What to expect from TikTok Shop when it arrives in Ireland

Richard Lawton11th June 2024 - Richard Lawton

What to expect from TikTok Shop when it arrives in Ireland

When it comes to reaching Irish users of all ages, TikTok has established itself as one of the top social media platforms for Irish businesses to take advantage of. Despite the recent challenges it’s facing in the US, TikTok continues to be a favourite among Irish content creators. It offers a low friction shopping experience through its TikTok Shop feature, though not yet released in Ireland and the rest of the EU. When exactly TikTok Shop will arrive to Ireland is still unknown, but merchants in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain are currently being invited to Beta test this month.

The industry expectation is a launch of TikTok Shop this summer 2024 in these continental EU countries. Ireland can’t be far behind, smart Irish ecommerce businesses should understand it’s potential and be ready to take advantage.

An Imagined physical TikTok Shop in Ireland

TikTok Shop

While TikTok has always been known for its entertaining short videos, the platform has expanded its capabilities to include social e-commerce in the form of TikTok Shop. It’s a relatively new feature released in the US and UK in September 2023 that allows users to discover and purchase products directly within the app, similar to Facebook or Instagram Shops (its primary competitor).

In 2023, it’s estimated that 2.8 million consumers made a purchase through TikTok in the UK. TikTok Shop is a marketplace just like Amazon or Ebay. Products are sold by 3rd party sellers while TikTok charges 5% commission for accessing their large and very engaged user audiences.

A diverse group of people, including different ages and genders, happily using TikTok Shop in Ireland

Benefits for Consumers

For consumers, TikTok Shop offers convenience. Users enjoy a personalised shopping experience tailored to their interests, relevant products and current trends across the TikTok community. They can discover, browse and purchase products without leaving the app.

This creates a seamless shopping experience, as users can easily transition from watching content to making a purchase with just a few taps.

Live TikTok shopping events allow users to see products in action, ask questions in real-time, and receive immediate responses, creating an interactive shopping experience. The integration of influencers and real-time reviews adds a layer of perceived trust and authenticity, helping consumers make informed purchasing decisions.

Influencers are of course paid to promote products to their audiences so their advice should be taken with a pinch of salt depending on their reputation.

A smartphone displaying the TikTok app interface with a focus on the TikTok Shop section. The screen shows various products available for purchase in Ireland

Opportunities for Businesses

TikTok was the top grossing app of 2023, generating $2.7 billion in revenues. Irish businesses that engage with a well planned and executed TikTok strategy stand to gain significantly from TikTok Shop. This new ecommerce sales channel will provide an opportunity to not just reach a younger target audience but Irish demographics of all ages and also highly engaged users at that.

TikTok is a really strong platform for product discovery as users are introduced to new products through the video content they consume and influencers they engage with. Successful brands on TikTok use a mix of content showcasing their products through both influencers and Ads.

By blending entertainment and shopping, TikTok taps into the evolving trend in online consumer behaviour. Today’s shoppers, especially younger generations, are seeking more interactive and social purchasing experiences. This seamless blend of content and commerce makes TikTok a compelling marketing channel for businesses of all sizes.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can particularly benefit from this product discovery channel, as TikTok Shop levels the playing field, allowing them to compete with larger brands. By integrating TikTok Shop into their existing e-commerce strategies, businesses can enhance their marketing efforts and drive sales.

As a marketing channel, we tend to see lower cost metrics for our clients than other established channels like Google Ads and Meta’s social media platforms. Early mover advantage still exists on TikTok.

With less competition for ad space and user attention, businesses can benefit from lower costs per click (CPC) and lower costs per acquisition (CPA). This presents the opportunity for businesses to maximise their ROI in media spend and reach a highly engaged audience.

TikTok Shop is not just beneficial for businesses, but also for influencers and content creators. They will have the opportunity to collaborate with brands and promote products to their followers, often earning commissions on the sales they generate. This creates a new stream of revenue for these creators and further enhances the influencer marketing landscape on TikTok.

How TikTok Shop Works

Using TikTok Shop is straightforward. For consumers, the shopping process is as simple as watching a video, clicking on a product link, and completing the purchase within the app.

To make the shopping experience even more interactive and engaging for users, TikTok introduced “Shopping Ads“. These ads appear in users’ feeds and allow businesses to showcase their products or services through short videos, product catalogue listings or even ‘Live’ shopping Ads designed to engage users for live events but also drive product sales. Users can then click on the ad to learn more or make a purchase directly through TikTok Shop in the app.

Having TikTok Shop is not a requirement to use these but it does make the user journey more frictionless.

For businesses, setting up a shop involves creating a TikTok business account, listing products, and leveraging TikTok’s advertising tools to reach potential customers. Naturally TikTok is optimised for and requires video content, though images are allowed in Ads. Their creative tools are second to none though and make the creation of engaging video content relatively easy.

Content for TikTok should be made for TikTok first. Users engage with authentic content first so you really don’t need to invest in strong production values as users to engage with more raw and real content rather than highly polished.

TikTok announced the introduction of two new features for marketers and brands on the 22nd May 2024 to make it even easier to create content that will resonate with your audience: TikTok One and TikTok Symphony. In their own words:

“TikTok One: A centralised destination for marketers to access our creative tools. Brands will be able to tap into this one-stop-shop to access TikTok creators, production partners, and insights, including TikTok Creator Marketplace and TikTok Creative Challenge. With TikTok One, advertisers will be able to access nearly 2 million creators, discover top agency partners and leverage our creative tools to implement and scale successful TikTok campaigns — all with a single log-in.”

“TikTok Symphony: Our new Creative AI suite that blends human imagination with AI-powered efficiency to help marketers scale content development, creativity, and productivity on TikTok. With Symphony, everything from writing a script to producing a video and optimising assets is simple and efficient — fuelling real results with a new paradigm of creativity. We are supercharging productivity to help brands create at scale. We are building for the future of creative and are inviting brands to come test and learn with us as we look to simplify and empower creative that breaks through.”

A map of Ireland with arrows and icons representing economic growth, e-commerce, and increased consumer engagement with TikTok Shop

TikTok Shop’s Likely Impact on the Irish Market

TikTok is already a great marketing channel for businesses to engage to drive both ecommerce sales and lead generation without TikTok Shop. The arrival of TikTok Shop in Ireland will serve to make the commerce experience even smoother as users won’t need to leave the app to make purchases. That should increase conversion rates.

As more people turn to TikTok for entertainment and shopping, Irish businesses can tap into this trend to boost their sales. The impact for businesses that have a coherent TikTok strategy and TikTok Shop could be substantial. By examining other markets where TikTok Shop is already available, we can anticipate similar trends in Ireland.

According to a survey taken of 1,000 people by the Retail Technology Show in London, TikTok is outshining the 2 well established and powerful marketing channels of Facebook and Instagram. Their data showed UK consumers making an average of 10 purchases per year through TikTok while making 9 through Facebook and Instagram.

Adobe Digital Economy Index data from the UK, based on 2023 Adobe Analytics data reveals surge in e-commerce traffic driven by TikTok content, experiencing a growth of 378% since the beginning of 2022.

“While TikTok’s overall visits share is relatively small (less than 5%), it is growing at an impressive rate with 164% year-over-year growth in May. In contrast, Instagram’s share of traffic was down 2% year-over-year and Facebook was down 18%, suggesting a growing capacity for TikTok to influence e-commerce sales.”

An illustration of a person juggling different TikTok elements like privacy shields, video production tools, and regulatory documents

Challenges & Considerations

While TikTok Shop presents numerous opportunities, there are also challenges to consider. As always, privacy and data security are paramount, as the platform will handle sensitive consumer information. EU & Irish regulations will play a crucial role in shaping how the platform operates locally.

Creating a TikTok strategy can be challenging for businesses, especially those who are not used to creating video content. Video production requires more resources, time, and skills compared to producing images or text-based content. It can be overwhelming to come up with creative ideas, engage with trends, and produce high-quality videos that are authentic and entertaining.

This is where using a TikTok Ads agency can relieve a lot of the pressure and deliver the desired marketing performance from the channel. TikTok makes it easier for businesses to create content for the platform with its wide range of content creation tools as mentioned above.

These tools include filters, effects, music, and editing features that can help businesses create engaging and visually appealing videos. TikTok also provides various templates and challenges that businesses can participate in to connect with their audience and stay relevant.

TikTok’s algorithm promotes user-generated content, meaning that businesses do not necessarily have to produce high-budget, professional videos to be successful on the platform.

In fact, higher production value videos often get less engagement on TikTok as authenticity and creativity are key. Businesses can leverage these qualities to create compelling content that resonates with their audience.

A futuristic scene showing augmented reality (AR) shopping experiences, with people using AR glasses to shop through TikTok in Ireland

Future Predictions

If TikTok repeats it logistics offering in the UK ‘Fulfilled By TikTok‘ (FBT) in Ireland, Irish ecommerce merchants would have access to a complete fulfillment service for customers buying through TikTok Shop. That would allow businesses to easily handle the increased sales coming from incorporating TikTok as a marketing channel without considerations for warehousing extra product or extra staffing to handle shipping products. For Irish consumers FBT would provide a premium next working day delivery experience and encourage them to make repeat purchases.

Looking even further ahead, TikTok Shop could see further technological integrations, such as augmented reality (AR) shopping experiences. The platform’s evolution will likely influence the broader retail and e-commerce landscape, pushing other platforms to innovate. Long-term, TikTok Shop could become a staple of the Irish shopping experience, blending entertainment with commerce seamlessly.

A celebratory scene with confetti and happy consumers and business owners, all using TikTok Shop on their devices

Conclusion

The arrival of TikTok Shop to Ireland will bring exciting advantages for businesses and consumers alike. With its immense popularity and dedicated user base, TikTok has already proven to be a powerful marketing platform, often with lower cost results for businesses than its competitor Ad platforms.

Businesses can expect to reach a younger, engaged audience through creative and authentic content. The platform’s user-generated content focus means that businesses don’t necessarily need high production value videos to be successful.

The potential introduction of logistical services like Fulfilled By TikTok (FBT) in Ireland would make it even easier for businesses to handle increased sales and provide a totally seamless shopping experience for consumers.

Whether you are a business looking to tap into a new audience or a consumer seeking a unique and entertaining shopping experience, TikTok Shop’s arrival in Ireland is definitely something to look forward to.

Need the help of our TikTok advertising specialists? Just reach out.

Richard Lawton
Richard Lawton

Richie bridges the gap that often exists between Sales and Marketing teams with a wealth of experience in both areas across many verticals including High Finance, Healthcare and many more. A strong advocate of making data driven marketing decisions, combining performance marketing with data analytics to deliver a clear ROI for clients.

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