#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt: How to Reap the Benefits of Social Commerce

#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt: How to Reap the Benefits of Social Commerce

Social commerce is starting to rewrite the rules of traditional eCommerce. Those who embrace this change are not just surviving. They're thriving, harnessing the power of virality to propel their brands to new heights.

Social commerce is not merely a trend—it's an evolution. By 2027, it's predicted that social commerce sales will reach a staggering $605 billion globally. Yes, you read that right. $605 billion. That's a market opportunity no brand can afford to ignore.

There’s one platform, in particular, that's been making waves in the social commerce scene—TikTok. More specifically, TikTok Shop. This platform offers a fresh, engaging, and highly effective avenue for eCommerce.

In this blog post, we're going to delve deep into the world of TikTok and TikTok Shop. We'll explore how innovative brands are leveraging this platform for product launches, share winning strategies from the biggest brands using TikTok Shop, and discuss how your company can seamlessly integrate this into your existing omnichannel marketing approach. (If you're looking for a more practical guide to selling on TikTok Shop, we've got you covered too.)

Understanding the Power of TikTok for Product Launches

TikTok’s unique algorithm, which prioritizes virality and engagement, offers a fertile ground for brands to introduce new products by fostering customer interaction. With over 1 billion monthly active users and an average daily time spent of 52 minutes, the potential for reach and impact on TikTok is immense.

Several notable brands have successfully capitalized on this platform to launch their products. We'll walk through a few of them and explain how they did it.

Shein: A Case Study in TikTok Shop Success

With over 6.5 million followers on TikTok, the fashion brand used the platform's shoppable ads and influencer marketing to generate sales by driving traffic.

One of the key strategies Shein used was creating engaging and shareable content that resonated with their target audience. By tapping into popular trends and using influencers with large followings, they were able to reach millions of potential customers and generate buzz around their products. During one TikTok campaign, the hashtag #shein went viral (25.2B views), with discount codes pouring in worldwide and "flash sales" on the site re-launched by social users, prompting compulsive and instant purchases.

@shein_official Turn ordinary bottled drinks into a fountain of fun! 💫 Just twist, flip and pour to get the party started 😋🥤🎉 #SHEINstyle #saveinstyle #SHEIN #SHEINhome #drink #fyp ♬ original sound - SHEIN

But it's not just about creating viral content. Shein also used TikTok Shop to create a seamless customer shopping experience that allowed users to easily purchase the featured products without leaving the app, making for a frictionless shopping experience. (More on this later.)

Adidas, Fenty Beauty, Crocs, and Scrub Daddy: Influencer Marketing on TikTok

These four brands have something in common—they all have a significant presence on TikTok, with followers in the millions, and they use influencer marketing to promote their products. 

@adidas just another year at the office. ​ 💍💍💍💍💍💍💍💍​ #messi #goat #ballondor #adidas ♬ original sound - adidas

From partnering with popular content creators to hosting sponsored hashtag challenges, these brands understand the power of user-generated content and word-of-mouth marketing. They also use TikTok Shop’s shoppable video feature to make it easier for users to purchase their products directly from the app.

e.l.f. Cosmetics and Hero Cosmetics: TikTok Campaigns that Drive Sales

Both e.l.f. Cosmetics and Hero Cosmetics ran successful TikTok campaigns centered around their products and brand values.

e.l.f. Cosmetics offered a special discount code exclusively for TikTok users, while Hero Cosmetics's campaign focused on user-generated content and promoting their acne treatment product through a hashtag challenge. Both strategies resulted in significant engagement and conversions, showcasing the potential for brands to use TikTok creatively to drive sales. In fact, from this campaign e.l.f. Cosmetics’ cost-per-acquisition decreased by 56%.

@elfyeah 🚨New Product Alert 🚨e.l.f. has new products launching this week 😁 Be first to try our new CC Cream & Lash It Loud Mascara 👏 #holidayshopping ♬ Christmas! - Wall Potato

Brands big and small are finding success on TikTok Shop, and it's clear that the platform holds great potential for eCommerce businesses. So, let's break down exactly how businesses can use social commerce to achieve their sales goals.

Best Practices for Product Launches on TikTok and TikTok Shop

Creating engaging TikTok Shop campaigns requires a combination of creativity, authenticity, and strategic planning. Here are some best practices for creating engaging TikTok Shop campaigns:

Know your audience

Take a look at your customers' shopping history and behavioral data to get a better understanding of your target audience's interests, values, and preferences. This will help you create content that has the potential to go viral and attract potential customers.

Let's say that your audience is made up of Gen Z users who are passionate about sustainability—something that you notice because your sustainable products are top-sellers. 

In this case, you may want to create content that showcases your brand's commitment to sustainable practices and features eco-friendly products.

Create authentic content

TikTok users value authenticity, so creating content that feels genuine and relatable is important. Many brands get stuck on this point, so experiment with different types of content until you find what your audience responds to.

For example, if you run a sporting goods store, incorporate high-energy, athletic routines into your content to show off your products. If you run a hardware store, create content showing off your best DIY tips.

Ultimately, you are trying to provide value to your audience and link that value to a product offering.

Collaborate with influencers

Influencers can help you reach a wider audience quickly and can add credibility to your brand. And if you're unfamiliar with the idea of influencers, think of them as modern-day celebrities and potential product endorsers.

Partnering with influencers can help you tap into their loyal fanbase and create engaging content that resonates with their followers. Just be sure to vet your partnerships. Choose influencers who align with your brand values and have an engaged audience.

Unfortunately, we've seen tons of examples of failed influencer-brand partnerships simply because the values of the brand and the influencers were at odds—and they proceeded anyway. That's a great way to lose money and potentially alienate your target audience.

Use built-in TikTok Shop features

TikTok Shop offers a range of features, giving brands flexibility and allowing customers to experience the joy of discovering and purchasing new products without leaving the app. Baked right into the platform are features like in-feed video, live shopping, product showcase, shop ads, and secured checkout.

Place yourself in the shoes of a customer. You're browsing through your TikTok feed, and you discover a video from your favorite brand showcasing their latest product. You love it, and in just a few clicks, you can explore more details, add it to your cart, and make a purchase without ever leaving the app.

This seamless shopping experience on TikTok has proven to be effective in converting viewers into customers. In fact, 33.3% of TikTok users will make purchases via the platform in 2023, which is expected to jump to nearly 40% of users by 2026.

It's a powerful conversion funnel that enables brands to capitalize on the platform's highly engaged user base.

Prioritize top-selling products

Showcasing top-selling products can boost sales and gross merchandise value (GMV). Since TikTok Shop is all about discovery and impulse purchases, featuring your top-selling products in your campaigns will increase the likelihood of customers purchasing.

Additionally, highlighting customer reviews or user-generated content (UGC) for these top-selling products can serve as social proof and further entice potential customers to purchase.

Imagine you're a company selling athletic clothes and notice that customers gravitate towards a particular product. You decide to promote this popular item on TikTok Shop, highlighting its versatility, comfort, and stylishness through creative content. And that's not all—you've got loads of user-generated content showcasing just how versatile this top-selling product really is!

This combination is incredibly powerful and can ultimately lead to increased sales and customer loyalty.

Create urgency

Emphasize limited-time promotions to create a sense of urgency and encourage customers to make a purchase. This can be in the form of flash sales, limited edition products, or exclusive discounts for TikTok Shop users.

By creating a sense of urgency, you can tap into the FOMO (fear of missing out) mentality and drive conversions. Around 60% of millennial consumers report making a reactive purchase after they experience FOMO, often within 24 hours. This also creates a sense of excitement and anticipation among customers for your next campaign launch.

Incorporating TikTok Shop into an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy

Now that you understand more about social commerce and how brands are using TikTok Shop,  it's time to integrate it into your overall marketing strategy. There are three main areas to think about when integrating TikTok Shop:

Defining your target audience

Social commerce and TikTok Shop, specifically, won't be for everyone. And that's okay.

An omnichannel marketing strategy aims to reach all parts of your audience and ensure you're engaging with them in the right way. So, when defining your target audience for TikTok Shop, consider who would be most interested in your products on this platform. Consider their age, interests, and behavior on social media.

For example, if you sell snack items to a demographic that enjoys a little quirkiness, TikTok Shop may be your perfect platform. You can partner with influencers and create visually appealing campaigns that resonate with this younger audience. Sabra did exactly that by jumping on some trends and including familiar faces in their campaigns.

@sabra When the hummus taste better than frosting?! @brittany_broski #sabra #sabrahummus #chocolate #fyp #kombuchagirl ♬ Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (Remastered) - Eurythmics & Annie Lennox & Dave Stewart

TikTok Shop should have its own unique campaigns tailored to the interests and preferences of your target audience on this platform.

Creating specific campaigns for the platform

Don't simply repurpose marketing materials from other platforms. It's lazy, and your audience will feel the lack of effort.

Instead, think about the content that resonates with TikTok users—authenticity, humor, and relatability. Plan out specific campaigns for TikTok Shop that tap into these qualities and showcase your products in an engaging way.

For example, you can create short videos featuring your products in unique settings or partner with influencers to showcase their favorite items from your brand.

TikTok Shop also has a popular affiliate program that makes it easy for merchants to find and partner with creators to promote their products. Consider incorporating these tactics into your campaigns for maximum impact. These strategies can help increase your reach and engagement, leading to more sales and customer connections.

Use tools that enhance the capabilities of TikTok Shop

Running a campaign on TikTok Shop has its own challenges. Unlike traditional eCommerce, where consumers can easily click through to your website and make a purchase, TikTok Shop requires users to complete their purchase within the app. 

As a business that's scaling, this introduces many variables, like potential inventory management issues across multiple touchpoints. If you are a larger business with multiple warehouses, this problem is compounded further.

This means that your TikTok Shop interface must talk to your inventory management software and to your accounting software. Otherwise, you risk overselling (or underselling) products and confusing customers. It's important to have a solid strategy for managing inventory and ensuring a smooth customer purchasing experience.

Solutions like AfterShip Feed were created specifically for this purpose, helping merchants easily sync their inventory across different channels and platforms. Designed for TikTok Shop, AfterShip Feed makes product listing and order fulfillment easy. It automates product listing, pricing, inventory, and order syncing to save time and resources.

Incorporating into your overall strategy

TikTok Shop should be seen as a complement to your current marketing mix, not a replacement. It allows you to reach a specific audience authentically and engagingly, but it should not overshadow the other aspects of your marketing strategy.

Do you have a successful email marketing campaign? Fantastic—keep that going. Are you using Facebook and Instagram ads effectively? Fantastic—continue to do so. TikTok Shop can enhance your overall strategy by reaching a specific audience on a popular and engaging platform, but it should not be the only focus.

Running campaigns on other platforms and channels ensures you reach all parts of your audience. This will help you maintain a well-rounded and effective marketing strategy that can help drive overall success for your brand.

And while you should avoid repurposing content, you can still use successful tactics and messaging from other channels to inform your campaigns on TikTok Shop. Just remember to tailor your content specifically for the platform and its unique audience. (There are tons of other tactics for selling on TikTok you can find online, too.)

Putting it all together: exploring social commerce through TikTok Shop

Social commerce has proven a powerful tool for brands seeking to connect with their target audience and boost sales. TikTok Shop has become a popular platform for businesses to engage with Gen Z and younger demographics. It's a great way to tap into the market's pulse and reach potential customers meaningfully.

After reading this blog, you should have a better understanding of:

  • What social commerce is and why it's important
  • Winning strategies from top brands
  • Best practices for your own campaigns
  • Tips for incorporating TikTok Shop into your overall marketing mix
  • The beginnings of how to stand out in a crowded market

By following these strategies, you can effectively use social commerce and TikTok Shop to drive sales, connect with your target audience, and ultimately grow your brand.

And if you've already dabbled with social commerce and TikTok Shop, it’s time to take things to the next level by incorporating AfterShip Feed. Try for free here.