[Finterest] How to earn on TikTok Shop, according to the app’s top vendors

Lance Spencer Yu

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

[Finterest] How to earn on TikTok Shop, according to the app’s top vendors

Nico Villarete/Rappler

How do you make your TikTok Shop successful? Nestlé Philippines, Josefina's Homemade Food, and a TikTok executive share their tips.

MANILA, Philippines – What do the world’s biggest food and beverage company and a small carinderia in Bicol have in common? They have both found massive success in TikTok Shop.

Nestlé Philippines is now among the biggest vendors on the platform, delivering over 200,000 orders to 100,000 buyers every month. And it did this quickly, too, with a strong 36% month-on-month growth.

Meanwhile, Josefina’s Homemade Food grew from being a small eatery in Bicol to selling up to 200 orders of ready-to-eat laing and ginataang products every day. (READ: How a Bicolano family sells hundreds of laing a day on TikTok Shop)

Since launching in 2021, TikTok Shop now has over 2 million sellers, with most being small, local businesses. And some categories, like fashion, grow more than double in gross merchandise value every year.

So how do they do it? Here are some tips from the experts.

Make content: videos, live selling

TikTok Shop is built into TikTok, one of the most popular social media platforms today. That means selling on TikTok gives you strong exposure to the app’s millions of daily active users – but only if you engage with them.

Nestlé Philippines has taken advantage of this using live selling sessions. Ariana Henares, head of e-commerce for Nestlé, said that the company has “daily interactive livestreams spanning up to 16 hours” on TikTok.

These livestreams are mixed into a user’s feed so that they appear every so often when scrolling through videos. An engaging live selling session could prompt a user to stay and listen, and they can even ask questions about the products being sold.

“Those have served as a direct channel for engaging with our viewers, addressing their inquiries, delivering real-time product information, ultimately building a stronger relationship with the the Gen MZ, the future generation,” Henares said during the TikTok Shop Summit on May 9.

This content quickly translates into sales – and its true for smaller vendors too. Abbie Ricohermoso, the owner of Josefina’s Homemade Food, told Rappler that their videos get them about 80 to 100 orders a day. And when they livestream, they can sell more than 200 bottles a day.

“When I do live streams, I always tell the customers, hindi namin kayo binibigyan ng assurance na lahat po kayo magugustuhan yung products namin (we don’t give you the assurance that all of you will like our products),” Ricohermoso told Rappler at the sidelines of the summit.

“What I do is I tell the story behind our products. I tell the story kung paano po namin siya niluluto, kung ano po yung hard work that we put in para maluto yung products namin kasi mano-mano po ito (of how we cook it, about the hard work that we put in to make our products because it’s all manual),” she added. “We are speaking with our customers through our live streaming.”

And when live selling for your business, this kind of mindset is exactly what you need, according to Jonah Ople, TikTok Shop’s category lead for fashion.

“Somebody out there is online and would like to watch,” Ople told Rappler at the sidelines of the summit. “It’s like an offline store. You have to be open for customers to come in. The only difference is now your customer base is the whole of TikTok. So that’s the opportunity there.”

Ople recommends keeping your live selling sessions running for as long as a store would normally be open, which could be around 12 hours.

Keep it simple

So how exactly do you make these videos? Do you need to buy the ring lights and fancy microphones that we see some content creators use in their home studios?

The TikTok executive says no, keep it simple.

“A lot of people are daunted by the content part because it’s the one that differentiates this platform from the others,” Ople told Rappler. “A lot of people try to spend a lot of their cost on making their live streams beautiful or getting a lot of expensive equipment, which is not really what we intend.”

Ople said that many successful sellers started with just their mobile phone. What’s important is for people to “just be themselves” and keep their content authentic.

“It’s important for everybody who wants to be successful here to learn what people want to watch, lean on what makes TikTok so popular, which is the videos that are fun and engaging and are authentic,” he said.

Ricohermoso also believes that her small business’s approach of keeping their videos “genuine” is what led to their success.

“We promote our products through live streaming, through content creation. We’re not content creators but through TikTok, we can create raw videos. And that’s what people want – very genuine, very authentic,” Ricohermoso told Rappler in a mix of English and Filipino.

Parang breath of fresh air nang makapanood ka ng isang genuine video na nagluluto talaga. And then hindi mo lang mapapanood, makakain mo rin siya, puwede kang umorder,” she added.

(It’s a breath of fresh air that you see a genuine video of someone actually cooking. And you don’t just watch it, but you can actually order and eat it too.)

But if your TikTok Shop doesn’t take off right away, be patient. Ricohermoso advised aspiring sellers to “be consistent” with their videos, even if their sales aren’t.

There are times really na hindi magiging consistent ng sales. Pag pumasok ka, hindi po expected na may sales agad. But you really have to keep going. If you know that you have a good product, if you trust your product and you are confident about the product, kahit ano pong mangyari, yan tuloy-tuloy lang,” she told Rappler.

(There are times when sales won’t be consistent. When you start, you can’t expect immediate sales. But you really have to keep going. If you know that you have a good product, if you trust your product and are confident about it, no matter what happens, just keep going.)

Pay attention to operations

While content creation is what gets the most exposure in TikTok, you shouldn’t neglect the background work that goes into running the business.

“Scaling means nothing if we can’t deliver top-notch service and an unforgettable shopping experience for our customers. As you grow, make sure your operations and logistics keep up with the pace,” Nestlé official Henares said.

This is especially important for the food and beverage giant, given that they scaled up their operations on TikTok quickly, growing 36% month-on-month. While Henares said that they achieved big gains through partnerships with affiliate and creator networks, that meant having to optimize operations too.

“Forecasting, stock covers, and green store metrics are the unsung heroes of a successful e-commerce business,” Henares added.

That might sound more like something a big multinational company would do, but small vendors can take similar actions as well. Ricohermoso said that when Josefina’s Homemade Food started out, it was only their family – including their parents who are in their seventies – doing the work. After gaining popularity on TikTok, she has since expanded their operations.

“Now, through TikTok shop, we are able to employ more people,” Ricohermoso told Rappler in a mix of English and Filipino. “We have people assigned to packing to make sure that we are able to ship orders efficiently. And then, we have an assistant in the kitchen helping my mother to cook since she is getting on in years.”

May mga tao na po kami na na-employ, and we are able to help the community kasi mga taga doon din po sa amin,” she said. “Ang pangarap ko ay hindi na lang po para sa akin, pero doon sa mga tao na kasama po namin. Gusto ko po na kasama ko po sila sa pag-angat.”

(We’ve employed some people already, and we are able to help the community since these people are from our place too. My dream is not just for myself, but for the people who are with us. I want them to rise along with me.) – Rappler.com

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.