TikTok hasn’t disclosed just how much shoppers are spending on its app, but judging by the explosion of businesses joining the ecommerce platform since it launched in 2021, it’s safe to say business is booming. We spoke to three social-savvy businesses that have made a success of it.

TikTok-Shop

Brands are flocking to join the legion of 1.5 million retailers selling through TikTok Shop

HarperCollins UK

Publisher HarperCollins has been selling through TikTok Shop for only a year, having spotted an engaged and growing audience of readers who were recommending titles on BookTok (a community of literature fans on the app), with the books becoming viral sensations overnight. 

The publisher says it has seen “great growth” through the Shop and is now reaching a different and younger audience than the mix that usually frequents its ecommerce site. There has also been a surge in spontaneous buyers who wouldn’t normally go out of their way to search for books, but who impulsively order them on TikTok.

“The platform offers authenticity of content and the benefits of social proof, which is something you don’t get with regular ecommerce,” says Christina Storey, HarperCollins senior social media and ecommerce executive. 

“We work a lot on building relationships with content creators, who can make affiliate revenue direct from their content. Through their content, it feels like you’re buying from personal recommendations instead of from brand marketing, helping foster that sense of community.”

Levitex

Mattress and pillow retailer Levitex describes the growth of its TikTok shop business as “phenomenal”. The brand has been available to shop through the app since February, and quickly grew a huge audience by posting healthy sleep advice and using it to market its four products – which now consistently sell out. 

”Without a doubt, the ability to speak directly to the consumer on live videos is a key benefit,” says Levitex founder James Leinhardt. 

”It allows us to represent our brand in an authentic, personalised way, but also allows for interaction with the community in a way that instantly addresses any barriers to purchase. It also provides post-purchase customer service in real-time.”

Unlike HarperCollins, Levitex says it is finding the same customer base on the app as its ecommerce site. However, the interactivity and feedback gained via the app have opened up the brand to new segments it can target, such as shoppers who suffer from tension headaches. 

SoSweet

Sweetshop SoSweet had been making TikTok content since the pandemic, so when TikTok Shop launched it was a natural move to start direct selling. It now represents a seven-figure sales channel for the business. 

“[TikTok shop has] removed a barrier to purchase, which has made it even easier for our customers to buy our products. It has also enabled us to reach a wider audience which, in turn, has brought a huge commercial benefit to the business,” says a spokesperson for the brand.

SoSweet also reported reaching a different target audience, but not the age group most commonly associated with social media.

“The typical customer buying through our website is aged between 18-30, whereas TikTok Shop has a much broader demographic. We see people of all ages buying through TikTok Shop – and that includes grandparents buying sweets for their grandchildren.”

Discover more retailers making a success of TikTok Shop at LIVE 2024: Retail Week x The Grocer on March 12-13 next year.

LIVE 2024 is the annual event that brings the need-to-know stories across retail and FCMG to the stage. The heroes behind the headlines will share the latest industry ideas with leaders across all key sectors.

This year Retail Week has joined forces with The Grocer to allow colleagues, competitors and change-makers to meet in a space that stimulates conversation and builds networks.