June 25, 2024

TikTok Shop: What It Is and How To Become a Seller

Abby Jones

The TikTok Shop is a new phenomenon that began in September 2023 and has quickly transformed the culture of the app. TikTok Shop is an implementation within the app that allows products to be bought and sold. There are TTS-sponsored ads within the For You Page (FYP) feed as well as a tab on the app to view and purchase all available products. The app has effectively transformed into an online storefront for hundreds of brands on top of being a popular short-form video entertainment platform. 

Products on the TTS are known to be extremely discounted. Consumers can order products much cheaper on the TTS than in-store or on the brand’s website. The discounts are paid for by TikTok, so sellers still receive their fair share of proceeds. 

TikTok creators can receive a commission for sales when they post a video of a product they bought on the app. Creators get paid when viewers purchase the product directly from the video. Creators link the product that is shown straight to the TTS, making it very convenient for the audience to make a purchase. These consumer-made videos quickly and effectively spread awareness of the products on behalf of the brand.

How to become a seller: 

Step One: Log into the TikTok Shop Seller Center. 

Step Two: Go to “Affiliate” > “Get Started” in the left-hand menu. 

Step Three: Set up collaborations to reach more buyers. 

Selling on the TTS is easy and can reach a much wider audience than other forms of advertising, but TikTok will take a 2% commission combined with a 30 cents per transaction fee from merchants (Business Insider). TikTok has plans to increase its take on commission to 8% in July (Business Insider). It is up to the seller to way the risks and the gains of selling their product this way. 

Not all products can be sold on the TTS, as items must follow app guidelines. TikTok has a list of prohibited products that sellers must abide by. This includes adhering to all federal, state, and local laws. Some prohibited items include stolen goods, counterfeit products, unlawfully imported goods, and products that have been recalled by their manufacturer. Sex-related products, alcohol, drugs, tobacco, living creatures, baby/maternity products, and health/medical products are also not to be sold through the TTS. Find the rest HERE. Sellers must also adhere to the TikTok Community Guidelines when selling and marketing their products. 

TikTok has also created guidelines for sellers regarding the happenstance of selling pre-owned products, surprise-based products, and products that contain variations. The majority of TikTok Shop merchandise for sale is clothing, beauty, and home goods, but there is much more including gardening, fitness, and automotive products. Truly something for everyone, and at unbeatable prices! Food is sold on the TTS but only packaged and preserved snack food. 

The TikTok Shop is still new and growing. It is not fully clear how the products are so heavily discounted, or how TikTok plans to expand with the storefront, but it is clear that this up-and-coming form of shopping isn’t a platform for sellers to ignore! 

5 thoughts on “TikTok Shop: What It Is and How To Become a Seller

  1. Abby, thank you for this deep dive into TikTok Shop and how it operates! As a daily TikTok user, I see TikTok shop every day and the products it sells are constantly promoted on my feed. Although, at first, the cheap products made me think the sellers were scammers or the platform was somehow fraudulent. What was interesting to find out through your article is how commission drives the platform, and how influencer marketing is at the core of advertisements for these products.

  2. Hi! This article sparked my interest because I really haven’t looked into TikTok shop all that much. Obviously it makes sense for TikTok to recieve comission of some sort, but I was surprised it was such a low number. I also wasn’t aware of the variety of items sold on TTS until I read your article. I’m curious how this platform will hold up in the years to come.

  3. Hello! I find this article to be very interesting. The TikTok Shop seemed to take everyone by surprise when it suddenly appeared all over everyone’s For You page. It is easy to see why it seems like everyone has a TikTok Shop after you’ve showcased the steps of becoming a seller. The process is much more simpler than I thought it would be. Doing so in three steps is far less restrictive than what I assumed would be required.

  4. Abby, your overview of the TikTok Shop phenomenon provides valuable insights into its rapid transformation of the app’s culture into a dynamic marketplace. The discounted products and commission opportunities for creators highlight the platform’s unique approach to e-commerce. Good Work!

  5. Hey Abby! What an interesting and informative post! Tik-Tok shop is insane to me and provides a unique new way for influencers and others to sell and earn off of products. The idea of TTS scares me a little, but it is good to know that they have guidelines for what you can and can’t sell. Especially for small business owners, what a great way to gain followers and sell product! Great work.

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