It’s been a busy few weeks for TikTok as we round up social commerce for the past month. TikTok have scrapped their Storefront which connected Shopify services as they rollout TikTok shop and bring commerce onto their marketplace and at the same time roll out Fulfilled by TikTok and get more heavily involved in logistics to help retailers that go viral.
It’s interesting that consumers are turning off celebrity endorsements on social commerce, in favour of regular people and also aren’t fans of AI even though they love AI features.
Snapchat launch dreams and also start to reward creators of the most popular lenses, and Whatsapp finally launch Mac desktop with group calling.
- TikTok Storefront discontinued globally
- Fulfilled By TikTok (FBT) launches
- TikTok Shop – Tips to get started
- Ben Gallagher, Luxe Collective, to reveal ‘Host a Party’ TikTok strategy at ChannelX World
- UK consumers have Celebrity Influencer overload
- Snapchat Lens Creator Rewards
- WhatsApp App for Mac with Group Calling
- Snapchat Dreams powered by Gen AI
TikTok Storefront discontinued globally
TikTok have announced that from the 12th of September 2023, TikTok Storefront and their Shopify integration will be discontinued globally, and the service will no longer be available for use.
Here at TikTok, we are committed to building native, engaging and entertaining shopping experiences that empower you to meaningfully engage with customers and grow your business. As the retail industry changes rapidly, we are committed to enhancing and expanding our product offering to meet your evolving needs. That’s why we built TikTok Shop.– TikTok
TikTok Shop is entirely contained within the TikTok app. Product discovery, product details, checkout, and post-payment activity—is powered and performed all within the TikTok App, creating a seamless shopping experience from beginning to end. Users are not redirected to third-party marketplaces.
TikTok Storefront on Shopify was available in the United States and United Kingdom and enabled Shopify merchants to set set up a TikTok Shopping Partner Integration using the TikTok App on Shopify. This was really a precursor to TikTok Shop, and naturally now that they have their own shopping solution they want merchants to fully integrate rather than direct shoppers to external platforms.
TikTok Shop is a ecommerce solution that’s integrated within the TikTok app. It enables brands to showcase and sell products directly on TikTok through shoppable in-feed videos, LIVE shopping sessions, and a product showcase tab on your TikTok profile page.
From the 12th of September, TikTok Storefront will be officially discontinued and unavailable for use. This means your Storefront products will no longer be visible on your TikTok profile, or be eligible for inclusion in short videos, LIVEs and ads. You will also lose access to your Storefront on Store Manager. It’s important to migrate from your Storefront to TikTok Shop as soon as possible. All active Video Shopping Ads and Live Shopping Ads using Storefront will no longer run or be available to use.
How to migrate from Storefront to TikTok Shop?
- Step 1: Register for TikTok Shop (Guidebook).
- Step 2: As soon as you register for TikTok Shop, your Storefront will be automatically disconnected once you complete your TikTok Shop onboarding
- NB Your storefront product list does not automatically sync to TikTok Shop. You will need to upload the products to TikTok Shop manually.
Fulfilled By TikTok (FBT) launches
Fulfilled By TikTok (FBT) will be officially launched in August. TikTok’s logistics offering in the UK, will store, pick, pack and ship merchant goods to the end customer, freeing up brands to concentrate on manufacturing and sourcing stock and producing compelling content on TikTok to market their products.
This really is a game changer for TikTok, we’ve seen many businesses such as Nature Spell, eFones, and SoSweet see sales rocketing since TikTok Shop launched in the UK in 2021, and these businesses simply can’t keep up with picking and packing the deluge of orders that TikTok generates. To put some numbers around these businesses:
- Nature Spell grew from a couple of TikTok orders a day up to 9,000 orders in less than a year
- eFones launched a new Infinix smartphone in the UK and sold ~60,000 units in less than six months
- SoSweet have seen over 95,000 sales from just one of their TikTok listings
What will most interest brands and retailers, is that sales on TikTok don’t appear to cannibalise sales from other platforms. It’s additive rather than dilution and George from SoSweet went so far as to say that sales on TikTok actually enhances and amplifies sales from their 10 physical retail locations.
As merchants find success and scale on TikTok Shop UK, FBT allows them to outsource otherwise time-consuming logistics with a trusted partner, safe in the knowledge that delivery times are shortened, customer satisfaction is higher, and refunds / disputes are handled by TikTok Shop directly.
From today, TikTok are partnering with third party logistics (3PL) fulfillment service providers to receive, pick, pack and ship items to customers. Merchants will ship their items into the designated warehouse where products will be stored and shipped out as orders are placed
TikTok are always looking for ways to improve the merchant selling experience on TikTok Shop. FBT frees up merchants’ time from logistical challenges via a simple, fast and affordable solution so they can focus on other aspects of their business such as marketing, content and product development.
As TikTok Shop continues to grow in the uk, we are committed to providing a seamless merchant experience. Our new logistics service, Fulfilled by TikTok, offers an option which shortens delivery times and improves the shopping experience for our community. This service allows fast-growing TikTok Shop merchants to focus on providing entertaining content and fantastic products, enabling them to thrive.– TikTok
TikTok have been testing the Fulfilled by TikTok service with a select group of merchants in the UK since November 2022, but they are today officially launching FBT to all eligible merchants on TikTok Shop UK
Merchants who are interested in signing up to FBT can visit the dedicated Fulfilled By TikTok operations portal (https://uk.pipak.com/fulfillment-by-tiktokshop) where you can learn about FBT rate cards, seller benefits and more.
Next to read
- How Fulfilled By TikTok (FBT) works & Fees
- Merchant success with FBT
- Nature Spell reveal power of Fulfilled By TikTok
TikTok Shop – Tips to get started
Capitalising on online markets via ecommerce can yield incredible results for businesses. Nowadays, shopping has become integrated into social media – on apps such as TikTok – opening a whole new range of target audiences for brands.
Social media poses so much potential for ecommerce brands. In fact, according to Student Beans, 55% of users have made a purchase after seeing a brand on TikTok. By integrating your business into TikTok Shop, businesses can optimise their services and showcase their products on one of the world’s most used social media platforms.
However, getting started can be tricky. Thankfully, the team at TikTok Shop have provided some tips on how businesses can begin their journey as a seller in the digital marketplace.
Do your research
One of the most important things to keep in mind when selling through social media is the importance of research.
It’s vital that businesses selling on social media research their audience to understand their audience’s most used platform and interests.
This will portray the brand as customer-centric while allowing businesses to target products to better effect. Understanding your audience is the best way to tailor social media content to instigate.
Plan and select your line of products
Businesses must plan which products they would like to sell through social media platforms. When considering products, they should take into account the type of audience they will be targeting.
A marketing strategy might be created to boost the following of a specific demographic which in turn could boost sales and engagement. These are all factors that should be considered when choosing the type of products that will be sold on social media sites.
Leverage trends and collaborate with influencers
As mentioned above, marketing is a massive part of boosting sales through social media. The giant social media platform is known for its global trends and influence over music, creators and movements – this is an aspect that can be leveraged by businesses.
Jumping on trends is a great way to boost engagement and promote brand awareness while products can be integrated into the video allowing users to tap the advertisement and be redirected to, for example, TikTok Shop where purchases can be made.
Influencers are also a huge part of social media platforms with some creators building huge communities on the platforms. Businesses therefore have the ability to collaborate with these figures, allowing them to promote products to their massive followings.
According to statistics from BigCommerce, 49% of consumers depend on recommendations from influencers to purchase a product. This highlights the importance of collaboration and how it can truly benefit businesses with sales and overall brand awareness.
Constantly examine analytics and performance
For businesses operating in any industry, remaining concentrated on performance metrics is essential – but it’s also crucial when selling on social media platforms.
These metrics can help businesses understand the best-selling products, and how advertisements are doing in terms of reach and allow firms to strategise. It can also help plan future campaigns and which products to introduce.
The benefits of selling through TikTok Shop
In this last section, TikTok Shop has provided some key benefits to selling through the platform. Once set up, businesses can reap the benefits of integrating products on one of the world’s most used social media platforms. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits.
Growing brand visibility
TikTok’s massive user base is perfect for brands attempting to boost awareness and visibility. Demand Sage reports that there are currently 1.67 billion users and 1.1 billion active users, this means a wide scope of demographics and a huge pool of potential customers for businesses to target.
With such a huge number of users and high engagement levels, it only takes one viral campaign or collaboration for millions to recognise your brand.
Engaging with customers on a personal level
ikTok’s content is unique in the sense that it’s centred around short video content. It’s beneficial for brands looking to promote their products with quick engaging footage. The ability to join in on trends can humanise brands while promoting items that can be purchased without leaving the app.
Short videos also mean businesses have to put less effort into campaigns in comparison to other advertising such as TV ads.
The wealth of analytics available
As mentioned briefly, the benefits of a business account on TikTok come with a wealth of analytical tools allowing brands to stay on top of trending products, levels of engagement and track growth.
It’s so important for businesses to be able to track their performance on e-commerce platforms and TikTok Shop offers brands exactly that – allowing for clear strategic planning moving forward.
Overall, we hope the tips in this article, have helped educate you on the e-commerce side of the social media platform and how businesses can begin their journey selling through TikTok Shop.
While setting up is quite simple, building a following and increasing engagement is where businesses may have trouble. However, by following these tips, examining analytics and utilising adverts or influencer collaborations, brands can boost sales and visibility on the huge platform.
Ben Gallagher, Luxe Collective, to reveal ‘Host a Party’ TikTok strategy at ChannelX World
Luxe Collective has grown from a bedroom startup to a £7.5m marketplace in just 5 years… and that with a pandemic in the middle! Today we can announced that Ben Gallagher who, along with his brother Joe, founded Luxe Collective, will be speaking at ChannelX World, sharing the secrets of how to rapidly grow a start up.
Ben will also explore the challenges faced by marketplaces when scaling from platform technology upgrades to seller onboarding verification and counterfeit products to differentiation. In this ChannelX World Session you’ll also discover the strategies and best practices for implementing robust processes, to create a trustworthy environment for users which leads to increased customer confidence and ultimately marketplace success.
Perhaps what may be of most interest to delegates, will be how Ben has grown Luxe Collective’s social media presence and developed his ‘Host a Party’ strategy to engage with users on TikTok, as well as their following on YouTube and Instagram. It’s not about pushing product, it’s about hosting the community with a focus on education and news.
In this video, you’ll find:
- 00:00 How Ben Gallagher started Luxe Collective aged 17
- 01:40 What makes Luxe Collective different to other platforms?
- 03:39 How Luxe Collective built their social media following
- 06:15 Successful TikTok ‘Host a Party’ strategy
- 07:28 What can delegates expect to learn from Ben at ChannelX World?
- 08:54 Who Ben wants to meet at ChannelX World
UK consumers have Celebrity Influencer overload
When you have a product to launch, or a sale to promote, it might be tempting to think that what you need is a celebrity influencer with millions of followers to get the virtual cash register jangling. But that might not be the case as Bazaarvoice argue that consumers are tiring of the endless supply of ex reality TV stars and prefer to hear from real people like themselves.
New research from Bazaarvoice reveals that UK consumers care more about the product opinions of average social media users than celebrity influencer endorsement. The data – from a survey of 2,000+ UK respondents – reveals that the majority (61%) of consumers have purchased a product based on the recommendation of an everyday social media user (often with less than 1,000 followers and sharing posts with friends and family), while only one in five (19%) said the same about celebrity influencers.
Over a quarter (29%) of people said everyday social users are who they are most influenced by when purchasing a product. In fact, when asked who they would like to see brands partner with to create content for their products, the majority (62%) responded to everyday social media users.
This is both good news and bad news for brands, it’s relatively easy to pick a suitable celebrity and throw a ton of cash at them to promote a product, you just need them to buy into your brand and approve of your product. It’s a bit more work to find everyday social media users who will promote your product – they’ll often do it for free with the right inducement, and that might include running competitions, giveaways, discounts, and other promotional activities to encourage them to share your products.
There is a middle ground, and that’s to work with one of the burgeoning raft of social media and TikTok agencies, who will have a roster of everyday social media users who are making a living out of paid promotion and affiliate work. Most agencies will be able to recommend a group of creators who, again if they buy into your brand and approve of your product, will happily create content in exchange for a fee, an affiliate payment based on sales, or a blend of the two.
The allure of celebrity influencers has certainly diminished over the last few years, making way for the popularity of everyday people just like you and me. Because while most of us are not celebrities, all of us are shoppers. We seek to hear from authentic people just like ourselves; we find these people to be more trustworthy and are more likely to purchase products based on their recommendations.– Zarina Stanford, CMO, Bazaarvoice
Overall, social influence on purchasing decisions is increasing. Survey respondents said that over the last five years, their trust in everyday social users and subject matter experts has increased. Nearly a third (30%) say they now trust everyday social users more, and nearly half (43%) said the same about subject matter experts.
However, in contrast, of those who are aware of the de-influence trend that swept TikTok in early 2023, nearly half (49%) have become more cautious when interacting with social media influencers and celebrity influencers when they are promoting products online as a result.
Snapchat Lens Creator Rewards
AR shapes how we experience the world around us and makes the moments shared between friends on Snapchat truly unique. With AR Lenses, Snapchatters can learn new things, try on clothes, create imaginary friends, and even transform into a horse!
The Lens Creator Rewards Program celebrates creativity by giving a creator a chance to receive a monthly reward up to $7,200 USD for making the top-performing Lenses on Snapchat.
Snapchatters love Lenses built by their global AR community of more than 300,000 AR creators developers, and teams. In fact, AR creators have built more than 3 million Lenses that Snapchatters have viewed more than 5 trillion times!
With the incredible scale of AR creation and deep engagement from Snapchatters, Snapchat are committed to supporting AR creators as they advance their skills and grow their businesses by empowering and rewarding creativity.
Lens Creator Rewards, a new way for Snap AR creators, developers and teams to earn for building top-performing Lenses on Snapchat. This programme is designed to celebrate the most creative Lenses that help Snapchatters express themselves and have fun with their friends – from imaginative new looks to try on, to amazing AR scenes they can explore.
Every month, a Lens Creator could be awarded up to $7,200 for their top-performing Lenses in the United States, India and Mexico. The programme is open to new and current Lens Studio community members from nearly 40 countries. To participate, AR creators should build Lenses and can visit Lens Studio to check their eligibility for this programme.
Over the past five years, we’ve enabled our AR community to build Lenses for brands and partners, experiment with creating Lenses with digital goods, and explore the future of AR today through our GHOST Innovation Lab and our Spectacles creator programme. Today, we’re thrilled to offer a new way for AR creators to unleash new creative possibilities and grow their businesses.– Snapchat
WhatsApp App for Mac with Group Calling
Back in March this year, Meta launched a WhatsApp app for Windows desktop that loaded faster and enabled group video calls with up to eight people and audio calls with up to 32 people. Now they’ve released the much awaited WhatsApp app for Mac, with the same video and audio calling capabilities.
From your Mac, you can now you can join a group call after it’s started, see your call history and choose to receive incoming call notifications even when the app is closed.
The app is redesigned to be familiar to Mac users, helping you get more done faster when using WhatsApp on a large screen. You can now share files by easily dragging and dropping into a chat, and can view more of your chat history.
As with WhatsApp on any device, WhatsApp for Mac keeps your personal messages and calls private across devices with end-to-end encryption.
You can try the new app out today by downloading from WhatsApp.com. If you’re happy to wait it’s coming soon to the Apple App Store and you’ll then be able to install from there.
Over half aren’t AI fans, but 70% like AI features
Less than half (41%) of UK shoppers believe that AI is having a positive impact on their retail experiences. Despite this, more than two-thirds (70%) prefer brands that offer personalised recommendations – a common use case for AI in retail.
These findings come from a new study by SAP Emarsys, which surveyed over 2,000 UK shoppers. The research suggests a clear conflict between consumer concerns about AI and their desire to reap the real-world benefits of its use – highlighting an opportunity for retailers to educate and convert loyal customers.
According to the research, a quarter of consumers (25%) are worried that AI will negatively impact their shopping experiences, while 91% say they’d rather interact with humans than AI. Interestingly however, less than 1 in 3 (31%) can tell the difference between a human and an AI chatbot online.
Emarsys’ analysis suggests that this negativity is often because consumers don’t see that AI is behind their best experiences. While shoppers value personalised content, custom recommendations, and speedy checkouts, few realise that AI is behind these advancements.
The research also highlights that many consumers are concerned about the use of data collection for AI, with 60% wanting retailers to strike a better balance between collecting their data and improving their shopping experiences.
Emarsys advises that retailers must educate their customers on the value of their data to elevate their experiences across websites, apps, and even mobile wallets.
The benefits of AI in retail can’t be overstated: not just for brands but, for customers as well. It’s clear that, at present, shoppers aren’t entirely convinced on AI’s value – but when used responsibly, AI can truly enhance user experience in everything from receiving the right recommendations to easy purchasing processes.
The personalised experiences that drive business growth and establish long-term customer loyalty aren’t realistic without data, so it’s essential that retailers educate shoppers and strike a mutually beneficial balance for data sharing. In order to do that, transparency is critical; brands need to explain how data is being used, and the direct value it offers to consumers in terms of driving the personalisation that they so desire at every touchpoint.
This education will be essential for the widespread adoption of AI and the consumer benefits it brings, with leading retailers able to meet – and even anticipate – their customer’s expectations through the relevant, reliable, responsible use of embedded AI. That’s the real benefit of AI, making better, smarter decisions, faster.– Kelsey Jones, Global Head of Product Marketing at SAP Emarsys
Without data — the right data, and enough of it — all the AI in the world won’t amount to one single meaningful insight that can help brands create the personalized experiences needed to drive business growth, provide value to consumers, and build customer loyalty.
We typically see that people are more amenable to sharing their data when it provides direct value – in savings, efficiency, and stronger connections with brands. But transparency is critical to building the much-needed trust between a customer and a brand. Sharing how data is being used anytime a customer creates an account, signs up for marketing communications, or agrees to data sharing reassures customers that their data is being treated securely and compliantly.
Retailers who can provide this transparency and direct value will enjoy the kind of widespread brand loyalty that comes from more personalized, value-oriented interactions, which can be the key to giving customers the brand experiences they truly want, when they want it, and where they want it.– Ritu Bhargava, President and Chief Product Officer, SAP Industry & Customer Experience
Today’s consumers demand personalised experiences with their brands and at the same time they expect to buy their product or services at the best-value possible. To satisfy these expectations, we see brands adopting AI-powered interactions with customers on channels like SMS, WhatsApp and Instagram. The recent (Chat)GPT hype is also increasing customers’ trust in AI as they’ve now hands-on experienced the benefits of AI outweighing the previously held distrust before (Chat)GPT. The trend is clear that more and more consumers are opening themselves up to AI and like the increased User Experience it creates.– Rick Van Esch, Managing Director, Sinch Engage (an SAP Emarsys partner)
AI is undoubtedly a value driver for customers and companies, helping to elevate personalization at the highest level. Thanks to sophisticated algorithms, we can now better understand our customers as never before, anticipate their needs and, recently, provide a human-like conversational interaction.– Dr. Lea Sonderegger, Chief Information Officer and Chief Digital Officer, Swarovski (an SAP customer)
Snapchat Dreams powered by Gen AI
We’ve all become accustomed to sprouting dog ears with a slobbery tongue or changing up our hair colour and style with Snapchat lenses, but now they’ve gone one step further with the power of Generative AI to bring us Snapchat Dreams.
In Snap’s own words, Snapchat Dreams allow you to create fantastical images and try on new identities, whether that be a mermaid in a deep-seascape, or a renaissance era royal!
To start, the feature lets you use your own face to create up to eight of these Generated AI selfies. Coming soon, because Snap know that Snapchatters love bringing their friends into the equation, Snapchat Dreams will let feature you and any friend who has also opted in.
To get started, head to Memories, where there’s a new tab for Dreams. With a few selfies, you can create a personalised Generative AI model and start checking out your Dreams. Your first eight are complimentary, and you can make more with an in-app purchase. It’s first available starting slowly in Australia and New Zealand, and coming to Snapchatters globally over the next few weeks.
Don’t expect instant results however, once you’ve started the creation process, it can take up to 30 minutes for your dreams to be created. Don’t worry though, you’ll be notified as soon as they are ready.
This is just the start of Snap rolling out more Generative AI features, expect to see more in the future and of course expect to see more opportunities to make in-app purchases to make use of them.