The social commerce landscape is transforming online selling. With more online store owners than ever before turning to popular social platforms such as TikTok and Instagram to see success, could it be time to start social selling?
The world’s fastest-growing social platform, TikTok, now has over a whopping 1 billion users, raking in millions of clicks and shares every day.
On the back of the release of the TikTok shop, social engagement has doubled for the popular video app. With the ability to search, share and shop in one handy location, Gen Z and Millennial consumers are spending more time on TikTok shop in 2023 than they do on online web stores and shopping apps.
The question is, could TikTok shop rival your online store? Let’s have a closer look at its success as we reveal 7 incredible ways to optimise your strategy for a new era of social video commerce.
Has TikTok Shop Taken Off?
According to a recent report from experts at Accenture, the social commerce market alone is set to be worth over $1.2 trillion by 2025.
Leading this online shopping shift forward is, of course, TikTok. The video-based platform has contributed to just under half of the social commerce industry’s revenue in the past year and has predicted that its small business advertising spend would have tripled by the end of 2023.
It’s impossible not to recognise the impact TikTok has had on the commerce sector. From sponsored shopping hauls to catchy 15-second video ads, TikTok has become one of the easiest ways to advertise a product or service online. If we look at hashtags alone, the popular hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has a staggering 8 billion views.
“TikTok has been strongly encouraging users to explore Shop and find products to promote. Now that TikTok Shop is officially launched in the US, this push will likely intensify as TikTok’s goal is to get creators to drive product discovery and sales in a seamless, native way,” claims Keenya Kelly, social commerce expert and host of the Keenya Kelly Podcast.
“Early data shows this formula is working. TikTok users engage with content and commerce at much higher rates compared to other platforms. If a brand can get thousands of users to comment about a product, it can generate a massive amount of leads and sales.”
Could TikTok Enhance Your E-commerce Success?
The question is, what could TikTok do for your own online store?
Whether you design your e-commerce website from scratch or use an online shop creator, the templates you use must be optimised for social sharing as well as a seamless customer experience if you want to see conversion success.
With over a third of online consumers now consulting social media shopping features first, your online store should be linked out to every social platform for maximum engagement potential.
Better still, for businesses aiming to increase their selling prospects, expanding your online store to include a social checkout space, such as TikTok shop, could also play a role in boosting your conversions.
This is especially true if your demographic is within the Gen Z-Millenial age group.
(Image Source: Hubspot)
For example, according to Hubspot, at least 27% of Millennials have directly made a purchase on social media in the last three months. This number grows even higher for TikTok, which is now responsible for 49% of social purchases.
How To Optimise Your Online Selling Strategy For Video Commerce
If you’re looking for new ways to target your demographic, it could be time to invest in a TikTok-powered marketing strategy. Not only could the social app drive engagement to your online store, but you could gain a new influx of conversions from TikTok Shop itself.
“TikTok users spend nearly 14 hours per month on the app, so there’s no time to waste when it comes to investing in TikTok. By joining the TikTok community, businesses can reach new audiences and increase brand awareness,” says Zarnaz Arlia, the CMO of Emplifi. “But it’s key for brands to act like creators, not a business, in order to create entertaining content that captures the TikTok community’s attention. By taking the time to understand and embrace the creator mindset, you can grow a loyal fan base and build an active community.”
Ready to find out how to optimise your content for video commerce success? Here are 7 strategies to get you started.
Utilise TikTok Trends
TikTok trends drive social shares, viral engagement and all-important content interaction. Not only does trend hijacking encourage consumers to create their own content about your brand, but it’s also an organic way to launch new products and services.
Why not create your own branded hashtag on TikTok? This encourages users to share content relating to your product, as well as get involved in interactive challenges for incentives such as prizes and discounts.
Take Chipotle, for example. After jumping on the Halloween content trends inspiring themed UGC videos, the food retailer ran a #boorito campaign that got over 4 billion views within the first week.
(Image Source: PR Newswire)
Finding clever ways to advertise their newest products on the menu, they got creative with karaoke chips and shareable filters that would get their audience talking about their brand.
Consistent branding is also a must when it comes to embracing TikTok marketing. While many businesses throw themselves into social content creation, the key to driving traffic back to your online store is familiarity.
Viewers of your TikTok content need to know that it is linked to your particular brand. This can be done through the use of familiar brand colours, logos or even launching a brand awareness campaign.
Simple tweaks to your social platform content can help boost brand recognition and build trust among your audience across all selling platforms.
Offer an Engagement Incentive
It can be difficult to gain attention in the social commerce landscape simply because it is donated by brand giants and user-generated content. If you want your videos to be shared platform-wide, you must give your audience a reason to engage.
Take Gymshark as an example. As a leading fitness brand on TikTok, they used the power of ‘incentive’ to encourage more social sharing.
Their 66 Days: Change Yor Life challenge encouraged users to post a series of videos of their workout transformation over the course of 66 days for a chance to win a free Gymshark membership.
(Image Source: TikTok)
The hashtag #gymshark66 generated 193 million views alone, sparking a new viral video trend with ease.
Leverage TikTok Ads
Don’t forget to utilise TikTok ads. Whether you opt for native formats such as in-feed ad videos or pay for a branded hashtag, TikTok’s ad feature could help your online store gain traction on a busy social platform.
“Search ads build on people’s natural TikTok behaviour. Users already turn to TikTok’s search bar to explore topics they care about. Integrating ads boosts visibility exactly when interest is piqued. This makes them more likely to engage with and convert from the ads,” continues Kelly.
Better still, for video commerce beginners, TikTok’s new Creative Centre has been designed to help small businesses create ads from scratch using interactive templates and a deep audio library.
Create Interactive Content
This one goes without saying, but make sure that your content is interactive. You want your consumers to watch your whole video, not simply scroll past.
A great way to do this is through the use of polls, quotations and calls to action within your content strategy. Give your consumers something to interact with, comment on and share.
Collaborate with a TikTok Influencer
Did you know that 42% of ecommerce brands use TikTok for influencer marketing? Not only is it a great way to promote your products to your followers, but influencer marketing helps a brand build trust with potential leads.
TikTok takes influencer marketing one step further, offering brands the opportunity to track sponsored posts and review their engagement based on the influencer and the products advertised.
(Image Source: Business Insider)
For example, Dunkin’ Donuts were one of the first businesses to use this feature after partnering with TikTok legend Charli D-Amelio. As a result, they reported a 57% spike in engagement and a 20% sales boost for the products they advertised.
Link to Your Store
Last but not least, don’t forget to link link link. Growing your brand on a social platform is one thing, but carrying that success over to your online store is another.
Ensure that your TikTok post contains clear, trackable links to your website, which are within the content itself, the caption and even the comments. Maximise your traffic potential by providing CTAs at all destinations.
(Image Source: Popular Studio)
Better still, TikTok’s newest update includes a ‘shop now’ button that can be added to sponsored posts. This takes a consumer straight to the checkout for a seamless buying experience.
Meet The TikTok Shops Selling Out
There are a number of TikTok shops performing well online in 2024. Here are a few examples of the small businesses that have taken off on TikTok Shop:
Peachy BBs Slime
While slime shops seem to be dominating a particular sear of TikTok, none have done better than the small business Peachy BBs slime. Boasting an account with a staggering 4.7 million followers, what was once a startup is now a successful venture.
The key here is interaction from all ends. Not only does the business post regular video-form reviews/demos of their products, but they consistently interact with consumer comments, go live on TikTok shop and even make orders customisable on the platform.
After opening up their small business during the pandemic, Sana and Will Saleh have seen their startup, Lala Hijabs, take off thanks to TikTok.
Gaining over 144K followers and 4.2 million likes, the family-run business has reported that 60% of its sales now come through the app alone.
“When people began asking where we got [the hijabs] from, we decided to hype up the business before we even began forming it—and people loved it and anticipated the huge launch,” say the co-owners of Lala Hijabs.
“TikTok exploded with love for our designs, and we ended up starting the business with our life savings—and all of the traffic to our website was organic from TikTok. We had zero experience as ground-level entrepreneurs and built this business from the ground up!”
Another business boasting the success of TikTok shop is Candy Funhouse. Founded by Jamal Hejazi in 2020, the store on the video app has since gained 2.7 million followers.
“The first time we went viral as a company was through a fan’s user-generated content doing a review on our company. We had a surge of visitors to the website and didn’t know where it was coming from,” says Jamal.
“Listening to our audience has been the key to growing our social media accounts. We participate in active social listening from our audience and create content that we, as candy lovers, would enjoy watching ourselves. The key to turning TikTok into a business is to create an environment that is based on content and experience rather than a product. TikTok is a great platform for building a brand if you can capture the spirit of TikTok and steer away from the traditional forms of advertisement.”
Wrapping Up TikTok Shop Tips
“This viral video-sharing app managed to keep smiles on people’s faces during a global pandemic. But the trend-setting app can just as easily be used in the business world. An income can be started from a great idea or popularity, but TikTok enables you to have both,” says Justin Grome, founder & CEO of Clonefluence, Inc.
If you want your online store to remain successful in a social media-dominated world, it’s time to start using each platform with your business in mind.
From sponsored posts to influencer collaborations, TikTok remains home to some of the highest-grossing commerce strategies brands can get their hands on in 2024.