The popularity of TikTok is not only skyrocketing with Gen Z.
As the platform continues to introduce new shopping features, including a brand new partnership with ShopifyEcommerce brands are also starting to see the potential of TikTok.
But is shopping on TikTok the future of social commerce?
Below we take a look at TikTok's rise as an ecommerce destination and share our predictions on how TikTok will impact social commerce in 2021 and beyond:
Is TikTok the future of social commerce?
Ecommerce brands have recognized the importance of social media for many years, but it is only recently that social platforms have incorporated shopping into their experience.
Facebook was the first to do this, and its success helped ensure its dominance. Almost every major social media platform now has its own, fully integrated e-commerce system, from Pinterest to Snapchat.
While the main focus has been on Facebook and Instagram, the conversation seems to be shifting to TikTok, a relative newcomer to the social media world.
But what makes TikTok so special? Why is it so recognized as a social commerce platform?
Well, a number of reasons come to mind.
Social media is increasingly driven by visual experiencesand nowhere is this more evident than at TikTok, which specializes in rich and diverse short-form video content.
Ecommerce brands that take this opportunity can build a large and dedicated fan base and ultimately create a community around their products.
TikTok's audience is also typically younger than other social platforms. This gives brands a chance to reach out to (and grow their sales) younger audiences – like Millennials and the first wave of Gen Z.
Compare this to Facebook's audience, which are more diverse in age but older, and you can see why so many brands consider TikTok to be one of the best ways to reach out to young consumers.
TikTok is also poised to be the next "big" social commerce platform with the introduction of several new shopping features.
So far, TikTok has experimented with allowing users to add ecommerce links to their BIOS, launching the “Shop Now” buttons for branded video ads, and introducing the “Hashtag Challenge Plus” ecommerce feature that lets users use products can buy associated with a sponsored hashtag.
But TikTok's biggest foray into social shopping was just announced recently.
TikTok is officially moving into the social commerce space with the new Shopify deal
In late October, TikTok announced a unique partnership with the Shopify e-commerce platform. Satish Kanwar, Vice President of Product at Shopify, said the partnership is designed to make it easier for Shopify's 1 million+ merchants to reach TikTok's younger audiences and grow sales.
"TikTok is one of the fastest growing entertainment platforms in the world with over 100 million dedicated users in the US alone," Kanwar said in an interview with TechCrunch.
"The TikTok Channel means Shopify merchants – even those who don't already have a strong TikTok fan base – can connect with these new audiences through content that feels authentic and real to the TikTok experience."
Dealers who have access to the program can Connect your TikTok for Business account to your Shopify account and sell products on TikTok using shoppable video ads in the feed.
The best part? Everything is managed through the Shopify dashboard, including ad creation, targeting (gender, age, user behavior, and video category), optimization, and tracking.
Shopify merchants can also install or connect their "TikTok Pixel" – a tool they can use to track the conversions driven by their TikTok ad campaigns.
Like the Facebook pixel, Shopify merchants can use the TikTok pixel to track user actions, such as: For example, when a user browses their site, adds items to their shopping cart, places an order, and completes payment.
While companies have been able to run targeted advertising campaigns on TikTok for a while, this new partnership is TikTok's biggest step in integrating e-commerce into its platform – and this is just the beginning!
We expect TikTok to roll out a number of new ecommerce features in the near future, including native checkout, shop-specific channels, and new ad formats.
Are you looking for an easy way to give your TikTok content a boost? Plan, plan and publish with TikTok later!
3 Predictions About TikTok Social Commerce
While still new, social commerce on TikTok has already proven extremely attractive to brands. Below are some of our predictions of how TikTok will affect social commerce in 2021 and beyond:
# 1: Brands will be able to appeal to younger audiences
It's hard to overstate how popular TikTok is with younger populations, especially Gen Z. Over 60% of TikTok users belong to this emerging consumer generation, according to a recent report.
This is a great opportunity for brands looking to target younger audiences.
But it also means companies need to understand the characteristics that drive Gen Z and their purchasing decisions – such as authenticity, branding purpose, and self-expression.
Would you like to know more? Read our guide to Gen Z Marketing in 2021!
# 2: Brands need to tailor their content to the aesthetics of the platform
Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and other platforms have a very different visual aesthetic than TikTok. Hence, simply reusing your in-feed ads from these platforms is not enough.
To create ads that convert on TikTok, brands need to consider the platform's dynamic, energetic storytelling style. And that means creating ads that look and feel like a native part of the TikTok content.
If you're just starting out with TikTok and haven't mastered the style yet, it may be worth working with a TikTok creator to add a more local and organic feel to your ad content – lifestyle and apparel brand Aerie often does.
Share what you're doing to stay positive right now by tagging @Aerie and AerieRealPositivity. We donate to the American Food Fund!
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TikTok's recently launched Creator Marketplace is a great starting point for identifying influencers to collaborate with.
Find out everything you need to know about creating TikTok ads from our free guide!
# 3: Short-form video advertising is becoming even more important
The TikTok-Shopify partnership is likely to spawn a number of new social commerce features in the future. However, right now, in-feed video ads are the best way to grow ecommerce sales on TikTok.
It is therefore important to familiarize yourself with short-form video ads that will grab users' attention and interest within the first few seconds.
As the partnership between TikTok and Shopify continues to develop, e-commerce is becoming an even bigger part of the TikTok environment.
Will it outperform Instagram or Facebook when it comes to driving sales for brands? That remains to be seen.
If you're looking for even more TikTok tips and tricks, check out our free 30-minute TikTok workshop below.
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Benjamin is a content marketing strategist at Later and recently performed a transplant from Toronto. You can follow his everyday life on Instagram @benjaminchacs.