The Latest TikTok Shop Feature Turns Scrolling into Shopping | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

The Latest TikTok Shop Feature Turns Scrolling into Shopping

By Inspira Marketing

Did you know that nearly half of gen Z consumers start their shopping on TikTok?

TikTok does, apparently, which is why it's launching a new feature to let buyers and sellers transact directly on the platform. They're calling it TikTok Shop, and its aim is to let creators, merchants, and brands get their products into the hands of consumers without having to go to another site.

This new feature has been in testing since November of 2022, and is gaining significant traction in the ecommerce and influencer world. The basic concept is simple: TikTok Shop allows brands to show off their merchandise in a product showcase tab, in in-feed content, and even during live videos.

Learn how this latest feature works, how to incorporate it into your sales strategy once it's available, and if it'll be right for your particular brand.

Different Ways to Incorporate TikTok Shop

TikTok Shop is multi-layered: There are a few different paths to connect your content to your shop.

Create a shop in the Product Showcase Tab. This is obviously the most straightforward method. You create a storefront in TikTok that lives right in your profile and you direct people to it. They click, they buy — it's easy. Storefronts on Instagram, Amazon, and Like to Know It are built on the same principle.

Sell through in-feed videos. These are videos that live on your profile. Brands and users can now create videos that showcase specific products and directly tag the product. If this sounds familiar, it should be as it's Instagram Shop, basically.

Convenience is the primary watchword here. Being able to watch a video and click "buy" saves viewers' time: they don't have to beg in the comments for a link or dig one up themselves.

These shoppable links marry content and sales together, directing the audience where you want them to go right in the TikTok app. This reduces the gap between want and have and lowers the chance a long load or an app switch will make the buyer rethink their purchase.

Create urgency through TikTok Live. This is a stronger tool for creators but could still be useful for brands. Induce a little FOMO in your audience by running real-time sales and discounts that you have to be watching right at that time to take advantage of. Think of it as QVC for the gen Z and millennial crowd.

A Dive into the Demo of TikTok Shop

TikTok Shop is a great feature to keep an eye on because the audience is already there and primed for it. Especially if your brand, product, or service targets gen Zers.

Gen Z in many ways built TikTok, and they're all still there. According to a recent survey, when asked what platform they were most likely to use to make a purchasing decision, TikTok came in second after Instagram (71 percent) but tied with YouTube (68 percent). By contrast, older generations had Google or brand sites as their most common responses.

In fact, Instagram may only rank slightly higher with gen Z than TikTok because Instagram was first out of the gate with a shopping feature.

What Our Social Team Has to Say

As usual, we turn to the newly acquired social team at Inspira Marketing for expert analysis of this latest move by TikTok. Holly Vaughn, digital and social media manager, stated: "Finding success through TikTok Shop will differ for brands depending on their size. TikTok's younger audience is resistant to traditional advertising. They're skeptical and very critical of large brands, while far more supportive of small, up-and-coming names. Though TikTok Shop may be a relationship test for larger brands, it's a great opportunity for smaller brands to harness the power of fresh trends in the digital landscape." 

When it comes to shopping, Alexa Sorensen, digital marketing specialist, stated: "I often find myself turning to TikTok for inspo before using Google. It's ideal for things like vacation ideas or the best makeup products for X. Given the growing influence of '#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt,' I wouldn't be surprised to see people directly shopping in-app. Personally, I've already succumbed to this trend numerous times on Instagram, it's only a matter of time before TikTok Makes Me Buy It."

To Shop or Not to Shop

As with any new social media feature, a mix of courageous enthusiasm and thoughtful caution is always your best bet. Wait too long and you lose the chance to pioneer a trend, jump in too hard and you might have thrown money and time into a chipper-shredder.

Brands and influencers should begin to explore the new feature as a part of their digital strategy–though it is still early, and there isn't enough data to definitively prove its necessity for social media success. Then again, considering how similar features (like on Instagram) have fared, we're betting at a solid number of consumers will be embracing those buy links without reservation.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Inspira Marketing Group is based in Norwalk, Connecticut. Inspira Marketing is a purpose-driven brand activation agency, driven by EQ x IQ. Delivering scalable, results-driven, creative solutions for a diverse roster of clients in the automotive, CPG, financial, technology, food and beverage, fashion, beauty, and quick-serve restaurant markets, Inspira Marketing specializes in Brand Storytelling, Experiential Marketing, and Field Team Activation, and devotes a portion of its profits to finding a cure for pediatric cancer. This combination of excellence and purpose has been recognized with a list of impressive awards, most recently including Ad Age's Best Places to Work, Hartford Business Journal's Best Places to Work, Chief Marketer's CM200 Award, Event Marketer's Top 100 IT List, and more.