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Discussing the implementation of the Shopify TikTok Shop Integration

Discussing the implementation of the Shopify TikTok Shop Integration

by john roman

6 months ago

Amer and I chat through the rollout of the 'new' TikTok Shop. Would be a whole lot easier if were just selling freeze dried skittles.

Transcript from video:

Amer: so exciting news for merchants TikTok is rolling out TikTok Shop where Merchants will be able to sing their products from various platforms including Shopify and sell their products directly on TikTok are you excited

John: yeah but it it didn't go quite as expected so off the Jump you know we we saw that this was being pushed the algorithm was treating these posts with with the TikTok Shop in it like they were gold same way the other platforms were treating short form content across the board last year so we wanted to jump on it immediately we were part of the initial TikTok Shop but it wasn't anything special but then they rolled out this new TikTok Shop with a Shopify integration and and we were like go 6 weeks later our our um product feed isn't fully fully in sync

Amer: and how many products

John: we don't have that many we have call it 600 SKUs right now we have um I believe 90 active on the TikTok Shop um now some of them are stuff we would never want to sell on TikTok stuff we can't advertise stuff that you know is a tool but might be considered a weapon medical products are not allowed like we do a bunch of first aid kits they are not allowed on TikTok Shop it's in policy so it's a bunch of stuff that we weren't even trying to um sell on there we just didn't have a choice with the Shopify integration it's it's going to pull all of them and they have in theory this great thing that um as they come into the platform they're going to stop any prohibited items from making their way past so we knew that sounds sounds great so they're just they're going to do the work for us and stop everything from even being on the shop that shouldn't be on there and there wasn't a a a choice of picking specific products it was all or nothing so we did it still not complete and what we're seeing is you know every day a product or two comes through and TikToks uh filter is saying it's an approved product letting it come through goes live on the shop and then we're getting a warning and getting in trouble for these products that were approved by TikTok and then TikTok is going and saying these are not approved products so like right now we're we're like I think there's like a 12-point warning system we're like at the end of it of like we can't get any more warnings and we haven't even really started selling we did our first post our first TikToks this morning trying to officially start testing and selling after 6 weeks of just a nightmare so like little things like whoever whoever designed and built this TikTok shop this go around it it's I think it's perfect for the person that's you know a mom and pop side hustle selling freeze-dried Skittles right they they may or may not have a Shopify regardless you're talking about a very limited catalog you could also create the listing in TikTok and not have to syn anything right you're going to fill out of TikTok print the shipping label out which is not something we can do right we need to integrate it in the Shopify cuz then we need to integrate it in a ship station cuz then we need our warehouse fulfilling I'm not seeing an order and printing out a label and and and putting the product in so it was definitely built for the smaller Merchant brand in M which is fine but maybe it shouldn't have been rolled out like like larger and we're not even that large of a brand right medium size brand could jump in so taking a note from like Amazon and eBay with their Integrations TikTok views the purchaser as their own as as a TikTok customer not a BattlBox customer right so initially off the initial setup we finally figured it out where the information was flowing into Shopify an intern ship station we weren't getting their email address we weren't getting their full name even their address was xed out in Parts well you can't fulfill that way play around with the settings we were able to get the the name and the address information so we could fulfill at least but there is no world where you're getting that customer's email address so marketing to them and providing what's the usual BattlBox experience isn't even possible because we don't have their a form and a way to communicate with them so it has it hasn't been the the best experience right at all

Amer: yeah so with that I mean I so I guess my first question would be with the flags for the product that you guys are getting would that impact your advertising on TikTok would it impact your accounts in TikTok

John: possibly um so the last warning we got said the email that we received with with the warning says that they can limit certain parts of what we're able to do which could be advertising um ability to participate in campaigns that TikTok is running it can be quite problematic and a lot of the the things that were the advantageous things we wanted to jump on are could be taken off the table so it's a little scary uh we had a great idea of a product we were going to do and it's super safe super PG-13 but now we're not even going to do it because we're nervous that you know TikTok police which seems to look the other way and then turn after they've allowed you to come there with it we don't want to get in trouble

Amer: do you know if they did the roll out all at the same time for everyone or did they only do like a beta version of the roll out and the certain brands

John: I mean there might have been a alpha or a beta but we weren't we weren't privy to it um we we had the original TikTok shop which was which has been out for a while but we we joined in you know 6 weeks ago when it was officially rolled out announced Shopify made an announcement too like it was a big deal and um at that point is when you started seeing um the algorithm on TikTok really really really treat TikToks with shop products connected to it differently

Amer: it just boggles my mind 600 products 6 weeks laters and still not s completely

John: yeah it's just a and it's a it's a known problem they're just not from from what I've heard it's a smaller team that they have um working on this which is surprising given given the importance of it you know maybe maybe the beta or the alpha wasn't done long enough or maybe they didn't grab the right type of merchant for it you know obviously TikTok wants to provide a good experience for for both their users and the merchant but yeah I think some balls were dropped

Amer: and what did they take do they take like I think it was 5%

John: so I'm looking at an order um the order was 1622 and the only fees I'm seeing and unless they're just not putting it together is sales tax so I see

Amer: they credited you on that sale though anyway

John: yeah so it's a little bit funky to even know because to that point they're subsidizing this a lot so the first couple sales we saw there was a discrepancy where we were like okay the customer this was a $30 item plus shipping and the customer paid $15 plus free shipping we don't want to sell it for $15 free shipping but then we looked and TikTok was subsidizing us for the full amount we got $36 from it which was which was interesting they're just trying to um trying to push the popularity of it right so any TikTok user on the low end if they see it shop item and they haven't made a shop purchase they can get 30% off their first shop purchase which is substantial considering they're making that available to all us users who haven't made a purchase on there

Amer: I'm I'm reading here it says um referral fees a specific percentage of the total order amount TikTok shop is currently in the early testing stage in the US and the commission rate will be further updated in due course but they don't specify what if Fee

John: maybe they're not even taking commissions now they're trying to you know grow it make people dependent on it and then come up with a fee structure which you know the fee structure if I'm I would be shocked if it if it's as low as 5% right they're probably going to go industry averages eBays Amazon fulfilled by seller and be in the 15% range

Amer: and it could be like Amazon because I think Amazon takes different percentages from different categories I believe

John: right so so does eBay

Amer: yeah yeah so does eBay yeah so it could be yeah it could be base on that too but even if it's like a small team I mean you're rolling this out let's say they what did they roll it out a month and a half two months ago yeah three Black Friday you would think you would make sure this works right because at the end of the day it is going to impact your revenue and given their reach especially for that younger generation uh and the connections with the brand it's just a huge missed opportunity for them but also for brands that could monetize uh a lot more the one part to and I I get why Amazon does it why TikTok does it is the protection of the email and not being able to own the email I just never understand why don't they like for example I know um eBay and Amazon have done this why don't they like anonymize an email and create some type of a connection where you can at least remarket to those people within TikTok and at least you can have the control of the audience that way opposed to you know hope for the best

John: so so what interesting so Amazon um there's a new dashboard we saw uh Curtis was showing me yesterday and part of it was um an advertising marketing piece towards your audience on there so I I would think that you know what you're what you're speaking to is is probably in the works right there's there's going to be a way for you to remarket retarget at a cost to twoe base

Amer: I I bought uh from my dad for example the other day solo stove um it did on Amazon cuz it was faster shipping and and there was actually an ER on their website by the way and I gave up and I went to Amazon and I think they shop by too um shame on them need to fix that and I gave up and I went to Amazon and solo stove which I didn't know has a ton of cool accessories so if I buy on Amazon unless say I only get the main piece why would they not allow solo stove in this uh example or you uh from a battle box to started upselling accessories and pay for me to pay Amazon to upsell just like a such an easy Revenue model that I think all these platforms are missing out on

John: no I think I think you're spot on but I mean I I still have hope like I still have hope for TikTok shop right I think it is a great opportunity we're we're seeing yes the US is is definitely behind where everybody predicted they would be when it comes to live and video shopping you know we constantly compare to China and how big big it is in China and you know you know that the US traditionally with stuff like this is you know 3 years behind China a year behind Europe but um you know we're still not seeing the the growth that was expected to be only that far behind and you know TikTok is obviously subsidizing putting a lot of money behind this so I think they're just trying to bridge the curve and create the behavior faster I think they're on to something with certainty

Amer: well so as you were talking I start thinking about all of these uh different shops that we had over over the year so we had Facebook shops which really failed like I don't know one Merchant that can say like Facebook shop changed the face of my business

John: and they were throwing money at it

Amer: yeah

John: throwing money at it they they offered us um $25,000 free advertise up to 25k um in this I think it was a 3-week window specifically to the Facebook shop and we'll we'll cover 100% of it which is wild

Amer: so but then you had Instagram shop that really I mean I think it was better than Facebook shop but still nothing I think now have these problems with TikTok but what's interesting is when Facebook along their Marketplace for peer to peer selling that just took off so I think for the Western audience or the American and Canadian audience at least I can speak to I don't know if inapp shopping is something that we enjoy and I think the the thing that gravitates people a lot I think towards Amazon and eBay are buyer protections and I think until TikTok and Facebook and all these other platforms could figure out one buyer protections I think that's a big one you feel comfortable because something goes wrong you hit off Amazon and they got your back

John: right

Amer: but the second one is uh I think the shipping piece there is no uh and that's just when I say the shipping piece more The Experience piece what you've touched upon because whoever buys on TikTok just like you as a brand is prevented from having a direct relationship with you as a brand and the my account the order history all of that some of these things that we value get taken away from the end consumer and then what and and I think that just creates challenges for consumers and for the brands how do we manage these relationships going forward with one another

John: right

Amer: what I buy what I reorder what are the updates that are going to be coming from BattlBox if you can communicate that to them they have to manually come to your website or remember your website to say hey is there another cool product that BattlBox might be sending that I'm not aware of

John: yeah it's it's definitely a problem and it's not all of these platforms are being very protective in trying to own these customers but they can't deliver the experience nor are they even thinking about it the same way as the actual brands