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Tips to Market and Grow Your Shopify Store on TikTok

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Tips to Market and Grow Your Shopify Store on TikTok


The e-commerce and retail industry is constantly evolving, with new trends emerging every day. One of the most recent ones combines marketing directly with shopping, called social commerce. Total annual social commerce sales will reach over $50 billion by the end of 2023, data by eMarketer.

Which leads us to TikTok, a popular social media platform for posting short-form video clips and creative content. TikTok is launching new features and collaborations favorable for e-commerce brands wanting to promote their business through social shopping, live commerce, and influencer marketing.

The platform, launched initially as a social app, appeals to creators and viewers as well as e-commerce businesses worldwide. After all, promoting a wide variety of products through highly engaging content sounds like an excellent idea, doesn’t it?

TikTok investing heavily in marketing features

TikTok is investing heavily in its new marketing avenues. According to a report by the media outlet LatePost in China, TikTok’s marketing revenue was $4 billion in 2021, with a goal to nearly triple this to $12 billion revenue share by the end of 2022. What is more, TikTok nearly doubled its size in terms of its advertising and product teams in 2021.

With the increasing popularity of influencer marketing, social commerce, and live commerce, TikTok offers limitless opportunities to creative e-commerce marketers and shouldn’t be ignored in 2022 and going forward. Let’s have a brief look at what TikTok is, then dive into some tips and best practices for marketing your brand on the platform.

What is TikTok?

TikTok app, launched by ByteDance in China in 2016, is a social platform that allows posting short-form videos ranging from 15 seconds to 3 minutes, enabling easy video editing and adding filters and music.

The video-sharing social platform has been especially appealing to Gen-Z and Millennials. As of September 2021, nearly 50% of users were below 30 and fell into the 10-29 age range, according to Statista.

TikTok app is where e-commerce businesses, content creators, and influencers merge and come together to express their style, trends, share experiences, or promote brand awareness. That is a significant reason why, similarly to Instagram and Facebook, TikTok is starting to emphasize its e-commerce marketing features and activities.

While these features are similar to other major social platforms, several differentiating factors make TikTok marketing unique and have its advantages.

Unlike other apps and platforms, TikTok has a specific discovery algorithm that gives each clip an equal chance for virality, whether the brand or person is new to the platform or how popular the creator is. Of course, it does help to have already amassed a wide following or opt for paid campaigns, but it doesn’t only account for that; all users have a chance to go viral if their content is good.

TikTok and Shopify integration

In 2021, TikTok launched a Shopify integration that allows sellers on the Shopify e-commerce platform to sync their products directly with the TikTok Business account. It creates a separate “storefront” on TikTok and displays all product catalogs sold on the brand’s online store directly
to their online shop and allows a direct check-out without ever leaving the app.

They realized the potential of social commerce and the growing live commerce trend. TikTok is the perfect platform for that. TikTok and Shopify revealed their partnership in October 2021 and is currently available for the US, Canada, and UK merchants; it has announced that it will be launched in other countries soon.

Their e-commerce strategy partnership allows merchants to create and manage campaigns directly on TikTok business accounts. TikTok hopes to attract brands and new users with its new features and e-commerce capabilities.

TikTok generates revenue primarily through: advertising, in-app purchases, and e-commerce features and comes with four different ad types: in-feed ads, brand takeovers, top views, branded hashtags, and branded effects.  

TikTok e-commerce marketing tips

Even though the social media landscape is changing, with tweaks in algorithms, marketing campaign types, and rising costs, it is the place for brands and retailers to showcase their products, create more awareness, and increase sales.

What is more, brand storytelling is becoming increasingly important. Storytelling can have a tremendous and direct impact on the increase in sales and conversions. One survey found that 55% of consumers are more likely to buy if the brand has a story behind it. Social commerce is the perfect way to create and promote brand stories and directly engage with customers.

Even though TikTok has changed its algorithms over the years, one thing remains constant – TikTok is and will remain a go-to marketing platform for the years to come. TikTok is an excellent platform for brands to create trust and connect with their customers, increase loyalty, grow sales, and actively show their brand story through high-quality and engaging content.

So, how to market your e-commerce brand on TikTok? Here are some tips to incorporate to your TikTok marketing strategy::

1. Don’t sell, entertain

As the whole concept of TikTok is entertaining its users, keeping them engaged and on the platform as long as possible, brands and retailers should think about ways to engage the consumer rather than directly sell to them.

As an example, let’s take the sportswear brand GymShark. They regularly post entertaining content revolving around gym and training with a twist of humor on TikTok using relevant influencers in the sports community and encourage user-generated content (USG) through various hashtag challenges.

It isn’t about posting and pushing one paid ad. It is about creating the whole story around your brand so customers can follow your story. Having loyal fans on TikTok who love the store is a great way to build trust, loyalty, and engagement and grow sales simultaneously.

2. Be your authentic self

Even though TikTok’s algorithm isn’t only to favor the accounts and creators with the most followers but also great content, it is crucial to get it right. And to create good content, it is important to stay authentic on the platform.

With so much competition and noise, it is crucial to know how to relate to the audience to stand out. Content that comes across strongly like a sales pitch or is just another paid product ad won’t get you far.

For example, let’s take a look at an independent accessories label XXL Scrunchie from Canada, active on TikTok. They regularly post authentic content about their family production process, “how-to” videos, and general business day-to-day business that brings their customers in and makes them feel like a part of the brand, which increases trust and loyalty.

Figure out how your ideal customer and target audience would want to see and engage them. For example, test the algorithm on what else (other content) comes up in the feed by scrolling through the feeds from your brand’s point of view; this can give more insights into what kind of content appeals to the target users.

3. Live commerce – use TikTok Live feature

In 2016, China’s e-commerce behemoth Alibaba launched Taobao Live on their online shopping app Taobao, where influencers or key opinion leaders (KOLs) present various products on live-stream videos, marking a new chapter for social commerce.

Live commerce connects online broadcasts directly to e-commerce stores, allowing customers to purchase products in the videos while watching the stream, either through SMS messages or in-app messaging services. These live streams are hosted through specialized livestream shopping platforms such as ShopShops or Talkshoplive or, in this case, social media platforms Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.

TikTok launched their first live-stream event called “Holiday Shop-Along Spectacular” in December 2021, a collaboration between Walmart and TikTok.

Ever since, the live stream shopping feature has been favored by several other e-commerce brands, including beauty brands such as E.l.f, Too Faced, and Milk Makeup, or luxury designers including Saint Laurent, JW Anderson, and Louis Vuitton.

4. Engage in conversations with your customers

To truly connect and engage with your audience, consider participating in conversations with them by replying to the comments and questions underneath your posts, as it can grow loyalty and brand trust. TikTok comments are a great place to answer any questions, have an open conversation, or explain how your products and services work.

As your responses are tagged with a “Creator badge” next to your username, it is quite clear when you, an expert in the field, have responded, liked the comment, or engaged in the conversation. When you engage with a viewer’s comments, they automatically get a notification “Liked by Creator” pop up on the app, instantly giving it a personal touch and making them feel acknowledged.

5. Follow the hashtag challenge trends

Checking the trending hashtags section is a great way to get a feel for what is popular at the time. Of course, not all trends, or perhaps none, will match one-on-one to your brands’ target audience. However, it could act as an inspiration to your TikTok content marketing strategy.

While drafting new posts, keep an eye on what is trending and use trending hashtags to appear in front of a larger audience. However, don’t use a popular hashtag or hashtags with your content just because they are trending; always make sure they are also relevant to the content you post; otherwise, it might appear irrelevant and not interesting for the viewing audience.

6. Monitor and implement new features

A recent news post on Techcrunch from January 2022 announced that TikTok is launching several new features. These include Bitmoji-like avatars, keyword filtering on the “For You” page, group chats, audio-only live streaming, screen sharing during live streams, and subscription features, allowing subscriber-only comment sections.

TikTok is coming up with new features to keep users engaged, and e-commerce brands can leverage these to do the same. While the algorithm is kept a secret, tracking what’s new in terms of possibilities and new features can enhance the user experience to keep your feed fresh and engaging, attract new followers, and maintain existing ones. Implementing new features helps to stay ahead of the competition.

7. Post regularly

Like other major social media platforms with several commerce features, Instagram and Facebook, TikTok has perfect posting times for maximum performance results and ROI.

Following a comprehensive study conducted by Influencer Marketing Hub, who analyzed over 100,000 TikTok posts to see a pattern for best posting times:

Monday: 6.00 am, 10.00 am, or 10.00 pm
Tuesday: 2 am, 4 am, or 9 am
Wednesday: 7 am, 8 am, or 11 pm
Thursday: 9 am, 12 am, or 7 pm
Friday: 5 am, 1 pm, or 3 pm
Saturday: 11 am, 7 pm, or 8 pm
Sunday: 7 am, 8 am, or 4 pm

Consider that TikTok often swallows users to their feeds, so users are more active before or after work hours, as we can also see from the pattern above. And most importantly, also check and consider when your followers engage most with your content, it is a trial and error process.

Grow your e-commerce with social and live commerce

Social commerce is exploding, and it seems like the next big thing in the US, and Europe is live commerce. TikTok, among other social media platforms, offers both of these features and possibilities for brands and retailers to grow their sales and customer base.

TikTok’s expansion to several new online shopping features comes when e-commerce trends continue to explore new areas. Whereas Instagram and Facebook have been among the first to jump on the social media shopping bandwagon, TikTok is catching up to incorporate these new features into business accounts.

In 2021, Gen-Z represented a collective purchasing power of $150 billion, leaving brands to understand their unique shopping behaviors. TikTok can offer the right audience, analytical capabilities to see what they like, and excellent features such as in-app purchases and live stream shopping to catch the customers at the right time.



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4 Common Mistakes E-commerce Websites Make Using JavaScript

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4 Common Mistakes E-commerce Websites Make Using JavaScript

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

Despite the resources they can invest in web development, large e-commerce websites still struggle with SEO-friendly ways of using JavaScript.

And, even when 98% of all websites use JavaScript, it’s still common that Google has problems indexing pages using JavaScript. While it’s okay to use it on your website in general, remember that JavaScript requires extra computing resources to be processed into HTML code understandable by bots.

At the same time, new JavaScript frameworks and technologies are constantly arising. To give your JavaScript pages the best chance of indexing, you’ll need to learn how to optimize it for the sake of your website’s visibility in the SERPs.

Why is unoptimized JavaScript dangerous for your e-commerce?

By leaving JavaScript unoptimized, you risk your content not getting crawled and indexed by Google. And in the e-commerce industry, that translates to losing significant revenue, because products are impossible to find via search engines.

It’s likely that your e-commerce website uses dynamic elements that are pleasant for users, such as product carousels or tabbed product descriptions. This JavaScript-generated content very often is not accessible to bots. Googlebot cannot click or scroll, so it may not access all those dynamic elements.

Consider how many of your e-commerce website users visit the site via mobile devices. JavaScript is slower to load so, the longer it takes to load, the worse your website’s performance and user experience becomes. If Google realizes that it takes too long to load JavaScript resources, it may skip them when rendering your website in the future.

Top 4 JavaScript SEO mistakes on e-commerce websites

Now, let’s look at some top mistakes when using JavaScript for e-commerce, and examples of websites that avoid them.

1. Page navigation relying on JavaScript

Crawlers don’t act the same way users do on a website ‒ they can’t scroll or click to see your products. Bots must follow links throughout your website structure to understand and access all your important pages fully. Otherwise, using only JavaScript-based navigation may make bots see products just on the first page of pagination.

Guilty: Nike.com

Nike.com uses infinite scrolling to load more products on its category pages. And because of that, Nike risks its loaded content not getting indexed.

For the sake of testing, I entered one of their category pages and scrolled down to choose a product triggered by scrolling. Then, I used the “site:” command to check if the URL is indexed in Google. And as you can see on a screenshot below, this URL is impossible to find on Google:

Of course, Google can still reach your products through sitemaps. However, finding your content in any other way than through links makes it harder for Googlebot to understand your site structure and dependencies between the pages.

To make it even more apparent to you, think about all the products that are visible only when you scroll for them on Nike.com. If there’s no link for bots to follow, they will see only 24 products on a given category page. Of course, for the sake of users, Nike can’t serve all of its products on one viewport. But still, there are better ways of optimizing infinite scrolling to be both comfortable for users and accessible for bots.

Winner: Douglas.de

Unlike Nike, Douglas.de uses a more SEO-friendly way of serving its content on category pages.

They provide bots with page navigation based on <a href> links to enable crawling and indexing of the next paginated pages. As you can see in the source code below, there’s a link to the second page of pagination included:

Moreover, the paginated navigation may be even more user-friendly than infinite scrolling. The numbered list of category pages may be easier to follow and navigate, especially on large e-commerce websites. Just think how long the viewport would be on Douglas.de if they used infinite scrolling on the page below:

2. Generating links to product carousels with JavaScript

Product carousels with related items are one of the essential e-commerce website features, and they are equally important from both the user and business perspectives. Using them can help businesses increase their revenue as they serve related products that users may be potentially interested in. But if those sections over-rely on JavaScript, they may lead to crawling and indexing issues.

Guilty: Otto.de

I analyzed one of Otto.de’s product pages to identify if it includes JavaScript-generated elements. I used the What Would JavaScript Do (WWJD) tool that shows screenshots of what a page looks like with JavaScript enabled and disabled.

Test results clearly show that Otto.de relies on JavaScript to serve related and recommended product carousels on its website. And from the screenshot below, it’s clear that those sections are invisible with JavaScript disabled:

How may it affect the website’s indexing? When Googlebot lacks resources to render JavaScript-injected links, the product carousels can’t be found and then indexed.

Let’s check if that’s the case here. Again, I used the “site:” command and typed the title of one of Otto.de’s product carousels:

As you can see, Google couldn’t find that product carousel in its index. And the fact that Google can’t see that element means that accessing additional products will be more complex. Also, if you prevent crawlers from reaching your product carousels, you’ll make it more difficult for them to understand the relationship between your pages.

Winner: Target.com

In the case of Target.com’s product page, I used the Quick JavaScript Switcher extension to disable all JavaScript-generated elements. I paid particular attention to the “More to consider” and “Similar items” carousels and how they look with JavaScript enabled and disabled.

As shown below, disabling JavaScript changed the way the product carousels look for users. But has anything changed from the bots’ perspective?

To find out, check what the HTML version of the page looks like for bots by analyzing the cache version.

To check the cache version of Target.com’s page above, I typed “cache:https://www.target.com/p/9-39-…”, which is the URL address of the analyzed page. Also, I took a look at the text-only version of the page.

When scrolling, you’ll see that the links to related products can also be found in its cache. If you see them here, it means bots don’t struggle to find them, either.

However, keep in mind that the links to the exact products you can see in the cache may differ from the ones on the live version of the page. It’s normal for the products in the carousels to rotate, so you don’t need to worry about discrepancies in specific links.

But what exactly does Target.com do differently? They take advantage of dynamic rendering. They serve the initial HTML, and the links to products in the carousels as the static HTML bots can process.

However, you must remember that dynamic rendering adds an extra layer of complexity that may quickly get out of hand with a large website. I recently wrote an article about dynamic rendering that’s a must-read if you are considering this solution.

Also, the fact that crawlers can access the product carousels doesn’t guarantee these products will get indexed. However, it will significantly help them flow through the site structure and understand the dependencies between your pages.

3. Blocking important JavaScript files in robots.txt

Blocking JavaScript for crawlers in robots.txt by mistake may lead to severe indexing issues. If Google can’t access and process your important resources, how is it supposed to index your content?

Guilty: Jdl-brakes.com

It’s impossible to fully evaluate a website without a proper site crawl. But looking at its robots.txt file can already allow you to identify any critical content that’s blocked.

This is the case with the robots.txt file of Jdl-brakes.com. As you can see below, they block the /js/ path with the Disallow directive. It makes all internally hosted JavaScript files (or at least the important ones) invisible to all search engine bots.

This disallow directive misuse may result in rendering problems on your entire website.

To check if it applies in this case, I used Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This tool can help you navigate rendering issues by giving you insight into the rendered source code and the screenshot of a rendered page on mobile.

I headed to the “More info” section to check if any page resources couldn’t be loaded. Using the example of one of the product pages on Jdl-brakes.com, you may see it needs a specific JavaScript file to get fully rendered. Unfortunately, it can’t happen because the whole /js/ folder is blocked in its robots.txt.

But let’s find out if those rendering problems affected the website’s indexing. I used the “site:” command to check if the main content (product description) of the analyzed page is indexed on Google. As you can see, no results were found:

This is an interesting case where Google could reach the website’s main content but didn’t index it. Why? Because Jdl-brakes.com blocks its JavaScript, Google can’t properly see the layout of the page. And even though crawlers can access the main content, it’s impossible for them to understand where that content belongs in the page’s layout.

Let’s take a look at the Screenshot tab in the Mobile-Friendly Test. This is how crawlers see the page’s layout when Jdl-brakes.com blocks their access to CSS and JavaScript resources. It looks pretty different from what you can see in your browser, right?

The layout is essential for Google to understand the context of your page. If you’d like to know more about this crossroads of web technology and layout, I highly recommend looking into a new field of technical SEO called rendering SEO.

Winner: Lidl.de

Lidl.de proves that a well-organized robots.txt file can help you control your website’s crawling. The crucial thing is to use the disallow directive consciously.

Although Lidl.de blocks a single JavaScript file with the Disallow directive /cc.js*, it seems it doesn’t affect the website’s rendering process. The important thing to note here is that they block only a single JavaScript file that doesn’t influence other URL paths on a website. As a result, all other JavaScript and CSS resources they use should remain accessible to crawlers.

Having a large e-commerce website, you may easily lose track of all the added directives. Always include as many path fragments of a URL you want to block from crawling as possible. It will help you avoid blocking some crucial pages by mistake.

4. JavaScript removing main content from a website

If you use unoptimized JavaScript to serve the main content on your website, such as product descriptions, you block crawlers from seeing the most important information on your pages. As a result, your potential customers looking for specific details about your products may not find such content on Google.

Guilty: Walmart.com

Using the Quick JavaScript Switcher extension, you can easily disable all JavaScript-generated elements on a page. That’s what I did in the case of one of Walmart.com’s product pages:

As you can see above, the product description section disappeared with JavaScript disabled. I decided to use the “site:” command to check if Google could index this content. I copied the fragment of the product description I saw on the page with JavaScript enabled. However, Google didn’t show the exact product page I was looking for.

Will users get obsessed with finding that particular product via Walmart.com? They may, but they can also head to any other store selling this item instead.

The example of Walmart.com proves that main content depending on JavaScript to load makes it more difficult for crawlers to find and display your valuable information. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean they should eliminate all JavaScript-generated elements on their website.

To fix this problem, Walmart has two solutions:

  1. Implementing dynamic rendering (prerendering) which is, in most cases, the easiest from an implementation standpoint.

  2. Implementing server-side rendering. This is the solution that will solve the problems we are observing at Walmart.com without serving different content to Google and users (as in the case of dynamic rendering). In most cases, server-side rendering also helps with web performance issues on lower-end devices, as all of your JavaScript is being rendered by your servers before it reaches the client’s device.

Let’s have a look at the JavaScript implementation that’s done right.

Winner: IKEA.com

IKEA proves that you can present your main content in a way that is accessible for bots and interactive for users.

When browsing IKEA.com’s product pages, their product descriptions are served behind clickable panels. When you click on them, they dynamically appear on the right-hand side of the viewport.

Although users need to click to see product details, Ikea also serves that crucial part of its pages even with JavaScript off:

This way of presenting crucial content should make both users and bots happy. From the crawlers’ perspective, serving product descriptions that don’t rely on JavaScript makes them easy to access. Consequently, the content can be found on Google.

Wrapping up

JavaScript doesn’t have to cause issues, if you know how to use it properly. As an absolute must-do, you need to follow the best practices of indexing. It may allow you to avoid basic JavaScript SEO mistakes that can significantly hinder your website’s visibility on Google.

Take care of your indexing pipeline and check if:

  • You allow Google access to your JavaScript resources,

  • Google can access and render your JavaScript-generated content. Focus on the crucial elements of your e-commerce site, such as product carousels or product descriptions,

  • Your content actually gets indexed on Google.

If my article got you interested in JS SEO, find more details in Tomek Rudzki’s article about the 6 steps to diagnose and solve JavaScript SEO issues.

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