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How agencies can & should craft services for TikTok Shops

March 7, 2024
In the age of social commerce, modern brands are doubling-down on owned influencer communities, while also trying to get their own special slice of TikTok Shops. It's easier said than done, and the brands winning at both aren't doing it alone — they're working with agencies who've refined their craft around creator-to-consumer. In this article, Jordan West from upGrowth Commerce highlights how brands and opportunists alike are taking advantage of TikTok Shop's surging growth, and how an aspiring agency can funnel such lessons into new services of their own.

In an era where social media and eCommerce are increasingly intertwined, TikTok Shop continues to show its head as a revolutionary platform, promising unparalleled opportunities for brands and agencies alike. In it's breakout year (2023) TikTok quickly rose to ~$20b in platform GMV, and to no surprise at all, has its eyes set on doing that in just the United States alone in 2024.

Jordan West, the owner of upGrowth Commerce and direct-to-consumer enthusiast, recently shared his insights in a workshop designed to demystify TikTok Shop's potential & how agencies can take advantage. This article captures the essence of Jordan's session, offering just a mere preview to his analysis and predictions for the future of online shopping with TikTok.

If you want to catch the full session (highly recommended), you can check it out via this link. The total run time is 52 minutes, but it couldn't be a better use of your time if you're an agency debating TikTok Shop services.

1. A New Dawn for eComm

Jordan begins the session by highlighting TikTok Shop's unique position in the market—a hybrid of Amazon's marketplace, TikTok's viral potential, Shopify's e-commerce prowess, and a dash of social engagement magic. Early successes are becoming more clear by the day, and there's a growing number of examples that back it up. It's one of those classic new innovations that you can feel is going to disrupt the status quo completely. According to Jordan, "It's like Amazon, TikTok, Social Snowball, and Shopify had a beautiful baby," a testament to the platform's innovative approach to merging content, commerce, and community.

A preview from the session

2. The Target Audience

The workshop caters to a diverse audience, including brands seeking new growth channels, SaaS companies looking to leverage TikTok Shop's infrastructure, and agencies ready to dive into the intricacies of managing TikTok Shop campaigns. Jordan's message is clear: TikTok Shop represents a frontier ripe for exploration, yet it demands dedication and hard work to unlock its full potential. If you're not ready for more work you'll want to sit this out, but there's massive opportunity if you're ready to commit. It's not the same as enabling a traditional campaign.

A preview from the session

3. Stirring Up Influencer Marketing

A significant portion of the workshop is dedicated to redefining influencer marketing within the TikTok Shop ecosystem. Jordan emphasizes the shift towards a performance-based model, where brands compensate influencers solely on sales-driven content. This approach not only enhances ROI but also fosters a more authentic collaboration between brands and creators. Jordan shares, "This is influencer seeding times a thousand," highlighting the efficiency and effectiveness of TikTok Shop's model in connecting products with potential buyers through trusted voices.

A preview from the session

4. Operational Challenges and Strategies

Despite its promise, TikTok Shop is not without its challenges. Jordan candidly discusses the operational hurdles brands and agencies must overcome, from influencer outreach to content repurposing and live shopping events. The key, he suggests, lies in approaching TikTok Shop with a blend of strategic planning and agility. Agencies, in particular, are advised to embrace TikTok Shop as a comprehensive service offering, recognizing the intensive labor and nuanced strategies required for success.

A preview from the session

5. Common Pitfalls and How to Navigate Them

No venture is free from potential missteps, and TikTok Shop is no exception. Jordan outlines common mistakes, such as inadequate outreach, failure to effectively sell to influencers, and overly selective partnership criteria. He also stresses the importance of securing usage rights for influencer content, enabling brands to amplify their reach across various marketing channels. By anticipating these challenges, brands can better position themselves to thrive within the TikTok Shop landscape.

A preview from the session

6. What To Do Next

As the workshop concludes, it should be known that an open invitation awaits for any brand and agency eager to explore TikTok Shops further. Through his own agency, upGrowth Commerce, Jordan offers specialized services designed to navigate the complexities of TikTok Shop, from fully managed campaigns to accelerators aimed at equipping agencies with the tools needed for success. In a landscape marked by rapid change and boundless potential, Jordan's insights serve as a valuable roadmap for those ready to embark on the TikTok Shops journey.

In essence, TikTok Shops stands at the convergence of innovation, opportunity, and the ever-evolving dance between content and commerce. For brands and agencies willing to invest the effort, the rewards promise to be as transformative as they are lucrative. As Jordan aptly puts it, "This is not just a new sales channel; it's a whole new way of thinking about eCommerce." The future of online shopping begins here, on TikTok Shop.

You can checkout upGrowth Commerce's TikTok Shops services here.
If you're an agency looking to lean into TikTok Shops as a Service (TTSAAS), you can signup for a 4 week accelerator here.

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