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All about the TikTok Shopping feature

It's the latest addition to the social commerce landscape. A subsidiary of Chinese group ByteDance, short video app TikTok finally joined the experiment in August 2021 by launching TikTok Shopping. Since then, Chinese social sales have been soaring and the platform is constantly developing new features to appeal to its billions of users. But what does TikTok Shopping promise? What does the platform look like? Follow the guide!

logo tiktok
logo tiktok

Definition and challenges of the TikTok Shopping functionality

What is TikTok Shopping?

Like Instagram Shopping or Facebook Stores, TikTok Shopping is the social commerce solution that allows brands to sell their products in the app. Gone are the days when you had to open a web browser to access the online shops. We have entered the era of social commerce, which is particularly important at the end of 2021. With TikTok Shopping, designers can add a shopping area to their TikTok profiles.

Initially deployed in the United States and the United Kingdom, TikTok Shopping was then extended to Canada and then on a larger scale. The aim is to enable all businesses, whatever their size, to reach new customers.

What are the challenges of this feature?

A source of inspiration for teenagers, TikTok is originally a social media application for creating videos. Easy to use, the application has seen an increase in videos of young people mimicking or parodying their favourite music. This phenomenon then grew with the arrival of more original videos. Today, there are nearly 3 million downloads worldwide! An incredible source of visibility, brands naturally saw it as a marketing opportunity.  

TikTok Shopping is THE answer to the unavoidable trend of social shopping. Buying online via a social network that we like has become the rule among young people. Live shopping has even become the favourite playground of Millennials.

Witness the use of the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, which has nearly 5 billion views!  In fact, every time an Internet user discovers a product via a TikTok video, they share this hashtag. The power of recommendation is powerful.  TikTok claims that the act of buying is 1.7 times higher via its application than via other social platforms.

TikTok has understood this and the challenge of this new functionality is part of a logic of permanent innovation:

  • to make people discover products thanks to videos;
  • adopt the codes of influence marketing;
  • modify and facilitate the purchasing process.

TikTok Shopping in figures

At the end of September 2021, TikTok thanked its community for its commitment with the title “one billion times thank you“. Worldwide, more than a billion people visit the Chinese social network every month. A community that entertains, learns, has fun, discovers new things and buys!

It is clearly the social network with the strongest growth in 2021 and the arrival of the TikTok shopping feature has reinforced this trend.

TikTok in France

14.9 million French people will use the app every month in 2020, compared to 4.4 million in 2019! The containment effect explains the growing use of the platform. If we analyse the figures more precisely, here are the key points to remember:

  • 270 million videos created by French internet users.
  • 40% of users are between 15 and 24 years old;
  • The average time spent on the application is one hour;
  • 56% of users are women and 44% are men;

We can also note a large number of influencers which places France in 9th place. It is the influencer Lea Elui Ginet who dominates for example with more than 15 million subscribers!

TikTok worldwide

The TikTok community is present throughout the world: one billion users in September 2021 and a prediction of 1.5 billion by the end of 2022. TikTok is available in 155 countries and 75 languages. In Europe, the UK has the most users, followed by France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Norway.

A third of users are in the 16-24 age group and in the US, TikTok is more popular than Facebook among 13-16 year olds.

Importantly for brands, 49% of users say they have bought a product or service after watching a video or reading a review. In addition, TikTok has the highest engagement rates on profiles with up to 100,000 followers.

Dancer and influencer Charli D’Améli has the largest following in the world with 129.8 million followers.

The arrival of a Shopping API

Although it is now possible to buy products directly on the TikTok platform, merchants must have Shopify and TikTok For Business accounts.  

To simplify this process, TikTok has decided to continue its meteoric rise in social commerce by offering to integrate product catalogues directly. How can this be done? Thanks to an API “Application Programming Interface” allowing the direct integration of product catalogues. This new shopping functionality will be in place in the near future.

TikTok Shopping in practice

How to create your TikTok Shop

To sell on TikTok, you must first have a business account. Biography, photo, logo and description of your business are the first steps to a successful setup.  To carry out your marketing campaigns, you will then need to use the TikTok For Business platform. Indeed, since 2020, the TikTok and Shopify partnership allows merchants to have access to TikTok For Business.

Getting to grips with a new tool is not always easy, so we invite you to consult TikTok’s business help centre directly.

Once you’ve mastered the platform, you’ll be able to discover many creative solutions such as TikTok Creator Marketplace, a portal allowing you to access collaborations with creators.

Our tips for launching effective campaigns on TikTok Shopping

Your TikTok Shopping account is configured and you have decided to launch your first campaigns on this new sales channel… What are the criteria for a successful campaign?

  • An optimised product catalogue: the principle of the shop is to give you a “shopping” tab. This tab reflects your shop, it is your virtual shop window, so take care of it! Make sure it is optimised to attract customers. How can you do this? With quality visuals and easily recognisable products in the photos. For example, you should write striking product sheets and respect the character limits in the titles;

  • Clear messages to your target: a speech adapted to the targeted generation – remember that it is important to speak “their language” and adopt their communication codes. (use of emojis, entertaining videos, humour);

  • A well-executed hashtag strategy: the use of hashtags increases the virality of your content so remember to use them well. TikTok Shopping’s cherry on the cake is that it uses a Hashtag Challenge Plus. This is an advertising format that allows you to invite users to take part in challenges. For example, a shoe brand can participate in the #shoeschallenge, a challenge inviting users to show off their pairs of shoes via a video. The brand can then present its new collections thanks to the keywords of the challenge;

  • The implementation of Lives: it’s a format that appeals! Live video broadcasting is a serious asset for successful campaigns. It is an easy way to exchange with your community, to answer their questions or to announce an event (new collection, partnership…);

  • Collaboration with influencers: a real social phenomenon, TikTok is also a powerful lever in the framework of an influencer marketing strategy. Partnering with influencers is a great way to expand your target audience – with commitment and authenticity. The key is to work with influencers who love your brand and share your values. So take care to write an effective influencer brief.

Examples of successful TikTok campaigns

Across all sectors and generations, TikTok is making its mark. The Chinese platform is becoming a must for companies: more notoriety and engaged communities. Examples of successful social media strategies are numerous and only reinforce the use of the application.

IFAC or how to demystify accounting

The IFAC, an International Federation of Accountants, chose TikTok to raise awareness of the importance of the accounting profession among Generation Z. As this sector of activity suffers from many prejudices, it was a question of experimenting with the Chinese social network and sweeping away the traditional advertising messages. Gone was the austere, elitist, masculine image of the accounting profession! Accompanied by an influencer marketing agency, IFAC used TikTok influencers to visit accounting firms.  A sort of “live my life” as an accountant with engaging and entertaining content. The result of this experiment: 1 million visits and thousands of likes. A successful transformation of a sector that is too often stereotyped.

NAVNEET for student success

Education process provider, Navneet Education Limited has a range of products to help students get through their exams at the last minute. By choosing TikTok influencers, they ensured they were delivering a message that was relevant to their target audience. The campaign consisted of creating original and engaging content over a month. Eight TikTok influencers participated in the campaign, generating 3.4 million views and 1,600 comments.

E. Leclerc: #maillotapoisleclerc

As a partner of the Tour de France, the French company took advantage of the notoriety of this event to run a slightly offbeat marketing campaign. The company hired 6 sports influencers on TikTok to participate in the ascent of Mont Ventoux. A sporting challenge with 3 weeks of activities around the physical and mental preparation of the tiktokers. A way for the brand to raise awareness on the themes of nutrition and sport. The objective of this successful campaign? To develop its community by attracting a younger, connected audience.

The TikTok Shopping feature has almost no secrets for you. What if you decided to finally launch yourself on the Chinese social network?

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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