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It can be hard to keep up with new trends when it comes to advertising your business – especially on social media. There are plenty of platforms to choose from, like Facebook, Instagram, and more recently, TikTok.

TikTok has transformed the way customers shop, giving them an up-close preview of what they can purchase, as well as a seamless way to pay without needing to leave the app. It boasts 50 million daily users, so it’s no surprise it’s turned many small businesses into overnight successes.

It can take a lot of hard work to get things going though, and you may need to collaborate with influencers or go on TikTok live to sell your products. If you’re selling services rather than products, it may involve putting yourself out there to a large audience. It’s worth weighing up the pros and cons before you decide to give it a go.

Let’s run through the ins and outs of selling on TikTok and whether it’s time to put it in your marketing plan.

What is TikTok Shop?

TikTok Shop is essentially an e-commerce platform integrated within TikTok. If you have your own business, it allows you to showcase your products and designs to a community of people.

Who can use TikTok Shop?

Anyone over the age of 18 who lives in the UK and has the TikTok app!

How does TikTok Shop work?

There are 3 different formats you can use on TikTok Shop.

Live shopping

This is where you or one of your employees host a livestream showcasing the products you have on offer. Anyone can join this live and interact with you in real-time. For example, if you’re selling loungewear, they may ask to see it in a bigger size, or a different colour.

If a customer wants to purchase an item, they can simply add it to their basket, and pay without leaving the app. It can be a useful selling tactic, allowing you to answer customers’ queries much quicker, which can often result in them purchasing the product right away.

Short videos

Create a short video of your product and include a link for your audience to purchase it.

Product showcase tab

Your product showcase is located in the tab of either your seller or creator profile. It’s basically a list of products users can browse through and shop.

What type of TikTok advertisements can I choose from?

At a glance TikTok may look like it’s just for businesses advertising physical products, but you can use it for practically anything. For example, if you own a recruitment business and want sign-ups to a vacancy newsletter, or you’re selling tickets for an online webinar you’re hosting.

Methods of advertising you can use on TikTok include:

  • In-feed ads: These are videos that blend in with a user’s usual content. As the name suggests, it’ll be in their feed.
  • Branded hashtags: This is where you create filters and effects users can try in their own videos, helping to create awareness around your brand.
  • TopView: This essentially means they’re the first in-feed ad to appear when someone is scrolling TikTok. It will hold position for a set period of time before it turns into a regular in-feed ad.
  • Brand takeover: You’ll ‘take over’ the initial TikTok loading screen by displaying branded content that leads users to a landing page of your choice.
  • Collection: You can create a ‘collection’ or gallery ad that will allow users to browse and purchase products.

Costs vary across all methods, but if none of these are for you, you can also think about things like TikTok live, and hiring influencers to promote your content.


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How do I know if TikTok is the right sales channel for me?

It depends on a few things, starting with whether your target market is on TikTok. If you find it predominately isn’t, you’ll waste time and money posting advertisements to the wrong people.

Another factor to consider is time. Can you make eye-catching adverts? Would you be happy working with influencers? You’ll find many successful businesses on TikTok spend lots of time promoting their products, whether that be through short videos, or collaborating with creators.

You can always hire freelancers to make content for you, but you’ll need to consider the cost of both paying them and paying for an ad to go up (as well as TikTok’s other fees). It’s also worth noting TikTok charges 5% commission on everything you sell on TikTok Shop.

It’s best to ensure you know your target market and run A/B tests to see if TikTok works better for you than your usual advertising methods.

If you’re paying for any kind of marketing or advertising, check if you can claim it as an allowable expense.

Do I need to set up a business account with TikTok?

If your goal is to promote your services or products on TikTok, you’ll need to set up a business account. Download TikTok if you don’t have it already, and then head over to Settings and Privacy, click ‘Manage account’ and then select ‘Switch to Business Account’.

Once you’ve done this, choose a category that fits your business best – it will help you create customised content and build a relevant audience.

Do I need to pay tax if I earn from TikTok Shop?

If you are new to the world of online selling, you’ll need to remember to pay tax on your ecommerce earnings.

The introduction of the Digital Platform Reporting Rules means that online platforms are required to share users’ sales data with HMRC – so don’t get caught out!

The good news is that you won’t need to pay tax, or even report your income to HMRC, if your total self-employed income is less than the £1,000 trading allowance in a tax year.

Tips for selling products on TikTok

You don’t want to go into this blind – especially when you’re opening your business up to such a big audience – so take time to research what will help when selling your products or services on TikTok.

Create engaging content

You only have a couple of seconds to impress someone before they’ll scroll on to the next video – so make sure you create a video that’ll make people want to watch more, and always have your products or services tagged for efficient brand awareness.

Know your niche

TikTok is a big platform, with lots of creators and businesses. In order to stand out, you need to find a niche and know your audience. The largest age groups on TikTok are teens, 20–29-year-olds, and 30-39-year-olds.

This doesn’t mean you can’t reach an older audience but if you are looking for people in a particular demographic, it’s worth asking yourself how you can do that. Are there specific trends your audience tends to participate in, for instance?


This ties in nicely with what we’ve said above – to attract the right audience, you’ll need to do regular research on what’s trending within the demographic you’re targeting, and how you can relate that to your brand.


Finding a content creator who is your ‘ideal customer’ could benefit your brand – because the likelihood is, their followers are also going to fit in that category too.

There are some things to consider when you open your business up on TikTok. For example, some businesses face bad reviews in the form of videos (which can damage a business’s reputation), although this is rare and tends to happen to larger businesses. It’s also competitive – there are lots of businesses offering discounts to customers and you may not be able to compete, especially if you’re just starting out.

It’s best to think about the type of advertisements that would work for you and test the waters. You never know, you could have the next viral business!

Need more guidance? Learn more about our online accounting services for businesses. Call 020 3355 4047 to chat with the team and get an instant quote online.

About The Author

Rachael Anderson

A creative content writer specialising across business, finance and software topics. I have a love for all things writing, and creating engaging, easy to understand content that helps everyday people! Learn more about Rachael.

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