TikTok Social Commerce Build A Brand

TikTok Shop ‘hard to crack’ but does boost revenue, say CMOs. Read their top tips


By Hannah Bowler, Senior Reporter

February 15, 2024 | 7 min read

Chief marketing officers at Wild Deodorant and the cosmetics group Brand Agency London share their trials and tribulations with the live shopping platform.

Three examples of TikTok Shop

How brands are doing TikTok Shop

Cosmetics brand Lottie London recently revealed to The Drum that 30% of its revenue comes from TikTok Shop. That is a significant figure, especially considering TikTok only launched its e-commerce platform in the UK in September.

TikTok’s marketplace is embedded into the app with a dedicated shop button. It also allows users to shop directly on the platform. Products on the Shop page are displayed like any other e-commerce site with static images and product information below. Items can also be brought directly from a video served on the homepage, as well as live shopping sessions.

What is TikTok Shop’s offering?

  • In-feed video and live shopping: Users can shop tagged products directly from videos and in the ‘For You’ feed.

  • Product showcases: Browse product collections, read reviews and purchase directly from a brand’s profile page.

  • Shop tab: A product marketplace where businesses can display their products and customers can easily search and discover promotions, get new product recommendations and manage their orders, all within a single tab.

  • Affiliate program: A way for creators to connect with sellers through commission-based product marketing.

  • Shop ads: Brands can buy spots within the TikTok Shop page to promote their shop pages and purchase through the ad.

  • Fulfilled by TikTok: A logistics solution that TikTok handles the packing and shipping process for merchants.

  • Secure checkout: TikTok works with trusted third-party payment platforms to facilitate transactions on TikTok Shop.

Plastic-free deodorant Wild is already seeing health revenue from TikTok Shop, but its marketing director Harry Symes-Thompson says it’s pretty hard graft.

“It’s a novel channel, which I think is hard for brands to crack. But it does give you a bit of defensibility from competitors,” he says. “It’s a very difficult channel to manage because the integrations between TikTok and your Shopify stores are really difficult and TikTok does like to make it hard.”

However, he says when you get a good surge of traffic to a live video it can drive lots of revenue. Symes-Thompson says customers are going to become “more savvy to how it works” so advises brands to be “creative with the topics that you talk about and make it slightly different each time.”

He also says: “You have to be clever with the offers and you have to have a great host talking who knows their stuff. The TikTok customer is very different from any other customer. They want instant kind of gratification. It's quite an impulse-driven purchase so you have to be funny, creative, and have a great offer.”

While in its infancy, TikTok Shop is about testing different concepts and offering to find out what sticks, though Symes-Thompson also says that for hosting live sessions it can be very tiring. “I went on one for 15 minutes and it’s draining.”

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Brand Agency London, which owns Lottie London and I am Proud, is already seeing big gains on TikTok Shop. Nora Zukauskaite, the global marketing director, says: “We are on the next stage of our TikTok journey, which is through social commerce. That is becoming a really big revenue driver and revenue stream for us and in some months can be 30% of DTC revenue in the UK.”

Zukauskaite has observed the “explosion” of brands developed purely for social commerce, with TikTok Shop leading the way. “We keep seeing lots of trends and a lot of products becoming super popular, selling very high levels, and those brands are completely created on TikTok Shop. Within beauty, we will see more and more brands being created this way versus traditional long-term brand building purpose-led style.”

There is a big unknown, however, over how these brands will fare in the long term. “At the moment, the communications and the sales are very product-driven, very tactical very attention-grabbing and transformational content,” she says.

The brand-building tactics are completely different from the traditional strategies the big multinational companies have been employing for decades, Zukauskaite explains.

5 tips for TikTok Shop

  1. Give out customer perks, offers like free shipping or discounts for buying multiple products.

  2. Buy TikTok ads to boost the shopping pages.

  3. Kickstart a TikTok challenge and hand out free products as prizes.

  4. Partner with a content creator, but make sure they know your products inside and out.

  5. Be quick to respond to customer queries.

TikTok Social Commerce Build A Brand

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