October 24, 2023
10 min

Making Sense of TikTok Shop: How Does It Work? (Beginner's Guide)

Curious about how the TikTok shop works? Dive into our comprehensive guide that simplifies the eCommerce platform, fueling your brand's digital growth.
Making Sense of TikTok Shop: How Does It Work? (Beginner's Guide)
Table of contents

TikTok, now one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, exemplifies the paradigm shift of viral video content. Taking it one step further, the app recently launched its e-commerce functionality through TikTok Shop. Now, the question is — how does TikTok Shop work?

As TikTok's influence continues to grow, understanding how TikTok Shop operates is crucial to your business and those seeking to harness its potential for online sales and marketing. 

In this article, we will highlight the fundamental aspects of TikTok Shop and how it differs from traditional eCommerce platforms. We'll also offer insights into using TikTok Shop and best practices to ensure buyers and sellers get the most out of their experience. 

Whether you're a TikTok enthusiast, an entrepreneur, or a brand looking to expand its digital footprint, this article is your roadmap to unlocking TikTok Shop.

Key Takeaways from this Post

TikTok Shop, launched in September 2023, integrates e-commerce within the app, allowing users to buy products directly from seller videos and accounts.
Not everyone has access due to regional limitations, account type, and age restrictions. Buying requires being 18+, having an updated app, and being in a supported region. Selling requires a business or creator account, a specific follower count, quality content, and compliance with TikTok policy.
Shopping on TikTok is versatile, with live shopping, shoppable videos, product showcases, shoppable ads, and a shopping centre tab. Success hinges on engaging content, leveraging trends, collaborating with influencers, running campaign ads, and interacting with viewers.
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What is TikTok Shop?

TikTok shop was officially launched in the United Kingdom and United States in September of 2023. Since the launch, many content creators and entrepreneurs like you have been curious about it. 

So, what is TikTok Shop?

In a nutshell, TikTok Shop is an in-app shopping platform where you can buy products directly through seller accounts and videos.

Representing a fusion of social media marketing and online shopping, integrating TikTok and e-commerce is advantageous for business owners. It is a revolutionary way to shop online that you can take advantage of to increase your brand visibility, showcase products, and increase revenue. 

Two smartphones placed on a soft, textured surface. One phone lies flat displaying the large TikTok logo. The second phone, slightly propped up, showcases the TikTok app interface.

Why Don't I Have TikTok Shop?

The availability of TikTok Shop is not universal, and there are several reasons why it might not be accessible. 

Some of the most common reasons why you don’t have a TikTok Shop are: 

  • Location: While the TikTok app may be available in your country, the TikTok Shop has not officially launched in all countries and regions. The shop is open in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. 
  • Account Eligibility: TikTok has limited users’ access to TikTok Shop to those who meet specific criteria. The most important is having a business account rather than a personal one. 
  • Age Restrictions: Like many social media platforms, TikTok has age restrictions. If you are under the minimum age (18 years old), you may need help accessing TikTok Shop.
| **Reasons for Not Having a TikTok Shop** | **Details** | |:---:|:---:| | Location | TikTok Shop is officially launched in specific countries and regions. Currently open in the US, UK, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. | | Account Eligibility | Access to TikTok Shop is limited to users who meet specific criteria. It is crucial to have a business account rather than a personal one. | | Age Restrictions | TikTok, like many social media platforms, has age restrictions. If you are under the minimum age (18 years old), accessing TikTok Shop may be restricted. |

While it’s unclear how quickly TikTok Shop will expand into other countries, it will likely evolve into an e-commerce giant and allow you to open a shop soon.

Can Anyone Buy From The TikTok Shop?

Yes, in most cases, anyone can buy from TikTok Shop, provided they meet the general criteria TikTok has set. 

The requirements you will need are: 

  • Meet the minimum age requirement (18 years and above)
  • Have the updated version of the TikTok application
  • Make sure the TikTok Shop is available in your country
  • You can use a valid payment method on your TikTok account

Can Anyone Sell on The TikTok Shop?

Unfortunately, not anyone can sell on TikTok Shop. Specific requirements and steps are involved if you want to be a seller. 

Here’s what you need to know about being a seller in TikTok Shop:

  • Business or Creator Account: To sell on TikTok Shop, you typically need a business or creator account. You can easily manage data and analytics with a business account, even more so after connecting your TikTok Shop to Xero with the help of Link My Books. 
  • Eligibility: TikTok Shop sellers must have a certain number of followers and demonstrate consistent, high-quality content before launching a TikTok shop.
  • Compliance: Sellers should adhere to the policies and guidelines of  TikTok, including selling quality products and safe sales and marketing practices. 

While becoming a TikTok Shop seller requires effort and dedication, it can still be an excellent opportunity for your business to reach new buyers.

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Where is the TikTok Shop? - How to Access the TikTok Shop

Accessing the TikTok Shop is pretty straightforward, but it is understandable for new users to ask ​​where it is on the app. 

Here’s how to access the TikTok Shop:

  1. Have the latest version of the TikTok App: To access the TikTok Shop, you must install the newest app on your mobile device. 
  1. Check your Account Type: TikTok Shop is accessible to personal and business accounts if you want to be a buyer. However, to be a seller, you must have a business account. 
  1. Navigate the TikTok Shop: Once you've confirmed the above, here’s how to find the TikTok shop: 
  • Open the TikTok app.
  • Look for the navigation bar on the bottom, and you should see the Discover or Shopping icon (it will look like a shopping bag or a storefront icon). 
  • Tap this icon to access TikTok Shop.
  1. Explore TikTok Shop: Now that you have access, you can explore different products from various shops.
A hand holding a smartphone displaying an Instagram profile with the name "Aaron Weiss"

How to Search on TikTok Shop

Learning to search on Tiktok Shop makes it easier for buyers to find items. 

Within the Shopping tab, at the bottom of the navigation bar, you will see a search bar that suggests product searches. Here, you can type in the product or item you seek. 

When you click on the search bar, you’ll see various shopping categories, such as women’s wear, accessories, bags, kitchenware, office, electronics, and more. 

From here, have fun and start shopping!

5 Ways to Shop Products in the TikTok App

TikTok Shop plays an integral part in the app’s mission to enter the e-commerce world, and they ensure that this integration is maximised with various features. 

If you’re curious about how to shop on TikTok Shop, below are the five ways:  

1) Live Shopping on TikTok

Live shopping has gained massive popularity on almost every online platform. On TikTok, sellers can host live streams to link products while promoting them in real-time. During these events, viewers can comment, interact with the host, and purchase directly from the live stream. 

2) Shoppable Videos

TikTok started the short-clip video trend, so introducing your products through videos is ideal. When creating a TikTok video, you can tag and link products that lead your viewers to your shop. Shoppable videos create a seamless shopping experience, especially with the integration of product details.

3) Product Showcase

As a business owner or a creator, you can easily dedicate your time to showcasing products on your TikTok shop profile. When buyers learn how to browse the TikTok shop, they can see the curated selection of products. Product showcasing makes it easier for users to browse and learn more about your brand’s offering. 

4) Shoppable Ads (Powered by Shopify)

Shoppable ads appear in users’ feeds, allowing them to view product details, add the item to their cart, and complete a purchase without leaving the app. Having Shopify as a partner to power the ads on TikTok enables businesses to create shoppable ads. 

5) Shopping Center Tab (Limited Markets)

Wondering how to search on a TikTok shop? The Shopping Center Tab on TikTok features a familiar interface where you can directly access a wide range of products, brands and categories. 

A close-up of a digital screen displaying app icons. The visible apps include FaceTime, WhatsApp, Messenger, and a prominently focused TikTok icon on a gradient red background.

TikTok Shopping Best Practices

TikTok shop only benefits your business if you maximise its features. If you are interested in creating a name on TikTok, there are certain practices that you should keep in mind. 

Here are a few of the best TikTok Shopping practices you can use for brand marketing: 

Leverage TikTok Trends

TikTok has long been known for its trend-setting and captivating content, even before integrating e-commerce into its app. Leveraging TikTok trends is one of the best practices you can do, whether you’re a seller or a buyer. Creating trending content gets you more visibility, helping you reach a broader audience. 

Create Engaging Content

On TikTok, the key to success is creating engaging content. You can capture your target market by creating content that aligns with popular trends and uses relevant hashtags and sounds. 

We recommend you keep your videos concise and punchy, use short-form captions and align your brand voice to your target market. Make the experience of discovering your products enjoyable and memorable for your audience. Moreover, be sure to add TikTok Shop links to videos.

Content Creator Collaboration  

Collaborating with TikTok influencers and content creators is another great practice to maximise your seller-shopper experience.

Collaborating with known personalities can significantly boost your reach and credibility. Influencer marketing is a powerful way to introduce your products to a new and engaged audience. 

Make sure to choose influencers whose content aligns with your brand since their authenticity and endorsement can enhance your reputation and inspire trust in potential buyers.

Run TikTok Campaign Ads

Just like in any other e-commerce platform, one of the most successful ways to introduce your product and business to people is through Campaign Ads. 

Fortunately, TikTok offers advertising options to help you reach a more extensive and targeted audience. Consider running TikTok campaign ads to promote your products. 

Interact with Viewers or Buyers

One of the newest ways to effectively market your shop on TikTok is to practice live shopping events. These events are a unique feature on TikTok where you can actively engage with your audience. 

Viewers can comment on questions, and you can answer them live and create a sense of community. In marketing, interaction builds trust, which can make a difference when creating a name for your business. 

Aside from all we’ve mentioned above, you can also integrate your TikTok Shop to Quickbooks with the help of Link My Books. Managing your accounts is the best way to increase revenue and ensure seamless accounting. 

A man in a studio setting, wearing headphones around his neck, intently looks at his smartphone.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions regarding the topic: 

Why is TikTok Shop so Cheap?

The pricing of products on TikTok shop can vary, but it's essential to remember that individual sellers and brands determine prices. 

While you may find competitive prices on TikTok shops, the affordability of products can be influenced by several factors, such as direct-to-consumer models, discounts, product origin, and varied product ranges. 

Can You Trust TikTok Shop?

Yes, you can trust TikTok Shop. However, like with any other online marketplace, practising safety measures and considering possible risks is essential—read reviews, check ratings, and verify accounts.

How Do I Share My TikTok Shop Link?

Sharing your TikTok link can help you promote your products, and you can do this by following a few steps. Navigate on your app and look for the storefront Icon where you can find the “Share” or “Copy Link” option. You can now choose your preferred sharing method and paste the link where you want to share it. 

Can You Return TikTok Shop Items?

Yes, according to TikTok’s policies, you can return TikTok shop items as long as they are within the scope of the app’s return policy. The conditions must be displayed on the product detail page to be visible to customers,  but depending on your location, seller policies and terms will vary. To learn more, visit our full guide on TikTok Shop returns, refunds, and cancellations.

A man wearing headphones and a galaxy-patterned shirt sits near a window, pouring hot beverage from a clear kettle into a white mug on a desk.

Who Manages Shipping on TikTok Shop?

Two available shipping options on TikTok Shop are Ship by Seller and Ship by TikTok. If you select that the seller ships your package, they will arrange it with their select couriers, either with a local or international courier. On the other hand, if you select Ship by TikTok, they will handle the entire shipping process when you choose this option. 

How Does Payment Work on TikTok Shop?

Payment on TikTok Shop is facilitated through the platform, where users can use various payment methods. You can use credit cards, debit cards or other online payment methods whenever you’re ready to purchase. After checkout, you’ll need to input your payment information, and after a successful transaction, you’ll receive a payment confirmation notification. 


In the ever-evolving landscape of e-commerce and social media, TikTok Shop has emerged by seamlessly integrating entertainment with shopping. 

As people learn how TikTok Shop works, it becomes more evident that the platform is more than just a place for sharing short-clip videos — it’s a dynamic marketplace where buyers and sellers meet. 

Getting to know what TikTok shop is and how it works shapes the future of digital commerce and business owners, even offering a way to easily manage accounts with the help of Link My Books.

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