TikTok is the new kid on the block.

The platform exploded onto the scene and quickly established itself as one of the most popular social media apps in the world. With TikTok being so popular, there's a huge opportunity for sales. Luckily for sellers, TikTok gives businesses easy access to its self-service marketing platform.

But as is the case with any channel — especially new ones — there are also challenges, like breaking through a massively popular platform whose audience is wildly different from that of other channels.

Let’s discuss some of the other challenges you might face when jumping into TikTok ecommerce marketing.

Defining your TikTok strategy

The first challenge is knowing what you hope to achieve for your business through selling on TikTok.

The simplest way to overcome this is to draw up a list of your goals and objectives, trying to be as specific as possible. These goals and objectives will allow you to track and monitor the progress and success of your TikTok campaign. 

Focusing on followers may be misleading. This is because not all your followers are seeing your content, to see the real impact you need to see how many people are engaging with your content and ads. As you are selling a product it is important to track the number of people that follow a link to the product, as well as the number of people that actually buy your product.

Within your strategy, you need to identify the metrics you want to be used to measure your success, without this, you cannot be effective. Learn more about ecommerce KPIs.

Getting your message across

Once you have an idea of how you'll leverage TikTok, the next challenge is about how you communicate your message.

TikTok is a unique platform that allows its users to consume content quickly and easily. Your content needs to be sold in a similar way. If your pitch can't be digested in 5 to 10 seconds, you risk boring your audience.

The biggest audience on TikTok is generation Z, they do not react to advertising the same way as older groups. Generally speaking, Gen Z is less impressed with advertising than previous generations. They're not opposed to just skipping past salesy content.

“Honesty is currency on social. 90% of millennials say brand authenticity is important. Younger consumers prefer ‘real and organic’ over ‘perfect and packaged’.” - Dot Lung

This is why how you advertise a product is so important. 

One of the most effective ways to sell on TikTok is through challenges. By creating an exciting way for many users to be involved, you cast a wider net and create buy-in from users seeing the challenges. When successfully implemented this can greatly improve your success.

Another effective way to sell on TikTok is through an influencer. Influencers are also a powerful tool for advertising on TikTok as they have a large audience already listening to them. Getting an influencer to promote your content or product in the right way can drastically improve your reach.

Where do you start?

The next challenge is actually starting, which is easier said than done.

Starting organic content is easy enough, you just need to put yourself out there. Sponsored content, on the other hand, involves costs, and choosing how to spend your money is crucial to your overall success.

As a business owner, you can start by registering on the TikTok Ad Manager and start familiarizing yourself with the platform.

TikTok makes it extremely easy to create an ad campaign. Just make sure to choose your campaign objectives accordingly – if your advertising doesn’t align with your objectives, then your success will be limited. TikTok also allows you to choose the audience you wish to reach, so base that off of the demographics most aligned with your goals.

The minimum cost set out by TikTok is $50, but depending on how long and how far you want the ads to reach, this amount will vary. TikTok gives you ample budgeting options to control how your money will be spent on advertising. You can set a limit on how much you want to spend in total on an ad campaign, this is referred to as a lifetime budget. The other path is to set a daily spend limit, which is great if you've planned out exactly how and where you want to be spending your advertising money.

Simply put, the more you spend the more people your ads will reach... but no budget will magically make bad ads good. Focus on making entertaining ads and then experiment with budgets accordingly.

Selling directly through TikTok

Other social media platforms such as Instagram allow you to sell directly through the app. For users, this means the ability to buy directly from a seller via the app. For sellers, this means the ability to reach, engage, and convert shoppers quickly and seamlessly.

TikTok does not currently have an in-app purchasing feature... yet.

Word around the web is that TikTok plans to introduce this feature soon. If and when that launches, it's sure to shake up the market.

But just because this feature isn't available doesn't mean you can't start being proactive. As is the case with all other platforms that introduce native ecommerce features, it's very likely that TikTok will accept product feeds at some point. Your best bet is to keep optimizing your catalog and go planning for how you'd handle your TikTok product groups.

If you're new to all of this and just asked yourself "What's a product feed?" we've got you covered.

You want to be able to hit the ground running as soon as something like this gets announced.


If you're selling to a young target audience, you don't want to ignore TikTok.

That said, breaking through a massively popular platform whose audience is wildly different from that of other channels doesn't happen without a unique set of challenges.

Be ready to fit TikTok into your greater social strategy, experiment with ways to best get your message across, learn about the platform's advertising capabilities, and lastly, be prepared for when the inevitable product marketing opportunity arises.

With a solid strategy and a good ecommerce toolset, TikTok can be a huge boost to your business.