Will TikTok Become The Next Major Cross-Border eCommerce Platform?
You will not be the first or only person who may have not heard about TikTok. Most of the TikTok users are under the age of 30.
What Is TikTok?
It’s a cool smartphone app that also works as a social media platform like Instagram. Users can make, share, and find short videos of different niches. It is not like YouTube though. TikTok allows users to share their life, thoughts, and moments with short videos with effects and background scores.
Ironically, TikTok has gained massive popularity in recent years. It has over 1 billion users from different parts of the world and is growing. Hence, it has become a very effective platform to do business. Especially for the eCommerce industry, TikTok is turning out to be a boon from the Gods of the Internet. In this post, we will learn how Tiktok is rocketing the eCommerce world step by step.
The Beginning Of A Paradigm Shift
The Internet started to dominate after the 2000s. People were trading online but the real acceleration started in 2010. A lot of viruses and other security concerns were countered by this time and made shoppers feel much safer using their financial information online.
Google started to expand with its own browser and smartphone OS. Even luxury products were sold through online platforms with ease. Amazon and eBay became household names with growing numbers of shoppers every day.
Then social media started to have fun. Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin all had their eyes on the growing interest in online shopping. As a result, all social media platforms started to give users features by which they could build shops, sell and run an entire business just from their social media networks.
The rest is history.
New Warrior In The Tech Battle Ground
Facebook actually paved the way for social commerce with excellence. It is the very first platform that gave a separate sales platform i.e. Facebook Business Page which could be easily created with just a few clicks from a Facebook Profile. Moreover, it also offered business managers, ad centers, and many other tools which made social commerce a lot easier ahead of its time. Gradually the same company Meta which owns Facebook launched Instagram which worked like a rocket booster for social commerce.
Back in 2016, a Chinese company ByteDance launched a mobile application named TikTok in the market which was already crowded with platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, musical.ly (also owned by ByteDance), and some other popular apps. However, ByteDance made a bold move by shutting down musical.ly and implementing its features on TikTok instead.
Since then, TikTok just kept growing! Even during the peak of the pandemic, TikTok just kept getting users and engagement at an astonishing growth rate of 180% with massive popularity.
Most users were from the age of 15-25, and in a very short time, it became a household name by the end of 2021. As per recent statistics, TikTok now has over 1 billion active users on the platform from different parts of the world and the number is continuously growing.
The TikTok Effect On eCommerce
TikTok is becoming one of the smartest ways to promote any type of eCommerce business. The platform itself is mainly entertainment based. So most users remain in a very good state of mind when they are active on TikTok. This helps eCommerce businesses to cater their offers properly and get excellent results much faster.
Hence, TikTok has added a shopping option to its platform to empower eCommerce worldwide. TikTok users now can purchase a product without opening a web browser or visiting the eCommerce website separately unlike some other platforms. In this way, both selling and buying on TikTok becomes much more convenient for both parties.
TikTok kept its eCommerce facilities very simple. A user can simply place an order while using the application randomly. Vendors, brands, or creators can easily display their products to the users through their product display tabs, live shows, and in-feed videos. So the distance between shoppers and sellers becomes much shorter and more enjoyable at the same time.
TikTok Shopping is a groundbreaking feature that has already started to influence the eCommerce community worldwide and at a very large scale. Plenty of businesses are joining the TikTok Shopping platform every day and getting a good ROI as well. If you fall into any of the following categories, TikTok Shopping is a must-use sales channel for you:
- Drop Shipper/Seller;
- Affiliate Marketer;
- Content Creator;
There are some limitations to becoming a seller on TikTok. Your business must be in the UK, Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, or Indonesia. You will have to verify it by a location-based phone number and also incorporation certificate from these particular regions to get started on the TikTok shopping platform.
If you want to use the TikTok shopping platform as a creator, the terms are different. First of all, your account must be in good shape with a minimum of 1k followers. On top of this, you must be at least 18 years old with a video view of a minimum of 50 in the last 28 days. You will also need to confirm that you upload videos every 28 days span. Setting up a store on TikTok takes only a few clicks. There are no significant technical challenges vendors would face.
However, there are some regional restrictions and very specific guidelines that may not allow everyone from every place to open a store on TikTok. So before starting, go through this detailed seller registration guideline first. Now if you qualify all the requirements which are not very difficult, please proceed to the TikTok Shop Creator Application and submit your details as per the form fields. On the other hand, if you are thinking about setting up a store as a seller and you do not have any regional limitations, all you have to do is just sign up through the TikTok seller center portal in just a few clicks.
Plenty of brands from around the world are showing great interest in TikTok Shopping due to its high engagement and conversion chances. Renowned brands like Kylie Cosmetics which already had a name in the market decided to tap into the power of social commerce and did exceptionally well on the TikTok platform.
This is the reason why TikTok is now heavily focused on the eCommerce industry. The shop feature was just the beginning of a new dawn in social commerce. TikTok has teamed up with eCommerce software giants like Shopify and Square. Merchants will be able to include a tab in their profiles and import their Shopify product catalog in just a few clicks. Other eCommerce Website Builder platforms like DoCommerce are also following a similar path to team up with TikTok.
TikTok Is Triggering The Buying Emotions
Social commerce is now overpowering all other platforms. eCommerce companies are getting heavily dependent on social commerce due to the emotional leverage they have on buyers.
From Facebook, and Instagram to Twitter and Linkedin, eCommerce businesses would always look to exploit opportunities here more than Google nowadays.
Even eCommerce businesses would spend more money on social commerce due to its high ROI. TikTok as a matter of fact conducted a survey in 2020 regarding the shopping behavior of their users. The results were very interesting as two third of users who participated in the survey revealed that the environment of TikTok motivated them to shop even though they were not prepared for it earlier.
By the end of the event, Walmart witnessed seven times more views than it anticipated. Consequently, Walmart’s TikTok followers grew by 25 percent as well. However, the ultimate goal of a business is to make more sales than get more views of its videos. Here is where the TikTok storefront comes into play which allows viewers not only to enjoy the videos but also to buy a product while getting entertained by a brand.
Can TikTok Overtake Facebook & Allies?
Well, nothing is impossible. TikTok is backed by massive investment with some great tech leads and professionals. Users are growing rapidly and enjoying themselves on TikTok every moment they spend. On the other hand, a huge number of Facebook users have reported that time on Facebook makes them somewhat frustrated sometimes.
But Facebook also has the upper hand of being the initiator. They have more users than any other social platform in the world and definitely have more options in terms of advertisements and business development. However, at the end of the day business would always prefer a happy customer with a joyful purchase.
Videos are always more interactive in terms of content and arguably the most effective format of content to promote a business as well. Therefore, the possibility that TikTok may exceed in helping the eCommerce industry more than Facebook is pretty high. As a matter of fact, The Los Angeles Times stated that Facebook may turn into a platform like TikTok in the future to escape the chances of falling behind in the race.
Social commerce is the next face of the tech evolution for eCommerce around the world. Many tech giants are competing to stay ahead and succeed. However, the numbers will always be louder in this case. The more sales and interaction a platform generates, the more the platform will succeed.
Considering the hunger for sales in the eCommerce industry after the pandemic got under control, TikTok surely looks promising to be the next major cross-border eCommerce platform for most brands around the world.
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