PROCUREMENT

What Makes TikTok Shop And Gen Z A Match Made In Heaven?

Dec 11, 2023

Social Commerce

What Makes TikTok Shop And Gen Z A Match Made In Heaven?

Compared to older generations, Gen Z’s shopping and purchase preferences can be a little conflicting to marketers, with 52% preferring to shop online and a close 48% preferring an in-store experience. However, as the recipients and hoarders of the latest and greatest consumer trends, these habits can easily be swayed. 

Cue TikTok Shop.

Just when you thought we’d exhausted every possible reason to tie Gen Z to TikTok, TikTok Shop came along with its unmatched Black Friday sales and glorious coupons.

You don’t need to be an avid social media user to know that TikTok Shop and Gen Z are in cahoots. Today, asking Gen Z about their favourite purchases is almost always met with “got it on TikTok Shop, it’s so much cheaper there”, making it a serious contender against the likes of Amazon; another of Gen Z’s preferred ecommerce platforms. 

What began as Musical.ly, a platform primarily for lip-syncing content and other forms of entertainment, has now become an online shopping powerhouse. But how has TikTok Shop managed to lure so many of us in, and how significant of a position does it now hold in the ecommerce world?

WHAT MAKES TIKTOK SHOP SO APPEALING TO GEN Z?

TikTok Shop and Gen Z go hand in hand for a multitude of reasons. 

TikTok adheres to preferred shopping habits

If there’s one thing ecommerce platforms in the digital era need to know, it’s how consumers shop. This is especially true for Gen Z.

The current consensus reveals that Gen Z are looking for bargains right now. This discount-loving generation would rather wait until a desired product goes on sale before making a purchase, with some even actively searching for a cheaper own-brand alternative. 

TikTok Shop’s consistent dishing out of exclusive discounts and coupons feeds the souls of these money-savvy youngsters and adheres to their preferred shopping habits, proving the platform’s exceptional social listening skills. 

TikTok Shop and Gen Z: discounts

Young entrepreneurs get a head start

Thanks to TikTok’s diverse user base and recommendation-focused algorithm, TikTok Shop and Gen Z are largely driven by discovery. 73% of small business owners say TikTok’s algorithm has helped them reach new customers while others are able to leverage the organic attention received to direct consumers to IRL pop-ups. 

A notable example is VIEVE, headed by Scottish YouTuber Jamie Genevieve. 

@jamiegenevieve

Best one yet. See you tomorrow, Glasgow Princes Square 11am ?? #VIEVE #Glasgow

♬ original sound – vicmram

In the comments section, VIEVE customer support is able to answer any customer queries regarding the pop-up. In addition, this is a great place for visitors of the pop-up to leave reviews and feedback without pressure. 

Dupe accessibility

As the first generation to embrace dupe culture, TikTok is a haven for our bargain-hunting Gen Z’ers. 

An amalgamation of algorithm choices, influencers and fast-paced trends are what allow dupe culture to thrive on somewhere like TikTok, with TikTok Shop and Gen Z at its core. 

You can find a more in-depth exploration of dupe culture on TikTok on our site. 

Live shopping streams

Despite the initially slow uptake, live shopping streams have become a lot of TikTok Shop brands’ bread and butter.

TikTok Lives allow for brands to connect on a more human level with their customers, as there is no room for fancy editing or “best bits”; leaning into the authenticity that Gen Z greatly prioritises. 

Brands can also leverage popular influencers within their niche to host these shopping Lives, as a way to generate more traffic and potential sales. One brand in particular leaning into the advantages of TikTok Shop and Gen Z live streaming content is MadeByMitchell. The brand regularly goes live on the platform with TikTok beauty creator Becky Morgan to pack customer orders, throwing an extra product or two into each one; further drawing in attention from potential customers and increasing existing customer loyalty. 

TikTok Lives are so popular that even TikTok Shop’s biggest competitors have tried their hand at growing their own takes on live shopping. Amazon launched its Inspire feature to US users at the tail end of 2022 in a bid to draw customer attention away from apps like TikTok. Likened to a TikTok-style shopping Feed (oh the irony), made up of short-form video and photos, Amazon’s Inspire feature is algorithmically-designed to learn of a user’s recurring clicks, searches and shopping habits, for the purpose of designing a unique Feed for every customer. 

@michelleeeejh

Replying to @meshakgirl THIS IS CRAZY ? Amazon Inspire is NEW, so here’s what I know so far! (how to get accepted to amazon influencer program @michelleeeejh ) #amazoninfluencer101 #amazoninspire #inspireonamazon #amazoninfluencertips #ugccreatortips #contentcreatorreality

♬ Deep House 01 (Background Dance) – Instrumental – PondCues

TIKTOK SHOP’S CURRENT GLOBAL STANDING

Home to 1.1 billion monthly active users, TikTok hasn’t only become a way of life for Gen Z, but also a household name across all generations. Though this behemoth of a user base contributes to TikTok’s short-form videos gaining hundreds of thousands of views instantaneously, growth doesn’t always equal profit. 

Hence the push for ecommerce opportunities via TikTok Shop.

TikTok Shop has already gained traction in south-east Asia, giving users the opportunity to buy directly in-app rather than having to click through to other sites and growing its estimated gross merchandise value (GMV) from $600 million in 2021, to $4.4 billion in 2022. This aggressive growth is set to put TikTok in good stead for securing its aim to more than quadruple its ecommerce business to $20 billion by the end of this year. 

Across the pond, TikTok Shop’s UK launch in 2021 took a little longer to win consumers over, however. This rocky start was followed by a lack of traction, with the Shop operating at a loss and many live streams generating zero sales, though this could be attributed to the UK’s general hesitation to welcome live shopping experiences into their social media content preferences. 

But despite its slow start, things are looking up for the UK market, largely thanks to Gen Z’s input over Cyber Week. Typically, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are successful periods for both TikTok Shop and Gen Z. Brands are able to offer exceptional discounts knowing they’ll be lapped up by the young, ecommerce-obsessed generations, and Gen Z automatically turn to TikTok for their Cyber Week treats knowing that’s where they’ll find the best discounts.

In a bid to replicate this success on a larger scale, TikTok has recently launched its ecommerce product in the US. Amazon’s home turf. 

With more than 150 million users alone and more than 200,000 pre-registered sellers, TikTok is targeting a $20 billion merchandise revenue in the next year. Considering the Biden administration was attempting to motion a nationwide ban on the platform itself not that long ago, the launch of TikTok Shop in the US is quite the turnaround. But with Chinese shopping platforms such as Shein having the US to thank for its record profit in the first half of the year, it seems as though TikTok Shop has a narrow advantage when it comes to selling here. 

Though the US market has a track record of being notoriously difficult to break into (think Instagram’s drastically-scaled back shopping features following Meta’s first ever revenue decline in 2022), TikTok Shop is showing promising signs here.

HOW CAN BRANDS LEVERAGE TIKTOK SHOP AND GEN Z?

Launch a new product using TikTok Live 

@madebymitchell

HERE WE GOOOO ?❤️‍???? #madebymitchell #blursh #fyp #blush #blushhack #tiktokmademebuyit #blackfridaysale #spons #tiktokshop_uk #viral

♬ original sound – madebymitchell

As previously mentioned, Gen Z prioritises authenticity and what better way to authentically launch a new product than via a live shopping event where they can see the product in real time, see how it performs and ask questions in exchange for real-time responses? The great thing about live shopping events on TikTok is that brands can pin certain products to the live stream, which users can simply click on and purchase directly through TikTok Shop. This seamless shopping experience is what marries TikTok Shop and Gen Z so perfectly. 

Influencer collaborations

Leveraging influencers is a key success factor for the brands nailing TikTok Shop right now. 

@melissaxjadexm

This is ICONIC ?? #blackfridaydeals

♬ original sound – Melissa Jade ?

As we know, Gen Z are on a constant hunt for a bargain, so what better time to collaborate with an influencer to promote your TikTok shop than during Black Friday? 

This year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals saw up to 60% discounts on popular products, discounts which would never be found on the likes of Amazon. Namely, Trio Beauty took advantage of TikTok Shop’s BFCM campaign by going live twice across the weekend with products discounted by 30% alongside sending the sale products to chosen influencers, giving them the chance to earn commission through products sold via their platform. 

This proved to be extremely successful with Trio Beauty having a 525% order quantity increase on TikTok Shop compared to the previous month. 

Mixing eye-catching discounts with influencers and live shopping events is a fool-proof way to nail TikTok Shop and Gen Z at the same time. 

WHAT ARE THE LONG-TERM IMPLICATIONS OF TIKTOK SHOP?

Despite its case-by-case successes, exhaustion with TikTok Shop is becoming increasingly apparent.

A lot of complaints come from users whose For You Page is now brimming with sales ads, so much so that many creators are now sharing their tips and tricks for blocking and filtering ads that contain product promotion. 

This exhaustion goes hand in hand with concern about the kinds of products sold on TikTok Shop – which can range anywhere from potentially counterfeit products listed at excessively-discounted prices to plastic items worth mere pence. As an ecommerce platform whose goal is to become Amazon for Gen Z, its actions are giving Temu or AliExpress for the time being. 

To seriously compete with Amazon, TikTok Shop needs to prioritise deescalating consumption by lessening the ability for any old thing to be sold through the platform. But with its virality cycle and accessibility to duped products making this such a difficult task, we will continue to see 70% of TikTok users make impulse purchases for the foreseeable future. 

Our influencer marketing agency and social agency are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USA, UK, UAE and China.

If you want to find industry insights, visit our influencer marketing and social media blogs.

@ Socially Powerful

Author

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Ella Proctor

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