How to Use TikTok for Social Commerce

TikTok social commerce is here to stay. Here’s how to make the most of it and get users hitting that BUY button.
Fanbytes | TikTok social commerce

In 30 seconds:

  • TikTok social commerce is a huge opportunity for any e-commerce brands looking to reach young consumers.
  • What are the social commerce tools of TikTok? We’re walking you through them so you can add shopping to your TikTok campaigns.
  • How do you use TikTok shopping? The step by steps are here, plus tons of insider tips to get your marketing strategy on point.

The world of TikTok social commerce is accelerating. In Q1 this year, the video-first app saw the biggest quarter for any app or game ever, with users spending a record-breaking $840m on in-app purchases. This rapid growth has not slowed. In Q3, TikTok announced $1.567 billion in revenue, and they are on track to achieve $12 billion by the end of 2022. 

Part of this success is down to TikTok’s intuitive algorithm and format. 67% of people agree that ads on TikTok capture their attention – a 10% lead compared to other platforms.

Naturally, brands are turning to social commerce on TikTok to get better ROI on their campaigns, and it’s clear that TikTok is embracing this shift. The social media platform has announced a series of new social commerce features to help brands create seamless customer experiences and make acquisition more efficient than ever before. 

So, what makes TikTok the place for social commerce, what are its new features, and how can you make the most of them? This is your handy guide to all this and more. But first, let’s understand the basics.

What is social commerce?

The definition of social commerce is “a subset of electronic commerce that involves social media and online media that supports social interaction”. Put simply, it’s shopping within the social media app (as opposed to via the mobile e-commerce site).

Global social commerce sales are estimated at $992 Billion for 2022, and further predictions anticipate that it will reach nearly $3 trillion by 2026. 

It’s easy to see why it’s growing. 87% of online shoppers use social media while making shopping decisions, so an optimised shopping in-app UX can improve this by creating a more seamless buyer journey, while offering brands ultra-precise audience targeting and increased reach.

But social commerce marketing on TikTok, compared to other social media channels, is special. Why? Let’s find out. 

Social commerce on TikTok

TikTok is changing e-commerce. Consumers spend more on average when TikTok is part of the purchase journey. The Business of Apps reports that 61% of TikTokers are already engaging in e-commerce on the app and 56% actively use it to discover new products and brands. 

TikTok’s short-form video-first UX is highly engaging, and allows for promotional material that users are more likely to pay attention to. In addition, the app’s integration with Shopify and introduction of highly native shopping formats means its ads don’t feel like ads: they integrate seamlessly with the experience TikTok users know and love. This helps them engage, enjoy and find inspiration from shoppable content on the app.

The social media giant has discussed a phenomenon called the “infinite loop of shopertainment”. TikTok users power a new marketing path through discovery, purchase, creation and engagement. Now, the marketing funnel doesn’t necessarily “stop”: because TikTok champions content creation (83% of TikTok users have created a video), when a viewer makes a purchase, they are more likely to share their experience on the app, and so the marketing loop continues. 

Fanbytes | TikTok marketing isn’t a funnel - it’s a loop


In 2021, a new era of community commerce was born. The #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt phenomenon proves how marketing on TikTok can be ultra-powerful. This movement caused products to sell out due to viral videos and influencer recommendations.

Since users around the globe find TikTok content to be authentic, genuine, unfiltered and trendsetting, product discovery on TikTok comes across as more honest than other platforms. Increasingly, brands have been able to piggyback off this phenomenon to skyrocket ROAS for social commerce campaigns and boost conversions. 

How can you set your brand up for success and become one of the widely-loved products of #TikTokMademeBuyIt?

The first step is to make great TikTok videos. Kris Boger, general manager of TikTok UK Business Solutions says, “Brands are at their most successful when they fit authentically into the environment by creating bespoke, tailored content which feels native on the platform”. 

The other key factor? Community-first content. In our recent event, our Head of Creative Strategy, Tom Sweeney described how, essentially, TikTok’s algorithm can actually help retailers get in front of their target audiences – but only if you create the right kind of content. He advised, “if your content is liked by your core follower community, the TikTok algorithm will extend and extend the reach”. This powers the entire marketing funnel, through to conversion and advocacy – and can unlock the TikTok marketing loop.

Understanding what your followers want to see and create is essential for creating successful social commerce content on TikTok. It’s all about making videos that your core follower community will resonate with. 

Naturally, the next steps are to integrate and optimise your shop front so that checkout is easy. We’ve outlined how to do this below.

Social commerce and the TikTok generation

Out of the 1 billion TikTok active users, just under 73% are below the age of 35. Young people are championing social commerce, especially Gen Z. This generation has a buying power of $360 Billion and the vast majority (97%) now say they use social media as their top source of shopping inspiration. 30% also say an easy checkout process is important in making a purchase.

Brands can access this massive purchase power through social commerce. Creating online campaigns with a seamless, integrated shopping experience will be fundamental to young customer acquisition. 

Looking to target Gen Z and nail your social commerce ROI? Our latest research report shows you exactly what this generation is looking for from brands on TikTok. 

How to use TikTok for social commerce

We’ve worked with corporations and global enterprises on social commerce campaigns to skyrocket their conversions. Our biggest takeaways? Read on to find out. 

1. Don’t make “adverts”

Social commerce marketing on TikTok is all about integration. Fanbytes’ Brand Partnerships Manager, Markus Rytkonen says, “The best performing ads on TikTok are those that feel authentic and native to the platform, with the viewer only realising it was an ad at the end!” You need to guide your consumers through a seamless buyer journey with social commerce features, ensuring it doesn’t feel forced. How can you do that? Our next tip is the best way forward.

2. Collaborate with influencers

62% of social media users trust influencers more than celebrities. The connections influencers build with their user base are unique and difficult to replicate as a brand, especially for reaching young people. Only 42% of Generation Z stated they trust businesses, making it more difficult than ever for brands to connect with them. But influencer marketing can provide just the ticket. 

Creators on social channels reach 92% of all respondents between 18 and 29 years of age, and when it comes to ad types, influencers’ posts are the top choice for 38.9% of young consumers. Brands looking to improve their social commerce strategy will collaborate with influencers to support the whole marketing funnel. Creators can guide their followers to make more informed purchase decisions and boost conversions for any brand, not just raise brand awareness.

3. Add value

Every piece of marketing content on TikTok needs to do one thing: add value. Social commerce experiences still need to be valuable for users, or they’ll just switch off. Value-added content can increase conversion rates and still build lasting relationships with your consumers. Entertainment is the top category on TikTok, and users want to see it. So make your social commerce campaigns fun, exciting and watchable to get the best ROI. 

4. Optimise all areas of ecommerce

Using an in-app shopping feature like TikTok shopping via the Shopify integration can help you create a seamless shopping experience. But remember, you need to cover all corners to maximise your conversion rates. Our research shows that many Gen Zers still head to a brand’s website to make purchases, so companies need to optimise their mobile UX for an effortless buyer journey from their social commerce campaigns. That includes a responsive landing page and an easy journey to the checkout

How to use TikTok Shopping

What is TikTok Shopping? According to TikTok itself, it’s “a suite of solutions, features, and advertising tools that allow businesses to capture the full power of TikTok‘s influence on purchase decisions.”

Effectively it’s a series of tools that marketers can use to create a smooth buying experience for their potential customers without them ever having to leave the app. Utilising it can help streamline the purchase journey and increase your conversion rates.

How to start with TikTok Shopping

You can use TikTok shopping if you are a seller, creator, partner or affiliate. To access TikTok shopping, you need these requirements:

  • For sellers – You must be located in the UK, China or Indonesia.
  • For creators – You must have 1,000+ followers, 50+ video views in the last 28 days, be 18 years old and posted a video on TikTok in the past 28 days. 
  • For partners – you must have a registered business in China, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, UK or Vietnam.
  • For affiliates – you must be registered as a seller from United Kingdom, Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong SAR Seller (cross-border only), Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines or Singapore

How to set up a TikTok Shop

Sellers can sign up for a TikTok shop via the TikTok Seller Center. Creators can apply for a TikTok Shop through the TikTok Shop Creator Application

Step 1: If you’re a seller, head to the TikTok Seller Center. 

Step 2: Follow the instructions and add any necessary documents to set up. 

Step 3: Add your products (don’t worry, you can always add more or manage your products later)

Step 4: Link your bank account. Once you’ve done this you’ll be a TikTok Merchant.                                 

Step 5: Continue to add products to TikTok through the Seller Center to keep your product catalogue up to date. 

TOP TIP: Pick product images that align with your brand and show off the best you have to offer. Your product catalogue is your storefront. So treat it as such! 

TikTok LIVE shopping

What is TikTok live shopping? TikTok LIVE shopping is a social commerce experience where users can purchase through live streams on the app. 40% of TikTok Gen Zers have bought one product or service whilst watching a social media live stream. It’s available in the US and UK, with plans to move into Europe too.

Step 1: Open the TikTok app and tap the [ + ] button at the bottom of the screen

Step 2: Swipe along to the “LIVE” section. 

Step 3: Pick an image and title for your LIVE. 

Step 4: Tap “Go LIVE” to start the livestream. Once you are live you can click the 3 dots to add effects, flip the camera and add product pins. 

Scheduling a LIVE event

Let your followers know you’re doing a live event to make sure you maximise on potential conversions. 

Step 1: Head to your profile on the TikTok app. 

Step 2: Tap the calendar icon on the top right of your profile. 

Step 3: Select “create an event”.

Step 4: Enter a name for your event (this will appear on your Livestream)

Step 5: Choose a date and time for your LIVE stream and tap next. 

Step 6: Choose a duration for your live stream and add a description for your event as well as any hashtag groups you want to connect. 

Step 7: Tap “create”.

Ellesse LIVE: Creating a watertight social commerce event

Here’s an example of how to nail a LIVE social commerce event. To increase the brand’s reach and conversions on the app, we created a world first: a shoppable real-life concert live-streamed on TikTok. Users saw clickable clothing items on screen, as influencersTikTok dance videos served as “backing dancers” for the singer on stage.

We identified the right influencers for this campaign with our in-house data insights tool, Bytesights. We then allowed them to flex their own creativity to ensure the LIVE event had an authentic, genuine approach. This resulted in a total of 1.8M+ influencer views, overdelivering our guaranteed influencer views (800K) by more than double.

You can read more about the case study here

How to sell on TikTok with Shopify

In late October 2020, Shopify announced a partnership with TikTok For Business. Since then Shopify merchants have had the opportunity to connect TikTok to their Shopify dashboard. This integration means they can post content to TikTok using their Shopify store. Here’s how:

Step 1: Make sure you have a Business Account on TikTok

Step 2: Go to your Shopify dashboard and search for “TikTok” in the app store

Step 3: Install the “TikTok” plugin. This allows Shopify to share information with your TikTok account.

Step 3: Click “continue setup” and then connect with TikTok for Business. Make sure all of the details are correct when connecting. 

Step 4: Choose which Data Sharing level you would like to collect. 

Step 5: Tap “connect” and “finish setup”. 

For more information on the TikTok Shopify integration, check out our article: TikTok Shopify Integration: What Brands Need to Know

TikTok Shopping Ads

TikTok has introduced “Shopping Ads” their newest commerce ad solution to help turn in-feed ads into shoppable experiences. 

The ads they have created are:

  • Video Shopping Ads
  • Catalog Listing Ads
  • LIVE Shopping Ads

To learn more about each one and how your brand can utilise them, check out our article: TikTok Video Shopping Ads: What Brands Need to Know

The TikTok Shop Tab

TikTok is testing out a dedicated Shop Tab where all your shopping content will be in one feed. This serves as a hub for all your products on your TikTok shop. This includes a cart icon on the top right and a menu on the bottom right that includes orders, messages, vouchers, address and payment. It seems to be similar to Meta owned, Instagram’s shop tab, but with a slightly different format

Checking out for the future

Social commerce on TikTok is the future. The social commerce industry will grow three times as fast as traditional commerce by 2025, and TikTok provides the perfect platform for genuinely, authentically and believably marketing your brand. Retailers need to access it now to get a step ahead of the competition.

One of the most important things about social commerce is, well, it’s social! This means that through sales campaigns on social media, you can still directly engage with your customers and understand their wants, desires and complaints. It gives you real-time feedback on your strategies, so you can adapt consistently to achieve better ROI. 

TikTok is still advancing. With its integrated shopping features and additional functionality, brands can now increase their reach and conversions more than ever before. How do you stand out from the crowd? Fanbytes’ Tom Sweeney advises, “imagine the one characteristic that people identify about your brand. If you could dial that up to 11, what would that look like?”

He continues, “Why do you think that the airline [Ryanair] with the tightest margins leans into TikTok? It’s because they’ve discovered that through this method, you can push customers through the full funnel.

Do you want help in getting your customers through the full marketing funnel (or loop!) and get them shopping and beyond? Get in touch to find out how we can boost your social commerce marketing strategy and get your consumers checking out – and bigging you up. 

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