TikTok Shop: Would It Be The Future of E-Commerce?

Written by Alifia Rahari
June 7, 2023

TikTok Shop is an emerging e-commerce platform that has revolutionized the way people shop online. What makes it different from other e-commerce platforms?

TikTok Shop joined the e-commerce scene in Southeast Asia around 2021. Along with the popularity of the app itself, this additional shopping feature gained consumers’ interest, especially in Asia-Pacific countries. Rest of World estimates that TikTok Shop has racked up a gross merchandise value of $4.4 billion across Southeast Asia over 2022.

Though TikTok Shop struggles in the Western market, its popularity in Southeast Asian countries is unlikely to diminish in the near future. Read more to find out why.

TikTok Shop: A Closer Look

As the name suggests, TikTok Shop is a marketplace where people can buy things directly from the TikTok app. When you open the app, you can see a shopping bag icon in the bottom navigation bar. That’s where the TikTok Shopping Center is. Once you’re inside, you can search for goods you want to buy, or do a virtual window shop.

Originally, users could only buy products from the merchant’s page. But for a more seamless user experience, TikTok gradually launched TikTok Shopping Center in Southeast Asian countries. You can find your orders, carts, shopping history, chat with sellers, and set addresses and payment methods all in one tab.

What Makes TikTok Shop Different

TikTok claims that TikTok Shop is a one-stop e-commerce solution. You can browse products, chat with the seller, and complete payments all in the same app. In addition, users can easily jump back to watch entertaining videos after completing purchases because the shopping interface is also in the same app as the social media interface. 

This combination of content/social media apps and e-commerce makes TikTok different from other e-commerce. Mike Seah, a TikTok merchant who regularly advises industry peers, told the South China Morning Post that TikTok is a transformative platform. TikTok’s nature “helps goods reach consumers”, Mike stated, instead of helping buyers find goods.

Indeed, the TikTok crew claimed that TikTok Shop stood out from the crowd because of its “shoppertaintment” concept. TikTok stated that 76% of users are more likely to look at posts with a trending hashtag/brand while considering a purchase. They believe that connecting with the community through content creation inspires purchases, builds trust, and drives authentic connections.

How to Become a Top Seller in the TikTok Shop

Whether you are a seller with a high ROI per month or a small, just starting-out seller, joining TikTok Shop might be worth a try. The app’s high traffic can be a game changer for your shop. Entrepreneur has three tips for staying on top of your TikTok selling game.

Create authentic, real content

TikTok is mainly an entertainment app, so it’s natural to start by creating videos to promote your brand. However, don’t go overboard with it. TikTok users prefer authentic and genuine videos. Try to film the human side of your brand so that your future consumers feel connected to you.

Join or create challenges

Don’t be shy to jump on the trend! TikTok has thousands of trending audio that you can use in your videos. Combine it with a challenge. For example, the “What’s in my bag?” concept is a timeless trend to try. Don’t forget to include your products in the challenges or trending content that you post.

Sell through your bio

Before TikTok Shopping Center was a thing, you’d need to put links to your TikTok bio for easier access to payment, your website, or your other e-commerce platform. Today, you can use the link in your bio to list your other social media accounts. Having more than one presence improves your SEO and provides a better customer experience.

Final Thoughts

Despite its huge popularity in Asia, TikTok Shop is still inferior to its sister app, Douyin. However, TikTok is actively improving to make your shopping or selling experience better. With the promise of enhanced features and a better user experience, it’s natural that TikTok Shop is popular with many shoppers and sellers in Asia and might keep growing in the near future.

Next Read: What is TikTok Ads and How to Optimize It