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TikTok Shop: What Marketers Need to Know

The newest e-commerce platform boasts the full funnel, but not all brands are on board.

girl in coral jumpsuit making fingers into a square

It's undeniable that TikTok has swiftly evolved from a source of entertainment to a bustling marketplace. With users in the US alone spending over $363 million on TikTok Shop purchases in November, it's evident that the platform's direction has taken a seismic shift. But what does this mean for marketers and advertisers?

Is TikTok Shop the New Mall?

For many, the transition of TikTok into a shopping destination might feel abrupt -- we're accustomed to scrolling through dance challenges and recipe videos, not virtual storefronts. But with over 150 million users in the US, the potential customer base is too ripe for many brands to ignore.

However, despite the allure of tapping into this massive audience, some brands are hesitant to jump on the TikTok Shop bandwagon. Concerns about the proliferation of low-cost, low-quality products flooding the platform may deter those who want to maintain a luxurious, exclusive brand image.

Combining Entertainment with E-Commerce

For brands contemplating their next move, it's crucial to recognize that TikTok's identity is evolving. Rather than viewing TikTok Shop as a separate entity from the platform's core functionality, it's more productive to see it as an extension. It's a seamless integration of discovery and entertainment with tangible product purchases.

TikTok Shop is the full funnel: awareness, influence, and purchase on one page.

While it's true that the TikTok Shop hasn't yet translated into profits for parent company ByteDance, its pivot towards e-commerce signals long-term sustainability. This shift underscores the platform's potential as a lucrative marketplace.

Crafting a TikTok Shop Strategy

So, what's the optimal strategy for marketers in this evolving landscape? Rather than shying away from the TikTok Shop, there's a way to embrace it strategically.

By carefully curating products and implementing effective paid media campaigns, brands can strike a balance between leveraging TikTok's popularity and preserving their brand image.

Finding success on TikTok requires understanding both of its "faces": the entertainment side and the commerce side. Whether you're creating your own social content or working with influencers, the content can't be siloed from the sales. TikTok is reportedly planning to make all videos shoppable one day, so they must be considered in tandem. As the platform strengthens the relationship between social media and commerce, savvy marketers have an opportunity to carve out their niche in this new ecosystem.

In conclusion, while TikTok's transformation into a virtual shopping mall may feel unfamiliar, it presents an exciting opportunity for marketers willing to navigate this new terrain. By embracing strategic adaptation and leveraging the platform's immense reach, brands can position themselves for success in the ever-evolving world of e-commerce.


This piece originally appeared in our weekly Paid Media Insights newsletter. For more tips, research, and analysis; subscribe for free here.


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