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How to set up a TikTok Shop: A step-by-step guide to making in-app sales

March 1, 2024 | Published by Faire

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As one of the fastest-growing social platforms, with over 1.67 billion users across the globe, TikTok offers a huge opportunity for retailers and brands to reach and sell to a new audience. TikTok Shop lets viewers click and buy a product from a video, making for a seamless shopping experience. While some social platforms are scaling back their e-commerce efforts, TikTok is expanding, aiming to sell $20 billion worth of items this year—a sizable chunk of the country’s retail social commerce sales, which eMarketer predicts will reach $79.64 billion by 2025

But how can you create an account with a shop that will entice influencers and loyal customers? With TikTok, you need to think like a brand and a creator, because most users open TikTok to watch videos, not necessarily to spend money. So it’s important to figure out the right balance between entertainment, marketing, and conversion.

If this is all new to you, not to worry! Below we explain why setting up a TikTok Shop might be beneficial for your brand—and how to do it right.       

What is a TikTok Shop?

While it’s still relatively new and evolving, TikTok now offers businesses the ability to sell their products on TikTok Shops, an in-app shopping platform for sellers, creators, and affiliates. These Shops allow users to buy products in the app without having to open a browser. When your brand or store sets up a TikTok Shop, you’ll have a dedicated shopping tab on your profile so that users can click, browse, and purchase your goods. Once your Shop is set up, you can tag your products in your videos, allowing viewers to click from your tagged items to the Shop, learn more, and complete their purchase. 

As for what types of videos to post, you can do product demos, unboxing videos, showcases, and even LIVE shopping events to engage with your audience in real time. To reach new viewers, create Shop ads with TikTok’s promotional tools and easily discover and collaborate with creators and influencers. 

If you’re working with influencers, they can post videos with links to your Shop or do a Creator’s Showcase where they curate products from your Shop. As for FTC requirements, TikTok handles all the affiliate work with automated banners. 

What are the benefits of a TikTok Shop? 

Aside from providing an opportunity for you to reach a new and engaged audience, a TikTok Shop is a great way to experiment with a new product or even dip your toe into influencer marketing. Fifty-four percent of users on fashion journeys use TikTok to research and learn more about new products and brands. That means that using TikTok is an opportunity for you to tell your brand story and connect meaningfully with customers. 

If you’re looking at TikTok in its own right, here are some of the platform’s main benefits: 

  • Low barrier to entry: You need only one product to get started and there is no follower minimum.  
  • Native product integration: Product integration is seamless and friction-free, allowing viewers to purchase without having to leave your video. 
  • Built-in affiliate programs: You can set commission rates starting at 5%. This makes it simple and affordable to set up influencer relationships, which can help grow brand trust and show potential shoppers fresh ways to use and enjoy your products. 
  • Extra reach: The algorithm is favoring Shop posts to grow this new vertical. This means more chances for you and your products to go viral. 
  • Lots of support: TikTok offers a TikTok Shop Academy for sellers to learn about trends, find information about policy and product updates, and get help with content creation.

TikTok reports that three out of four TikTok users surveyed said that they are likely to buy something on the platform, and 83% of users said that TikTok plays a part in their purchasing decisions. Seems like a no-brainer to get involved, right? Below we’ll get into a few things to keep in mind as you set up this new venture. 

Key considerations before you jump in 

As with anything new, it’s important to remember that nothing is set in stone with TikTok Shops—it’s an evolving platform. From potential bans to legal issues and even technical bugs, we can’t predict how long the platform’s popularity will last or how the app may grow and change going forward. And because the Shop is so new, brands aren’t currently seeing huge returns. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth investing your time and potentially some capital. Just be sure to start small and don’t plan all your revenue goals around this one tool. 

While it’s free to set up a Shop on TikTok, the platform does collect a fee, and this structure has been changing over the past year. As of January 2024, TikTok told sellers that it will begin increasing its commission from 2% to 8%, in addition to charging 30 cents per transaction. 

When it comes to security, you should also keep in mind that TikTok Shops are not end-to-end encrypted, meaning the platform and potentially third parties can read messages between you and shoppers. For information about what you can and cannot sell, check out TikTok’s guidelines

Setting up your TikTok Shop

Setting up your TikTok Shop is a fairly quick process, especially if you already have a Business account (required!): 

  1. Sign up to TikTok Shop with a US phone number and email address. 
  2. Complete your application in the seller registration portal: Verify your identity with a certificate of incorporation, US passport, or US driver’s license. 
  3. Get approved: You’ll receive an email with a confirmation of your approval. This can take between two and six days. 
  4. Link your Shop to your TikTok Business account.  
  5. Add your products by going to the TikTok Seller Center and clicking on “Products.”
  6. Set your prices and shipping by going to the “Pricing” and “Shipping” tabs in the TikTok Seller Center.

If you have a Shopify business, download the TikTok Shopify app, which will help you create video ads, track results, and manage your orders all from within Shopify. This app also integrates with the TikTok For Business Ads Manager, so you can manage everything in one place. 

Don’t forget to optimize your storefront

Here are a couple of tips for presenting your brand and merchandising your products:

  • Be sure to set up an appealing (and accurate) TikTok bio. It can help your SEO to include a few strategic keywords as well. 
  • Keep your product titles under 34 characters so that they don’t get cropped. There’s plenty of space in product descriptions to write more fully about each item. 
  • Make sure your product pictures are as attractive and engaging as you’d have on your own website (or on Faire!). They should be clear, show your brand name, and align with your brand style and aesthetics. 

Once your Shop is live, it’s time to start promoting your products. Mention them in your posts, feature them in your LIVES, and set up a few tester ads. Be sure to use some trending hashtags to get your products in front of the right eyes—and communicate as much as you can with shoppers. 

Just like you would in your brick-and-mortar store, this Shop is all about creating relationships, building trust, and, of course, generating sales. Start with the first two, and the third will come soon enough! 

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