TikTok’s Patrick Nommensen shares five tips for brands that want to sell products on the platform.

Anyone in the business of fast-moving consumer goods and modern retail has experienced first-hand the explosive impact of online product discovery and word-of-mouth reviews on the traditionally linear customer journey.

Merchants today are no longer expected to just drive pure transactions but also possess a granular understanding of the platforms their current and future customers spend time with, as well as the trends they are most influenced by.

With experiences fuelling the new way people seek inspiration, the demand for real-time content and opportunities to shop has grown exponentially. Shoppers are taking a more active role and respond well to those who can bring together products they love with cultural conversations.

We've been humbled by TikTok becoming central to this new industry-changing, shopping movement. Our community of a billion people globally has been leading the charge in sharing authentic product review videos, as well as TikToks featuring products and brands they discovered through new #beautyhacks, creative #makeuptransformations and honest #techreviews.

Launching TikTok Shop UK

To respond to these trends, last year in the UK we started testing out innovative new shopping functionalities on the platform in select markets – introducing the ability for our community to purchase directly through in-feed videos, livestreams, and a product showcase tab prominently featured on TikTok profile pages.

We started with a handful of collaborations that allowed our community to easily discover and purchase products from brands they love, directly within the TikTok app in the UK. The line-up was diverse, featuring L’Oréal's beauty brands Garnier UK & Ireland (@garnieruki) and NYX Professional Make-Up (@nyxcosmetics_uk), beauty retailer LOOKFANTASTIC (@lookfantastic), and even Leeds United (@leedsunited). The Premier League team got involved as the first football club in the world to sell its official merchandise and replica jerseys directly on TikTok in the UK.

Building on the initial success, more TikTok Shop LIVE events followed in the UK for Black Friday Holiday Season and more recently Valentine's Day, with many more merchants going live on daily basis. We were blown away by the reception of our community to brands and creators, including Charlotte Tilbury, Mcloughlin Girls, Richard Sales and Abby Roberts, among others, really leaning into the LIVE shopping experience on TikTok.

Five tips for brands that want to sell on TikTok Shop

As we keep evolving in 2022 with more and more merchants opening their TikTok Shop in the UK and going live daily, I'm often asked how brands can become merchants and tap into the opportunity to excite and delight their customers. Here are my top tips for brands looking to connect directly with our community through TikTok Shop to drive real-time sales:

1. Provide a first-rate selection of products

Everyone likes to feel special, so give your TikTok audience access to something unique. Anything that speaks to exclusive discounts and product bundles, favourite products from creators and other trending products on TikTok can really help drive customer loyalty in new ways.

At the same time, it's also a good idea to pepper in some of your best sellers to peak campaign sales with products your brand followers already know and love.

2. Master your LIVE content

As a platform with entertainment and video at its core, people come to TikTok to have fun, be inspired and discover new things. Our top tips for hosting a successful LIVE include:

  • Educate, show and explain everything a customer could want to know about your product, and why they should buy them, as well as the practicalities around the purchasing journey.
  • Repetition is key: Bear in mind that during a LIVE, viewers come in and out frequently, so make sure to go over products multiple times.
  • Tap into real-time data: Using real-time sales data, you can track which products are selling well, and emphasise those to viewers.
  • Engage with your audience: make sure to interact and understand what products they want to see and encourage them to comment, like and share the LIVE.
3. Establish a cadence with your audience

TikTok is built on discoverability, showing our community content based on what they like rather than just who they follow, which means that any person, any brand, and any product can go viral. However, in order to maximise success, make sure you are posting and going LIVE on TikTok Shop for at least two hours regularly, ideally at a set time of the day or week.

4. Tease your LIVE events

TikTok Shop is all about helping the community discover, engage with, and purchase what they love, so help build the excitement by letting your audience know when you are going live. That includes leveraging all of your existing marketing channels – whether that's email, website, or an app to help tease your upcoming LIVE. Retailers should also keep in mind that you can show product previews and highlight any offers, so your audience knows what to expect when they tune in.

5. Leverage TikTok creators

Creators are paramount to TikTok, they are what makes our platform such a uniquely creative and joyful place. Creators have an incredible level of understanding and know what works for their audiences, so will create content in an authentic way that resonates with their audience. This can not only aid in the community's discovery of a new product, but ultimately encourage them to go out and try it for themselves.