Lots of people are making heaps of cash with TikTok dropshipping. And we mean heaps.
There are tons of success stories all over YouTube and dropshipping forums showing how newbies have gone viral and succeeded with dropshipping on TikTok literally overnight.
If you want to launch a new store and start making money with dropshipping, it’s honestly never been easier.
Want all the details of how TikTok is helping eCommerce entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level? You’ll definitely want to read on.
In this guide, we’ll reveal the exact step-by-step process you can use to start a TikTok dropshipping business…
…all without having to create cringy lip-synch videos or awkwardly show off your dance moves.
You’ll learn how to discover trending products, create organic content, and scale sales with paid ads.
Ready to get started?
Let’s dive in.
What is TikTok, and how is it used?
Before we get to the step-by-step guide, here’s a quick TikTok explainer if you’ve never used the app.
TikTok is a social media platform that allows users to watch, create, and share short videos.
After launching the app, users are met with a full-screen vertical video on their ‘For You’ page. You can browse new content by swiping up on your phone.
One of the primary reasons the app has exploded in popularity is its powerful algorithm. TikTok does a great job of finding videos that users will find interesting and engaging.
The app became popular for lip-syncing and dance videos. But you’ll find videos on every topic, from comedy skits and movie clips to makeup tutorials and DIY hacks.
So there are plenty of lucrative dropshipping niches you can tap into.
Need some help choosing a niche? Check out our guide on How To Choose a Profitable Dropshipping Niche According to Six-Figure Dropshippers.
Like Snapchat and Instagram, TikTok provides a catalog of filters, effects, and sounds to help users create engaging videos.
For eCommerce stores, TikTok offers an excellent opportunity to reach and engage audiences. You can create organic content, use paid ads, host live streams, and leverage TikTok influencers to connect with your ideal customers and generate sales.
TikTok is also a powerful product research tool. You can find trending products to sell in your store and promote them on TikTok and other platforms.
Pros and cons of TikTok
So, you’re probably thinking that TikTok sounds like the perfect platform for dropshipping.
But like all platforms, there are also some aspects that mean TikTok is not the best option for everyone.
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons to determine if TikTok dropshipping is worth it for you.
Pros of TikTok dropshipping
Huge user base
TikTok has a massive, growing user base. As of 2023, the platform has a user base of over 1.53 billion.
With so many people using the platform, it’s guaranteed that your ideal potential customers are on TikTok.
Diverse audience demographics
Most TikTok users are Gen Z, but the platform has grown in popularity among older demographics.
As of September 2021, 31.3% of US TikTok users were aged 40+:
Even if your target audience is older, you’ll still be able to reach them on TikTok. There are a bunch of examples of brands targeting older users on the platform.
High engagement rates
TikTok has the highest average engagement rate of all social media platforms. According to recent studies, engagement on TikTok is 15% higher than other leading platforms.
That’s great news for brands, creators, and dropshippers looking to reach audiences and drive traffic.
Cons of TikTok dropshipping
High advertising costs
You can go viral and attract followers organically, but investing in paid ads can help you take sales to another level.
The downside is that TikTok Ads are typically more expensive than other platforms. For example, TikTok requires a minimum spend of $500 per campaign with a minimum daily budget of $50.
If your business model is based on a high turnover of low-margin products, you might struggle to generate a good return on investment (ROI) with TikTok advertising.
You don’t need expensive equipment or a professional studio to create video content for TikTok. The barrier to entry is low, which means even beginner eCommerce store owners can take advantage of the platform.
But that does mean the competition is also high. So even if you invest in paid ads, you’ll need to create something eye-catching and engaging to stand out on users’ ‘For You’ page.
How to use TikTok to find winning products
TikTok can be a game-changer for product research.
If you can find a trending product that people are buying, you can make a lot of money selling it in your eCommerce store.
In this section of our TikTok dropshipping guide, we’ll reveal the four steps you can take to find winning products.
Before you even open the TikTok app, you first need to know what you are looking for.
So what are the characteristics of a winning product?
Well, the criteria for a good dropshipping product on TikTok is a little different from other platforms.
In his video guide, YouTuber Kamil Sattar revealed the criteria he used to choose products that generated $100,000 in 30 days dropshipping on TikTok.
One of the most important things Kamil looked for was a ‘wow factor.’ The product needs to be unique and eye-catching so people stop scrolling and watch the video to learn more about the product.
You want users to have an immediate reaction.
In terms of cost, the product should be priced above $20 and less than $100. This is typically the sweet spot for dropshipping products.
Lower than $20, your margins will be too low to invest much in advertising and content creation.
If the product sells for $100+, you’ll need strong branding and a memorable, unique selling point (USP). That can be challenging if you’re new to dropshipping.
Products that solve specific day-to-day problems are also easier to sell. If you can prove a product can make people’s lives easier in a short video, you’ll make sales with TikTok.
The last criteria is a good profit margin. Ideally, you should be able to add a 30%+ margin to the products you sell.
For example, if you find a carpet cleaner tool for $30, you should be able to sell it for $45 to consider it as a viable product.
If you’re looking for reliable dropshipping suppliers, check out SaleHoo Dropship. It makes it easy to find legitimate sellers on AliExpress and avoid scammers.
You’ll also be able to access products handpicked by our eCommerce experts and import them to your Shopify in a few simple clicks.
TikTok creators use hashtags to increase the reach of their videos, while viewers use hashtags to find new content.
You can use hashtags to find trending products.
The key is to search for hashtags used by consumers posting videos about the products they have bought.
One of the best ways to do this is to focus on specific platforms mentioned in the hashtag. For example, you can search for #TikTokmademebuyit, #Amazonhaul, #AliExpressmust-haves, etc…
You can also focus on a specific niche or product category. For example, you can search for hashtags like #campinghacks, #kitcheninspo, #homedecor, etc…
Then, you can scroll through the results and look for recent trending videos with high views and engagement.
This is a TikTok product research tactic that many people overlook.
You can find trending products by looking at which ads are performing well on the platform using the TikTok Creative Center.
The TikTok Creative Center is similar to the Facebook Ads library. You can see the ads in specific regions and categories. It also allows you to filter ads according to campaign objective, date, clickthrough rate (CTR), engagement, and more.
This is super helpful for guiding your content and ad creation. But it can also help you find winning products on the platform.
You can narrow in on ads in your niche and see which products advertisers are pushing on TikTok.
If advertisers are spending money on promoting the product and it gets a good reaction from users, it could be a product you should consider selling.
Once you’ve found a possible winning product, you need to verify if there is actual buyer demand. You need evidence that people are actually interested in buying the product.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to read users’ comments on the video.
You need to make sure the comments are from genuine users, but this is an effective way to quickly judge how people feel about the product.
Some product videos get high engagement and lots of views. However, if you investigate the comments section, you’ll find many people are not interested in making a purchase.
In the example above, you can see comments like ‘I need this’ and ‘I love this.’ If the accounts are genuine, that signifies real buyer demand.
If you want to learn more about the characteristics of a winning dropshipping product, check out the resources below:
- 30 of the Best Low Cost, High-Profit Products
- 50 Best Dropshipping Products That Will Make Money in 2023
How to use TikTok to sell your products
TikTok is a powerful tool for product research. But you can also use the platform to enhance your marketing efforts and sell products.
In this section of the guide, we’ll break down how you can use TikTok to sell products with organic content and paid ads.
Looking to scale your business and expand beyond eBay?
Discover the best places to sell online in our Top 26 eBay Alternatives list.
Organic TikTok dropshipping
The first step is to download the app and create a TikTok account.
If you already have a personal TikTok account, you should create a second account just for your business. This will help find more relevant product videos by ‘teaching’ the algorithm about the videos you want to see.
It’s also super-easy to switch between accounts on the app.
You’ll need to choose a username for your account. If you already have a Shopify store or eCommerce brand, try to use the same handles across social media to make it easy for users to find you.
TikTok lets you link your Instagram and YouTube accounts if you have a following on those platforms.
TikTok will create a personal account by default. But you can switch to a business account for free on the TikTok website.
This is well worth doing as it will allow you access to features like analytics and paid ads that can help you to grow your dropshipping business on TikTok.
If you have an eCommerce store, you’ll also be able to include the URL of your website in your profile.
Once you’ve finished setting up your account, it’s time to start creating content.
Before you pick up your smartphone and start making videos, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the types of content that perform well on the platform. You can also use the TikTok Creative Centre to get a feel for the types of product videos that resonate with users.
Most successful branded videos aren’t too salesy.
The goal is to create content that drives users to take action and check out your product, but great TikTok videos aren’t like traditional video ads.
Keep the tone light-hearted, and try to create something funny, educational, or informative that will catch the eye of your target audience.
You can also search for hashtags related to your niche to see the types of content that brands are creating.
Try to create something similar with your branding and a strong call to action (CTA).
It’s important to note that TikTok videos don’t have to be professionally shot works of art. There’s no need to be a perfectionist.
As long as the ‘idea’ for the content is good, you can go viral with a ‘basic’ TikTok video.
The first two seconds of your video are the most important. Users will decide to watch or keep scrolling based on your opening. Try to grab users’ attention right from the get-go.
The timing of your posts is also important. If you post when your audience is most active, you can gain a quick boost in views that helps your content gain traction with the algorithm.
You can find out more about posting times in our Best Times to Post on Social Media guide.
TikTok also allows you to create live streams and hashtags. Once you’ve built up a small following, consider going live with a product giveaway or crash sale.
You can also create challenges for users to participate in and use a branded hashtag to increase your reach. For example, Guess’ #InMyDenim challenge encouraged users to show off their denim fits. It generated 5,500+ user-generated videos and 10 million views over the campaign.
Consistency is key to growing your audience on TikTok and reaching more potential customers.
Because of a leaked internal document published in the New York Times, we know that TikTok rewards creators for consistent usage.
What does that mean for your dropshipping brand?
In simple terms, the more you post, the more the TikTok algorithm is likely to favor your account and display your videos to more users.
The social media platform even recommends posting 1-4 times daily to maximize exposure.
It’s also important to respond to comments on your videos and engage with your audience. The more people like and comment on your videos, the more the TikTok algorithm will push your new and older videos.
Once you start to post regularly, you’ll see that it’s much easier to grow your audience on TikTok than on other social media platforms.
TikTok isn’t the only way you can boost sales. Check out our list of 18 Dropshipping Marketing Tactics to learn how you can increase sales.
Paid TikTok dropshipping
The first step is to log in to your TikTok Business account and navigate to TikTok Ads Manager.
After you select “Standard Mode” or “Developer Mode,” you’ll be able to set up a “Web Event” and create a TikTok Pixel for your eCommerce store.
The TikTok Pixel is a small piece of code that tracks information about your website visitors. It works like the Facebook Ads Pixel and helps you track your ad campaign performance.
You’ll need to copy the Pixel and paste it into your website’s header. If you use Shopify to host your dropshipping store, you can also add the Pixel to your store by installing the TikTok app from the Shopify App Store and following the instructions.
You’re ready to create your first campaign.
From the TikTok Ads Manager dashboard, click “Campaigns” followed by the “Create” button.
You’ll then be able to choose a campaign objective.
For most dropshipping businesses, conversions will be the primary objective for ad campaigns.
Next, you’ll need to add a name and set the budget for your campaign.
There is an option of a campaign lifetime budget, but it’s generally best to choose a daily budget for new campaigns. That way, you’ll be able to adjust your budget based on daily performance data.
The next step is to create an ad group for your campaign. This is where you can set the target audience and placement of your ads.
First, you need to name the ad group and select “Website” as the promotion type. Then, choose your TikTok Pixel.
You also need to choose the placement of your ads. This is where your ads will be displayed to TikTok users.
If you’re launching your first campaign, you can use “Automatic placement” to reach as many potential customers as possible.
Once you’re more familiar with the ad platform and gather some performance data, you can manually place ads to maximize return on ad spend (ROAS).
TikTok also provides an “Automated Creative Optimization” feature. If you turn this on, TikTok will automatically test variations of your ads to increase engagement.
The next step is to set up audience targeting. You can choose the location, language, and age group to narrow in on the users most likely to engage with your TikTok ads and make a purchase.
TikTok also allows you to target people based on their interests and if they have previously engaged with your content.
The last step is to choose a delivery type for your ad group. TikTok offers two options: standard or accelerated delivery.
With standard delivery, TikTok will display your ads to users during high-traffic periods throughout the campaign duration. That means your ad budget will be spent evenly.
If you want to speed things up, you can choose accelerated delivery. This option lets TikTok spend your budget more quickly to reach your audience faster.
Once you’ve set up your ad group, it’s time to create your first TikTok ad.
You can upload a video or image to serve as the basic creative. TikTok provides a bunch of tools and filters to help you make sure your ad looks great.
If you need some inspiration, you can visit the TikTok Creative Center to see the best-performing ads on the platform.
Your image or video must meet TikTok’s ad spec requirements before it can be shown to users. So it’s a good idea to review the TikTok Ads specifications before you start work on your creative.
TikTok provides a live preview of your ad, so you see how it will appear to users.
You can also add a call to action (CTA) encouraging users to visit your store and make a purchase.
Once you’re happy with your ad, submit it for review, and it will soon be displayed to TikTok users.
Like any ad campaign, ongoing optimization is vital to maximizing ad spend and generating more sales.
After launching your TikTok ad campaign, you need to measure performance to see what’s working and what can be improved.
TikTok provides an analytics dashboard so you can see the performance of different ad groups with impressions, clicks, conversions, and other metrics. The platform also provides a testing feature so you can conduct your own experiments when it comes to ad creative and placements.
We’ve covered some intermediary and advanced tactics in this guide. If you’re a newbie just starting out, you should look at our guide, How to Start a Dropshipping Business in 7 Easy Steps.
You’ll learn all the basics before you use TikTok and other platforms to scale your business.
Making money with TikTok dropshipping in 2023
Whether you want to boost sales with a new marketing channel or build a new online business from scratch, you should consider TikTok dropshipping.
TikTok makes it easier than ever to find trending products and reach new customers. Once you’ve found a trending product, you can use the SaleHoo Directory and SaleHoo Dropship to find reliable suppliers and start making sales.
If you have questions about TikTok dropshipping or anything else eCommerce related, get in touch with our 24/7 live chat customer support.