TikTok becoming a platform for shopping was inevitable and logical. The popular short-video sharing app has become a viral entertainment sensation, with an appeal that is perfectly fit for today’s young generation. No wonder, many businesses have rushed into the platform to promote, market, and now sell their merchandise.
Prior to August 2021, shopping in TikTok was happening organically. Content creators were promoting and referring products, with the message infused into their creative and witty TikTok posts. Targeted TikTok users were advised to visit e-commerce sites, websites, or even local stores to buy the promoted products.
Now, TikTok has started facilitating shopping within its own platform through a feature called TikTok Shopping. To many businesses and users, it is a much-awaited social media commerce venue that brings in-app shopping into the popular entertainment platform. Thus, any TikTok user can now possibly and conveniently shop without leaving the same app.
The TikTok Shop is a new shopping feature that is directly accessible in the TikTok app. Through it, brands, merchants, and content creators are able to display, promote, and even sell products within TikTok. This is why you may have already noticed some content creators and brands selling products on the platform via in-feed videos, product showcase tabs, or even livestreamed content or LIVEs.
At the same time, the potential of the video-sharing entertainment app as an e-commerce tool is tremendous. TikTok has truly unearthed a gold mine within its app. For brands, content creators, and sellers, the possibilities are also positively overwhelming—with over a billion TikTok users around the world and the app is the most downloaded social networking app so far in 2022.
Here are all the things you should know about TikTok Shop and how products are shipped from the sellers, content creators, or brands to users’ doorsteps.
Users of TikTok Shopping
TikTok Shop is a universal feature that can be enjoyed by any TikTok user. It is a new e-commerce platform as well for businesses like sellers, partners, and affiliates. Of course, popular and widely-followed content creators can also take advantage of it for earning commissions.
For an individual or business to become a TikTok Shopping Seller (or Merchant), he/she must be located in authorized territories—including mainland China, the U.K., Indonesia, or Hong Kong. When signing up to become a Seller, the business or individual must prove legal presence through a local phone number, an identification card, or a certificate of business incorporation from appropriate authorities.
TikTok requires its Sellers to sign up through the TikTok Seller Center. The Seller must upload all required documents—as identified above. He/She must then add the products to be sold through TikTok before linking an active bank account. Once signed up, the TikTok Seller could use the Seller Center to add/remove products from the TikTok Shop account, manage inventory and orders, create promos, get into partnerships with Partners and Affiliates (see below), and manage customer service.
To be classified as a TikTok Shopping Partner, a business has to be duly registered in any of these countries—China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, the U.K., Turkey, and Italy. A TikTok Shopping Partner provides services to TikTok Shop Sellers, with the aim of helping the latter manage their content, make live streams ‘shoppable,’ and select assortments for shop offerings. The Partner could also help in the logistics solutions or fulfillments of Sellers.
On the other hand, TikTok content creators could be TikTok Shopping Affiliates for existing TikTok Shop Sellers. To be an affiliate, TikTok content creators need to promote Sellers’ brands or products that are ideally relevant to the profile of the account’s followers. When Sellers link up with creators as Affiliates, they agree to pay a commission for successful referrals or actual sales. Commissions could be paid automatically as a sales percentage. The Sellers are still the ones responsible for facilitating the transactions.
To be a TikTok Shop Affiliate, a TikTok user or influencer must also be registered as a TikTok Shop Seller from any of the following countries—China, the U.K., Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, or the Philippines.
All active TikTok users can enjoy TikTok Shopping anytime, anywhere they are, as long as there are TikTok Sellers who are selling in their area. There is no need to open a web browser or an e-commerce site to make transactions on TikTok Shop.
A TikTok Seller, Partner, or Affiliate account is easy to spot. First, it is openly and creatively selling products or merchandise. Second, there is a small shopping bag icon located at the lower left portion of the TikTok account’s screen. Any TikTok user can browse through and choose products within the Seller’s TikTok Shop—within an easy-to-understand and familiar interface, which is not far different compared to common e-commerce platforms.
TikTok Shop Shipping
Just like any e-commerce platform, TikTok Shop facilitates shipping upon check out of products by a customer. This shipping process begins the moment the order is placed. Thus, convenience is offered to TikTok users who buy products at the TikTok Shop.
A TikTok Shop Seller can opt to pick his/her own logistics or shipping partner. In applicable areas across the Southeast Asian region, LOCAD is among the reliable shipping partners catering to TikTok Sellers’ delivery and fulfillment requirements. This is an assurance for customers not to worry about the quality of delivery service that will be rendered—strictly compliant to schedule, items are maintained in good condition, costs are reasonable, tracking of the shipment can be facilitated, and the overall shipping experience is optimized.
On the other hand, a TikTok Seller can also choose TikTok Shop’s own logistics services. However, this is only applicable in select markets for now as this online shopping platform and its shipping system is still in the early stages.
TikTok Shop Shipping Process
Upon placement of customer order, the TikTok Shop Seller reviews that order and checks if the item is available and can be possibly delivered to the registered delivery address of the customer. If the item is out of stock and/or there will be a problem fulfilling the order (due to the customer’s location), the order must immediately be canceled and payments shall be refunded at once, in accordance with the TikTok Shop’s order cancellation, refund, and return guidelines.
Otherwise, the order proceeds to the next stage of the process—packing or packaging. Every TikTok Shop Seller must comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies, or ordinances covering delivery to the customer’s address. Proper packaging must be observed especially for special products.
Packaging of Item/s
TikTok Shop requires its Sellers to pack all items or products carefully. This is to minimize, if not totally avoid, any risk of possible damage during the tedious shipping journey. Just like in any shipping transaction, it is imperative to use the right type and size of packaging at all times. Only products that could be shipped (without any legal or customs impediment) are packed for shipment. For items that require special handling, the TikTok Shop Seller must make proper notifications to the logistics partner prior to shipping.
At times, the Seller is required to use carton packaging. However, requirements by TikTok Shop must still be met. First, cartons and other packing materials must ensure the protection of the shipped items. Second, the carton size must freely fit the item—with minimum empty space. Third, for fragile objects, there must be air pillows, sheets of paper, foams, or bubble wrap included on the inside to bring about added protection to the shipped item/s.
Lastly, boxes, cartons, or other approved types of packaging must still be bundled on the outside using elastic or plastic tape and/or extra straps. Be sure to use standard materials that will not add much weight to the shipment.
Proper Package Labelling
TikTok Shop requires all shipped packages to come with shipping labels that are securely affixed to the box or carton. Sellers must make sure the package labels include the following information—the customer’s full name, full delivery address, and the transaction or order number. The TikTok Shop Seller must also include his/her full name and business address, in case there is a need to return the shipment back.
The package labeling should not include the QR code of the Seller and hyperlinks. This is to avoid any possible confusion on the part of the logistics partner, which issues and affixes the official barcode into the shipment (for proper tracking and handling in customs terminals and fulfillment centers). Just like in ordinary shipping, it is the Seller’s responsibility to make sure all information provided is correct.
Handing the Shipment to the Logistics Partner
Whether the TikTok Shop order is to Ship by Seller or Ship by TikTok, it is the responsibility of the TikTok Shop Seller to do proper packing, complete labeling, and arrange the handling, whether the shipment is to be delivered to the logistics partner’s location or picked up from the Seller’s address. In any way, once the shipment is transferred to the handling of the logistics provider, the Seller must update the order status in the TikTok Seller Center and mark it as ‘Shipped.’
Thus, the TikTok Shop customer will be able to track and monitor the status and whereabouts of his/her order during the shipping or delivery process. Proper marking of ‘Shipped’ will also serve as a basis in case the Seller needs to raise a report ticket later on to the logistics provider if there is a delay in the delivery schedule.
Fortunately, for those who want to be hands-off in their shipping for their Tiktok Shop, they can simply integrate with LOCAD as their fulfillment partner. By doing so, products will be considered “Ship by Tiktok” and the entire picking, packing, and shipping of orders will be done by professional fulfillment experts.
Final delivery status
The status of delivery will be marked as ‘Delivered’ the moment the logistics provider delivers the item to the customer and updates the package status in its own system. For Ship by Seller transactions, the TikTok Shop Seller must monitor data provided by the logistics service provider. The Seller also agrees to bear the responsibility for any customer complaint pertaining to the delivery—including mistakes, mishandling, or delivery delays.
For Ship by TikTok transactions, it is also the responsibility of the TikTok Shop Seller to immediately and frequently update the order status through the TikTok Seller Center. The transaction shall be marked as ‘Delivered’ immediately after the recipient or customer signs the delivery acknowledgment receipt. This marks the completion of the order and shipping transaction.
TikTok Shop Shipping Special Cases
TikTok Shop shipping guidelines state provisions for handling special cases during the shipment process. First on the list is auto-cancellation, which happens when an order does not reflect a tracking status update for a maximum of 15 days after the Seller marked the order as ‘Shipped.’ The TikTok shopper would then be refunded for the total amount paid for the transaction.
A TikTok Shop order and shipment could be affected by a force majeure event like a natural disaster, pandemic outbreak, extreme weather, local government restrictions, or other occurrences that are beyond the Seller’s control. TikTok must verify and acknowledge such events for it to avoid imposing penalties on the TikTok Shop Seller. The customer will also be properly advised of such inevitable and uncontrollable instances.
Lastly, fraudulent shipping is controlled and prevented by TikTok Shop. The e-commerce platform makes sure that empty packages are not shipped; products are complete and in good condition prior to shipping; order details match the shipment info documents, and shipping labeling is not altered or forged. If a customer reports fraudulent shipping, TikTok Shop will require the Seller to immediately handle the customer’s request (if the transaction is Ship by Seller) or request the logistics partner to quickly probe and resolve the issue (if the transaction is Ship by TikTok).
Whether you are a TikTok Shop Seller, Partner, Affiliate, or user, you can be sure the e-commerce shopping experience would be within industry standards. There is no need to worry about shipment. Just like other online shopping platforms, TikTok Shop is set up to ensure the quality of service that customers always deserve. Happy TikTok Shopping!