TikTok For E-commerce Brands: Complete Guide (2024)

TikTok For E-commerce Brands: Complete Guide (2024)

Cathy Carpetta

Cathy Carpetta

January 19, 2024

As we zoom into 2024, TikTok stands not just as a digital marketing powerhouse but as an essential platform for e-commerce brands.

With its blend of catchy trends, user engagement, and an ever-growing audience, TikTok provides many opportunities for brands to boost their sales and online presence.

In 2023, TikTok had 1.22 billion monthly active users, and it's projected to reach two billion by the end of 2024. About 49% of TikTok users say the platform influences their purchase decisions, leading to a 55% conversion rate for brand exposure.

Let’s discover how TikTok is now essential for your e-commerce brand and TikTok Shop or TikTok Advertisement can help you become the next viral brand. 

1. What is TikTok?

Despite launching only in 2016, TikTok became widely known, and has been downloaded more than 3 billion times! 

Lifetime user spending on TikTok has risen to $456.7 million and generated an estimated $9.4 billion in revenue in 2022. 

It even overtook Google as the most visited internet site.  

TikTok is a social media app that allows users to create content, share, and discover short-form videos between 15 seconds to 10 minutes long. 

It's known for its engaging content, creative filters, and music options. 

2. And why do your e-commerce brands need TikTok? 

The TikTok algorithm promotes content based on user preferences and decides which videos appear on your For You page. Unlike Instagram or Twitter, TikTok can show your content to users who don't follow you. Viral content is displayed to anyone the algorithm thinks will enjoy it. This means your brand can gain visibility beyond your followers and core audience.

Here's how TikTok describes its For You page algorithm:

A stream of videos curated to your interests, making it easy to find content and creators you love … powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user.

Interestingly, TikTok does NOT base its recommendations on follower count or a history of previous high-performing videos.

The average TikTok user spends 95 minutes on the app daily, with  90% of users accessing it daily. This has made TikTok the preferred social media platform for engaging and entertaining content. It has gained popularity across all age groups, making it the 6th most widely used social media platform.

3. 4 reasons TikTok can help you grow your sales 

92% of global users take action after watching a TikTok video.
Over 86B views for the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt. 

Following the lead of Facebook and Instagram, the platform introduced TikTok For Business in 2020, simplifying the process for merchants to link their e-commerce stores. 

This feature enables them to create TikTok Ads, synchronise their product catalogues, and provide their audience with a distinctive shopping experience.

  • Vast audience reach: TikTok has a massive, diverse user base, providing a significant platform for brands to reach potential customers.
    37% of TikTok users go to the app to follow new trends. 
  • Engagement and brand awareness: The platform's interactive nature fosters high engagement levels, helping to increase brand visibility and awareness.
  • Influencer marketing: TikTok is home to numerous influencers across various niches, allowing brands to collaborate and reach targeted audiences effectively.
    41% of TikTok users say they are responsive to TikTok influencers' reviews.
  • Viral potential: Content on TikTok can go viral quickly, offering brands the opportunity for exponential exposure 

4. TikTok Shop: Revolutionising online shopping and social commerce

TikTok Shop UK is the platform's gem for your online store. 

It's where social media meets online shopping, offering brands a chance to sell directly on the app through your brand TikTok profile.

Key features of TikTok Shop:

  • In-Feed video and live shopping: Shop directly from TikTok videos and live streams in your For You feed.
  • Product showcase: Discover and buy products from your favourite brands' profiles. Brands can curate custom collections on their profile pages.
  • Shop tab: Explore a new product marketplace, find promotions, and manage orders all in one place. Product listings and shoppable content make shopping easy.
  • Affiliate program: Creators can earn commissions by promoting products in short videos and livestreams. Sellers can choose the right Affiliate plan for their brand.
  • Shop Ads: Sellers can promote their shops with TikTok Shop Ads for seamless shopping experiences.
  • Secure checkout: Trustworthy third-party payment platforms ensure quick, smooth, and secure transactions. User data is stored and managed in the US.

Thanks to different partnerships, you can easily manage your TikTok Shop through platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, BigCommerce, and more.

There are also additional apps and services for customer service like Zendesk or Gorgias, print-on-demand merchandise and reviews.

Facing potential regulatory challenges in the U.S., TikTok is making a bold move to strengthen its e-commerce foothold with the introduction of their Deals For You Days (only in the US for now).

This significant sales event kicks off on July 9, positioning itself just ahead of Amazon's Prime Day on July 16.

The event promises substantial discounts across a wide range of popular products, including fashion, beauty, home entertainment, and books, all available directly through TikTok Shop.

In an effort to differentiate itself, TikTok will leverage its unique platform capabilities by hosting live shopping events.

These events will feature prominent brands like L'Oréal Paris, Maybelline New York, and NYX Professional Makeup, as well as top influencers, creating an engaging, interactive shopping experience that rivals traditional e-commerce models.

This initiative by TikTok highlights its innovative approach to combining social media with e-commerce, offering a dynamic and engaging shopping experience that is redefining online retail.

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5. Mastering TikTok Ads

Source: We are social x Meltwater

67% of TikTok users say they discover new products through advertising. 

TikTok Ads offers advertising options like in-feed ads, branded hashtags, and brand takeovers. These ads can be targeted based on demographics, interests, and user behaviour, making them highly effective for e-commerce marketing strategy.

5 tips to optimise your TikTok ads 

  • Use high-resolution images for your app ad to ensure visibility on the user's entire screen.
  • Stick to a single call to action (CTA) to avoid confusing users with redirection links.
  • Remember that ad descriptions are limited to 80 characters, consider incorporating text into visuals using the Video Creation Kit for complex products or services.
  • Position key creative elements in the centre of the screen to prevent clutter, as ad descriptions appear at the bottom.
  • Experiment with various targeting options and creative elements to optimise ad performance.

Top performing trends: Influencer collab x Unboxing

Unboxing videos are super popular on TikTok and can be a great marketing tool for e-commerce brands. They showcase products in a real-life context and build excitement around them.

Collaborating with influencers to create sponsored posts and sending a product to unbox is one of the top trends!

Like the example below, @Maisyleighs with @Logitech created a high-quality unboxing video featuring Maisy discovering her new Logitech keyboard features.
The video received more than 38k likes!  

@maisyleighs #ad unboxing the new @logitech #POPKeys & #POPMouse 💜✨ I absolutely love the amount of personality in these emoji keycaps! #LogitechPartner ♬ Sunroof - Nicky Youre & dazy

For e-commerce brands to truly harness TikTok's potential, a mix of creativity, audience understanding, and perfect timing is key. 

Content that resonates with TikTok's community, which is engaging, fun, and authentic, is crucial. Furthermore, leveraging influencer collaborations can bridge the gap between brands and their target audience, adding a layer of authenticity and trust.

6. 5 best brands to follow on TikTok

e.l.f. Cosmetics on TikTok (@elfyeah)

e.l.f. Cosmetics harnessed TikTok's visual appeal and launched the viral dance challenge, #EyesLipsFace.

They even commissioned the catchy "Eyes Lips Face" song to promote their brand acronym, e.l.f.

This challenge skyrocketed with a staggering 9.2 billion views.

With 1.3M followers and 26.2M likes, e.l.f. collaborates with brands like Dunkin' for unique product launches.

Their partnership with beauty influencer Mikayla Nogueira resulted in a TikTok campaign that garnered 6 million views.

Gymshark on TikTok (@gymshark)

Gymshark, a UK-based fitness apparel brand, has nearly 5.3M followers and 93M likes on TikTok.

Their strong suit lies in collaborating with fitness and fashion influencers, radiating body positivity and self-confidence.

Gymshark actively fosters user-generated content (UGC) to cultivate a strong community around the brand.

Encouraging UGC on TikTok can boost brand credibility and authenticity. Happy customers sharing their experiences can influence others and drive sales.

Their content not only inspires a healthy lifestyle but also beautifully showcases their products.

Engaging with popular trends and challenges like the “66 Days: Change Your Life”, generating over 193 million views on the hashtag #gymshark66. 

Fenty Beauty on TikTok (@fentybeauty)

Fenty Beauty, a cosmetics powerhouse, commands over 2.7M followers and 56M likes on TikTok.

Their commitment to diversity shines through, featuring various skin tones in makeup tutorials.

Educational content prevails, offering tutorials on product usage and teasing new releases.

Authenticity reigns as they provide glimpses behind the scenes and spotlight their diverse team.

Successful hashtag challenge campaigns like #TheNextFentyFace have fostered a sense of community. These challenges encourage UGC and create a sense of community around the brand.

Dermalogica on TikTok (@dermalogica)

Dermalogica, a skincare brand renowned for serums and moisturisers, has more than 114.4K followers and almost 1M likes.

They often share skincare tips and tricks, serving as a valuable resource for their audience.

Dermalogica's videos align with their brand's identity, showcasing a colour palette that mirrors their aesthetic.

Bigblue Tips

Thanks to their unique unboxing made possible by Bigblue, the brand received more than
155 million views on TikTok!
Discover Bigblue's unboxing experience

Extra: Duolingo on TikTok (@duolingo)

Not an e-commerce brand, but I simply love Duolingo’s TikTok strategy!

Duolingo gained popularity on TikTok, thanks to their witty and relatable mascot, the "angry owl".

This mascot inspired a trend in using mascots on TikTok, leading to the #mascottok category.

Duolingo now has 8.8M followers and 187.9M likes, renowned for its experimentation, humour, and distinctive brand voice.

These brands have effectively harnessed TikTok's power to engage their target audiences through innovative content, strategic collaborations, and an unwavering commitment to authenticity and inclusivity.

By leveraging TikTok's unique features and vast user base, e-commerce businesses can increase their online visibility, engage with potential customers, and ultimately drive sales growth. 

Whether it's through interactive shopping experiences, creative ads, or strategic influencer partnerships, the potential of TikTok is immense.

Brands like e.l.f., Dermalogica, Fenty Beauty, Gymshark, and Duolingo are excellent examples of how diverse strategies can lead to significant impact and success on the TikTok app.

In summary, TikTok represents a dynamic and influential platform for e-commerce businesses, offering unique opportunities for brand promotion, customer engagement, and sales growth. Its integration of social media with e-commerce functionality makes it an essential tool in the modern digital marketing landscape.

So, for e-commerce brands looking to up their game, diving into the TikTok universe could be the game-changer. It’s about blending your brand story with TikTok’s dynamic and playful spirit to create something truly memorable.

Frequently asked questions
Everything you need to know.
What makes TikTok a unique platform for e-commerce brands?

TikTok's unique appeal for e-commerce lies in its massive, diverse user base and the nature of its content delivery. Unlike other social platforms, TikTok's algorithm promotes content based on user interests rather than follower count, allowing brands to reach a wider audience beyond their followers. The engaging, creative nature of the platform, combined with its vast reach and high user engagement, makes it a powerful tool for brands to increase visibility and drive sales.

How does TikTok influence consumer purchasing decisions?

TikTok significantly influences consumer purchasing decisions, with about 49% of users stating that the platform sways their purchases. This influence is evident in the platform's high conversion rate and the viral impact of hashtags like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt. The platform's content, often driven by trends and user-generated content, persuades users to take action, including making purchases.

What are the best practices for promoting products on TikTok?

To effectively promote products on TikTok, it's essential to create engaging and original content that resonates with your audience. Utilise trending hashtags, collaborate with influencers and incorporate TikTok's unique features such as challenges and filters. Ensure your content is visually appealing and aligns with the spontaneous, authentic nature of TikTok.

What are the best practices for optimising TikTok Ads for e-commerce brands?

To optimise TikTok Ads, e-commerce brands should focus on high-resolution visuals, a clear call to action (CTA), and concise ad descriptions, limited to 80 characters. Positioning key creative elements centrally is crucial, as is experimenting with various targeting options. Leveraging user-generated content and trends, such as unboxing videos, can also enhance ad effectiveness and engagement.