Years ago, “social shopping” simply meant being dropped off at the mall to shop around with friends.
In today’s technology-driven landscape, though, social shopping — also known as social commerce — looks vastly different.
Social commerce today happens entirely on social media, from a business promoting a product on a site like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, to a consumer researching and purchasing the product. Soup to nuts social selling is all about meeting customers through the channels they prefer.
The newest addition to the social commerce world? TikTok.
Here’s what you need to know about TikTok’s social shopping capabilities — and how they can help you scale your ecommerce business.
The concept of social shopping isn’t really all that new. Years ago, platforms like Ebay and Craigslist pioneered the process of connecting, selling, and bartering online. Facebook followed suit in 2016 by launching their Marketplace, which enabled consumers to sell and exchange everything from furniture to clothing to cars.
Just two years later, Facebook launched their Business capabilities, giving organizations a platform to pay for advertisements. At the same time, Instagram rolled out its “buy button,” which allowed users to purchase directly on-site. That, coupled with their “shoppable” posts, put purchasing power directly into the hands of social media users.
Nearly every social media platform today — Pinterest, TikTok, Reddit, you name it — offers a commerce capability. That’s why social shopping revenue is projected to grow to more than $3 trillion by 2028. And why uber-popular platforms like TikTok are leading the ecommerce charge.
TikTok was introduced in 2016, but didn’t gain its massive popularity until around 2019. Since then, TikTok has become one of the top social platforms, averaging around one billion users each month, about two-thirds of which are between the ages of 10 and 29.
TikTok’s new Shopping tool brings a whole new dimension to social selling. Sellers can incorporate video tutorials or reviews into their product listings, giving customers a dynamic experience that’s similar to in-store shopping.
TikTok Shopping can also be a boon to customer loyalty and engagement.
Consider the power of written reviews on your Amazon or Walmart page, for instance. The benefits your business sees from these testimonials are compounded when reviewers can post videos directly to your TikTok product listing. It’s a win-win: Your soon-to-be customers get recommendations from their social circle, and you gain social currency.
The social media giant also offers several other features to amplify product promotion, including:
TikTok partners with a number of platforms, including Shopify, Square, Ecwid, and PrestaShop. By adding a shop tab to their profile, sellers can showcase all of the product catalogs that are synced with their storefront or website.
And the best part? Customers can purchase products from the catalog with just one click.
To integrate a storefront into your TikTok bio and run shopping ads, you’ll need to download the TikTok app from your ecommerce platform, such as Shopify or Square. From there, you can access the TikTok Shopping feature, along with a host of other built-in tools to help you sell products.
After that, it’s only a matter of connecting with customers. Here are some tips to do just that.
Customers don’t usually walk into a store with an unorganized shopfront or a messy showcase.
The same goes for your TikTok storefront.
To attract visitors, keep your product catalog and shopping tab organized and up to date. Ensure your product images are visually appealing and consistent with your branding. Make the most of your 34 characters when writing your product titles, and make sure your product descriptions clearly answer the questions your customers might have about the product.
Once your TikTok shop is set up, it’s time to promote. According to SocialPilot, 61% of TikTokers said they buy from brands they see advertised, so it’s crucial that you highlight your products as much as possible.
Create posts that showcase your brand, highlight key products, and direct viewers to your product catalog. Use TikTok’s shopping collection and dynamic ads to drive customers to the checkout page.
Be sure to craft consistent, creative posts that match the vibe of both your brand and the platform itself. You can capture customers by creating click-worthy videos, such as:
The secret to social commerce?
With social influencers using and promoting items, customers get to see the product, watch how it works, and get the social recommendation they need to lock in a purchase. Social influencing is all about gaining trust with a large group. If followers trust an influencer, they’ll likely trust their recommendations, as well.
TikTok’s Creator’s Marketplace is a great place to find and collaborate with influencers, but sellers can also find people on off-platform sites like Collabstr.
Selling through social media allows you to directly interact with buyers through the channels they like best. And as more and more ecommerce solutions pop up on social media, there will only be more opportunities to build a successful, high-selling social-forward brand.
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Let’s face it. The burgeoning creator’s economy is poised to be the future of selling. And there’s no better way to take advantage of that trend than by using TikTok to create product-centric content that speaks right to consumers.
Because of the low barrier to entry, though, the social shopping competition can be fierce, so it’s imperative that you find ways to make your products stand out from the crowd. Using TikTok’s Shopping feature, you can get to know your target audience and sell directly to them through creative, eye-grabbing videos.
A digital storefront inside a platform filled with billions of customers already engaging with product-focused videos on the daily? It’s a no-brainer.