TikTok Marketing for eCommerce Businesses in 2021

TikTok is gearing up for an eCommerce revolution, and it could take your online business to the next level. 

The viral social media app has partnered with Shopify, experimented with live-stream shopping, and is currently developing a new range of eCommerce tools to sell on-app. It all means one thing: there’s never been a better time to be a Shopify seller on TikTok.

As we move toward social commerce, though, simple video ads aren’t enough. To win on TikTok, your brand needs to generate content that users want. Confused about how to do that? No worries — by the end of this 5-minute guide, you’ll have everything you need to get your online store started on TikTok.

Why Should You Use TikTok For Marketing Your Business

First, a quick introduction: TikTok is a social media platform that has gained a massive user base all around the world — particularly with Gen Z (people born between the mid-90s and early 2010s). The app specializes in short-form looped video, often to viral soundbites or challenges. As of Q2 2021, the TikTok app has over a billion annual users. Here are a few reasons the platform is perfect for eCommerce marketing:

    Massive audience. One of TikTok’s most prominent features is its ‘For You page,’ a powerful discovery feed that algorithmically selects videos to show its users. While most organic social media channels are limited to your existing network, your TikTok is available to everyone. Viral potential. The For You page has turned teenagers into superstars almost overnight — and it can do the same for your brand. With such high potential for viral content, generating brand awareness has become possible for all sorts of new online stores. Authentic content. Most mature social media platforms have evolved into highly polished and professional marketing channels. But TikTok is newer and has a younger audience — TikTok users tend to be more interested in creativity and innovative content than highly produced ads. That means there’s room for small and large businesses alike to succeed.

Hopefully, by now, you’re convinced you should incorporate TikTok into your marketing strategy. But how exactly should you do that? Let’s discuss organic marketing strategies you can use to reach your target audience on TikTok.

Tips for eCommerce Marketing on TikTok

Take advantage of viral trends and challenges

Like we mentioned earlier, TikTok specializes in viral soundbites, most of which are associated with a particular trend or challenge. A typical TikTok hashtag can generate millions of views within a few days — even hours — before it fades into obscurity.

Unlike Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, where you might have all your posts scheduled out a month in advance, TikTok requires dynamic and adaptive creativity: you’ll need to come up with TikTok ideas on the fly.

Here’s an example. In October of 2021, a TikTok featuring an awkward reunion between college boyfriend and girlfriend went viral (#couchguy), resulting in countless brand parodies (this video from Ryan Air has over 30 million views).

Tell your business story

eCommerce can be very impersonal at times — if you’re a small business, that probably won’t cut it on TikTok. Users of the app enjoy authenticity, so sharing yourself, your story, or your process is an excellent way of creating goodwill with your target audience. 

Take Nectar for example; they’re a hard seltzer brand that started by posting a few videos about their struggles with starting the company. Recording the process paid off, and one of their earliest videos received over 300,000 views. Nectar began holding pop-up stores where their drinks would sell out in under an hour.

@nectarhardseltzer reposting cuz someone keeps trying to report us...we will not fold! LA, secret drop coming!! 310-388-6729 #losangeles ♬ original sound - Nectar Hard Seltzer

Woof Palace took an alternative approach. Owner Clariz Marielle recorded her process of turning line art into jewelry for pet owners (along with storytimes) — the Woof Palace TikTok account now has nearly half a million followers.

@woofpalace Show and feel the love with my custom handmade jewelry 😍💓 #customjewelry #smallbusiness #dog #love ♬ Einaudi: Experience - Ludovico Einaudi & Daniel Hope & I Virtuosi Italiani

Whether it’s a process you do at work every day, a product walkthrough, or even a storytime of how you started your business: customers want to see.

Partner with creators with a common audience

Collaborating with other TikTok users can take two forms: user-generated content and influencer marketing. Let’s start with the first one.

Suppose you already have a more established brand and your customers make TikTok content about your products. In that case, you can show engagement and build community by reposting or reacting to their videos. Shopify brands like Gymshark and Princess Polly both do this, and have followings of 3 million and 285,000, respectively.

On the other hand, you can partner with TikTok creators who cater to your niche — Aerie is a prime example. The brand collaborated with Charli D’Amelio (whose account is followed by more than 125 million people) for the #AerieREALPositivity campaign, which has garnered more than 2.2 billion views today.

Market Your Shopify Store Like A Pro Today

TikTok is still a relatively new platform, and its users can be hard to understand. But the platform has the potential to catapult your online business into the stratosphere. Interested in making the most of this opportunity? Check out our other posts for more Shopify and eCommerce content from Flaym today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is TikTok good for eCommerce?

Yes! TikTok is poised to take advantage of the new social commerce wave. Their recent partnership with Shopify means sellers can start promoting their products in-stream and access a massive audience.

Can TikTok be used for marketing?

Yes, your business can run ad campaigns for as little as $50. If you’d rather market organically, content marketing provides lots of room for creativity and innovation.

How do I promote my TikTok online store?

You can use paid ads, do your own branded spin on a viral trend, partner with influencers, and make content about your business process or story.