If your target market is the lucrative Gen Z demographic (18 to 25-year-old shoppers), TikTok Shopping should be high on your list of priorities for eCommerce channels to explore right now. But how seriously should you take the social shopping opportunity, and what are the challenges and opportunities of this relatively new sales channel?
TikTok vs. Meta (Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp)
Despite being a newcomer to the social scene, TikTok is giving more established social brands a run for their money.
According to a recent survey, social media users are now making ten purchases a year on TikTok, compared to nine on Meta channels, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. This figure increases dramatically when you look at Gen Z shoppers who, on average, buy upwards of 19 items per year on TikTok compared to 18 on Instagram and 15 on Facebook.
TikTok Owns Influencer Marketing
Much of TikTok’s eCommerce success is down to how it has harnessed the incredible power of the online influencer. Stealing the thunder of competitive channels like YouTube and Instagram, TikTok has successfully blurred the line between social media and more traditional television shopping channels. As such, TikTok is a particularly attractive sales channel for consumers to engage with presenters and influencers who can demonstrate how the product is used. This makes TikTok perfect for selling products like cosmetics, electronics, and more innovative items you never knew you needed until TikTok showed you.
While there are influencers and brands that engage with TikTok and run scheduled sales events, most of the sales generated on the channel will be impulse purchases. As such, TikTok can be defined as an interruption marketing channel. It has more in common with the crazy middle aisle in Lidl or Aldi than the clearly defined shopping categories of sites like eBay and Amazon, where people will actively seek your products out.
Much of TikTok’s success is down to its algorithm, which automatically delivers content and enables users to discover influencers without actively searching for them. As a result, TikTok is the social media equivalent of the dating site Tinder, where people swipe through random content creators until they find something they like.
A Little Bit of Politics and Social Change
While TikTok seems an unstoppable force, there have been concerns about the Chinese-owned app’s security. Recently, the European Commission, US Government, and Canadian Government have all recently banned employees from using TikTok on work devices. Whether corporations and individuals will follow in their footsteps remains to be seen. However, in a world where people seem only too happy to share every intimate moment on social media, privacy would not seem to be an issue.
Aside from politics, there is also the rising threat of the anti-influencer, trying to persuade Gen Z that they don’t need to buy another massive water bottle or “innovative” kitchen gadget. This movement plays into the hands of more traditional eCommerce marketplaces like eBay, which are making incredible strides back into the circular economy.
Should You Open a TikTok Shop?
Sure, why not? However, this doesn’t mean you should jump in with both feet.
When exploring any new eCommerce channel, it’s always best to test the market. And it should go without saying you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, meaning you don’t pull resources from existing channels in favour of an untested channel.
TikTok shops will be particularly useful for sellers of own-brand cosmetics, consumer electronics, toys, and other innovative gadgets sold in high volumes. However, it may not be so valuable for retailers with a large number of SKUs, particularly in specialist or niche areas where the sales volume of individual items may be low. For these guys (essentially, the majority of sellers), online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon will remain the most dominant and lucrative channels.
To learn more about how Frooition can help your business optimise its sales on eCommerce channels like eBay and Amazon, book a free 15-minute discovery call with one of our eCommerce experts today.