The Ins & Outs of TikTok Shop for Brands

Oct 25, 2023 1:30 PM2:30 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways:

TikTok has over one billion users worldwide who are engaging at higher rates than any other social media platform. 71% of these users observe ads on the platform, with 95% taking action after watching a TikTok. This engagement allows brands to leverage TikTok Shop to convert viewers into consumers. What does this marketplace involve, and how can you scale on this channel?

To create a TikTok Shop account, launch a store within the platform’s seller central hub and connect your bank account. With the marketplace’s web portal, you can access store operations like product management, content, orders, and shipping to build and connect your storefront and PDPs to your back-end operations. After the initial setup, develop a shoppable content strategy by creating organic videos around unique selling points and partnering with influencers for UGC content. Scaling your TikTok store requires launching ad campaigns through affiliate programs that drive sales.

In this virtual event, Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson hosts Tom Sesti and Nicole Reich of Blue Wheel, who provide a comprehensive overview of TikTok Shop. Together, they discuss the platform’s unique features for shoppers and brands, best practices for the marketplace, and how to overcome marketplace management challenges.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • TikTok Shop’s potential to engage and convert consumers
  • How to utilize TikTok Shop’s unique features
  • Actionable steps for joining TikTok Shop
  • TikTok Shop marketplace management strategies
  • Scaling your TikTok Shop account through content creation and ads
  • Three affiliate programs for attracting influencers and driving sales
  • What are some best practices for TikTok Shop?
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Event Partner

Blue Wheel

Blue Wheel is an omni-channel marketing and operational partner delivering excellence in digital commerce -- from click to ship. As a new breed of omni-channel agency, Blue Wheel supports brands from marketplace management to performance advertising, and creative services. With over $1B in revenue managed for our clients, we help brands from click to ship, scaling brand sales across D2C, Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and retail.

Connect with Blue Wheel

Guest Speaker

Tom Sesti LinkedIn

President at Blue Wheel

Tom Sesti is the President of Blue Wheel, an omnichannel marketing and operational brand partner. As a DTC and marketplace leader, he has experience working at various levels of the digital ecosystem, including brand, agency, wholesale, retail, and private label. With two decades of experience as a founder and entrepreneur, Tom has advised multiple startups in areas like launches, capital and debt raises, go-to-market, growth, and exits.

Nicole Reich LinkedIn

Chief Growth Officer

Nicole Reich is the Chief Growth Officer at Blue Wheel. She was the Co-founder and VP of Sales and Marketing at Retail Bloom, which merged with Blue Wheel to deliver end-to-end DTC, eCommerce, and marketplace solutions. Nicole strives to guide eCommerce success by working closely with manufacturers and partners and offering a full-service array of marketing solutions.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson LinkedIn

Senior Digital Strategist at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.

Event Moderator

Tom Sesti LinkedIn

President at Blue Wheel

Tom Sesti is the President of Blue Wheel, an omnichannel marketing and operational brand partner. As a DTC and marketplace leader, he has experience working at various levels of the digital ecosystem, including brand, agency, wholesale, retail, and private label. With two decades of experience as a founder and entrepreneur, Tom has advised multiple startups in areas like launches, capital and debt raises, go-to-market, growth, and exits.

Nicole Reich LinkedIn

Chief Growth Officer

Nicole Reich is the Chief Growth Officer at Blue Wheel. She was the Co-founder and VP of Sales and Marketing at Retail Bloom, which merged with Blue Wheel to deliver end-to-end DTC, eCommerce, and marketplace solutions. Nicole strives to guide eCommerce success by working closely with manufacturers and partners and offering a full-service array of marketing solutions.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson LinkedIn

Senior Digital Strategist at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.

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Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson

Senior Digital Strategist at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Senior Digital Strategist Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

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Discussion Transcription

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 0:18

Happy Wednesday everyone I am Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson a digital strategist with BWG Connect and we are in network and knowledge sharing group we stay on top latest trends challenges whatever shaping the digital landscape we want to know and talk about it. We are on track to do at least 500 of these virtual events. This year due to the increase in demand better understand the digital space, we'll also be doing at least 100 in-person small format dinner. So if you happen to live in a tier one city in the US feel free to shoot us an email, we'd love to send you an invite. The dinners are typically 15 to 20 people having a discussion around a certain digital topic. And it's always a fantastic time we spend the majority of our time talking to brands is how we stay on top of latest trends. We'd love to have a conversation with you. So you can always feel free to drop me a line at And we can get some time on the calendar. It's from these conversations we generate the topic ideas we know people want to learn about and it's also where we gain our resident experts such as Blue Wheel who's with us today. Anybody that we asked to teach a collective team has come highly recommended from multiple brands within the network. So if you're ever in need of any recommendations within the digital space, please don't hesitate to reach out to us we have a list of the best of the best I mean, they'll do provide that information to you. Also note that if you have any hiring needs we do partner with a talent agency Hawkeye Search formerly BWG talent that we can put you in contact with as well. A few housekeeping items. We want this to be first and foremost fun, educational, conversational. So drop as many questions comments you have into the chat, the q&a or if you feel more currently, you can always email me And we'll be sure to get to them. And we started a few minutes after the hour of rest assured we'll probably wrap up about 10 minutes before the end of the hour to give you ample time to get to your next destination spot. So with that, let's rock and roll and start to learn about the ins and outs of the TikTok shop for brands. The team at Blue Wheel have been awesome long term Friends of the network. So I'm gonna kick it over to Nicole and team if you'd like to give a brief introduction on yourself. That'd be great. And then we can dive into all this awesome information. Thank you all.

Nicole Reich 2:20

Thanks, Tiffany. Hi, everyone. I'm Nicole Reich CTO at Blue Wheel and I'm very excited to be joined here today with our President Tom Sesti and our TikTok Shop partner expert, Alana. Before getting into the agenda. Would you both mind introducing yourselves?

Alana 2:35

Sure. Thanks, Nicole. Hi, everyone. My name is Alana Asad. I am helping build our TikTok Shop partner ecosystem here at TikTok so working with trusted partners like Blue Wheel in order to help provide set services for sellers like future sellers. Many of you on this call will need in order to scale successfully on TikTok Shop. So really excited to be here and to support the Blue Wheel team as they are able to really help all of you in the future. handed over to Tom.

Tom Sesti 3:07

Thanks, Alana. Thanks, Nicole. My name is Tom Sesti the president here at Blue Wheel. And traditionally My responsibilities include overall company operations. However, in this case, I'm really been partnering with Ilana and the team at TikTok, as well as our internal teams to spearhead what we feel is one of the most exciting offers or offerings that that we've seen a long time, which is TikTok Shops. So really excited to be here, pumped to get into this and talk about it more.

Nicole Reich 3:35

Great. So for our agenda today, after going through a little intro on Blue Wheel we will be focusing on four core topics related to TikTok Shop. First, we'll start with the opportunity. So why should brands be prioritizing TikTok today, Tom mentioned we're really excited about it, we want to give you some data. And some I guess, more objective stats versus just sort of subjective excitement around the platform. After that, we'll go over an overview of what TikTok Shop is and then followed by how to get started and then briefly how to scale after your life. So the scaling portion, as much as as as detailed as this is the scaling portion is a little bit light, but we're hoping to give you a bit of that what we consider our playbooks so that you can take it from here with the summary including clear next steps of how you can get live on TikTok Shop and grow to start seeing some incremental sales.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 4:26

Awesome. And just a reminder to everybody questions, comments, put into the chat the q&a and really focus on the TikTok Shops. That is the topic of focus, we have a lot to run through. So we definitely want to focus on anything that's pertaining to the

Nicole Reich 4:38

shops. Accepting So getting started a little bit on Blue Wheel if you haven't heard of us we are an omni channel agencies supporting brands through marketplace management and performance marketing. We help our brand partners scale efforts across the entire customer lifecycle journey on both b2c and on marketplaces such as Amazon Walmart, in the US and and globally. With over a billion dollars in revenue manage for our clients, we drive commerce from click to ship. And more importantly for our conversation today, extending that clip click to ship philosophy on TikTok our social commerce TikTok playbooks sports brands from the great the beginning, starting with our creative efforts with our studio in Brooklyn and creative teams focused on production editing, consulting, and graphic design. After that, those resources are then used for organic and Tiktok management, including content planning, community engagement, and captioning. The goal of this piece is really to drive the foundation and followers needed to then scale through influencers and paid media on the platform. So lastly, in a focus, or obviously our call today, we finally put a bow on the commerce piece by launching our partners on TikTok Shop, and then time this engagement in purchase to purchase with TikTok Shop standing as the in platform, place for our brands, and then for the consumers who want to engage with those brands. So seeing this a little bit more visually, and I point this out, because one, this is again, kind of our playbook at a high level. But also, it is a step system that you could use as brands to understand what it takes from beginning to end. So again, you start with engaging content. We'll give you some examples later in the scaling portion of this, you want to build that organic and community management, you want to partner with influencers drive traffic and engagement through paid ads. And then of course, being able to tie that engagement and awareness to acquisition or to conversion through TikTok Shop. So going to the opportunity. I wanted to start again with some stats here just to show you why we are thinking TikTok now more so than ever before. It's funny we think about TikTok, I would say is a little bit like Amazon 10 years ago, where you've got these really scrappy emerging brands, taking on TikTok Shop, being able to be those early adaptors and really seeing a ton of success, where also at the same time you see some of those traditional brands not being on the platform, because they you know, it takes a little bit longer. They want to understand how what it takes and what it really means. So some quick stats here, there are over a billion users worldwide. And the biggest one is that these users are engaging at higher rates than on any other social platforms. So 95 minutes per day is the average daily daily usage. They're on these consumers are on the platform they're looking through, they're scrolling through much more than on any other social site. 46% of those users are over the age of age of 30 years old, which I think is always surprising because we think Tik Tok is, you know, for teenagers, college students below and that is not the case. These 30 year olds and above, obviously have consumer shopping power. They want to learn about brands, they want to learn about other things, but they also want to learn and take action. So this last 170 1% of Tik Tok users report that they pay attention to the ads on the platform, again, supporting the opportunity for brands. But most importantly, I think the one that is really exciting for us is that 92% of these users take action after watching a TikTok. And the issue though, like as we mentioned earlier, is that they wanted to take action, they're open to it. But then they were had they were focused on going to other platforms, right. So they see traditionally before TikTok Shop, they would see something, they'd see an ad it would direct out to a website or direct out to an external source. And through that the brands wouldn't be able to really track the opportunity. And you'd see a lot of those consumers fall off because they didn't have that seamless checkout experience. So that's what we're really most excited about for TikTok Shop is it's one of those first times that we can take social engagement and turn it into social commerce. One thing I would note also lastly, on the on the opportunity side is that, though this is fairly new to the US, there is already a blueprint already happening in China. So bytedance, the TikTok. Owner, they've already seen almost $200 billion in GMB, GMB in China, and that was up 75% from 2021. So yes, it's new to the US. But the the platform itself, the testing it out, it's already there, they're already doing in China. And now in the US, we're a little bit behind and that would be what I would consider for brands a really good opportunity because this is why we consider it more of a less of a sign shiny object and more brands actually having to go through this and thinking about this as incremental sales into their playbooks for 2024. Beyond just the bill, what are some other benefits of joining TikTok Shop so increase convert conversion potential that's totally tie to the fact that they can find a brand, they can find a product and shop right on the platform, you don't have to lose them by going through tons of different clicks. It's a seamless customer journey, which we'll talk about you as the merchant, have data at your fingertips is the best way to see that attribution. It's not like you have to think about a halo effect, you can directly see how people engage with your brand and what they're purchasing. Those audience, as we mentioned, are highly engaged. And then lastly, on the two on the bottom is that there is low customer acquisition costs, which we'll talk about for merchants, because you have this potential of early adaption. So having the opportunity to get on this now, very much like Amazon 10 years ago, the costs are much lower than they are on other platforms, and probably lower than they'll ever be tivity or terminal on any questions before I get into the overview, I've still

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 10:57

tried to take the 92% take action. Like that is just unbelievable. It reminds me of my days in home shopping, have you know that that customer didn't know that they needed something and they start watching then they have to habit. And I kind of assumed them TikTok audiences the same way because not everybody is going on TikTok thinking they're going to be shopping, but suddenly you fall into awesome content, which then prompts you to want to buy that item that you're watching. Is that correct?

Nicole Reich 11:27

Yes, absolutely. So it's like TV shopping, but even more at your fingertips, no pun intended. And they're also very, very short. Right? So it's not like you have to watch this hour video or whatever the commercial is, right? And then call a number and purchase. It's all right in in the hands of the users.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 11:48

And you don't have to have cable. Yeah, that's true. What's cable? Tiffany? Yeah, what is that?

Nicole Reich 11:56

Um, so getting into TikTok Shop overview. So what does it look like? Basically, its its product discovery, product details, a checkout and post payment activity, all in one spot. Here's a couple of examples. And you'll see throughout the rest of the slides, we've got a lot of TikTok screenshots of what it would look like for the user. But really, it looks like this PDP right this product detail page, very similar to maybe what your website looks like or marketplace website looks like. That's the one on the left. And then the right is where you tie that Tik Tok content, whether it's videos influencers, organic creation, to a potential purchase. So this is what the customer journey looks like. First, they can browse through, they see shoppable content through videos and live streams, they then can select and pick the products that they want from those PDPs. They then check out which is again, right within the app, they place orders and checkout without leaving the TikTok app. And then even afterwards, they can advocate so they can share their excitement around the products and then join the conversation. For today's purposes, we're really focusing on the three on the left, we don't get into the one on the right time. But I'm sure we'll have a follow up on that one, probably q1 q2 of next year. There are four different ways that they can find TikTok Shop or these types of shops and the shopping buttons. So the first three on the left, one product links, right. So you've got a live image, whether it's live or past of an influencer, or your own organic copy, and they can click on this link go directly to your PDP. From there, they can also find it from their product showcase. Again, this is going to be right below their profile, you see the TikTok videos and the shopping button. And when they click on that they can see the products that you are listing. They can also see it through live shopping. So the only difference really between this one and this one is that this is previously recorded. And then this is live shopping. So this is Tiffany, like you mentioned, even closer to what used to be on TV, right where you've got your own advocates internally, or potentially models going live on the platform. They're featuring the products at the bottom, they can push that button and purchase right from there. And then lastly, and a lot of maybe you want to speak to this one just released yesterday is a new shopping tab where they're actually able to browse all of the different TikTok, the brands that are on TikTok Shop. Yeah,

Alana 14:24

I'm definitely happy to chime in there. You know, I think shopping through content at that point of inspiration is definitely where we've seen a lot of the early success on TikTok Shop. But now we're really excited for the shop tab to be introduced for users who may have seen maybe a content a piece of content before that they can click the product link and be able to search for it directly and be able to build like a very robust search based marketplace for for brands to be able to monetize on the on the platform so really exciting news and opens the door to A lot of businesses to be able to sell their products on TikTok.

Nicole Reich 15:03

Yeah, I was on this last night just exploring a little bit for the first time, I'm very interested in seeing how how and if we'll as merchants get exposure to how the algorithm works, but if you have a TikTok right now, you do have to get the latest version. So you update it, but it'd be worth kind of searching for particular terms, and then seeing what comes up right. And as more people and as more merchants join TikTok Shop, obviously, this catalog that will come up as the search results will get more vast, right, but the algorithm itself and you know, the equivalent of SEO, I'm interested in digging into that, not that we have an answer today, but something to keep on the radar for later this year, or even next year. When the consumer finds a product, and they want to purchase, so they're gonna go to that product detail page, they're going to select whatever type of variation they want. So in this example, you know, you've got some footwear, you've got a different size, it goes directly to the checkout process. And then they can place the order from there fairly seamless, very similar to the other checkout processes on other platforms. I want to at this point, pass it over to Tom to speak through how to get started. So at this point, we understand the opportunity we understand kind of a high level TikTok Shop. But what of you as a brand want to get started? What do you have to do? Tom, are you on meal? You might be sorry?

Tom Sesti 15:34

Sorry, I was on mute and didn't realize it. Thank you. Rob. Yeah, well, so just so you say Thanks, Nicole, for passing it along. So let's talk a little bit about TikTok Shop. And as Nicole said, getting started. So learning from other e-comm platforms and marketplace back ends that you've worked with. TikTok Shops web portal provides a full suite of solutions to their workstation. store operations like managing products, content, orders, shipping financial information, right customer interaction, education for sellers, performance analysis and policy updates, you can access all of those sorts of things through the through the portal. Next slide. To access TikTok Shop, you just create a shop within the TikTok seller center, submit the required business docs for verification, and connect your bank account. There's also the opportunity to onboard via TikTok marketing API. In October 2023, the Shopify integration was released that will actually connect Shopify directly to your TikTok Shop and allow you to feed things into TikTok Shops like product and in availability things along that line. So there's also third party connectors that are available, that may be the solution. However, these do tend to come into costs. So if you're not on Shopify, or if you're not satisfied the shop by Shopify connection, there are other opportunities to connect.

The TikToks seller platform allows you to manage products view and fulfill orders, process shipping, manage finances and view analytics all through the managing your store, experience there and TikTok Shop portal going please gives you a look at the fee structure, which as Nicole mentioned, is very aggressive right now. 2% referral fee on customer payment, plus 30 cent per order. This is really critical because it allows for more aggressive investment in marketing and scaling your efforts as compared to other platforms. So as you're trying to grow, obviously, you're incentivized to invest in scaling on the platform with the lower fees as compared to a lot of other cost structures that you'll see out there.

Nicole Reich 19:01

Yeah, I would add to this Tom, we're talking to some of our brands that it some of the people on today's today's call, we are also a third party seller on other marketplaces, comparing this to like Tom said to those other marketplaces, a lot of times we're paying minimum 15% 17% For footwear and apparel, right. And this referral fee is much, much less than that. So in this scenario, we can really repurpose some of that margin into our advertising efforts and do creating content. That's where the savings is. So a lot of times our brands will say, hey, I want to do this, but I don't actually have the assets. I don't even know how to grow it. There's margin compared to other channels that you would have open to reinvest in those efforts in order to scale.

Tom Sesti 19:48

Once you get into the dashboard, you're able to pull analytics for store transactions and traffic showing you the proportion of revenue from live streams, videos, product cards, it saves the time of downloading and summarizing data will make the evaluation of the store's revenue way more transparent. You can see there's a ton of analytic insights available in the list on the screen, I'll really quick go through them. So like I talked about sales and traffic, live stream, video shop tab, order processing delivery, you've got creator and affiliate analysis, product performance, you can see the performance of different promotions that you're running, you can see your shop ranking. So where it ranks among among other shops, and also customer trends. So a lot a lot of data available. Very exciting from an analytic standpoint.

Nicole Reich 20:32

And portions of this that as brands as merchants, we haven't been able to get right, of course, you have affiliate links, and you have influencers that you work with. Yes, you can link those out to your website. But there is still a little bit of what we assumed as our halo effect. Right. And we have previously before TikTok Shop, we've had other add ins that help us quantify our efforts. But this is the first time that we're getting that one PII data more so than we've ever gotten past. Next slide. So let's talk about

Tom Sesti 21:04

some potential hurdles, or some potential obstacles that, you know, we that we've seen and we've we've helped brands overcome. So you have to be able to ship to the consumer, or you have to partner with somebody who can do it because there isn't, there's any other way to get the product or at the end of the day, somebody has to be able deliver that product once it gets ordered directly to consumer. So you have to think about your infrastructure there and your partnerships to be able to accomplish that. International accounts if you have if your handle was registered internationally. So let's say that your your brand handle is registered overseas, maybe you're on a trip overseas, your brands domiciled overseas, you can't see the US TikTok Shop because your hand your account is used international account. So that has been something that some brands have had to work with. And Alana has had some experience, you know, helping helping brand partners through that the Shopify connection is relatively new. So there can be some hiccups in the process. Again, if you aren't on Shopify, you'll be looking for another service product provider who already potentially integrated an API connection between TikTok Shop and your e-comm platform, or you'll need to partner with somebody who can build it. We've seen some sellers run into obstacles when they tried to connect their ad account to their shop, where we've had to step in and run ads through other accounts for them until they that issue can get cleared up. So sometimes there's a few few connection hurdles there. As with any channel, this takes resources. So you have to ask yourself, do you have the resources to manage the back end of a marketplace? Do you have the ability to generate the right type of creative at the proper scale for Tik Tok? You know, that's not a platform that is conducive to static creative, right? You've got to be able to be iterative and constantly generating. So you need to think through that. Also, do you have access to the experience on the platform to help you set you help set you up for success? Or do you need some outside partners, potentially, you know, working with somebody from the TikTok account management team to help set you up for success. And then just with anytime you get on a new platform, right? Every new platform that we've ever seen, has the call teething issues, right? You've got to be prepared for things get a little bumpy sometimes, and you have the resources to address that as you get thrown curveballs here and there. And that's just the nature of any fastly moving, fast moving, evolving platform.

Nicole Reich 23:24

Yeah, I want to tie that new platform teething issues to potentially marketplace management ops resources, or even some of the hiccups on the left side. Tom, like, as you mentioned, you know, this is this is new things are trying to be figured out, I would say that the TIC tock team a lot on and all the other reps that we've worked with, they want feedback from the merchants on how to make it better. But there are things that you kind of just have to figure it out. And that's we haven't officially coined at that right time. But something is coming up everyday for our brands as a reality of just saying, Okay, we wanted to do this, there's this new hurdle that we have to overcome, we have to open up a ticket, we have to go to our tic tock wrap, right? So this isn't one of those things that you can just set up and have someone do as a side project in the background. If you do, they're going to get stuck, they're going to get frustrated, it is worth it. Right. But just like Amazon, again, 10 years ago, Seller Central, where when we all complain about Seller Support, you learn how to work on the platform, and there's there isn't all of these, you know, resources or all this knowledge per se yet to be able to troubleshoot this. So the troubleshooting is happening in real time. Sometimes you're writing down your own processes. We obviously are developing our own playbook. But I would make sure that you kind of recognize that going into this that there's again, figuring it out in quotes that is going to need to happen. And you should just expect that. Well, I

Tom Sesti 24:46

think I think if you put it in perspective, even mature platforms ever, there's problems that we bumped into every day. It's just that there's more miles under the road that makes it easier to understand the path to solving them. And when you have Got a new platform, you just gotta get those miles onto the road. And sometimes it's not as clear, but you got it, like you said, Be committed to, to putting the resources on it to help through it.

Alana 25:09

Just to chime in there, that is exactly why we're creating the TikTok ShopRunner ecosystem. You know, we've seen in other markets, Southeast Asia, the UK even doing in the sister app in China that those sellers who work with a trusted TikTok Shop partner are able to scale and succeed, I would say at a faster and more profitable rate, to lead towards conversion. So, you know, that is why that is exactly why we're building out this ecosystem. And why we work with trusted partners and agencies like Blue Wheel in order to help potentially work past these hurdles that any early marketplace

Nicole Reich 25:53

will encounter. So alone, I have a question for you. And this one's a little bit more technical. So let us know if maybe this person Antonia would need to connect with you afterwards or with us. But yes, he is using a TikTok app to integrate Shopify in order to list products. There's those disapproved warnings, of not being able to get them wide for whatever issue and he's wondering if there's a way to export those with the reasons so that you can kind of fix them in bulk versus having to do them individually. Do you happen to know the answer to that one?

Alana 26:28

Yeah, that's an example of platform specific, I would say limitation that we have right now. We don't have the ability to, to export. But this is definitely feedback that our product team has heard. And I'm sure they're they're working on it in terms of timing. That's something I don't have visibility into. But for now, my recommendation is, yes, there are certain products category categories that have additional requirements. So just go through the appeal process. And hopefully, you will get everything you need. And if not definitely reach out to the team.

Nicole Reich 27:09

All right. So our last portion is around scaling. Talk about the opportunity talks about what TikTok Shop is how to get started, let's say at this point, we're assuming that we are on the platform, our Shopify is connected, we are able to to ship orders, right? We've done that testing, and now we're thinking, great, we've got this new channel that we want to go after, how do I scale it. And I would say that some of these to start, some of this can be done now versus having to while you're setting up your tic tock, TikTok Shop. So let's say you have a tic tock account right now you don't have TikTok Shop, I would think about these things of having them be able to go parallel, because you want to be able to, to build out your tic tock account, so that when your tic tock shop is there, the foundation is already in place. And a big piece of that foundation is obviously content. And what we've done on this side is kind of broken this out into two stages. On the left is content that we need for paid ads, and on the right is content that we need for organic efforts. So on the right side first, there are particular there's a basically a segment of how you want to focus your creative around these four different types of, I guess topics for specifically organic efforts. So creating videos around unique selling points, ingredients, textures, and flavors, partnering with influencers and having UGC. And then lastly, focusing on how to and potentially routines are all related to that organic TikTok content, meaning you're posting it on your page, there are users out there following you, right, you want this to be more of a brand story. You don't want it to be where they're going to your page, and all they see is a bunch of promotions, for example. So start with that organic side, potentially use that content on the right to boost those posts to get more followers. But think of this more as top of funnel, your goal is to create content that your consumers or potential customers want to engage with. And then after that be able to start with those paid apps. So a lot of those on the right can be used for paid ads as well. But you'll see there's a couple of different ones. One on the paid ads side, we focus on our product heroes or our best selling products on our websites or on other channels that we want to feature. So this is where it gets a little bit more specific. You're obviously putting more dollars behind it. You want to make sure that the consumer seeing it truly understands what you're trying to promote. Right. So that's under Product hero that's under those unique selling points. And then you're also focusing on those value props, what makes you different, what makes the products different and what makes the brands different. So again, on the left side paid ads, those can be I would say maybe a little bit more salesy, right maybe you're doing a promo Share, maybe you're doing a discount. But if you're thinking about your organic efforts, you don't want it to just be this place where people can go to and all they see is a bunch of discounts or a bunch of sales, because if that happens very similar to the other channels, all you're going to do is kind of decrease your brand pricing integrity, right, and the consumers are gonna get used to finding your products on sale. So completely two different initiatives within Blue Wheel, they're two different teams for us, you want to build that foundation with organic content and give out more upper funnel, selling your brand voice. And then after that, on the paid side, potentially more selling the products and trying to convert. Here's some different examples. So like I said, there is different content that can happen and be repurposed for both organic and paid. So on the right side, one of our partners IQ bar, we can use this influencer copy for both paid and organic efforts. And then maybe on the left side, and it's not playing right now, you can see this kind of more how to routine, which is definitely more suited for organic efforts. And the reason for that is that we're not actually pitching a particular product or price or anything like that, it's helping the consumer understand if they got into the brand, what their own routine would look like, we'll send this to you after we'll send the slides. And you can go through these a little bit more in detail just for my own Wi Fi bandwidth. I didn't know if they were to freeze or not. So getting to more examples. This is one of the campaigns that we've run for thermos, you can see on the right side, we've got our value prop that we use are paid. In the second to the right, we've got our How to which is more routine that would be found on their thermos TikTok page not using paid efforts. And then on the left side, we've got unique selling points are on bowls that can be used for both paid and organic. So just wanted to give you some ideas of the type of content that needs to be created. One of them that is not included in here that we also have and you should make a priority is doing TikTok trends. So think of those as those viral memes, right? One of them being you know, Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce. Right, there are some different ways that brands have been going on the coattails of that trend, creating content, whether it's in a joking material that features their brand, right, all of those TikTok trends would be used for organic as well.

Tom Sesti 32:30

I'll hop back in here. Yup. And talk a little bit about affiliate programs. To me, this is one of the really exciting things. And I think it's a big differentiator for TikTok Shop, compared to you know, some of the other things that are out there. Essentially, there's three different affiliate programs that help you attract talent, and drive sales. And one of the cool things is you get full control of commissions. And you can vary the fees even by product depending on which program that you go with. So essentially, first plan is the open plan, where you as the brand or seller can make selected products available, you know, basically publicly, you can list them and make them available to creators to go ahead and say I want that one, I want that one. The target is where you can go after specific sellers and try and get them to participate in your plant and your program. And then the shop is where you open up all products include everything in there and just say, hey, everything's going to be at this, this commission rate so there's a lot of options. But you know, I would not underscore this I don't know that we can we can over overstate how important this is really, it's called an affiliate program because of the commission piece. But this is really a built in influencer program that that allows you to partner with creators that are on Tik Tok, and also recruit creators maybe to come to Tik Tok and in have their creative, be monetizable on the platform and drive traffic to your shop. So very exciting opportunity there.

Nicole Reich 33:59

And then focusing on tic tock shop ads. So there's two different types of ads that you can be running again, this can either go directly to I don't want to say either there's multiple ways that this can be where this traffic can be driven. But for the focus of TikTok Shop, you can drive those video shopping ads, the one on the left, right? These are what we would consider content created after on your own and then posted on the channel. Or you can do that live shopping ad which again, back to what Tiffany said in the beginning would be the 2023 version of live shopping on TV, right? We're, again, whether it's internal resources external, you are going live with a group of your products, you're talking to it, you are potentially engaging with the community they can ask questions and we're in real time you provide answers and then they can click on the products from there and a lot of times we'll see promotions be driven on the live shopping ads right well we're we're will give the consumers an opportunity if they're shopping and seeing it live instead of after the fact that they get 10 20% off whatever it might be, I would definitely consider doing these together and seeing which one works best. And I also would consider testing out the different promotions that you can run.

Tom Sesti 35:16

So I'm going to jump back in and talk a little bit about some of the things that we've seen brands, we've helped them, those partners evaluate, and achieve where it makes sense for their business. And we'd really recommend them as part of best practices for consideration if you're going to be on TikTok Shop. So first one here, having a TikTok Shop account manager, it's really a great resource to assist you in a successful shop. You know, Alana, is has been a really instrumental partner, and helping us bring brands partnership on the platform, with category specific account managers. And having those in place really helped clear some of those hurdles. And we talked about some of those potential hurdles, they they help you have more success more quickly. On the platform, some categories see as much as 40% of their sales driven by their affiliate program. So don't ignore that as part of your plan, it really does have the opportunity to pour fuel on the fire for success. We talked a little bit about earlier, the fee structure is so much more competitive than many other channels, I'd really recommend you consider using that gap in cost structure to fund your growth on the platform and invest in traffic, you're going to want to test and learn on your creative and your campaigns, you can't take a set and forget it approach, you can't let your initial effort be the end of things like all this work, now I can just do the same thing all the time. Or I can just leave that as it was, you want to keep looking at the data and updating your methods. And then lastly, you know, to do what we just talked about, you gotta be able to generate creative at scale, you want to make sure you have a process for generating, you know, creative quickly testing out different types and seeing what resonates. And just to what Nicole just talked about, for the on trend things, you have the ability to generate things quickly when they are on trend. Otherwise, you're gonna miss that opportunity. And you know, the ability to drive some extra traffic.

Nicole Reich 37:13

Yeah, and I should have mentioned this, but I completely forgot, don't overestimate the type of content that you have to create. A lot of times, there's there's two approaches to making, I would say, relatively inexpensive content, you can repurpose what you have on other channels. So let's say that you're running your, your videos on your website or on other marketplaces, you can chop those up ad design over them right and repurpose them for Tik Tok. Or you can do a lot of times for our tic tock trends, we're actually just shooting those on iPhone. So again, don't overestimate the type of content or how big the production has to be for these types of videos. The more real it's themes, the better it actually does at connecting with the consumers. So these are not creative pieces, especially on the on the trend side that have to be that have to look commercial ready. That is not what the purpose or how people engage on the platform.

Tom Sesti 38:14

I saw a question come through real quick, Nicole that I was going to answer. So there's a question came in says How does one get a TikTok account manager? That's what that's one of the benefits of working with a TikTok partner like Blue Wheel we've got the ability to, to work through Alana and help you get a TikTok account. Get an account manager for your category.

Alana 38:35

Yes, echoing Tom there. It is true that if you do not use a partner, it is a bit of a self service platform, which is why we definitely encourage

Nicole Reich 38:45

it. Tiffany, any questions from your end? Before I get to the summary?

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 38:52

I was gonna remind everybody in the last few minutes here questions comments put into the chat the q&a s we can get to him before the end. But no, let's roll.

Nicole Reich 39:00

Well, so our last part of what we always try to do on our BWG webinars is have some really good takeaways that if you don't pay attention to all the other slides, you can take this one and use it kind of as a checklist. So let's say again, you're not on the platform on TikTok or even on TikTok Shop. Here's where I would start. First create your TikTok Shop account. After that, build your storefronts and your PDPs and connect your back end operations. Like Tom and Alana just mentioned, all three of these steps require time effort figuring it out. Or if you want to scale those efforts. Again, please let us know we'd be happy to help you. We can scale up and really decrease the amount of time that it takes to get live or help you figure out what those hiccups are. After that build a shoppable content strategy, figure out what's going to be paid what's going to be organic, what you're going to do related to shopping live through influencers through affiliate or even some of those in trend, creative content pieces that we spoke about. And sorry, I'm putting those together. So second to last launch influencer and affiliate campaigns, right, make sure you're focusing on those open plans. A lot of you I allude, explain this open plan piece a little bit more. I know you and I were talking about this, I'm gonna make sure I get your point on here.

Alana 40:18

Yes. So open plans within our affiliate marketplace, is when a brand opens a SKU up to all the creators within our affiliate platform. So it's extremely powerful. It allows creators to connect openly, just exactly how it sounds, to the your products post content, which will lead to revenue and sales for your brand. So we definitely encourage all brands who are open to open plans, to, to put them up and to engage with the network there and see who you're most I would say, powerful creators are from a,

Nicole Reich 40:59

from a conversion perspective. So simplify that a little bit, a lot of us. So instead of you as a brand, going out and finding influencers or affiliate partners to pick up your products, you go into the open plan, you say this is the products that are available, and then you get to pick those that are interested in, in using your products.

Alana 41:19

Yeah, exactly. So even within that open plan brands could approve or disapprove creators. But yes, like you, you do get inbound. And instead of reaching out to creators, which we also encourage to it just is a bit more open and creators could come to you.

Nicole Reich 41:35

Cool. And then after that launch ad campaigns, right, like have that foundation in place, have that one a little bit last, if you don't have the right followers, it's not to say that it won't work. But we do recommend just as the best practice having five to 10,000 followers in order to be able to scale. So I would start at the beginning go through setting up the shop setting in the back end, make sure that your PDPs are set up, launch that content launch work with influencers and affiliate campaigns and then launch ads. One of the things that is always at the bottom of this wherever e-comm marketer is Test test test, right look at that data, understand what's working, what's not make pivots, don't assume just because the first one isn't going to take off right away, or it doesn't go viral that maybe one in the future can't. So hopefully that's helpful, I just want to go to kind of our last slide here. I know someone in the in the chat asked about our contact information, we will be sending follow up emails with a copy of this deck. And that is my email address. If you do want to reach out to me directly feel free to you can either scan that QR code, if you fill out that form, it'll go directly to me, or you can email me directly. And then lastly, we know that the biggest hurdle for brands outside of actually setting up TikTok Shop is just getting that first creative going. Maybe it isn't the first time of year, right where your internal creative team has a lot of different shoots that they're doing. They can't prioritize this. And because it you can't test it going into the holiday season. We are offering for anyone that's on this webinar that is seeing the recording our first TikTok video free if you'd like to leverage our team in creating some of that content and getting you live. Very cool. Very nice. Awesome.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 43:19

Curious, are there any categories that the TikTok Shops are not working with at this time?

Alana 43:24

Or is it open to all? I would say some pretty obvious categories are not allowed. Like CBD, for example, is a big one, actually. So there's a ton without going into detail. But if you go to our academy, it does detail that out. And all the major obvious ones are encouraged to launch. So yeah, I would say we're we're definitely trying to sell everything that is within our allow list. Awesome.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 44:00

And do you enable reviews on the products within the shop?

Alana 44:04

Yes, we do. We have. We also incentivize for reviews. As someone who's purchased on plenty on TikTok, myself, I have even been given like one or $2 off coupons that are funded by TikTok to leave a review. And we also have integrations with Jaco. Awesome, a couple minutes

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 44:26

here. We have some questions coming in fast, which is awesome. You have any more, please keep bringing them on as we wrap up. But this is I think a great question. myself having been, you know, managing a wholesale account, if you are traditionally b2b Or one P dependent, and you don't have that direct to consumer presence. What do you say to those type of brands? Because I haven't been in that position. So it's like, oh, we're kind of sheepish. We don't have the followers. We don't know who our customer base is. You know, should they just jump all in and tested or what is best

Alana 44:57

practice? Yeah, I'm happy to take that. So this question, I believe was more centered around fulfillment. So if you are mostly a one P brand, and you don't have fulfillment capabilities to ship your orders for a website to integrate with, we do have plugins with a lot of the major marketplace. Feed providers, like feeding omics and channel advisor is coming soon, too. So you could really work with a partner like Blue Wheel who could also help fulfill your orders, and do fulfillment there. And we encourage that in terms of leaning in from like a content or a, I would say a TikTok account perspective, you don't need to have like a wildly big following to be successful on TikTok Shop. Even if you don't have your own TikTok account for your business, you could launch and sell solely via affiliates in the shop tab, we definitely encourage a brand to have their own brand handle for branding purposes. But it should not be a discouragement. And we encourage everyone to still launch given that we have a ton of resources that can help where you might be lacking.

Nicole Reich 46:14

Yeah, it's funny that this came up. We're we're coming up against this, I would say opportunity. It's not even a challenge for us right now, Tiffany, a lot of you mentioned us as being a potential provider, whether it's shipping products. Funny enough, then again, we didn't plan on talking about this, but we are re purposing our three P model like we do on marketplaces for TikTok. I would say it's very much invite only I'd be happy to have a conversation for these b2b b2b brands that don't have the b2c capabilities. But we are setting up partnerships with our brands that we are the exclusive seller on other platforms. And then we are also becoming kind of this seller or the back end for TikTok Shop, from the front end very similar name to other marketplaces is still looks exactly like the brand, you still need your own brand TikTok handle, but the fulfillment in the background is coming through us. So if you there are specific questions where you just know from a fulfillment capability, or maybe it's tax, right sales tax and consumer sales that you just can't be that seller or that merchant, please let us know, we'd be happy to have a conversation about how potentially we could be that seller.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 47:26

Very exciting. Super cool. Right? The global markets that TikTok Shop has launched or mature on so the UK, Southeast Asia are the most mature,

Alana 47:40

correct? Sorry, I was I was on mute for a second too long. Yes, that is that is correct. Southeast Asia and the UK, both launched in 2020. And 2021. And us is the third major market to watch the third. Awesome.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson 48:05

Right. But I think we are at time right that really blew by that was awesome. Thank you guys so much, Nicole, Tom Alana, greatly appreciate the Intel you guys have put in front of us today. We definitely encourage follow up conversations with the Blue Wheel team. Thank you a lot for coming over from TikTok and sharing your expertise. And we would love to have a conversation with you as well. That's how we get the topics for our future events. So feel free to email me at And we can get some time on the calendar. So with that it's a wrap. Happy Wednesday, everybody. Take care, and have a great upcoming weekend.

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BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.
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