Night Light | TikTok Slop

The State of TikTok Shop

The other day I sat down and counted how many sponsored/commission posts I saw on my TikTok FYP (For You Page). After scrolling through 100 posts, 22 of them were accounts pushing a product. It got me thinking how big TikTok Shop has become in the last few years. So big, in fact that TikTok is gaining more social buyers than the net increase of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest combined. I’m excited to talk about TikTok Shop this week, I even bought some RYSE Fuel Energy for the full experience.

Buckle up.

There’s no turning back now.

What is TikTok Shop and what are People Buying?

Before we go into my thoughts on RYSE Fuel Cotton Candy Mega Blast, I think it’d be helpful to explain what TikTok Shop is. Imagine an online marketplace where private sellers and creators can sell and promote a wide variety of products. I’ve seen supplements, candy, perfume, electronics, Pokémon cards, and hot sauce. It’s pretty clear that beauty products and womenswear/menswear make up a big portion of sales. Sellers are mostly international; 12% of stores are based in the US.

Is it just a fad? Probably not, 43% of Gen Z begin their online product search on TikTok. It also caters to impulse buying. When most of us go to Amazon we have an idea of what we want to buy, TikTok Shop is showing us things it thinks we want to buy.

How are Creators Making Money?

Most creators are going to be making money from being an affiliate and promoting products from brands. Creators make a commission (10-15%) and brands don’t have to pay for ads because TikTok Shop posts get a ton of views. Everybody wins (except TikTok, more on that later). It’s going to vary by the creator’s size and the product category, but I think this video does a good job explaining what to expect if you’re established on the platform:

Not everyone is going to make $300 a day, but since TikTok is promoting commission posts so heavily right now, I’d say it’s worth a shot.

I’m Still Skeptical

I’ve seen a few things in my research that aren’t so great.

The first red flag is that Shop isn’t making TikTok any money. Sure, there are crazy incentives like coupons, deals, and free shipping, but TikTok is fronting a lot of those costs. Let’s say you sell something for $10 and TikTok offers free shipping plus a coupon for half off. Buyers are only paying $5, but TikTok is still compensating creators/sellers based on that initial $10. This is exactly how I got 12 cans of RYSE Energy for $13. They can’t eat costs like that forever.

I promise this isn’t just some elaborate plan to promote RYSE Energy drinks.

There are some really shady ways that people are pushing products too. I’ve seen more than a few “fan accounts” that are reposting popular Sam Sulek clips with messaging that makes it seem like Sam actually uses or promotes the product. It’s pretty clear that he doesn’t use Gymreapers lifting straps.

These were also available for about half the price listed on Amazon.

It’s ruining the overall TikTok experience and some products are complete garbage.

More Garbage?

Speaking of garbage, here are some of my favorite things I found while browsing the shop tab:

How have they only sold 5 Stylish Peeled Banana Duck Gnomes?

The Big Takeaway:

It’s clear that TikTok Shop is becoming a cost efficient way to advertise your product, and make money if you’re a creator who already has an audience. Some of the deals are actually what they say they are, but I can’t imagine TikTok can front the money forever - fees are increasing this year for sellers. I’m skeptical about it, but interested to see how TikTok Shop develops.

Final verdict on RYSE Fuel Energy Rainbow Sherbet: solid 3/10

If anyone wants the other 11 cans in my fridge, let me know.

This newsletter is not sponsored or affiliated with RYSE Fuel Energy or Gymreapers

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