How Will TikTok’s New In-App Shopping Experience Boost Your Brand’s Sales?
Francisco Schmidberger

TikTok and Shopify recently announced the rollout of in-app shopping experiences on TikTok, as previously disclosed last year when these companies initially announced their partnership. This marks the first move of TikTok into the hot social commerce trend, similar to what the Chinese version of the app, Douyin, has already been doing.

Unlike direct, in-stream shopping on other social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok users get to experience external features of Shopify within TikTok’s app. Thanks to the new incorporation of TikTok Shopping, as a brand you can easily connect your Shopify account to your TikTok Business account. Customers are automatically referred back to a merchant’s Shopify store for purchase.

What does it mean for your brand? Even though this whole new world of videos, challenges, and teens might seem intimidating, those who decide to enter can leverage the new potential of TikTok’s e-commerce features. Those who get involved with TikTok can now advertise, tap into the buying power of Gen Z, and slowly but surely gather a cross-generational audience.

But first things first – do you know what it takes to stand out from the crowd?

Now’s the time to make your move

“I have so much fun creating TikTok videos, and I love sharing posts of my fans using the products,” Kyle Jenner said, officially introducing the Shopify collaboration with TikTok. The social media star is a front runner promoting TikTok’s in-app shopping features.  Influencers like her are one of the top social media marketing channels, as they can leverage their social power among their followers to gain attention to your products.

Instead of paying large sums to celebrities, pair up with influencers if you want to boost your business on social media. They are affordable, and contracting a higher number of different influencers can increase your reach immensely. On TikTok, influencers have long understood how to use social media content for monetization, and they know the secret recipe to attract plenty of users. Now, it’s time you jump on the bandwagon before your competitors flood the market.

Even though the app is perfect for newcomers, only a few brands have used its potential until now. Those who’ve done so have seen wide success in the platform, including the jewelry and lifestyle brand Pura Vida. By implementing and continuously developing a creative strategy, they boosted their following on TikTok without spending extra money on the paid-ads campaign.

The earlier you start, the better, as now, more and more brands are finding their way into the app. Even though TikTok fame can come overnight, it can also quickly drop, so don’t hesitate to get an account and start tagging your products on your profile as well as the creators you work with.

So what does this new feature look like?

The TikTok in-app shopping

To set up the tool, you would have to have a TikTok for Business account and a Shopify store. Once you set it up, users will be able to see the storefront on your brand profile:

Then you click on an item you like and it forwards you to checkout, which will take you to the brand’s storefront outside of the platform:

You might be wondering: what do you need to do before setting up a successful storefront on TikTok?

Think about the bigger picture

If you think about entering e-commerce straight away without making an effort to build a community of fans who follow, engage, and connect with your brand, you won’t be successful. “Why?” you may wonder. The answer is simple – people go to TikTok to consume creative and entertaining content.

To make your business thrive and sales reach millions, start with building a solid brand image through incorporating creative strategies containing a diversity of content that provides entertaining value to your audience. Change between educational tutorials, collaborations with other brands and influencers, or showing “behind the scenes” content and bloopers of your creations. Make content inline with the TikTok trends of the moment.

Of course, direct sales through TikTok seem attractive and easy to begin with but remember –  to actually gain customers, it’s crucial to run solid and constant creative strategies that generate brand awareness with your audience. You can also market your products by sending off free trials of your products to other influencers or users, asking for first impression reviews, unboxing videos, or after-use comments and insights.

To see the real TikTok e-commerce potential, let’s take a look at the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag. It reached over 4.7 billion views in different variations, converting users into customers even before implementing new commerce features.

What comes next?

There’s no doubt that in-app shopping and live stream video shopping are leading commerce trends. To take a glimpse into the future and growth of e-commerce on TikTok, let’s meet Douyin, TikTok’s Chinese counterpart. Owned by ByteDance, launched in 2016, the platform introduces a novel, AI-recommended in-videos online shopping. So if this is the future direction of in-app shopping, a simple video strategy is long overdue.

In-video search features are real game-changers, as customers can zoom in on desirable products. These are not videos that are actively selling or promoting products, but somewhat regular user-generated content—any post from anybody could become a potential sale.

Starting an e-Commerce strategy on TikTok is not a child’s play, but if you already have a brand and quality content to offer, you already have half the rent. Now, you only need to work on your content strategy.

Francisco Schmidberger, is Co-Founder of LINK Agency.