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How To Sell on TikTok Shop: A Guide For Ecommerce Sellers  

Posted by Robert BrandonLast Updated March 22nd, 2024
— 7 minutes reading

When we think of ecommerce, our minds tend to drift to platforms like Amazon, Shopify, AliExpress, and eBay. But recently, a new player has entered the scene, aiming to shake things up and claim a portion of the digital economy: TikTok, with their aptly named “TikTok Shop.” Considering the popularity of TikTok itself, it’s no wonder so many businesses are scrambling to learn the ins and outs of how to sell on TikTok Shop.

However, treating TikTok Shop like any other ecommerce platform would be a mistake because there isn’t anything quite like it. It’s a sales platform with a unique blend of social media that offers incredibly competitive pricing. But why is TikTok Shop so cheap? And because it’s so cheap, is TikTok Shop safe? Finally, we’ll talk about how to start a TikTok Shop of your own. 

Let’s get started!

What is TikTok Shop?

Before we discuss how to sell on TikTok Shop, let’s quickly go over what it is. Essentially, TikTok Shop is an ecommerce marketplace built into the social media app. It allows applicable TikTok users to sell directly on the platform through a handful of different methods. Even before its inception, many creators already used the platform to advertise their products. The social media company saw this as an opportunity to lessen the strain of converting a viewer to a customer by offering purchase options directly in the app. 

TikTok users that make up purchases via TikTok:  - 9.6% in 2022
- 33.3% in 2023
- 39.9% in 2026

Why is TikTok Shop so cheap?

The notable thing for consumers would be the incredibly low prices offered through TikTok Shop compared to other sales channels. Because TikTok has a vested interest in converting viewers into customers, they often subsidize limited-time sales. In turn, this also helps them attract investors by boosting the number of transactions.

This business model may result in a short-term loss for TikTok, but it will inevitably help them in the long run as more consumers convert from other sales channels. 

Why TikTok Shop?

The TikTok Shop platform has a few advantages over other ecommerce platforms. They tend to stem from its unique nature as a social media platform combined with the new sales platform. 

As of 2023, TikTok boasts a staggering 1.5 billion monthly users. Predictions expect this number to grow to 1.8 billion by the end of 2024 and continue to grow. The visibility that TikTok offers is nearly unprecedented. 

TikTok is also one of the go-to places for consumers to find new products. This is difficult to quantify, but the high user count reflects this. Regardless of industry, having another highly visible sales channel is never a bad thing. 

Businesses already use TikTok for promotional purposes and advertising, so empowering users to buy products directly from the app only makes sense.  

How to Start a TikTok Shop

If you’re wondering how to start a TikTok Shop, the good news is it’s relatively straightforward. While it’s free of upfront costs, TikTok takes a commission on any sales and charges a per-transaction fee. At the time of writing, TikTok takes a 2% commission and charges a 30-cent fee per transaction. However, this commission fee will increase to 8% in July 2024. 

“Ecommerce businesses should learn how to sell on TikTok Shop as soon as possible to reap the benefits of the growing platform.”

First things first, you’ll need to create a business account. As mentioned above, this is free of cost. Owning a business account will also grant access to business features, such as performance analytics and a TikTok ad manager.

Next, apply for the TikTok Shop via the seller registration portal. You’ll have to upload some documents to do so. You’ll need a valid government ID, a copy of the business permit, and proof of ownership. Expect to hear back from TikTok within 1-2 business days. Note that TikTok Shop is not available in all locations. It is currently available in the following markets: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam. TikTok itself is also banned in some countries, such as India. 

Once approved, you’ll be able to link your TikTok account to your shop. Going forward, you’ll be able to promote your products and directly link to them through your content. 

And that’s it! Now you know how to start a TikTok Shop. 

Is TikTok Shop safe for sellers?

Yes! TikTok Shop is safe for sellers. Many people’s apprehensions about TikTok Shop stem from consumers due to the low prices offered. After all, with prices that low, surely there is something fishy going on, right? Well, not necessarily. As mentioned above, TikTok aims to convert as many shoppers as possible, and offering unbeatable prices is a part of that strategy. 

Adding to TikTok Shop’s legitimacy is its use of trusted shippers like DHL and FedEx, which eliminates much of the risk for sellers.

It’s worth mentioning that some are hesitant about TikTok due to their Chinese origins. On its own, this isn’t a reason to stay away from the platform. The concerns, in this case, have to do with data privacy.

Pros & Cons of TikTok Shop  Pros:
- Rapidly growing platform
- Low cost-per-acquisition
- Influencer collaboration  Cons:
- Data privacy concerns
- Competitive landscape
- Reports of some reliability issues

To be clear, TikTok is not the only social media platform that collects user data. Instagram, Facebook, and every other social platform all do the same. The issue, unfortunately, stems from China. Given the app’s country of origin, legislation requires that it legally shares user data with the CCP on request. Because TikTok Shop requires sellers to maintain activity on the app, data privacy should be considered.

How do you make sales on TikTok Shop?

When trying to figure out how to sell on TikTok Shop you’ll need to think of a way to drive sales. For this, it’s important to remember its roots as a social media platform. Those roots are still present in the shop. The most prominent way to showcase your products is through the content you create and publish. This requires you to think like a creator instead of a business. 

Given its origin, many businesses turn to established influencers to help drive sales. Those with an already-existing viewer base have an easy way to show off a variety of products. 

Viewers value short, to-the-point content that shows a product’s purpose in a real-world application. It’s also crucial to stay on top of TikTok trends and apply them whenever possible. The digital landscape moves quickly, and TikTok even more so. 

Of course, any ecommerce business could benefit from using business tools like our inventory management software, inFlow. We created inFlow to work great for retailers who want to track their inventory in real time. Other great features include sales and invoice tracking, barcoding, reporting, bundling, and more!

Now that you know how to sell on TikTok Shop and have decided to go ahead with it, what should you sell? It’s an age-old question that every retailer has to figure out at some point. Social commerce is difficult to figure out, and TikTok is no exception. No matter how many products we list out, there will always be something missing. In the same vein, something that’s popular today could be out of style tomorrow. 

The top selling products on TikTok Shop are health & beauty, food & beverage, & apparel.

Finding products that will sell on TikTok Shop is about following the trends. They move rapidly, but a few categories pop up very often. 

  • Clothing: Unsurprisingly, clothing has become one of the top-selling products on the platform. It’s a necessary part of daily life, making it an evergreen product with consistent sales throughout the year.
  • Consumer electronics: Considering the short-form nature of TikTok, consumer electronics have also flooded the market. These range from everyday devices like cell phones to more off-the-wall picks, like the “bagel guillotine,” a rather morbid name for a simple bagel cutter.
  • Beauty products: As a platform, TikTok (and, by extension, TikTok Shop) focuses on the individual. Considering this, it’s no surprise that beauty products remain popular. A popular trend for influencers is showing off makeup applications. This, specifically, creates opportunities for them to sell the very products they use, making them ideal collaboration partners. 

Wrapping up

And that’s it! Now you know how to sell on TikTok Shop. While doing so requires some out of the box thinking, the rewards are potentially massive. Experts also expect the social commerce trend to continue growing, making this an ideal time to start.

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