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How to Use TikTok Live Shopping as a Small Business

Some of you might remember sitting by the television with your landline telephone in hand, ready to dial and purchase a product during a live television show before it all sold out. Yes, there was a time when the only two ways to purchase an item from your home was either by mailing in a catalog order form or watching the shopping channel. The world of shopping from home has come a long way, and it just leaped onto TikTok.

Live shopping is different from online shopping in that it is happening in real time, not just on your time. It is a useful way for brands to connect with their audience during the shopping experience and showcase products in ways they couldn’t do from a static sales page.

Getting Started With TikTok Live Selling

TikTok has a live shopping feature available where users can watch live video and make purchases. This isn’t the first time a social media app has provided for a live shopping experience. During the pandemic, many small businesses utilized Facebook Live to showcase items and make sales. Instagram and YouTube also have live shopping features.

TikTok live shopping provides an opportunity for businesses to sell items to TikTok users in real-time, directly on the app. It’s like a live television shopping show on social media.

When the business hosting the live shopping events showcases items for sale, a button pops up on the screen when a new product is showcased and people can click and purchase during the livestream.

Currently, TikTok users that are at least 16 years of age and have a minimum of 1,000 followers on the app are eligible to host live shopping on the app.

Going Live on TikTok

Before you launch your first TikTok live shopping event, it’s a good idea to review some best practices for recording any type of live video on social media. From checking your lighting and sound to letting your audience know you will be going live, this article will help you hit “record” with confidence.

As you plan your live event, think about the value the video will provide the audience. How will you capture their attention and interest so they want to make a purchase? Here are a few ideas to help you get started!

  1. Demo the product! One of the advantages live shopping has over a static website is the ability to interact with the audience and show them the product IRL. If it’s clothing you are selling, show some different accessory ideas to dress it up. If you are selling a tool or gadget, use it in the video and show what it can do.
  2. Answer questions! Anticipate a handful of common questions people have about what you are selling and proactively answer then in the video.
  3. Invite a friend! Having someone in the video with you can provide entertainment and help you along the way. You can either have them live with you at the same location or invite them as a remote co-host.

For some inspiration, here’s an example of how to succeed at live shopping on TikTok. In this video, you can see a vendor is simultaneously selling in person and online with live shopping! This is also a great content idea even if you don't have 1,000 followers yet. You can create a video in real time of you vending at a market and give people the address or Venmo for selling your products on TikTok.

Related: Fashion Marketing: Social Media Tips for Fashion Brands


#Hashtags on TikTok

Hashtags are a well-known social media tool. They help your content appear in front of people who want what you have to offer but do not yet know you exist. When going live on TikTok, hashtags can help increase your reach. Hashtags such as #liveshopping has 92.4M views at the time this article was published. Others such as #liveshoppingevent has 203.1K views.

Related: TikTok Hashtags: Guide to Using Hashtags to Boost Visibility

While there is some news recently that TikTok live shopping is not as popular in the U.S as it is in Asia, not everyone agrees. Many small businesses continue to use the platform to grow their customers and sales. Remembering that the point of live shopping is to be present and interact with the audience, you can use it as a powerful way to connect with your audience and showcase your products. It’s important to keep an eye for how TikTok continues to develop their platform shopping capabilities whether TikTok Live Shopping is here to stay or it evolves into something different.

And don’t forget to diversify your social selling strategy! In addition to TikTok live shopping, there are several other ways to make money on the app. Now, it’s time to start planning your next live event.

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Allie Teegardin

Allie Teegardin is a contributing writer at PLANOLY. As a writer, adjunct professor, and baker, she makes sure to add value to whatever she creates.

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