What Is TikTok Shop And Shop Ads + How To Use It As a Small Business

Discover how to leverage TikTok Shop and Shop Ads to drive sales for your business at scale.

If there is one opportunity to tap into on TikTok, it needs to be this: TikTok Shop. 

The platform is heavily investing in expanding its US e-commerce presence, with predictions that it may grow 10x to $17.5 billion in 2024 alone. 

If you’ve found yourself scrolling on the platform only to see countless product recommendations arise on your ‘For You’ page, you’re not alone. Thanks to TikTok Shop and Shop Ads, it’s never been easier for brands to reach wider audiences and convert customers at scale. 

The best part? The shopping experience is seamless, with product details, pricing information and the ability to check out all housed natively within the TikTok platform. If you’re looking to learn more about the features and how you can use them as a small business, we’ll cover all of that in this helpful guide. 



What is TikTok Shop and TikTok Shop Ads?

What is TikTok Shop and TikTok Shop Ads

Launched in September of 2023, TikTok Shop makes it easier for businesses to sell their products through ads, product tags and shoppable videos. 

TikTok Shop makes it easy for audiences to find new products and go from product discovery to checkout, all without leaving the TikTok app. Not surprisingly, 83% of users say TikTok plays a role in their purchase decisions, with three-quarters being likely to buy something while using TikTok. 

When it comes to TikTok Shop, there are a number of ways to drive sales on the platform, including:

  • Live shopping: host a live broadcast and allow your viewers to purchase the products you’re featuring in just a few taps.
  • Shoppable videos: add product tags to in-feed videos to streamline the path to purchase.
  • Product showcase: this curated tab on your TikTok profile allows users to quickly browse and shop your entire suite of products.
  • Shop tab: within the TikTok app, the Shop tab offers a mix of shoppable content, product features and promotional campaigns from brands like yours. 
  • Paid Ads: plus, you can run a range of paid campaigns on TikTok to drive sales, such as Video Shopping ads, Catalog Listing ads and Live Shopping ads to amplify your success. 

Why should you be using TikTok Shop?

If you’re a small business looking to reach wider audiences and convert customers, you need to be experimenting with TikTok Shop and TikTok Shop Ads. Here’s why.

  • Find new customers: 56% of TikTok users say that ads on TikTok lead them to discover new products or brands. With TikTok Shop and Shop Ads, you can tap into a huge range of powerful features (such as LIVE shoppable videos and product tags) to get your product in front of users who aren’t already following your brand.
  • Drive conversions: With the ability to complete purchases directly within the TikTok app in a matter of seconds, TikTok Shop streamlines the path to purchase to boost sales. In fact, users are 1.5x more likely to immediately buy something that they discovered on the platform in comparison to other platform users.

Leverage user-generated content: According to a recent report, 78% of small businesses that used TikTok were able to connect with their customers authentically. Like the example below from fashion brand Free People, consider using user-generated content in shoppable ads to make them feel more organic and relatable.

@freepeople Pieces styled by YOU that are currently 50% off! Today only🚨 Link in bio to shop the Feel Good Friday Sale #freepeople #blackfriday #blackfridaysale ♬ Favorite Song – Milky Chance

How to set up a TikTok Shop

Follow these steps to tap into TikTok Shop and start promoting your product to new customers at scale.

1. Sign up: To begin, you need to sign up for a TikTok Shop profile. Though a TikTok account can be used to sign up, it’s different from the TikTok Shop profile, so if you don’t have an account, you can also use an email address or phone number.

2. Complete your application: Verify your identity by providing the necessary documentation required. You can then register as an individual or corporate seller, with the latter requiring a business name, employer ID number, address, and tax ID. Individuals will need to supply some form of government ID, while both require payment and tax information.

3. Get approved: Your application will then be submitted for review, with the process taking up to six days. Once approved, you’ll receive an email confirmation.

4. Link to your TikTok account: If you didn’t sign up with a TikTok account, now is the time you need to create one so you can link it to your TikTok Shop. Then, you can start adding products and using TikTok Shop apps to link to all your selling platforms so you have automatic updates to product photos, descriptions, and inventory across a range of platforms. If solely using TikTok Shop, add products directly to the app and manage orders, shipping, sales, and discounts from there. 

Hot tip: Unfortunately, selling natively on the TikTok platform through TikTok Shop isn’t available in all regions, with US brands currently one of the few regions who have access to these tools. 

How to set up TikTok Shop Ads

So, you’ve set up a TikTok Shop profile that’s linked to your business TikTok profile – great! Now, it’s time to give your customers a streamlined shopping experience with in-app purchases. Follow these steps to set up TIkTok Shop Ads in the Seller Center.

1. Go to the Ads section: In the Seller Center, choose the Ads section on the left. If you can see the ‘Create Campaign’ button or ‘Create Ads’ button, you’re ready to go. If these don’t come up, you’ll need to connect either your Business Center account, Ads Manager account, or TikTok account.

2. Create Campaign: From the Ads section, select Create Campaign at which point you may be redirected to TikTok Ads Manager. Then, choose Product Sales as your campaign objective and TikTok Shop as your product source.

3. Create and publish your ads: Now, you’re ready to get creative with engaging visuals and exclusive discounts. 

Plann tip: Want more details regarding setting up TikTok Shop ads for your business? TikTok has a helpful PDF that is sure to answer any of your questions and outlines the whole process, from linking your product catalog to running ads.  

4 creative ways to leverage TikTok Shop 

Looking for creative ways to get started on TikTok Shop? Consider these ideas to generate engaging content designed to convert customers and boost product sales year-round. 

  • Jump on a TikTok trend: Trends have incredible staying power on TikTok and draw a wide audience, no matter the type of content. Consider jumping on trends when creating ad content or videos for your products, and add shoppable product tags to capture and convert viewers.
  • Team up with content creators: By tapping into TikTok’s wealth of influencers, you’ll be able to create striking content that stands out and reaches a wider audience. Consider using content creators to promote certain products or services through UGC-style videos. The key is making sure the influencer chosen reflects your brand’s values or style so that the partnership is a genuine one. 
@gotoskincare A Gold Logie worthy skincare ritual (ahem, jumpscare) from @mariathattil ✨ #gotoskincare #logies #skinprep #easyskincare #glowyskin ♬ original sound – Go-To Skincare

  • Highlight new products: If you’re looking to launch a new product, create a video to promote it. You can include a product card so users can purchase the product without even needing to leave the TikTok app.
  • Host live stream shopping events: On TikTok, boost the discoverability of your products by going live with product demonstrations or how-to tutorials for potential customers. You’ll be able to highlight your products’ features and answer any potential questions your audience might have. 

Ready to elevate your TikTok marketing game?

Whether you’re struggling to keep up with the fast-paced nature of social media or simply want to devote more time to growing your business and focusing on those tasks that take place offline, Plann’s range of features is sure to help save you time with an automated social media strategy. 

From AI-generated captions to cross-posting, analytics, hashtags and more, Plann can help you maintain a consistent posting schedule while you remain focused on business growth. 

Go on, and redeem your 7-day free trial of Plann Plus. If you don’t like it, keep using Plann for free!


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