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Social commerce is one of the fastest-growing branches of eCommerce; its estimated global sales were $992 billion in 2022 and it’s still expected to double in the next three years. This impressive growth results from social media companies finding new ways to monetize their platforms.

Following in the steps of Facebook and Instagram, ByteDance recently equipped the TikTok app with a shopping feature that allows users to buy products directly within the app. This article will cover what TikTok Shop is and how it works. You’ll also learn why it’s a compelling option for small business owners starting an online store or pairing TikTok with their eCommerce website.

What is TikTok Shop?

TikTok Shop enables brands to sell products directly on the huge social media app TikTok. Users have been able to see ads for products, but they previously would need to leave the app in order to purchase. Now, with TikTok Shop, people can buy directly in the app.

Click the Sign up now button to create a TikTok Shop account.
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How does TikTok Shop work?

TikTok Shop enables businesses to manage their sales, inventory and promotions on the app. There’s a shop tab to configure and product tags to use in videos. You can hold shopping events on livestreams and run paid ad campaigns. An analytics dashboard is provided to track your efforts.

Here’s the bulk of what you’ll be doing as a business owner on the TikTok Shop:

Purchases and conversions

First things first, you’ll need to import products from your existing online store or add them directly to the app.

Once you have set up your Shop and linked it with your TikTok account, your profile will get a Shop tab, which acts as a storefront for users to browse through your products.

You decide whether you want users to complete purchases on the TikTok app or be redirected to your eCommerce website.

Campaigns and promotions

Since you’ll be selling products, TikTok Shop provides the tools to promote them and ensure the right people see.

This includes allowing you to tag products in short videos and start streaming to host live shopping events for viewers. You can also create paid advert campaigns that use TikTok’s algorithm to target potential buyers with matching interests.

Creator collaborations

Content creators have the power to influence people’s opinions and drive engagement because of the audiences that consume their content. By building a TikTok influencer marketing strategy, you can form partnerships with these creators, who will work to increase your sales.

Notably, TikTok is overflowing with highly influential content creators to partner with. In fact, out of all TikTok creators, over 15% have more than 100,000 followers viewing their content. Furthermore, 71% of creators have between 10 and 50 thousand followers.

Performance analysis

The app includes tools to track the performance of your initiatives as a TikTok Shop seller. You can set and measure eCommerce key performance indicators from a single dashboard available to shop owners.

Benefits of using TikTok Shop for your small business

Popular platforms like Amazon and WooCommerce can integrate with TikTok Shop, so you don’t have to pick just one — the more, the merrier. With that in mind, here are some reasons to add TikTok Shop to your roster.

It’s free

You can register at no cost. This makes it a perfect solution for expanding small businesses, even on a limited budget.

What’s the catch? TikTok collects a commission on your sales. Still, you’re free to start listing and selling your products once your account is approved.

It’s bustling

Making an online presence on TikTok means over a billion potential customers can see it. Furthermore, people are already engaged and spending money on the app; in 2022 alone, TikTok users spent over $3 billion on in-app purchases, the highest for any mobile app that year.

This lucrative market is the core of what TikTok shop is and why businesses should get on board with in-app shopping.

Setting up TikTok Shop

Setting up your TikTok Shop is a straightforward four-step process.

Sign up

The first step is to sign up for a TikTok Shop profile, which differs from a regular TikTok account — but you can sign up using a TikTok account if you have one. Your other options are to use an email address or a phone number.

Open a TikTok Shop account with your email or phone number.
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Complete your application

The next step is to complete the application process by providing documents that verify your identity or your business. You can register as an individual or a corporate seller.

As an individual, you will need some form of government ID, like a passport or driver’s license. A business registration requires documents that show the business name, employer ID number (EIN), business address and tax ID.

For both options, you must provide payment and tax information before submitting your application.

Add your business details when setting up a TikTok Shop account.
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Get approved

After submitting your application, it goes through a review process to confirm your info is accurate.

This process can take up to six days. When it’s done, you’ll receive an email confirming your account is approved. If there are any issues with your documents, the app may ask you to resubmit them or provide clarification.

Set up your store and link your TikTok account

Once your application is approved, you can complete the setup of your TikTok Shop. If you didn’t sign up with your TikTok account, link it to your store at this stage.

Start adding your products. If you already have an online store and plan to use TikTok as a strategy to boost your eCommerce growth, then use TikTok Shop apps to link all your selling platforms.

These apps can sync your TikTok Shop with data from popular eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce, so your product photos, descriptions and inventory automatically update across all platforms.

You can link your existing online store to your newly created TikTok Shop.
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If TikTok shop is your only online store, add your products directly to the app and manage everything from there, including orders, shipping, sales and discounts.

How small businesses succeed with TikTok Shop

Now that you’re established on the app, here are some tips to reach a target audience and land sales.

Create content around your product. TikTok is primarily a social media platform, and it’s free to build your follower base while promoting your content. Your posts will serve as an entertaining product showcase for your customers.

Optimize your product listings by adding clear images and writing detailed product descriptions. People browsing should have enough compelling information to make their purchase decisions.

Take advantage of the TikTok affiliate program and let creators market your products. These influencers already have a captive audience and more insight into how engagement works on the platform, so they’ll be effective publicists.

Latch onto trending topics and hashtags when creating content around your products. Add these tags to your videos to increase the visibility of your products.

Final thoughts: How can your small business benefit from TikTok Shop?

Now that you know what TikTok shop is and how to get started, you can be up and running in minutes with no upfront costs.

For an eCommerce solution that syncs with TikTok Shop for easier product management, start your store with WooCommerce hosting from Bluehost.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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