business owners. Then big brands swooped in and scooped up large swaths of target audience. Less established brands were left with little to no exposure despite the high advertising costs. 

That’s because the algorithms are designed to reward high audience engagement with even more reach and exposure. The result is an avalanche effect that makes big brands bigger and leaves everyone else feeling they’re throwing their ad spend out the window. 

TikTok’s algorithm is different. If an emerging brand publishes a piece of viral content, the algorithm gives it the same attention and reach as more established brands. 

TikTok automatically builds each user’s #ForYou page by taking into account their likes, shares, follows, comments, and even the original content they create. It’s a bottomless algorithmic feed that keeps serving up content the user seems to enjoy. 

It also adds content to the feed that’s different from users’ interests, exposing them to new creators with diverse perspectives. The end result? Your brand has many opportunities to become the point of inspiration for a TikTok ecommerce transaction.

What kind of content performs best on TikTok for ecommerce?

Unlike Instagram or YouTube, you don’t need picture-perfect, high-quality video production to get noticed on TikTok. All you need to get started is a smartphone and a smart idea. 

TikTok users don’t want your filters, countless takes, or polished edits. This generation of users wants the masks off. They want to get to know the brand and the people behind it.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to making a video go viral on TikTok. But there are some proven TikTok marketing tips and tactics you can use to help nudge the odds in your favor.

Find a sponsor

People prefer to buy from someone they know and trust, making sponsorships an effective strategy for promoting your products on TikTok. If you find a popular personality with a large following, you can leverage that popularity to build awareness and traffic.

Here’s an example from Shiadanni, a TikToker who regularly gets 10-50K views on her posts:

@shiadanni Welcome to the comfort of my palace 👄 Tonight we have @Prose a customized hair line that matches your unique essence✨ Click on my link to make yours🔥 #prosehair #AD #Madewithprose ♬ original sound – SHIADANNI

Give them a peek behind the scenes

What happens behind the curtain at your brand? How do customers respond to your products?

Sharing behind-the-scenes videos can make your brand more relatable and interesting. The key to success in sales with TikTok is to be subtle. 

This is not your parents’ infomercial. Strive for genuine, honest and authentic. The ideal moment to showcase your product may even happen organically.

@tubofbleach Yeah I’m never switching providers @Mint Mobile @Ryan Reynolds #CustomersMostLoved #fyp #ShareTheMagic #ryanreynolds #mintmobile #DisneyPlusVoices ♬ Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Frank Sinatra

Use hashtags and music

Using popular hashtags or even music tracks helps bring your content to life in new ways. Users find content through hashtags on TikTok. For example, if you sell travel t-shirts online, using the hashtag #TikTokTravel or #Fashion can make your content more discoverable.

If you use a trending audio track, people who watched other videos using that track will be more likely to watch your content. Why? Because it uses familiar background music. 

This can be an excellent way to increase both your reach and engagement with a fresh audience without spending any money on advertising. 

This dog brush is a good example of this approach. It uses hashtags that dog lovers are searching for:  #dog, #dogsofttiktok, #CorollaCrossStep, #dogs, #doggo, #puppies, #puppylove, #doglovers, and #puppy.

@haydenthepup #ad @aumuca.official we’re obsessed! Gives 10/10 belly rubs #dog #dogsofttiktok #CorollaCrossStep #dogs #doggo #puppies #puppylove #doglovers #puppy ♬ Love You So – The King Khan & BBQ Show

Sell a lifestyle

The breadth of purchase choices available to today’s consumers makes it increasingly difficult to make decisions. They tune into lifestyle brands for guidance and information they can trust. 

Consumers buy brands that reflect their current or desired lifestyle. TikTok is a smart platform for brands to make themselves stand out from the sea of same. 

For this approach, focus on the personality behind your brand. Years ago, Apple did this with their PC vs. Mac ad campaign. Today, they’re using TikTok to attract a new generation of users. 

@apple Using just an iPad and the FacePaint feature on Procreate, anyone can make #BrutalMasks with @livbedumb #MadeOniPad ♬ brutal – Olivia Rodrigo

Tap into the power of TikTok ecommerce

The global social commerce opportunity will reach $1.2 trillion by 2025. And much of that activity will happen on TikTok.

The United States is TikTok’s #2 revenue-generator. In Q4 of 2021, U.S. consumers spent nearly $110 million in the app, 13% of TikTok’s global revenue. And these numbers continue to grow, according to SensorTower.

Its potential ad reach is 884.9 Million. That’s 11.2% of the total population, and it continues to rise 7.3% quarter over quarter.

And TikTok aligns well with consumers’ changing ad preferences. They enjoy video, especially short-form video. And they trust recommendations from social media personalities and friends. This is especially true of Gen Z’ers:

  • 97% Gen Z consumers use social media as their top source of shopping inspiration. 
  • 65% use social media to find entertaining content
  • 61% prefer to watch video content. 

Be everywhere your customers want to shop

If you’ve ever tried to buy a product directly from social media, you know it’s a hit-or-miss experience. The process often follows this pattern: 

  1. You see a product that sparks your interest and you want to buy it. 
  2. You click or tap through the app and get kicked out to the product page (which may or may not be optimized for mobile). 
  3. You then need to add the product to your shopping cart.
  4. You enter your shipping, billing and payment information directly through your smartphone.
  5. The system may redirect you countless times as you go through the checkout process, separating you from the app experience entirely. 

This doesn’t provide a good customer experience. And social media platforms don’t like it, preferring to keep users on their platform.

To help solve this issue, Bolt’s Checkout Everywhere for Retailers gives retailers the power to engage shoppers at the point of inspiration. It provides the ease of one-click checkout while leveraging social media as the point of discovery. 

See it. Click it. Buy it. It’s that simple.

TikTok brings together high-engagement content and an eager audience of curious consumers who are ready to spend. It’s the perfect platform to attract new customers, building brand awareness and loyalty. 

Brands can turn social media into a one-click checkout touchpoint, and customers can instantly buy what they see without annoying redirects or cumbersome forms that contribute to cart abandonment. You get improved conversions and your shoppers enjoy seamless checkout. It’s a win-win.

What’s more, by keeping the experience purely in-app or on-site, you get accurate first-party data. This allows for the creation of more personalized, customer-centric campaigns. And that ultimately builds loyalty and encourages greater customer retention. 

ThinkShop by Bolt does not constitute professional tax or financial advice. Contact your own tax or financial professional to discuss your situation.