What Not to Do as a Tiktok Shop Seller

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Since its launch in 2021, the Tiktok Shop has proven to be a formidable platform for online sellers to start or expand their businesses. Who would have ever thought that the power of social media entertainment and e-commerce can be combined to offer more opportunities for aspiring business owners to promote products and actually do order management, and fulfillment

With the availability of trusty tools such as Tiktok Shop, you will certainly feel that you have more freedom to achieve your dreams of making your brand well-known and established. Perhaps, as you sign up for a Tiktok for Business account, you are thinking of the many ways you could make use of the platform. Well, we agree with you, the prospects are limitless when we speak about what you can do with the congruence of entertainment and online shopping at Tiktok shop. But like any platform we use, there are some rules and regulations that we must strictly follow, and you have to be aware of these as soon as you file your Tiktok Shop application. 

There are some big no-no’s when it comes to Tiktok Shop online selling, and we have compiled some of the most important ones that you have to keep in mind so that you don’t risk a penalty or a loss of a customer base. Most of these points are listed and discussed in full detail in the Tiktok Shop Seller University which you can easily access online.

Do not mislead. Post only accurate information.

It is well within the bounds of good conduct not to lie. And we say don’t lie, we mean everywhere. Especially in your Tiktok shop. We must strive to build customer confidence with our online stores, and their platforms like Tiktok. Anything that would have a contrary effect shall be avoided at all costs. 

Tiktok defines misleading (both in functionality and effect) as when the uploaded video or product appears inconsistent with the product’s actual functions and effects. For example, you advertise a power bank you’re selling as suited for wireless MagSafe charging and when they receive it, it turns out to be a regular power bank. This would surely dismay a lot of your customers and mind you, Tiktok will not be pleased either.

Tiktok categorizes misleading claims into three – exaggerated claims, unscientific claims, and false claims. Any of such claims that can potentially lead to customer dissatisfaction, distrust, and a threat to customer safety will warrant enforcement actions or sanctions from Tiktok Shop.

Potential enforcement actions from Tiktok

  • Removal of the product from the platform 
  • ​Removal or blocking content 
  • Formal warning messages 
  • Suspension of creator/seller privileges 
  • ​Temporary or permanent withdrawal of creator/seller benefits; 
  • ​Reporting the creator/seller to the relevant regulatory authorities for prosecution 

Do not sell counterfeit. Sell from legit sources.

All sellers on Tiktok are expected to be responsible enough to sell only authentic products, which are either self-produced or are coming from legitimate sources. Tiktok aims to provide all Tiktok Shop buyers with the positive experience of getting actual products as advertised. Aside from customer satisfaction, the policy on banning counterfeit products on Tiktok Shops serves as a protection for business owners’ and producers’ intellectual property rights which are integral to overall business growth.

It is rather disappointing when you order the newest mobile phone with half-a-year’s savings and you end up with a knockoff or substandard replica compared to what you paid for. What’s worse is that your customer will not have the right to ask for a replacement from the company that produces the authentic product. As a seller, you might think that selling counterfeit products has done you good, but it will only be some time before your reputation is damaged as soon as customers complain. And you also don’t want a lawsuit from the legit company, right?

Potential enforcement actions from Tiktok

  • Formal warning messages 
  • Suspension of listing privileges 
  • Temporary or permanent withdrawal of seller benefits 
  • Temporary or permanent suspension of the seller’s enrollment of affiliates and other events 
  • Temporary or permanent suspension of access to TikTok Shop 
  • ​Temporary or, in the event of a severe breach, permanent withholding of sales proceeds or cancellation of transactions associated with the seller’s account 
  • Cancellation or withdrawal of any promotions and/or subsidies offered to the seller 
  • Deleting the seller’s account 
  • Commencing legal action against the seller 
  • ​Reporting the seller to relevant regulatory authorities for prosecution 
  • ​Removal of product listings 

Another list of enforcement actions is applied by Tiktok to content creators who promote counterfeit products, for details visit Tiktok’s policy page.

Do not delay shipping. Send products on time, and satisfy customers.

The main tenets of online shopping are affordability and convenience. And it is truly inconvenient when a customer waits for a product they ordered longer than what was stated in the online shop. Fulfilling orders promptly, and them arriving on time are key factors to ensuring your customer base is satisfied. As online sellers, we must avoid making our customers wait. 

If you are experiencing a high volume of orders, and you feel like you don’t have all the energy to keep up with them, you might as well utilize some tools available online for business process management. Or you could subscribe to an online selling platform such as Shopify or WooCommerce, which you can integrate and link to your Tiktok Shop.

Tiktok actually provides you two options when it comes to fulfillment – Ship by Tiktok and Ship by Seller. With Ship by Tiktok, Tiktok will be primarily responsible for the delivery of your parcel, and updates on the package’s whereabouts will be provided via the Seller Center. You just have to pack the packages and label them accordingly. In case you fail to deliver the products on time due to unforeseen events, or force majeure, you have to send a ticket to the Tiktok Seller Center along with other relevant information.

Do not cancel orders. But if you really must, explain.

Order cancellation is generally viewed as bad behavior coming from buyers. And it does not look good when a seller does it, either. However, Tiktok allows sellers to cancel orders in some specific instances such as when the buyer has not paid for the product in the allotted time frame, or when there is an unforeseen stock error (but do it before the product’s status becomes Ready to Ship).

Tiktok makes it a point that the conditions surrounding each specific cancellation are disclosed on the product detail page for both the seller and customer to see. 

For seller-initiated cancellations, Tiktok has put some guidelines in effect:

  • Sellers may cancel an order based on an unforeseen lack of stock, or a stock error. However, the customer must first be informed.
  • Sellers must fully explain the details surrounding the specific seller-initiated cancellation via Tiktok’s in-app notifications. Communication outside the app cannot be deemed legitimate.
  • Sellers must provide notice in the official language supported in the destination market, and should follow Tiktok shop policies.
  • Sellers will have to refund orders that have already been paid but have been canceled by the seller.

Beware that a high volume of order cancellations may result in enforcement actions from Tiktok.

Some orders may be canceled due to logistical problems or product damages when in transit. In the event that these occur, be sure to report them via a ticket, along with relevant information at the Tiktok Shop Seller Center.

Do not be shy. Promote your products.

In the era of online selling, rule number one is to make your mark. The digital marketplace is a pretty competitive arena, and you can be left far behind if you don’t go out of your way in promoting and advertising your shop. You have to plan, strategize and innovate according to your business objectives. Thankfully, with the power of social media being combined with eCommerce in the form of Tiktok shops, sellers are being offered opportunities that they can start with.

In making video content, you have to consider both evergreen and timebound content. Evergreen content, which means something your viewers would find relevant when they watch at any given time, is best for store and product introductions. This could also work for how-to guides, tutorials, and testimonials that demonstrate your product’s use and value. Timebound content, on the other hand, will be useful when you promote your time-specific promotional periods, creating content for specific holidays alongside product promos, and the like. 

When your initial content has proven to be effective in gathering followers and creating a solid customer base, you may also delve into using the Tiktok Live feature for your online selling. This allows you to engage better and deeper with your newfound customer base. Make sure it is value-added. You could offer bundles, combos, and discounts while you are Live as a bonus for your live viewers.

Do not reproduce content. Go live, and be original.

Looking for bad shows? That would be your sellers getting all giddy with your Tiktok Shop livestream and looking at a bunch of ads, worse pirated content, that they could not interact with. Tiktok encourages all Live content creators to actually provide their viewers with live and original content. After all, there is no use doing live streams of pre-recorded content because you can just put it out as regular video on your live feed. And Tiktok takes it seriously, reproduced content in live streams will be taken down, and can potentially be a source of penalties for sellers.

The scope of reproduced content as identified by Tiktok includes recognizable popular videos, videos by other creators, pre-recorded videos by creators themselves, recorded screens of other devices and other reproduced media or videos. To avoid committing these violations, Tiktok encourages all Live Sellers to have their own setup, as simple as your living room, and go live via a smartphone or some other device you can use for streaming.

If Tiktok monitors reproduced content or get a report about it, a seller may be held liable through:

  • Removal of the product from the platform 
  • ​Removal or blocking content 
  • Formal warning messages 
  • Suspension of creator/seller privileges 
  • ​Temporary or permanent withdrawal of creator/seller benefits; 
  • ​Reporting the creator/seller to the relevant regulatory authorities for prosecution 

Tiktok loves authenticity, and if you’re going to ask us, your customers will, too. So go on, freshen up a little, sit in front of that camera and interact with your customers. Beat that sales target!

Do not promote gambling. Make your products sellable, and sell them.

So in case, we haven’t made it clear from the very start, Tiktok Shop is an online selling platform and not a casino. That simply means any activity promoting gambling behavior such as mystery products, raffles, or bidding is prohibited on the Tiktok Shop. Any content that promotes gambling behavior be it in the form of a promotional video, product description, or hyperlink is prohibited in the Tiktok Shop and can cause a seller to receive due penalties.

Gambling-related behavior is defined as selling through games or other forms such as lucky draw or lucky dip wherein the customer has no knowledge of the quality, quantity, value, and category of products in question before they place their orders. The policies concerning gambling are applied to shop windows, video content, and live streams.

Some examples of these prohibited acts include selling through traditional gambling methods such as lottery numbers, straw pulling, auctioning, and card gambling. Another would be a surprise egg or mystery box which will be shipped to customers without them having any knowledge of what it contains. Chance and luck-based games wherein customers will buy tickets or stubs to get the opportunity to win a mystery package are also prohibited.

Should a seller violate the aforementioned anti-gambling policies, they will receive penalties which include, but are not limited to:

  • Removal of the product from the platform 
  • ​Removal or blocking content 
  • Formal warning messages 
  • Suspension of creator/seller privileges 
  • ​Temporary or permanent withdrawal of creator/seller benefits; 
  • ​Reporting the creator/seller to the relevant regulatory authorities for prosecution 

Be creative, but stay within the rules

Let’s be honest, we all want a fruitful online selling experience with Tiktok Shop for the sake of achieving our dreams of launching our businesses and having that milestone of a big sales month. But some mistakes might get in the way. Our friendly advice would be to study carefully the rules and regulations in conducting your business operations with the Tiktok Shop.

However, that shouldn’t stop you from being creative and innovating the ways to sell your products. But, learn where the lines are drawn and do not step beyond them. That way, we can all be fulfilled with the best experience we can take from Tiktok Shop.

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