TikTok is a popular social media platform that’s great for marketing your dropshipping business. It works well for both organic and paid advertising, making it stand out from Facebook and Instagram. You can build brand awareness and boost sales through impulse purchases with TikTok Dropshipping.
I’ve had experience dropshipping on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, and in this article, I’ll share what I’ve learned about TikTok’s process and offer some tips for success on the platform.
Table of Contents
What is TikTok Dropshipping?
TikTok dropshipping is a method of selling products on TikTok. Using the dropshipping business model, you can sell products without keeping stock on hand. When an order is received, you send it to another company that ships the product directly to the customer.
How Does TikTok Dropshipping Work?
There are two methods for dropshipping on TikTok:
- Promote your products on TikTok while managing your store elsewhere;
- Build a TikTok shop for dropshipping
If you choose the first method, you just need to create a TikTok business account and connect to a separate online store using an eCommerce platform like Shopify. After that, you can focus on listing trending products and building your TikTok following. To attract more attention, you can create high quality video content, run paid ads, and collaborate with influencers.
The second method is more challenging because TikTok doesn’t have an easy way to create a store like Facebook does. If you want to build a TikTok shop, you’ll need to have at least 1,000 followers on TikTok first. Once you meet this requirement and TikTok approves your account, you can connect your TikTok shop with platforms like Shopify or Ecwid.
Should You Dropship on TikTok?
Yes, TikTok has become a great platform for dropshipping. It’s not just about funny videos and challenges anymore.
TikTok is currently one of the top spots for e-commerce. There’s a viral hashtag, #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, where people share videos of products they’ve purchased through TikTok. This hashtag has over 60 billion views, and many marketers are getting in on the TikTok action.
Here are some key TikTok stats:
- Over 1 billion monthly users
- 20% of all internet users worldwide are on TikTok
- Downloaded over 200 million times in the US
- Available in 141 countries
- 90% of TikTok users use it daily
- 30% of users are adults (40+ years old)
So, the age mix of TikTok users in the US is actually better than some think.
Take a look at the image below to see that TikTok can be a great platform for online marketing if your audience is 20 years old and up.
The key to success on TikTok is marketing with entertainment, not a hard sales pitch. TikTok users are here for fun, not just shopping.
Below is an example of a successful TikTok dropshipping store:
According to Dropship.io’s sales tracker tool, this company earned $190,000 in the past year. What’s impressive is that they only sell 21 print-on-demand products.
How to Dropship on TikTok: 6 Steps
- Pick a popular niche/product.
- Partner with a trustworthy dropshipping supplier.
- Build a dropshipping store.
- Get a TikTok Business Account for dropshipping integration.
- Promote dropshipping products on TikTok.
- Fulfil orders
Step 1: Pick a niche/product
First things first, to set up a successful TikTok dropshipping store, you need to pick a niche or a winning product. A niche is like a specialty – for instance, sports equipment is a niche. This means your store will focus solely on selling sports gear and nothing else.
A niche is better than a general store. Now, don’t get me wrong, building a store like Amazon or Walmart is tough. It takes a ton of time, money, and effort to create a fully functional general dropshipping store.
With a niche, you can fill your store with related products and jump straight into marketing. Here are the benefits of choosing a niche:
- Authority and Trust: Shoppers will see you as an expert in a particular industry.
- Less Competition: A niche store means you’re only up against similar stores. General stores have tons of competition.
- Followers and Market: Picking a niche makes it easier to reach the right people – those interested in your products. You can even build a community of followers on TikTok.
- Passion and Expertise: It’s best to choose a niche you know and care about. This way, you can answer customer questions and offer advice. You can even write helpful blog posts.
- Trends: Focusing on a niche helps you stay on top of trends. General stores can struggle to keep up with different industries.
To find trending product ideas on TikTok, we can analyze TikTok Ads and hashtags. By checking out what people are posting and promoting, we can find our next winning product on TikTok.
For instance, the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag has a bunch of products that many people are trying out. When a product gets a lot of engagement, it means it’s trending on the platform.
Another great way to find top-notch items is through the AutoDS Product Research Tool. This tool lets us filter our search to find the best products from supported suppliers based on price, ratings, and more.
Step 2: Choose a Reliable Dropshipping Supplier
Now, it’s time to choose a supplier offers top-notch products and reliable service for your TikTok dropshipping store.
Some of the most popular platforms you might consider include AliExpress, AliBaba and CJDropshipping.
If you just get started with dropshipping, I’d recommend you to look for suppliers on AliExpress.
AliExpress is like the retail version of Alibaba, aimed at individual consumers. It lets you buy goods in small quantities at factory prices, just like shopping at a regular store. No need to negotiate with suppliers.
Unlike Alibaba, AliExpress mostly has trading companies and smaller distributors, not as many manufacturers.
Although you might not find rates as cheap as Alibaba’s, you also don’t have to order large quantities. This makes it great for small and new businesses diving into e-commerce.
However, sorting through millions of suppliers on AliExpress can be overwhelming and expensive.
To make better decisions, keep these tips in mind:
1. Choose reputable sellers with positive feedback
Look for suppliers with a positive feedback score of 95% or higher.
The “Feedback Score” indicates the seller’s sales volume, while the “Positive Feedback Rate” shows the supplier’s received feedback.
A supplier with over 95% Positive Feedback Rate and a Feedback Score of 2,000 or more is considered reputable.
Apart from that, pay attention to the store’s years in business.
For top-rated sellers, sort products by seller rating.
2. Compare prices with competitors
AliExpress provides a helpful tool for filtering out excessively high or low-priced products. Hover over the “Price” bar on the product page, and AliExpress will display how many people bought products in that price range.
If only a few people are buying products in a low price range, it’s probably not a great deal.
3. Verify product authenticity
Fake products are a significant issue on both Alibaba and AliExpress. With such a vast array of products available, distinguishing between genuine and fake items can be incredibly challenging.
For instance, a search for “Xiaomi TV” yields over 1,800 results. While most of these are likely genuine, it’s difficult to differentiate between fake and real products when you have limited product images.
4. Check seller & product feedback score
Similar to eBay, the feedback score is crucial for sellers on AliExpress. Reputable sellers strive to maintain high scores by avoiding any malpractices.
In addition to the seller score, you can review product feedback by clicking on the “Feedback” tab on the product page.
In the above case, both the product and the seller have exceptionally high ratings.
4. Communicate with the seller before purchasing.
Clear communication with suppliers is essential because products come directly from them, not AliExpress.
The most effective approach is to directly reach out to the supplier. Address all your concerns and inquire about specific item details, shipping, or delivery queries.
You can locate the seller’s contact details in the left sidebar on the product page.
After sending your message through chat or messaging, observe how promptly the supplier responds to your query.
This will help gauge the seller’s reliability. Remember, your supplier is also your business partner. A seller who can’t respond quickly to your requests or is unreliable in their response time may not be the best partner.
Keep in mind the local China time (UTC +8) before initiating communication.
Step 3: Build a dropshipping store
Before you start a dropshipping business on TikTok, you need to set up your dropshipping store. This means choosing a platform where you can create your online store and list your products.
Here are some popular selling channels for dropshipping:
- Facebook Marketplace & Facebook Shops
Among these options, Shopify stands out as my top recommendation. Why? Because Shopify was specifically designed for e-commerce.
So, what exactly is Shopify? Shopify is an all-in-one commerce platform designed for simplicity and effectiveness. With Shopify, businesses can effortlessly create an online store, engage with customers through various marketing channels, and seamlessly process payments from multiple locations, all consolidated into a single platform.
It’s easy to create an account for your Shopify dropshipping store.
To get started, head to Shopify’s website and click “Start free trial.”
After that, enter your email address and choose a password. Also, input the name for your Shopify dropshipping store.
Fill out a few queries regarding your ecommerce experience and personal details.
Once done, your Shopify account is ready.
Now, you can configure the settings to launch your Shopify dropshipping store by following these steps:
- Head to the Settings page and click on the Payments tab. Add your payment information there.
- Make sure you have your store policies in place. Shopify provides tools to generate privacy policies, refund policies, and terms and conditions automatically. Find these tools in the Settings, under the Checkout tab.
- Offer clear shipping rates. It’s best to provide free shipping whenever possible for a smoother customer experience.
Ready to launch? Go to the Sales Channels tab in your Shopify admin dashboard and choose “Add an online store”. For more information, check out our guide “How to Dropship on Shopify.”
Step 4: Get a TikTok Business Account for dropshipping integration
Signing up for a TikTok account is easy. There are two types of accounts: Personal and Business. Opt for the business account and sign up via TikTok Business.
While signing up with a personal account is fine, like Instagram, you can switch between personal and business accounts on TikTok. However, getting it right the first time is advisable.
Here are some benefits of a TikTok business account:
Analytics and Insights: Gain detailed data on content performance for informed marketing decisions.
Link in Bio: Add a clickable link to direct users to important pages or products.
Advertising Opportunities: Utilize various ad formats to boost visibility and engagement.
TikTok for Business Resources: Access guides, case studies, and tools for effective ad management and content creation.
Commercial Music Library: Access over 1,000,000 royalty-free songs for commercial use.
Having a business account also enables you to apply for a TikTok shop. If this option isn’t available in your profile, it means you don’t qualify yet.
Note: You need a minimum of 1,000 followers to qualify for the TikTok Shop program.
The final step is integrating your TikTok Shop with your Shopify account. This allows you to manage your TikTok shop directly from your Shopify dashboard.
To integrate TikTok with your Shopify store, follow these steps:
Install the TikTok for Shopify app from the Shopify App Store.
Connect TikTok to your Shopify store within the app.
Begin creating ad campaigns using product photos and videos.
Step 5: Promote dropshipping products on TikTok
Marketing on TikTok isn’t just about uploading a video and hoping for the best. It requires a well-thought-out strategy. Here’re some of the most effective strategies you can try:
1. Utilize TikTok Ads
The first way to advertise our products on TikTok is through paid ads. TikTok Ads are similar to Facebook Ads but offer a fresh opportunity to reach Gen Z audiences.
Here’s how to create TikTok ads:
Log in to TikTok Ad Manager: Start by logging into the TikTok Ad Manager platform.
Create Your Campaign: Click the ‘Create’ button to start your first campaign.
Choose Your Objective: Select the advertising objective that best fits your business goals. For dropshipping, ‘Conversions’ is often the ideal choice to optimize ads for turning viewers into buyers.
Name Your Campaign and Set Budget: Provide a name for your campaign and set your budget. You can choose between setting the budget at the campaign level or the ad group level.
Create Your Ads: Once your campaign is set up, proceed to create your ads.
In general, there are five main ad types for a dropshipping business:
In-Feed Ads: Perfect for small to medium-sized businesses, these ads focus on content and innovation, offering a cost-effective option. They feature website links or call-to-action buttons lasting 5-15 seconds and appear on the ‘For You’ page.
Brand Takeover: Lasting 3-5 seconds, these ads appear full-screen upon opening TikTok and then transition into in-feed content. They can be videos or images directing viewers to hashtag challenges or websites.
Branded Hashtag Challenge: Exclusive to TikTok, this ad type involves collaborating with content creators to reach a larger audience. By sponsoring TikTok challenges, your hashtag challenge gains visibility on the discovery page for about six days, boosting its chances of going viral.
TopView: Similar to brand takeover ads, TopView ads occupy the full screen upon opening TikTok but offer extended duration, up to 60 seconds. While more costly, they encourage higher engagement as viewers can interact with the content, including likes, comments, and shares.
Branded Effects: This strategy involves creating custom filters within TikTok, popular among brands and filmmakers. Filters generate effects like stickers and lenses, which users can share across the platform, maximizing engagement potential.
2. Leverage TikTok influencers
To boost our dropshipping sales, we can team up with TikTok influencers. It’s important to pick influencers whose values align with our brand and who relate to our products. We can find them directly on TikTok or use other platforms like Instagram.
After choosing influencers, we need to make a deal with them. Influencer charges vary based on their audience size. Those with fewer followers charge less than those with more.
When working with influencers:
- Check their influence by watching their videos.
- Find a way to contact them and ask about their rates.
- Be clear about what you expect from them.
For the first point, you can look at their engagement rate and comments. Watch some videos to see if their audience is genuinely engaged or if they’re using fake likes.
3. Create organic content
Finally, let’s consider advertising our products on TikTok by making our own content. Organic content simply means we create the videos ourselves.
Here’s what we should do:
- Keep our videos short.
- Use catchy hashtags like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt.
- Include links for people to take action.
Next, let’s focus on converting viewers into buyers. Here are some techniques to get more views and drive traffic to our store:
- Make content that’s unique and relevant.
- Add popular music and trending effects.
- Make use of publishing features.
- Share content created by users.
- Start a challenge to engage our audience.
To optimize our videos before sharing, we can use TikTok’s publishing features. Here’s how:
- Keep descriptions short yet informative.
- Use relevant hashtags.
- Tag brands, influencers, or friends.
- Include links, such as to websites.
- Check privacy settings.
- Explore features like duets or stitches.
Step 6: Fulfil orders
When a customer buys something from TikTok, whether from the TikTok shop or your own store, you’ll get their order details like what they bought, where to ship it, and how to contact them.
To automatically send Shopify orders to dropshipping suppliers, you can use a Shopify app like DSers that links sellers directly with suppliers.
One of the standout features of DSers is its ability to place orders in batches, saving you a significant amount of time.
DSers claims that this feature can reduce order fulfillment time by 96.7% compared to manual ordering on AliExpress. You can select up to a hundred products at once and place orders with just a few clicks.
Here’s how it works:
1. Go to the ‘Open Order’ tab in DSers and click on ‘Awaiting Order.’
2. Check the box next to the orders you want to place, then click ‘Place order to AliExpress.’
3. A new window will open where you can review all your selected orders.
Confirm the orders, and you’ll receive a notification. The orders will then appear in the ‘Awaiting payment’ tab in DSers, where you can proceed to make the payment.
That’s all there is to it!
For a video demonstration, you can watch the tutorial below:
Pros of Dropshipping on TikTok
1. Low Startup Costs
Starting a TikTok dropshipping business doesn’t require maintaining physical inventory, so you won’t need to spend a lot on purchasing products to sell.
There’s a small initial cost for setting up your dropshipping store, but overall, it’s relatively inexpensive to begin. In fact, you can technically start dropshipping on TikTok for less than $100.
2. Engaged Audience
TikTok users are more socially active compared to those on platforms like Facebook. Despite Facebook having more users overall, TikTok’s user demographics set it apart.
While the platform is gaining traction with older age groups, almost half of all TikTok users are under 30, and 57% are female. This demographic tends to respond more positively to content and ads. In contrast, many Facebook users simply scroll through without much engagement.
This unique user base offers businesses a golden opportunity to connect with their target audience and expand their reach.
Research confirms TikTok’s superior engagement. One study found TikTok’s engagement rate far surpasses Facebook’s—4.25% compared to 0.13%.
I’ve witnessed this firsthand through running ads on both platforms. TikTok consistently delivered better results, including longer viewing times and more clicks on my ads.
3. Affordable Advertising Cost
Getting started with TikTok ads comes with a low entry cost, beginning at $10 per CPM (cost per 1,000 views), with a minimum daily spend of $20 per ad group. Although this might appear higher compared to platforms like Facebook initially, the cost per click can drop significantly to just $0.10 – $0.20, leading to substantial savings in the long run for generating clicks and boosting sales.
However, simply looking at the ad costs isn’t the full picture. It’s crucial to evaluate how effectively the ads perform. According to some studies, TikTok’s cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and click-through rate (CTR) are lower than Facebook’s, although opinions on this vary.
Cons of Dropshipping on TikTok
1. Limited Audience Targeting
TikTok’s audience targeting options for businesses are quite restricted compared to platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn.
While those platforms offer detailed targeting based on demographics and behavior, TikTok only allows targeting based on location, age, and gender.
This limitation makes it challenging for businesses to reach users who are genuinely interested in their products or services.
2. Limited Analytics
TikTok’s analytics are less comprehensive compared to other social media platforms, making it hard for businesses to accurately track the success of their campaigns.
While the app offers basic metrics like views, likes, shares, and comments, it lacks detailed insights into audience demographics, engagement rates, and conversion rates.
3. High Competition
With TikTok being the newest and trendiest social media platform, competition is fierce. Many creative minds have already migrated to TikTok, so you’ll be up against some stiff competition.
Let’s say you decide to dropship trendy earrings on TikTok. However, there are already several well-established TikTok influencers promoting similar jewelry items to a large audience.
If you want to stand out from the competition, you need to invest a lot of efforts on producing valuable content that:
- Boosts your follower count
- Increases engagement
- Persuades viewers to take action
4. Limited Link-Sharing
On TikTok, users can’t include clickable links in their videos, posing a challenge for dropshippers looking to direct users to their website or online store. This can hinder efforts to drive traffic and sales through TikTok campaigns.
Businesses can only include links in their TikTok videos by adding them to their bio or utilizing the app’s shoppable video feature, which is exclusive to certain advertisers.
Is TikTok Good for Dropshipping?
Whether TikTok is suitable for dropshippers depends on their business model, product types, and target audience. Generally, TikTok dropshipping can be beneficial for those seeking a low-cost online business. If you have a decent following on TikTok already, marketing products and converting followers into buyers may not be difficult.
However, dropshipping, whether on TikTok or elsewhere, might not be ideal for those seeking instant profits or passive income. While you’re not manufacturing products or managing inventory, setting up your dropshipping store and effectively marketing it on TikTok still requires effort.
2. How to Set Up TikTok Dropshipping?
Setting up a TikTok dropshipping business includes a few steps:
Create a TikTok Account: If you don’t already have one, sign up for a TikTok account and set it up as a business account.
Connect Your Store: If you’ve established a dropshipping store on platforms like Shopify, connect it to your TikTok account.
List Your Products: Make sure your dropshipping store has products listed that you want to promote on TikTok. These products will be displayed to potential customers on the platform.
3. How Do I Get a TikTok Shop?
To set up a TikTok shop, you need a business account on TikTok and then apply for a shop.
Note that TikTok Shop is only available in specific regions such as the US, UK, and China, so ensure your location is eligible.
Once you’ve applied, TikTok will need to approve your shop before it becomes active. Unfortunately, if your application is denied, there’s no recourse available.
4. How Do You Go Viral on TikTok Dropshipping?
To go viral on TikTok as a dropshipper, you might consider these strategies:
Livestreams: Host livestreams to expand your reach and attract new customers.
Giveaways: Hold giveaways to encourage people to promote your business.
Collaborations: Partner with micro-influencers who can share your business with their followers.
5. What are the top products to sell on TikTok?
The best products to sell are the ones users want and that match your brand. If you’re a creator aiming to sell, think about making TikTok merch. Here are some popular product types:
- Clothing and accessories
- Beauty and skincare
- Phone cases and tech accessories
- Home décor
- Health and wellness items
- Food and beverages
- Art and craft supplies
- Toys and games
- Books and stationery
Is TikTok Dropshipping Worth It?
Dropshipping on TikTok can be a good business idea, but it takes time to succeed. Understanding dropshipping, growing a loyal audience on TikTok, and learning how to go viral can help your small business thrive.
Dropshipping is a low-cost way to start an online store. If you don’t have a lot of money to invest in inventory, dropshipping is a smart option.
It also offers flexibility in your career, which many people desire.
Before deciding if dropshipping is right for you, consider the challenges it brings: managing returns, acting as a middleman between customers and suppliers, and not having full control over everything.
Fro more information, check out the pros and cons of dropshipping.