Skip to main content

We’ve seen countless social media platforms try an in-app feature. The most notable was Instagram, which quickly became a complaint for many users. Within three years of introducing the shop tab, Meta removed the feature, thanks to the dismay of the platform’s users. While you can still shop on the app, the feature is far more subtle nowadays. So, when TikTok announced that it would create its own version of a shop in September 2023, users were wary–rightfully so.  

With over 1.5 billion active users, the app is quickly becoming one of the most used social media platforms. From viral dance challenges to comedic skits, TikTok was initially used to entertain its users with short-form videos that hooked their audience’s attention in the way Vine once did. With the introduction of TikTok Shop, the platform has expanded into something much bigger. The big question is whether TikTok Shop is here to stay.

What is TikTok Shop?

Much like Instagram, we saw countless new influencers pop up on the scene, many pushing their latest favorite products. From clothes to makeup, products were selling out left and right thanks to a single viral video on the app. It was only a matter of time before the app profited off these affiliate sales themselves. Now, users and TikTok influencers alike can link to their favorite products, earning them a small commission on every purchase. 

Hand holding up a phone with the TikTok Now app showing on the screen.How TikTok Shop Works

Live Shopping 

One of the most exciting aspects of TikTok Shop is its integration of live shopping. Imagine tuning into a live stream where your favorite creators showcase products in real-time, answering questions and providing demonstrations. It’s like having a personal shopping assistant right at your fingertips. With live shopping, the traditional online shopping experience is infused with interactivity, something we’ve only seen on programs like HSN. It creates an immersive shopping environment without leaving the comfort of your couch.

Product Showcase 

Although TikTok has attempted to promote longer-form content in the past few months, short videos are its bread and butter. While the algorithm may favor these longer videos, users have grown accustomed to short and sweet videos. With the push of TikTok Shop, creators are now sharing bite-sized videos of their favorite items.

Creators can create engaging content that highlights the features and benefits of various products, all within a brief, attention-grabbing video. Whether it’s fashion, beauty, or tech gadgets, TikTok Shop offers a diverse range of products catering to every interest and lifestyle. And the best part is that users get to watch their favorite creators use their favorite product versus simply posting a static photo on a feed. While users will always be nervous about seeing a product pushed in exchange for a commission, the ability to see an influencer use the product builds a level of trust they may not get on any other app.

Convenient Shop Tab

With the introduction of the Shop tab within the TikTok app, browsing and discovering new products has never been easier. Users can seamlessly transition from watching videos to exploring and purchasing products with just a few taps. Unlike Instagram, this feature did not take over another, so whether or not a user takes advantage of it is entirely up to them. They can flip through their For You Page, Following page, and Shop within seconds. That means that if users are not interested in the feature, they can simply avoid using it without affecting their actual app usage.

However, if they are interested, this integration streamlines the shopping experience, making it more accessible and convenient. The Shop tab is curated based on each user’s interests and preferences, ensuring that they are presented with relevant and appealing products.

Stay Within TikTok 

Unlike traditional e-commerce platforms, where users are often redirected to external websites, TikTok Shop allows users to complete their purchases without ever leaving the app. This keeps users engaged within the app from start to finish. 

Exclusive TikTok Offers

Another thing that helps TikTok Shop stand out is its exclusive deals and promotions, further incentivizing users to shop within the platform. Whether it’s limited-time discounts or special bundles, TikTok ensures its users are rewarded for their loyalty and engagement. Users can find incredible deals, like 50% off their purchase, a specific dollar amount off a purchase, and more. Products often go on sale as well, so the likelihood of finding a product you’re interested in at a lower price than you’d find anywhere else is exceptionally high. 

Additionally, TikTok offers a variety of payment options, including credit cards, PayPal, and even TikTok Coins (a currency that users can give their favorite creators as a token of appreciation for their content), providing users with flexibility and convenience when making purchases.

How to Make the Most of TikTok Shop

If you’re interested in using TikTok Shop for your business, there are a few best practices that you should keep in mind, including: 

  • Engaging content creation – Create engaging and visually appealing content that showcases your products or services. Use TikTok’s editing features and music, to make your videos stand out. Don’t be afraid to jump on trends; they’re one of the easiest ways to get more views.
  • Influencer marketing – Collaborate with popular TikTok influencers in your niche to promote your products or services. 
  • Livestream shopping events – Host live shopping events where you showcase your products in real time and interact with your audience. You can offer exclusive discounts or promotions during these events to drive sales.
  • Optimize your profile – Ensure that your TikTok Shop profile is complete and optimized with relevant keywords (though many people don’t realize it, SEO matters on TikTok), a catchy bio, and high-quality images of your products.
  • Engage with your audience – This should be a no-brainer, but take the time to respond to comments, messages, and inquiries promptly to build rapport with your audience and provide strong customer service.
  • Run TikTok ads – Consider running ads on TikTok to promote your products or services to a targeted audience. TikTok offers various ad formats, including in-feed ads, branded hashtags, and branded effects.

The Future of Social Commerce

The merging of entertainment and e-commerce is inevitable, and while it may not have worked the way Instagram wanted, TikTok Shop is proving it can be done when done correctly. Although it’s hard to say what the future of social commerce looks like, TikTok has done an incredible job of making a name for itself in the e-commerce world. However, it’s important that these apps remember that while users enjoy the ease of shopping within an app, they will become uninterested if it becomes too pushy. It’s a very fine balance, which TikTok has found for the time being. Whether or not they keep it up is entirely up to them.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to its innovative features, seamless integration, and engaging content, TikTok Shop is achieving what other social media platforms couldn’t. Here at Sway Group, we’re firm believers that taking advantage of all social media features is one of the best ways to get your business in front of more eyes. If you’re a business ready to take advantage of TikTok Shop and the use of influencer marketing, we can help. With a diverse network of over 45,000 creators, we’ll connect you with the perfect influencer for your business. To get started, contact us today!