TikTok E-commerce: What You Need To Know Today

Social media channels offer exciting chances for eCommerce businesses to interact with their audience and enhance sales.

Don’t believe me? Ask someone when they last took a Facebook quiz posted by an eCommerce brand just because it was engaging. They’ll probably answer “only recently.”

That’s just the power of social media. And when I say social media, nowadays, I don’t just mean the ones you typically hear like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (X).

I also mean the more recent ones like TikTok, which has taken the world by storm since its launch in 2016.

In fact, if you ask businesses in general, they’ll tell you TikTok, best known for its short and engaging videos, has evolved into an excellent tool for attracting a larger audience and boosting online sales.

Don’t believe me? Look at the stats. A whopping 78% of small businesses have achieved a positive ROI through the platform!

In this blog post, I’ll discuss TikTok eCommerce, the platform’s benefits, and recommended practices to help you make the most of this social channel. 

TikTok eCommerce Defined

TiKTok eCommerce is simply the use of the platform to sell eCommerce products to a target audience.

So, when you see your favorite clothing store promoting its newest collection on the platform, that’s TikTok eCommerce.

A TikTok fitness influencer who encourages you to buy the “best fitness equipment” is also considered TikTok eCommerce.

Because TikTok allows for exciting seller activities like product tagging and ad deployment, eCommerce businesses can leverage the platform to boost sales.

That has been proven, by the way. According to statistics, more than one-third of TikTok users buy what they see on the platform.

It’s no wonder then that almost 80% of small businesses get a positive ROI on TikTok!

4 Benefits of Using TikTok For eCommerce

But why use TikTok for eCommerce in the first place? Let’s look at four specific advantages of using the platform to promote your products:

Large And Engaged User Base

With its around 1 billion active users, TikTok gives you access to people you can turn into your own paying customers.

There’s industry-specific data to prove this, too. Restaurant statistics, for instance, show 37% of diners use social media sites, including TikTok, to find new dining options. 

Cost-effective Advertising

TikTok offers many advertising alternatives — in-feed commercials, branded hashtag challenges, and brand takeovers, you name it.

That’s great for brands since that just means they have many options for reaching their target audience.

They can mix and match these ad formats to determine which ones work best for their target audience.

Just complement these with good landing pages and expect the best results.

Leadpages is a popular tool for this but if you find it hard to understand like some users, there are Leadpages alternatives you can use instead. 

But that’s not all.

With TikTok features that enable eCommerce businesses to set ad budgets and bid levels, brands have better control over their advertising spending, too. 

Boost In Website’s SEO Performance

Viral TikTok videos can send a lot of traffic to a brand’s website or landing page.

Search engines may view this increase in traffic, combined with greater user involvement, as signals the website is relevant and popular.

The result? The site may rank higher in search engine results pages.

Enhanced Sales

TikTok offers a wide array of features that allow businesses to showcase their products.

At the same time, customers are provided a venue where they can enjoy a frictionless purchase experience. The result of all this is a boost in sales, of course.

But even with all these benefits TikTok eCommerce brings, you shouldn’t rely solely on it to promote your products.

You’ll want to complement the use of TikTok with other strategies like email marketing and PR services for the best results. The rationale behind this is simple: Each channel has its own strengths to offer you. 

Email marketing, for instance, can help you reach your target audience in a more personalized way.

PR, meanwhile, can help ensure your brand’s public image and reputation. So, all in all, you end up with a holistic promotional strategy that allows you to reach and convert as many people as possible.

5 TikTok eCommerce Best Practices 

Are you ready to use TikTok for eCommerce marketing success? Just follow the best practices below and you’ll reap excellent results!

1. Create Your Own TikTok Challenges

Ever seen TikTok videos of users showcasing the same dance moves to some catchy music? That’s probably a TikTok challenge.

Apart from dance routines, TikTok challenges can come in the form of: 

  • Lip syncs
  • Product reviews
  • Creative storytelling

Colgate’s #MakeMomSmile challenge, for instance, is a great example of creative storytelling.

The challenge saw users sharing content of their smiling mothers after their good deeds.

Why are we talking about TikTok challenges? Well, if done well, they can actually help increase your eCommerce brand’s visibility on the platform. 

Just to illustrate what TikTok challenges can do for your eCommerce brand, let’s go back to our Colgate example.

Do you know what the brand got by implementing this marketing strategy? A whopping 4.6 billion views on TikTok!

You’ll agree that’s a lot of exposure for the brand that could have just as easily translated into sales.

The excellent marketing results have to do with the type of TikTok challenge Colgate came up with.

The challenge, which highlighted Colgate’s main product, its toothpaste, was, in particular, relevant.

The timing for the launch couldn’t have been better—the brand announced it right in time for Mother’s Day!

So, don’t just settle for the first challenge idea that comes to mind. As an eCommerce business owner, you must think outside the box to come up with challenges TikTok users will join in the first place.

Like Colgate, draw inspiration from the products you sell. You want to highlight your product without necessarily being overly promotional.

For instance, if you sell athletic wear, why not ask your audience to take pictures of themselves with your clothes while playing their favorite sport?

You tap into their love for taking pictures and playing sports at the same time.

Once you’ve determined the type of challenge you’ll launch, don’t forget to announce your rules and expectations for the kinds of content you want users to create. 

2. Use Hashtags Wisely

You’ve probably already seen those phrases or words preceded by a number sign on TikTok posts.

If you’re new on the platform (or on social media), you might think they serve only aesthetic purposes. But they don’t.

These are hashtags and they’re TikTok’s lifeblood. Those phrases and words ensure a TikTok post’s discoverability on the platform.

Let’s say a TikTok user is in the mood for some dancing dog posts. All they’d need to do is type a relevant hashtag, say #dancingdogs, in the TikTok search field.

Voila! They get a list of TikTok posts that carry the same or similar hashtag they can choose from.

What does that mean for eCommerce businesses like you? You need to research relevant hashtags linked to your items or niche to increase the reach of your eCommerce videos.

So, if you decide to create your own branded challenge, you can come up with your own branded hashtag, like Colgate did above.

Since this is the hashtag your participants will use when creating a wide array of content for your challenge, you can expect increased brand exposure.

For your other TikTok content, you can use already-existing TikTok hashtags. Monitor TikTok’s “Discover” page and the “For You” feed to look for popular ones.

Use a mix of broad-reaching hashtags and specific ones that clearly define your products, too.

So, for example, if you sell skincare items, employ both the hashtags #skincare and #antiagingserum.

All these chosen hashtags should be strategically incorporated into your video descriptions.

Just remember, though, that moderation is still key! Too many hashtags can make your TikTok content look spammy. 

3. Partner with Popular TikTok Creators

The thing about TikTok is that you can reach as many of your target consumers as possible.

And that holds true even if you only have 20 followers. How’s that possible, you ask?

Enter TikTok influencer marketing. 

TikTok influencers have a significant following and are trendsetters. That means when they promote your products in their videos, you can reach their followers in the hundreds, thousands, or even millions as well! You can expect greater demand for your offerings, too.

After all, TikTok users, including your target consumers, don’t want to fall behind the influencer-initiated TikTok trends their friends already follow.

Don’t believe me? See how many likes this video of Chipotle’s ‘LidFlip’ challenge got. Over 600,000 likes! The video was posted by famous content creator David Dobrik. Many other people did the challenge, too, leading to even greater exposure for Chipotle.

So, how do you get started on TikTok influencer marketing?

You can just do a quick Google search of TikTok influencers when searching for potential collaborations.

Or, type your niche in the platform’s search bar at the top of the Discover page. You should get a list of posts associated with that niche, including those of popular content creators. 

Note, though, that you shouldn’t choose the first content creator you see on your list. You have to find the right influencers, of course.

That means choosing content creators whose content style and values align with your business.

So, don’t ask an influencer who openly says they don’t like dogs to create content for your eCommerce brand that sells dog products. That just wouldn’t make sense.

Once you’ve chosen the right influencer, lay down the guidelines for the type of content you want for your brand.

You can use a generative AI platform to do this if you don’t have the time. The platform can help you create the content you need in seconds. Just insert the right prompts. 

Remember not to micromanage your chosen influencers, though. Influencers are considered creatives, too.

They know how to promote your content in a way that feels natural and honest. That’s the type of content you want since it’s what attracts viewers’ attention and makes them more responsive to your brand message.

4. Include a Good Call-to-Action (CTA)

Let’s assume you already have your nice TikTok post. Here’s the thing, though.

From an eCommerce business perspective, even the best TikTok content won’t amount to nothing if it doesn’t get the viewers to take the brand’s desired action. 

In other words, you still need to incorporate a good call-to-action into your content. 

What is a good CTA, you ask?

Here are some pointers for creating an effective one in TikTok videos:

  • Be explicit and specific: Whether it’s visiting your website, following your brand’s TikTok page, taking part in a challenge, or making a purchase, your CTA should be clear and concise. It should leave no room for interpretation.
  • Utilize text overlay: Why not apply text overlay to visually emphasize your CTA? Include the action you want viewers to take as on-screen text in your video. This will help you reach TikTok users who watch videos without sound (they’re a lot, by the way. A whopping 85% of users, according to Hypebot).

Check out the example of on-screen text below:

Source

  • Use interactive elements: TikTok offers a wide array of interactive elements —  stickers, polls, and quizzes, for instance — you can use to engage your viewers. Use them to encourage people to click on your CTA.
  • Create a sense of urgency: Don’t forget to add a sense of urgency to your CTA to encourage readers to take instant action. Use terms such as “limited time offer” or “while supplies last.” Want to further increase your chances of people clicking on your CTA? Use a timer as you can see in the screenshot above.

As part of your TikTok eCommerce strategy, remember to evaluate the performance of your CTAs, too! Make tweaks to your strategies based on your findings.

This will help ensure you always use excellent CTAs for your TikTok campaigns.

5. Invest in Shopping Ads

Although TikTok is more popular for its organic TikTok videos, it has another content format you can leverage as an eCommerce business — shopping ads.

TikTok shopping ads can increase the effectiveness of your eCommerce marketing initiatives.

After all, they typically eliminate the need for customers to leave the app to complete a purchase.

With less obstacles come the increased likelihood of – you guessed it — conversions and purchases!

TikTok has three types of shoppable ads you might want to consider using:

  • Video shopping ads: shoppable videos on display on the For You page
  • Catalog listing ads: product catalogs promoted across TikTok
  • Live shopping ads: Ads that take people from the For You page to a live shopping event.

You can create any of these ads through the TikTok Ads manager. However, note that you can only do this if your TikTok account has reached the level 1 status.

Just follow TikTok’s instructions on how to reach that status. Here’s a complete guide on shopping ads TikTok has put together you can use.

Bonus tip: Promote Your TikTok on Other Platforms

As we’ve seen, TikTok can do wonders for your eCommerce brand. That’s why it makes sense for you to promote it on your other platforms.

What’s the use of promoting your products on TikTok if your target audience doesn’t even know you’re promoting them, right?

You need to make your target audience aware that you’re on TikTok in the first place.

You can promote your TikTok account by simply asking people to follow you. In this digital age, it’s not that hard to do that anymore.

You can simply post on your other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. 

Email marketing can help you, too. When you send a marketing email, include your TikTok social icon so your subscribers who don’t follow you on the platform can easily do so.

You want to make sure you use an email checker before you send your emails, though. You wouldn’t want your email to reach the wrong people and be marked as spam.

Of course, if you can promote your TikTok account on your other marketing platforms, you can promote your TikTok content there as well.

Make snippets of your TikTok videos and post them on Facebook or Twitter. You can just tell your audience to go to your TikTok profile if they want to watch the full video. 

The Power Of TikTok 

TikTok is more than just a tool for watching and posting entertaining videos.

With its incredible reach and unique engagement features, eCommerce businesses can leverage the platform for sales and conversions.

But, of course, you still need to know how to use the platform this way. 

You learned how to do that with this article. From launching TikTok challenges to partnering with content creators, indeed there’s a lot you can do on the platform to reach your potential buyers and connect with them.

Now, go forth and leverage TikTok to propel your eCommerce business to new heights. Good luck!

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