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TikTok Dropshipping Blueprint: A Complete FAQ Guide [2023]

by Irene Leander
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TikTok Dropshipping Blueprint: A Complete FAQ Guide - OneCommerce

Are you looking for the next big opportunity in the world of e-commerce? Look no further, because TikTok dropshipping could be your chance of a lifetime!

With its massive user base and rapidly growing popularity, TikTok has become a powerhouse in the world of social media marketing. And now, savvy entrepreneurs are leveraging the platform’s immense reach to boost their dropshipping businesses.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about TikTok dropshipping, including:

  • The basics of TikTok dropshipping and why it is highly profitable
  • How TikTok dropshipping works
  • The advantages and disadvantages of doing dropshipping on TikTok
  • Trending products to sell, with practical marketing strategies

Ready to get started? Let’s dive in!

What is TikTok & How Can It Benefit Dropshippers?

1. What is TikTok?

TikTok is a social media platform that allows users to create and share short-form videos, typically ranging from 15 seconds to 3 minutes.

Launched in 2016, it has rapidly grown into one of the most downloaded apps worldwide. TikTok is known for its user-friendly interface and diverse video content, from dancing challenges to educational tutorials and comedic skits.

tiktok dropshipping

TikTok interface

2. What is TikTok dropshipping?

TikTok dropshipping is an eCommerce business model that utilizes TikTok platform to promote dropshipping store and sell products without having to handle inventory or shipping.

Basically, dropshippers can focus on creating engaging and creative content that showcases the benefits and features of their products on TikTok, while relying on a third-party supplier to fulfill the orders.

With TikTok as a dynamic advertising tool for dropshipping, online sellers can reach a large and active audience of potential customers, who can easily access their online store through a link in their bio or video description.

What makes TikTok such a perfect marketing platform for dropshipping is some of its unique advantages, such as the ability to use viral trends, hashtags, music, and filters to make their videos more appealing and relevant.

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3. Why is TikTok beneficial for dropshippers?

  • Vast user base: TikTok’s massive and diverse user base offers an immense potential customer pool spanning various demographics and interests for merchants.
  • Engaging content: TikTok’s video-centric format allows businesses to create visually engaging content that can showcase their products or services in a fun way. Short videos are highly shareable, increasing the likelihood of organic reach.
  • Trending challenges and hashtags: TikTok trends, challenges, and hashtags often go viral, allowing businesses to participate and gain exposure. Crafting content that aligns with these trends can help boost visibility.
  • Influencer partnerships: Partnering with TikTok influencers can be a powerful marketing strategy. Influencers often have dedicated followers and can promote products effectively through their content.
  • Cost-effective advertising: TikTok offers advertising options tailored to specific budgets. It allows merchants to run targeted ad campaigns, reaching users more likely to be interested in their products.
  • Direct engagement: TikTok allows for direct customer engagement through comments, likes, shares, and even direct messages. It can foster a sense of community and trust around a brand.
  • Educational content: Merchants can use TikTok to educate their audience about their products, how to use them, and their unique features. Educational content can help build trust and brand loyalty.

How Does TikTok Dropshipping Work?

Dropshipping is a unique method of commerce where entrepreneurs bridge the gap between consumers and third-party suppliers. TikTok has emerged as a dynamic platform for promoting dropshipping businesses, revolutionizing how to market and sell products.

💡Here is a glimpse into how to sell in TikTok:

  1. Set up a TikTok business account to kickstart your TikTok dropshipping business.
  2. Your store should be hosted on an eCommerce platform like Shopify, for example. Link your Shopify store to your TikTok account (usually placed in your TikTok bio, in case you’re wondering) for smooth control between your marketing and sales.
  3. Use various TikTok marketing methods to reach potential customers, including targeted ads, partnering with influencers, and creating engaging content.
  4. Potential customers discover your products on TikTok, where they can click on your videos or ads to visit your dropshipping store for more details.
  5. When a user makes a purchase, they select the products they want and place an order on your dropshipping store. At this point, you can collect the item’s cost and any associated shipping fees.
  6. Once you receive an order, you must forward the customer’s order information to the third-party manufacturers or initial sellers. This step ensures the supplier knows the order and can prepare to fulfill it.
  7. The suppliers are responsible for packaging the ordered items and handling the shipping process for prompt delivery and good customer service.

Making money with TikTok dropshipping comes down to your pricing strategy. Normally, dropshippers work out good deals with their suppliers so they can sell products in their stores at a higher price, and then keep the difference between the wholesale price and retail price.

Plus, effective marketing, a well-designed store, and exceptional customer service can all contribute to this model’s business success.

The Pros and Cons of TikTok for Dropshippers

Don’t get swayed by the hype of ads that often only show the positives! Keep in mind, before jumping into any kind of business, remember to navigate challenges and handle risks, then you should have a complete picture. It’s crucial to consider both the pros and cons of TikTok dropshipping.

First of all, how can you benefit from TikTok dropshipping?

  • Affordable Costs for Startups: Unlike traditional retail businesses, you don’t need to maintain physical inventory. You don’t have to spend large sums of money buying products upfront. While setting up a dropshipping store and marketing on TikTok cost money, it is still relatively low compared to the overhead costs of a brick-and-mortar store.
  • Vast and Diverse Audience: TikTok boasts an enormous user base, with more than 1.677 billion users globally, and 1.1 billion monthly active users. While only some TikTok users will become customers, having a large, engaged user base provides a ready-made traffic source to tap into. It significantly simplifies the process of finding potential customers for a dropshipping business.
  • All-around Marketing Options: TikTok offers various ways to market your dropshipping products. You can create engaging video content to showcase your products, run targeted ads to reach specific demographics, collaborate with influencers to tap into their follower base, etc. You can tailor your marketing approach to the business’s unique needs and objectives.
  • Integration with Multiplatform Marketing: TikTok can seamlessly integrate into a multiplatform marketing strategy. TikTik business owners can incorporate it into a broader marketing plan, including other social media platforms, email marketing, and more. That’s why you can reach a wider audience and diversify your marketing efforts.

Which limitations of TikTok dropshipping should merchants consider?

  • Not Guaranteed High Conversions: Viewers or followers may enjoy the content, yet it does not mean they will become customers. So, you should develop a well-structured marketing plan to encourage conversions and yield the desired results.
  • High Competitiveness: TikTok dropshipping is a rising trend, which means many players are in this game. If the competitors have more significant followers or a more established presence on TikTok, standing out and generating sales can be challenging.
  • Limited Customer Support: Some users have expressed dissatisfaction with TikTok’s customer support, particularly content creators who rely on the platform for income generation. Inadequate support can impact the overall experience of using the platform for business purposes.

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6+ TikTok Dropshipping Products You Have To Sell In 2023

You can quickly get the answer when searching for the best TikTok dropshipping products. However, you should take note of the trending dropshipping items that offer a favorable profit margin for dropshipping.

Here are some trending dropshipping products on TikTok for dropshipping:

  • LED Lights: LED lights, including stripes and night lights.
  • Beauty Products: Makeup, skincare, beauty routines, tutorials, and product recommendations.
  • Jewellery and Accessories: Jewelry, such as necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and accessories like scarves and hats.
  • Sunglasses: Stylish sunglasses are a hit on TikTok, and relatively affordable.
  • Seasonal Items: Halloween costumes and decorations, Christmas-themed merchandise, or summer beachwear.
  • Pet-Related Items: Products like pet water bottles, food dishes, or fashionable pet accessories.
  • Phone Cases: Stylish and protective phone cases, for multiple types and brands.

TikTok trends can evolve quickly, so you should stay up-to-date and adapt your product offerings accordingly through continuous research and analysis. The following content walks you through some steps to help you identify trending products on TikTok.

How to Find Trending Products To Sell on TikTok?

We will walk you through two effective methods of identifying trending products on TikTok with a step-by-step guideline. 

1. Manual Methods 

Manual methods make it easy to spot trending products, but there’s a trade-off. While they offer a straightforward way to do market and product research, they may not provide precise data. Instead, they give you a clearer picture of recent trends and what’s not-so-popular anymore.

Let’s delve into these manual methods:

  • Exploring TikTok’s Discovery Tab
Tiktok Discovery Tab - tiktok dropshipping

The Discovery Tab helps you uncover many top products on Tiktok. – Source: Tiktok

TikTok uses a smart system of algorithms that highlights the most-watched products. By clicking on the ‘Discovery’ tab, you can access a curated selection of popular videos, hashtags, and music.

This collection is a valuable resource for identifying trending products on the platform. It helps business owners stay updated with trends, saving time and improving their commerce strategy.

  • Following Influencers and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs/KOCs)

Brands frequently collaborate with influencers, KOLs, and KOCs to promote products with viral potential. You can gain valuable insights into high-demand products by tracking these influential channels and industry-related hashtags. This approach streamlines the identification of popular dropshipping items on TikTok.

tiktok influencer dropshipping

  • Exploring Other E-commerce Platforms

Don’t limit yourself to TikTok! Take a look at other online shops like Taobao, Temu, and 1688. They’re like windows into what people love to buy, and you’ll be able to find stuff that products are really popular and constantly searched for. And guess what? Sellers can use this info to find out what’s trending in different categories.

2. Use TikTok Creative Center

TikTok Creative Center is a game-changer for advertisers seeking insights into trending items. This platform spotlights hot products & hot tiktok ads, simplifying how to select the right products for your campaigns. 

TikTok Creative Center

TikTok Creative Center offers you everything you need for insightful and effective campaigns

Check out real-world ad examples and important performance stats by looking at top-performing products. The Top Ads Dashboard feature makes it easier to find trending items, saving you time on research and analysis.

  • Step 1: Begin by clicking on Inspiration >  Top Ads Dashboard in the top navigation of the TikTok Creative Center. If you are not logged in, click the Login button at the top right-hand corner of the page. 
  • Step 2: At the search bar, type in the industry/niche/product that you are aiming for.
  • Step 3: Filter your search by Region, Industry, etc. Any selections you make will be saved for your next login.
  • Step 4: You can also sort the results by selecting the grey options below the filter: For You, Reach, CTR.
  • Step 5: The dashboard lists out trending videos with total indicators and information. It also features some of the most efficient videos advertising those products.

tiktok dropshipping trending ads

Moreover, insights into your target audience’s preferences, price sensitivity, and the sourcing cost of the products play a crucial role.

So, you should spend time on the platform, observe trends, and analyze successful dropshippers’ marketing approaches can help you with product selection and marketing strategies that resonate with TikTok users.

3. Use third-party tools to spy on competitors

Did you know that there are tools that can spy on your competitors’ sales statistics, real-time order tracking, and even ads that are currently trending? If you didn’t, you’ll love this one.

In case you lack the time to sit at your desk, spending hours looking at statistics with little-to-no knowledge of data analysis, Ali Hunter will be THE tool for you!

Just recently, Ali Hunter has officially released a new feature, exclusively for TikTok enthusiasts: TikTok Adspy, which comes with a full video tutorial on how to conduct your research. (Check out the video first, you’ll learn quite a lot in just 2 minutes)

This feature is like your “backstage pass” to TikTok’s top-performing ads. It offers a curated list of successful TikTok ads, handpicked by experts and updated in real-time.

One standout feature of TikTok Spy is its ability to help you identify the best AliExpress suppliers for the products you discover. This helpful tool makes choosing suppliers a lot easier, and way faster than manual methods.

Plus, TikTok Spy allows you to perform in-depth and data-driven product analysis. Explore important data like prices, ratings, reviews, how many products have been ordered, and even a trend chart!

Ali Hunter Tiktok Spy detail

All in all, this feature will help you gain instant access to the latest trends and best-sellers, all in one place, saving you the time and effort of endless TikTok scrolling (although that does sound like a lot of fun!).

Give Ali Hunter’s TikTok Spy a try! There’s more to it than just TikTok Spy and we’re confident the application will be your best support along your dropshipping venture.

How to Promote Your Store on TikTok?

You have multiple avenues for promoting your dropshipping venture on TikTok, and you can employ any combination of these strategies to cultivate an active following.

Let’s delve into each approach’s workings and consider their benefits and drawbacks.

1. Paid Ads

TikTok provides a convenient avenue for promoting your business through paid advertising. In your TikTok business account, you can access the Ad Manager, a robust tool for creating ad campaigns customized to your specific objectives.

Within your campaign, you can choose from various ad formats in alignment with your marketing goals. One key feature is the flexibility to set your ad budget, allowing you to dictate how much you are willing to invest in promoting your business.

TikTok has available types of paid ad formats for your reference, including:

  • Brand Takeover Ads: These ads allow full-screen promotion upon opening the app, which suits brands with substantial budgets and followers.
  • Branded Hashtag Challenges: If you can create an appealing challenge, the content can go viral and fuel your TikTok dropshipping store.
  • In-Feed Ads: Similar to Instagram and Facebook stories, these ads allow up to 15 seconds to showcase your product with a Call to Action (CTA).
  • TopView Ads: These ads are placed at the top of the “for you to view” page, reducing distractions and ensuring visibility.

✅ Pros

  • Ease of Creation: Paid TikTok ads have a user-friendly interface. Besides, the platform provides step-by-step guidance, making it accessible even for those new to advertising.
  • Increased Reach: By placing your content in front of a broader audience, you can increase brand visibility and, in turn, boost your chances of converting viewers into customers.

❌ Cons

  • Uncertain ROI: While paid TikTok ads can be effective, you cannot guarantee a favorable return on investment (ROI). Success depends on many factors, including the quality of your ad content, audience targeting, and competition within your niche.
  • Budget Constraints: For businesses with tight advertising budgets, achieving substantial traction with paid TikTok ads may be challenging. Competing against larger budgets can make gaining visibility in the platform’s competitive advertising landscape harder.
💡Pro tips:

Running ads on TikTok is potential, but it’s not as easy as other Youtubers are saying. You have to spend at least $500 to test 1 product first before deciding whether to scale the ads or not. Keep in mind that TikTok only allows you to optimize your ads after your first 50 sales.

How to set up your first Tiktok Ad campaign? Here are some steps to get started:

Step 1: Campaign Set Up

Log in to TikTok Ads Manager > Navigate and click on the Campaign tab > Click Create > Select the Website Conversions Objective

Step 2: Ad Group Set Up

  • Pick your Pixel and the External Website option
  • Set the Optimization Event as “Add-to-Cart
  • Select “TikTok” for the “Select Placement” option
  • Choose your Targeting criteria (try starting with a broad audience!)
  • Allocate a minimum of $30 for your daily budget
  • Pick “Conversion” as your Optimization Goal and “Lowest Cost” as your bidding goal.

Step 3: Ad Set Up

  • Choose an identity to run Spark Ads with your account
  • Pick the organic post that you want to use for your ad
  • Select a Dynamic Call to Action that suits your goal, such as ‘Shop now’, ‘Get started’, etc.
  • For each ad group, go for 3-5 TikTok videos
  • Launch your first ad campaign and see the results!

2. Working with TikTok KOLs/KOCs

Collaborating with influencers is a potent strategy for TikTok dropshippers. Leveraging the reach and credibility of influencers can significantly enhance your brand visibility and drive increased sales.

The typical influencer collaboration involves providing a product to the influencer and requesting them to create a video review or promotional content around it. Many influencers expect compensation for promoting your business. So, you must weigh the potential return on investment against the cost of influencer marketing.

✅ Pros:

  • Expanded Reach: Partnering with an influencer who boasts substantial followers can significantly increase the number of people exposed to your products. The heightened visibility can translate into higher sales figures.

❌ Cons:

  • Time-Consuming: Identifying the right KOLs/KOCs for your products takes a lot of manpower. You must research and evaluate potential influencers to ensure they align with your brand values and target audience.
  • Potential Costs: Influencers often expect compensation for their promotional efforts, which can be a significant expense, especially when collaborating with high-profile influencers. It is challenging to balance the cost of influencer marketing against the expected returns.
  • Negotiations: Negotiating terms and agreements with influencers, including fees and content expectations, is a sophisticated skill. Also, it may require substantial effort to reach mutually beneficial arrangements.

3. In-Content Marketing

In-content marketing is a solution for those with a humble budget as you harness the power of your content to market your products organically. You can create various types of content that align with your products, such as step-by-step tutorial videos, product demonstration videos, or mini-review videos.

✅ Pros:

  • Cost-Effective: In-content marketing on TikTok does not require a significant financial investment. It will be an excellent option if you want to spend less money on advertising and love creating video content.
  • Creative Control: You have complete creative control over the content you produce to precisely align with your brand’s identity and messaging.

❌ Cons:

  • Time-Intensive: While paid advertising or influencer partnerships can generate quicker results, the organic growth of your audience may be slower. Building an audience and gaining traction on TikTok through organic content will take much time and effort.

Conclusion

TikTok dropshipping is an exciting frontier in e-commerce, offering a unique chance to reach a global audience. It’s all about creativity, adaptability, and understanding of the ever-changing platform. And guess what? TikTok’s star is still on the rise. So, if you’re ready to rock the e-commerce world, now’s the time to grab your chance!

A word to the wise: TikTok trends? They’re like shooting stars – here one moment, gone the next. So, stay sharp, stay trendy, and happy selling!

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