TikTok Dropshipping: Ultimate Guide

May 3, 2024

TikTok dropshipping is selling your products from third-party suppliers on the TikTok platform. You act as a channel between suppliers and consumers. This model uses e-commerce platforms like Shopify or Amazon as online storefronts. You can source products from sites like AliExpress or eBay. The choice of products to sell can range from beauty products to gadgets and even home decor. TikTok dropshipping courses are also available on sites like Coursera to help you. 

As of 2022, 15% of product discoveries are made from TikTok. Hashtags like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has gone viral with over 60 billion views. With over 1.1 billion active users, you are given access to a large audience to market to. Famous dropshippers like Gary Vaynerchuk use TikTok to plan what products are popular to sell. With dropshipping, businesses usually have 10% to 30% profit margins. However, TikTok's algorithm for visibility and intense competition makes it a volatile business model. The competitors keep increasing while your audience size decreases.

In this TikTok dropshipping ultimate guide, we’ll discuss the steps to starting your own TikTok dropshipping business. We will also talk about the advantages and risks of this model, and if it's profitable. 

What is TikTok Dropshipping?

TikTok dropshipping is a microtrend of the dropshipping business model. It’s where you use TikTok to market items and promote sales. It is a low-cost startup because you don't have to spend money on your stock. According to DemandSage, there are 1.1 billion active users on TikTok. With the right marketing strategy, you can leverage TikTok ads to reach these people to sell your products.

1. Identify a Profitable TikTok Dropshipping Niche.

Identifying profitable niches is to find niches with high demand and low competition. You analyze trends, user interests, and market gaps to help boost your sales. Consider visually appealing niches because those do well on TikTok. It should also keep up with current trends. According to Insider Intelligence, 44.7% of TikTok users are Gen Z, so understanding their interests can help increase your sales.

Here are examples of profitable TikTok Dropshipping Niches:

  • Electronics - According to OneCommerce, electronics made up 19.15% of the market share of dropshipped goods in 2022.
  • Games - 48% of male Gen Z users are purchasing gaming-related products from TikTok.
  • Sustainable Products - 66% of global consumers prefer these products as a way to care for the world.
  • Fashion and Beauty Products - 89% of TikTok users are lining up to buy these products after seeing them from the app. Studies have also shown that 85% of TikTok shop sales have been made through this market. 
  • Home Decors - Home decor, especially vintage products, has reached 16 billion views on TikTok. 

2. Pick a Winning TikTok Dropshipping Product.

Picking a winning product is selecting a product with high profit margins. It should also appeal to your audience so they would want to buy it. You can start by promoting it through TikTok’s short video formats to catch people’s interest. You can also use TikTok's Creative Center to look for trending products and choose from them. Amazon offers features that look for the best products that are going viral. There are also spy software like PiPi ads or Simply Trends. 

Based on TikTok's Creative Center, here are the top five products for last month:

  • Cases and screen protectors - Cases are popular on TikTok because of the various designs available. 56 thousand ads are running to advertise this product, with a 100% conversion rate for its 2.41% clickthrough rate.
  • Perfume - Perfumes are the top-running promotion with 87 thousand ads. Ariana Grande's Cloud is one of the most popular scents on TikTok. Perfumes have an 8.11% conversion rate. 
  • Serums and essences - Serums and essences are popular among women. It has a 11.79% conversion rate with 57 thousand ads. 
  • Shampoo and conditioner - Videos that show smooth or silky hair have made people want to buy these products. It has 57 thousand ads.
  • Lipstick and lip gloss - Lipstick and lip gloss are also popular with women looking for specific types and variations. It has 47 thousand ads. 

3. Create Your TikTok Dropshipping Business Plan.

Creating a business plan involves creating the outline and strategy for your dropshipping business. Outline your business objectives, target audience, marketing strategies, and financial projections. Include a detailed plan for content creation, advertising, and influencer partnerships. Prepare a contingency plan to address potential challenges or changes in market trends.According to LLCBuddy, businesses with their business plan recorded a 92% growth in annual sales. They can expand 30% more quickly than those without set goals.

4. Find a Reliable TikTok Dropshipping Supplier.

Finding a reliable supplier is researching and identifying suppliers to provide high-quality products. They should ensure timely and reliable shipping. When choosing a supplier, consider the supplier's track record, shipping times, costs, and product range. You also have to know their experience with dropshipping. If you can have a strong relationship with your supplier, you can also re-negotiate better terms for your business. 84% of retailers say that finding a good supplier is the biggest obstacle to dropshipping.

Here are some suppliers for your TikTok dropshipping business:

  • AliExpress ships to 220 countries globally. They have over 100 million products. Their delivery service can take 7-15 days for premium services. Standard delivery can take 15 to 45 days.
  • Amazon provides you with trending products which can help you identify which to sell. Dropshippers make up 34% of Amazon sales.
  • eBay If you prefer buyer and seller protection, you can opt for eBay as your supplier. They help prevent cases of fraud and ensure that transactions proceed smoothly. eBay delivers to 190 countries globally. 

5. Choose Trusted Dropshipping Platforms.

Choosing a trusted dropshipping platform means selecting a reliable platform to integrate with TikTok. You should have tools for product management and order fulfillment. You should also have customer service and support to ensure good customer experience. The platform should be easy to use and provide customization to align with your brand. 

Here are some platforms TikTok can partner up with.

  • Shopify - You can sync your product catalogs from your Shopify store and create ads on TikTok. People can click on a tagged product within the video and be redirected to your Shopify store. It currently has a 25% market share on e-commerce platforms.
  • WooCommerce -  You can create customized storefronts and product pages on WooCommerce. It can also provide wish lists for your audience on TikTok. WooCommerce has a 27% market share. 
  • BigCommerce - BigCommerce is an open SaaS platform where you can craft appealing store designs. It has analytical tools and 3rd party payment options. TikTok users wouldn’t need to leave the app to access your store and browse products. There are 45,064 live stores on their platform. 

6. Set Up Your Own TikTok Shop Account.

Setting up your own TikTok Shop account is creating a dedicated business account on TikTok's Seller Center. If eligible, you can integrate your eCommerce store with TikTok Shop. This allows users to browse and purchase your products without leaving the app. This can enhance user experience and potentially boost your sales.

To set your own TikTok shop account, follow these steps:

Create a Shop.

Go to the TikTok Seller Center. Opt to become a seller by registering with your TikTok account or through a phone and email.

You'll be prompted to establish your shop's Warehouse/Pickup Address by selecting your country/region. Specify the street address. Then, enter the name of a contact person, input your postcode, and add your phone number.

Provide a return address for your shop. You have the option to designate your Warehouse/Pickup address as the return address by selecting 'Set as the return address.' You can also specify a different Return Warehouse Address. This option needs a contact person, postcode, and phone number for returns. To complete the setup, you must agree to the terms and conditions and then click 'Start Your Business'.

Verify Documents.

To verify your identity, you'll need to provide the necessary documents. Start on the TikTok Seller Center home page by clicking on "Verify Documents." Next, upload your documents. In the "Seller Information" section, choose your Business Type. This could either be a Corporation or an Individually-owned Business. Then, enter a Shop Name.

Individually owned business requirements:

  • Passport
  • National ID
  • Driver's License

Corporation requirements:

  • Government-issued identification document of the legal representative, company director, or person with significant control (PSC)
  • Business license, registration, or similar official documents

After uploading all required documents, click "Submit." Your account application will then be pending approval. You will be notified via email about the status of your application.

Bind Bank Account.

After the verification, you need to link a bank account to your shop. Go to the TikTok Seller Center home page and select "Link Bank Account." You will be prompted to enter your personal and bank details.

Individually owned Businesses must ensure that the Account Name matches the registered name. For Corporations, the Account Name should correspond with the company name. Once you've filled in all the necessary fields, proceed by clicking "Submit."

7. Integrate Your Dropshipping Platform With Your TikTok Account.

Integrating your dropshipping platform means linking your inventory between TikTok and your chosen dropshipping platform. This drives sales directly through the platform and facilitates a smooth shopping experience for your customers. Most eCommerce platforms offer tools or plugins designed for this purpose.

To integrate your dropshipping platform with TikTok, follow these steps:

  • Access the Integration Feature: Log in to your eCommerce platform (e.g., Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce). Then, navigate to the app or plugins section and search for the TikTok integration tool or plugin.
  • Install the TikTok Integration Plugin: Find the official TikTok plugin or a trusted third-party tool that facilitates integration. Install the plugin.
  • Connect Your TikTok Account: Open the installed TikTok plugin within your eCommerce platform's dashboard. Select the option to connect your TikTok account. You may be prompted to log in to your TikTok business account.
  • Configure Settings: Set up the synchronization settings according to your preferences. Configure how your products will be displayed on TikTok. Manage your inventory synchronization, and set up order processing workflows.
  • Synchronize Your Products: Use the plugin's interface to select which products you want to showcase on TikTok. Your chosen products will be available for selling directly through your TikTok Shop.
  • Test the Integration: After setting up, conduct a test to ensure that the integration is working correctly. Check if the product listings are appearing as expected on TikTok. Check if order information is syncing back to your eCommerce platform.

8. Develop a TikTok Content Strategy.

Developing a TikTok content strategy is about planning and creating a mobile-first content design that appeals to your target audience. Research trending challenges and sounds and find a way to integrate your product into it. This gives your content a higher chance of going viral. You can use tools like CapCut, Adobe Premiere Rush, and Canva  to edit and create your content.

Some examples of content strategy include:

  • Trend participation Stay up-to-date on TikTok through social listening for trend spotting. Adapt trending hashtags, challenges, and audio to fit your brand and products. 
  • Product Demos Use TikTok live for product demos to highlight benefits and ease of use. Product demos help viewers visualize your product's value and increase their interest in making a purchase. 
  • User-Generated Content (UGC) Encourage your customers to share their videos using your products. You can do hashtag challenges, duets and stitch features, and invite users to share their experiences. This generates authentic content which could attract new customers. James Charles generated 100 million views for Fenty Beauty by doing this.  
  • Engaging, Creative Videos Tap into TikTok's love for creativity by producing fun and engaging videos. This includes humor, storytelling, or challenges. For example, you can do a dance challenge while subtly showcasing your product. 
  • Educational Content Share tips, hacks, or how-to guides related to your products or niche. If you’re in the beauty sector, you can create makeup tutorials or skincare routines. According to a study, 62% of users prefer this type of content.

9. Leverage TikTok Ads.

Leveraging TikTok Ads means creating and personalizing ads to grow your business on TikTok. TikTok's advertising platform offers in-feed ads, brand takeover, hashtag challenges, and branded effects. In-feed ads appear on users' "For You" page. Hashtag challenges encourage content creation.  35% of TikTok users have participated in a hashtag challenge. With advanced targeting options, you can reach  customers based on their demographics and interests. According to studies, TikTok ads have seen an average of 300% increase in brand awareness. It has also resulted in a 200% increase in website traffic. 

To find the most effective strategy, it is best to try different ad formats.TikTok's analytics can provide you with performance metrics such as conversion rates to help refine ads. 

Ads rely heavily on your creativity and authenticity, so make sure it resonates with your audience. If you collaborate with influencers, you can have higher credibility for your brand and product.

10. Engage With Your Audience On TikTok.

Engaging with your audience on TikTok means building a community following around your brand. This creates more interaction and may lead to higher conversion rates. You can do this by replying to comments on your posts. You can thank them for their feedback and engage in friendly banter. Live sessions are also a way to interact with them in real-time as you show your products. You can also show them behind-the-scenes glimpses of your business. TikTok also has features to enhance engagements, like duets, stitches, and reactions. You can also use tools like Hootsuite, CopySmith, and Viralyft to help increase your engagement.

How Often Should I Post On TikTok dropshipping?

You should post 1-4 times per day on TikTok dropshipping. This helps you test how different types of content and products are received.

11. Partner With TikTok Influencers.

Partnering with TikTok influencers is having your product introduced by people with an established following. This will help expand the reach of your products. You should collaborate

with influencers whose audience aligns with your target market. Their content style should complement your brand's values and aesthetics. Let the influencer present your product in a way that resonates with their audience. According to a study, users helped micro-influencers reach 17.96% on average engagements. You can check Upfluence and Collabstr to find the best influencers to work with.

12. Monitor and Analyze Your TikTok Dropshipping Performance.

Monitoring and analyzing your TikTok dropshipping performance is gauging the effectiveness of your content, marketing campaigns, and sales performance. You can use TikTok Analytics, Google Analytics, and Shopify Analytics. Use these to measure the impact of your marketing efforts. This can also guide you in optimizing your sales strategy. Analytics also show your conversion rates and store traffic. By analyzing this data, you can identify trends. You can identify your reach and return on ad spend. This data helps assess the effectiveness of your paid marketing.

13. Scale Your TikTok Dropshipping Business.

Scaling your TikTok dropshipping business is expanding your operations once you validate your product-market fit. Once you establish a successful model, gradually expand your product line to complement your existing offers. Invest more in TikTok ads and influencer partnerships. With ads boosting brand engagement up to 300%, you can expect a better return on investment. Consider diversifying your marketing strategies to sustain growth and reduce risk. Try to explore other social media platforms, email marketing, and SEO to increase your traffic. Mobile checkout optimization also helps create a better customer experience.

Is TikTok Good For Dropshipping? 

Yes, TikTok is good for dropshipping because of its vast user base. According to DemandSage, there are 1.1 billion users on TikTok as of 2024. With its high engagement levels, TikTok also offers opportunities for organic reach. The app's focus on visual, short-form content is good for product demos and viral marketing with minimal advertising costs. TikTok’s algorithm promotes content based on engagement rather than follower count, which gives small businesses the chance to go viral.

Since 15% of product discoveries originate from TikTok, you can use it to dropship a variety of products and promote it through create content. You can participate in trending challenges, and collaborate with influencers. This can help you reach potential target customers who spend most of their time on TikTok.

Is TikTok Dropshipping Profitable?

Yes, TikTok dropshipping is profitable with some people making $54,000 monthly. It capitalizes on the platform's vast user engagement and unique content delivery to drive sales. However, this depends on the choice of products that resonate with the TikTok audience. You have to factor in market trends to leverage viral content. 

 According to KaloData, in the 445 TikTok shops with more than 200k followers:

  • 1 had a weekly revenue of $179k.
  • 8 had a weekly revenue between $50k to $100k
  • 38 had a weekly revenue between $10k to $50k
  • 32 had a weekly revenue between $5k to $10k
  • 120 had a weekly revenue between $1k to $5k
  • 157 had a weekly revenue between $100 to $1k
  • 89 had a weekly revenue below $100, the lowest being $4.1

3 Awesome Perks of TikTok Dropshipping

1. TikTok Has a Wide Audience Reach.

TikTok has a wide audience reach due to its user base with 1.51 billion active users according to DemandSage. It presents a unique opportunity to promote products to millions of potential customers. This is without the need for substantial advertising expenditure. According to Statista, 71.2 percent said they shopped when they stumbled across something in their feed. A survey by TikTok itself revealed that over 50% of users have discovered new products through the app.

2. TikTok Makes It Easy for Influencer Collaborations.

Influencer collaborations are about improving your product visibility through content creators. By partnering with influencers, you can tap into their audiences to promote your product. Their followers are very eager to try out products that are recommended by their trusted influencers. TikTok also supports collabs by providing tools and features to facilitate partnerships between brands and influencers. According to studies, 78% of TikTok users purchased a product after seeing it from content creators. 58.2% of users used these contents to get shopping inspiration.

3. TikTok Dropshipping Has Low Start-Up Costs.

TikTok's low startup costs are all about the need for a platform and a domain name. A TikTok shop does not need a physical inventory. A platform like Shopify offers plans for as low as $29 and a domain name goes for $10-$20. AliDropship also offers plans for $99. TikTok shops allow for organic growth and marketing. Advertising expenditures are mostly used for running TikTok ads which is around $10 per 1000 views.

3 Unseen Pitfalls of TikTok Dropshipping

1. TikTok Dropshipping is Reliant on Algorithms.

Algorithm reliance is a pitfall because of the emphasis on user engagement and relevance. This can make visibility highly unpredictable, especially for new or smaller creators. The algorithm prioritizes content that generates high engagement. According to TikTok, 49% of users seek new content every month. Creators must innovate their content with current trends to maintain visibility. This can be challenging due to the fast-paced nature of trend cycles on TikTok.

2.TikTok Dropshipping Has Quality and Fulfillment Risks.

Quality and fulfillment risks include lack of direct control over the inventory. Sellers rely on third-party suppliers, so there is risk for delays and low-quality products. Poor customer service by the supplier can also affect your brand's reputation. Given the viral nature of TikTok, issues can easily spread all over the platform. With sources located overseas, shipping can take a long time. Without direct oversight of the quality, the product delivered may have poor quality. According to a study by Baymard Institute, 69.82% of online shopping carts are abandoned. This is due to long and unpredictable shipping times.

3. TikTok Dropshipping is Prone to Fleeting Trends and Competition.

Fleeting trends and competition is a pitfall caused by the constant innovations of content creators. The intense competition to promote products creates a volatile market for dropshippers. This makes it difficult to stay in the trend to remain relevant and competitive. TikTok has 200,000 sellers as of 2023. With similar niches, sellers turn to price wars. They lower their prices to compete with other sellers of the same product. Niches like beauty products are one of the most competitive markets on the platform. It was responsible for 85% of the sales made on TikTok shops. You must be creative in differentiating your brand to stand out.

Is Local Lead Generation a Better Way to Create Passive Income than TikTok Dropshipping?

Local lead generation lets you create passive income with lower initial investment, minimal competition, and high returns on investment (ROI). It shifts away from the saturated market of TikTok dropshipping. With local lead gen, you can make money online without having to depend on trending products and social media.

TikTok dropshipping often requires spending on ads and influencer partnerships, which results in a significant initial investment. TikTok dropshipping also demands constant engagement with the platform's algorithm through content creation, trend monitoring, and customer service. It is time-consuming and requires ongoing effort to stay relevant. With dropshipping, the success rate is only at 10% with profit margins of 10% to 30%. 

With a local lead gen biz, you set up a website and use SEO tools to rank higher in search results. The cost of setting this up is much lower than the continuous advertising spend on TikTok. You can rank multiple local lead gen sites and rent it out to local businesses looking for customers. Local lead gen also taps into a less competitive market because few local businesses have fully optimized online yet. This is a ripe opportunity to choose a niche and provide value with less competition. If you want a business that can generate passive income with 80% to 90% profit margins, try local lead generation.

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