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Blog / Ecommerce platform guide / TikTok Dropshipping: All You Need to Know

Ecommerce platform guide

TikTok Dropshipping: All You Need to Know

TikTok Dropshipping: All You Need to Know
Ilze Elizabete Strazda

By Ilze Elizabete Strazda

13 min read

Love it or hate it, TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. If you’re planning to start a print-on-demand or dropshipping business and you’re looking for potential customers, the TikTok app can be your best friend.

But starting your own TikTok dropshipping business is more than just creating video content and posting trending products online. In this article, we’ll take a look at how to sell merchandise on TikTok and cover everything you need to know about TikTok dropshipping.

Are you ready? Let’s get into it.

What is TikTok dropshipping?

Let’s start with the basics: what is TikTok dropshipping?

Dropshipping is an ecommerce business model where you sell products manufactured by third-party suppliers. This means you don’t have to worry about manufacturing, keeping inventory, and shipping. Instead, you can focus on marketing, selling, and customer support.

Because of its low starting costs, dropshipping has become one of the most profitable and popular online business models over the past few years.

You can see it in the numbers. In 2023, the global dropshipping market size reached an impressive $243.43B. This means you’ll have a lot of competition. But with the right selling strategy and marketing efforts, you can build a profitable and successful dropshipping business.

If you want to learn more about dropshipping, take a look at our ultimate guide on all things related to starting your own dropshipping business.

Can you dropship on TikTok?

Yes, you can dropship on TikTok. Marketing and selling your dropshipping products on TikTok is a great way to reach potential customers, especially those in your target audience. This is because TikTok has a wide user base—if you play your cards right, you can quickly get eyes on your products on TikTok.

Launched in 2016, TikTok experienced rapid growth during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in 2020 and 2021. In 2023, the app reached 1.9B TikTok users worldwide and is currently projected to reach approximately 2.35B users globally by 2029.

One thing to note if you do decide to start dropshipping on TikTok—make sure to keep up with the latest news about the app. The TikTok app is surrounded by controversies, and its large influence has led many countries to enact various restrictions on TikTok; some states, like the US, are even considering a total ban.

So, if you’re planning to rely on TikTok for your dropshipping business, it’s in your best interest to stay in the loop about what’s happening with the app.

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How does TikTok dropshipping work?

Dropshipping on TikTok can be profitable—but how do you actually start? Let’s go through the steps you need to take to start selling products on TikTok.

Find a reliable dropshipping supplier

First, you’ll need a trustworthy third-party supplier for your dropshipping business. Finding a good supplier will be crucial for your success. After all, even if your marketing efforts are excellent and you’re a master seller, it won’t matter much if your products are bad quality.

So here are a few things you need to look for:

  • Reviews: The supplier of your choice should have generally positive reviews from other sellers.

  • Product quality: Product quality will make or break your dropshipping business, so do some product research before you start selling.

  • Reliability and speed: When it comes to shipping or customer support, your supplier has to be able to react fast.

  • Pricing: Your supplier should have a good selection of products and competitive pricing.

All of these factors will have a huge impact on customer satisfaction and, ultimately, the success of your business. If you’re not sure, you can go with popular dropshipping platforms like AliExpress or CJDropshipping. These are well-known and reputable suppliers with a wide product range and competitive prices.

Create a TikTok business account

Next up, you’ll have to open a TikTok business account. If you already have a personal TikTok account, you can always switch to a business account in your account settings.

Having a business account will give you access to more detailed and commerce-friendly features. Here are a few useful features TikTok offers for business accounts.

  • TikTok analytics: You’ll get insights into how your content is performing, as well as more in-depth analytics about your target audience.

  • Post scheduler: You’ll be able to maintain a steady pace of content output, which will help you with organic marketing.

  • Business-friendly features: You’ll access features like auto-messaging, link-in-bio, business contact information, and more.

Open up shop on TikTok

Once you have your business account set up, you’ll need to sign up for TikTok’s own integrated ecommerce solution, TikTok Shop, and connect your online store to your TikTok account. Make sure to check if it’s available in your region first.

If you don’t have your own store on an ecommerce platform or marketplace, don’t sweat it. With TikTok Shop, you can also sell without having a website. TikTok Shop will also allow you to access even more business-friendly features like live shopping, product showcases on your TikTok account, and in-app checkout, among others.

a screenshot of a social media appSource: TikTok for Business

Start selling

And there you go! Once you have your TikTok dropshipping store set up, you can start thinking about marketing. You can try paid advertising through TikTok ads or work with other TikTok influencers. But don’t forget the importance of creating your own content—organic content will be instrumental in helping you build a strong audience.

How to promote your products on TikTok

Promoting your products through paid ads is a good tactic. However, the app has some geographical restrictions on TikTok video ads, so you’ll need organic content to help you cast a wider net when it comes to customers. Plus, organic content will really help you build a strong, loyal audience for your TikTok dropshipping business.

An important part of a successful organic marketing strategy for TikTok content will be your ability to catch onto trends. TikTok video trends change quickly, but there are some classic formats you can try out if you’re planning to start a dropshipping store.

The first is GRWM or Get Ready With Me TikToks. You’ve probably seen these before—they usually show a person getting ready while they tell a story, or with music in the background. This is a great way to show off your products casually, without making people feel like they’re watching a video ad.

a woman with long hair and a woman with a video callSource: @kenziemeads on TikTok

You can also create content that drives engagement, for example, How to Style This? videos. Take one of your products, like a t-shirt or hoodie, style two outfits with it, and ask your audience which one they prefer. These TikTok videos will not only drive engagement but can also help increase your average order value if you show several of your products in one video.

a woman holding a couple of shirtsSource: @olafflee on TikTok

Tiktok dropshipping pros

TikTok is the fifth most popular social media platform in the world. Selling your dropshipping products on an app with that kind of reach comes with some serious advantages.

TikTok stands out amongst other social media giants with its high engagement rate. TikTok’s overall engagement rate is an impressive 2.65% by follower count. Just to compare, the social media platform with the second-best engagement rate is Instagram, with 0.70%. This means TikTok audiences are more active and engaged than on most other social media platforms.

So TikTok dropshipping can give you brand recognition and help generate sales. TikTok’s algorithm often works wonders and can help you reach your target market better than any other social media platform will.

Plus, with TikTok’s integrated ecommerce features, you can easily sell items without having a website on an ecommerce platform, thus saving you money on website maintenance costs or ecommerce platform fees.

Learn more: Is It Worth Selling on TikTok in 2024?

TikTok dropshipping cons

While there are many benefits to TikTok dropshipping, there are also some downsides. Dropshipping on TikTok means getting eyes on your products, but views and engagement alone won’t generate sales for your dropshipping store.

Plus, because TikTok has such a large audience, you’ll have to expect a lot of competition. If you want to stand out, make sure you closely follow market trends and create a niche store that has a strong target audience.

Another drawback is the geographical restrictions we mentioned above. Because the app has bans or partial bans in many countries, you’ll face some challenges when you get into TikTok advertising. TikTok is divided into geographical regions—this might make your TikTok marketing strategy complicated. For example, if you’re from Europe or Asia, you won’t be able to run a TikTok ad in the US because you’re not in the same region. There are workarounds for TikTok ads, but it will still be a hassle.

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Best products to dropship and where to get them

TikTok advertising and marketing is one thing. But remember, when it comes to dropshipping on TikTok, what really matters to your customers is the product.

When you’re doing research for dropshipping products, take into account that the dropshipping market is huge. Since it’s become so popular, everyone wants to get in on the action. This means you have to think about how to make your TikTok shop stand out amongst the crowd. Otherwise, you’ll be just like everyone else.

A great way to make your products resonate with TikTok users is through customization. Adding your own designs to your products will make your shop so much more authentic and effective, and you’ll have an easier time finding your niche.

So, if you’d rather create custom products, it might be useful to look into the print-on-demand business model. With a print-on-demand supplier like Printful, you can easily create and sell unique products with your own designs.

a screenshot of a websiteSource: Printful

Let’s take a look at some dropshipping supplier options and print-on-demand alternatives.

Custom hoodies

Who doesn’t love a nice hoodie? Hoodies are a great product to sell in your TikTok dropshipping store—they’re a versatile everyday item that just about everybody owns.

A good dropshipping option to check out is My Online Fashion Store, a supplier that focuses mainly on women’s fashion. This is a reputable dropshipping supplier with a large product catalog and a fulfillment location in Los Angeles. So, if you’re planning to sell products in the US, this is a major plus.

a collage of images of women wearing clothesSource: CC Wholesale Clothing

However, because this is such a popular supplier, you might run into some issues. You’ll be selling products a lot of other sellers already have in their stores. So, if you want to put your own spin on hoodies, Printful is your best bet.

You can try regular DTG printing or give your hoodies a more luxurious feel with embroidery. We’ve compiled a list of the best types of Printful hoodies to sell online, so be sure to check it out.

a collage of a man and a womanSource: Printful

Custom t-shirts

Few other clothing items are as iconic and timeless as a t-shirt. T-shirts are one of the most popular apparel items out there—in 2024, the global t-shirt market is estimated at an impressive $45.52B and is expected to grow annually by 3.24% during the 2024–2028 forecast period.

So, if you’re looking for t-shirts to sell, a good supplier for TikTok dropshipping is Trendsi. Trendsi is well-known for its fast shipping and is a favorite amongst TikTok dropshippers since all its products pass TikTok dropshipping standards.

a collage of images of a womanSource: Trendsi

However, similarly to hoodies, the large size of the t-shirt market means you’ll have a ton of competition—plain old t-shirts just won’t cut it.

You can elevate your product catalog with print-on-demand by creating exciting t-shirts with your own designs. With Printful, you’ll also be able to offer eco-friendly t-shirts, like the Unisex Organic Cotton T-shirt or the Unisex Organic T-shirt, both made of 100% organic ring-spun cotton.

Offering eco-friendly products will help you stand out among other TikTok dropshippers since the dropshipping industry isn’t generally known for being eco-conscious.

a man and woman posing for a pictureSource: Printful

Phone cases

Phone cases are one of the most popular accessories these days. If you’re looking to dropship phone cases, a good supplier option is AliExpress. They have a wide selection and are well-known for their friendly prices.

a screenshot of a cell phoneSource: AliExpress

But don’t forget that, at the end of the day, personalized items are much more likely to get you customer orders. If your customers feel like your products help them show off their individuality and character, you’ll have a much easier time earning loyal customers who come back time and time again.

With print-on-demand, you can allow your customers to create totally personalized items or gifts. They send in a photo they want on their phone case, you upload it to Printful, and we print, pack, and ship it out. It’s that easy.

a person holding a phoneSource: Printful

The pet accessory market is expected to grow significantly over the course of the 2020s, driven mainly by increasing pet ownership across the world. In 2022, the pet grooming and accessories market was valued at $68.31 billion and is expected to reach $116.23 billion by 2030.

So, if you’re planning on selling pet-related items, now’s a good time to start. Again, you can find a ton of product options on AliExpress or Alibaba.

a screenshot of a websiteSource: Alibaba

But remember that both Alibaba and AliExpress are platforms that connect you to a wide range of suppliers worldwide. So, while both platforms are safe to buy from, you might run into a supplier that doesn’t fulfill your expectations.

Printful, on the other hand, is a vertically integrated company, which means we have total control over our manufacturing process. If there are any issues along the way, you won’t have to jump through hoops to connect with your supplier—you’ll know you can always turn to Printful’s customer support.

With Printful, you can design and sell various fun pet products, like collars, leashes, and food bowls.

a brown dog with a green collarSource: Printful

Wall art

When it comes to wall art, customization will be your best friend. Think about it—have you ever purchased generic wall art? Usually, the art we exhibit in our homes has some emotional meaning to us; it can be connected to a hobby or a place we really love. So, the wall art you sell should be able to create an emotional connection with your customer.

But that doesn’t mean you need to be a skilled artist to create wall art with stunning designs. You can hire a graphic designer or a photographer on a site like Fiverr to make the art for you, and then sell it on your store.

With Printful, you’ll have plenty of product options to choose from. There’s the classic Canvas piece, which is particularly beloved by customers because of its crystal-sharp print quality. If you want something more refined, you can try out the Glossy Metal Print or the Enhanced Matte Paper Framed Poster. With the right designs and marketing strategy, these can turn out to be some of your best-selling print-on-demand products

a picture of a parrot on a branch and two potted plantsSource: Printful

If you want to learn more about designing wall art on Printful, here’s a useful video tutorial for you.

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Learn more about ecommerce with Printful

Setting up an online store is just the beginning. In the ecommerce industry, trends move fast, and you need to ensure you’re always on top of the latest industry news. If you’re looking for ecommerce news, statistics, and tips, make sure to subscribe to our Printful blog. You’ll find valuable info on the latest design and marketing trends, as well as advice on how to perfect your business strategy.

a screenshot of a websiteSource: Printful

And if you’ve decided to go with the print-on-demand business model, check out our YouTube channel, too. We have a ton of learning materials on how to get your business started, how to design products with Printful, and how to market them.

Ready, set, go!

Ready to start your dropshipping store? Remember, it’s more than just running TikTok ads and adding products to your store. If you want to build a successful business, you have to create a strategy—find a niche, define your target audience, work hard on your own organic content, but most importantly, don’t give up.

It’ll take time and effort to build your business, but we’ll be here, rooting for you! If you need any more advice on how to make it on TikTok, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments!

All right, that’s it from us! Good luck! 

author

By Ilze Elizabete Strazda on Jun 19, 2024

Ilze Elizabete Strazda

Guest author

Ilze Elizabete is a freelance writer with a background in law and international relations. In her free time, Ilze is an avid reader and painter.

Ilze Elizabete is a freelance writer with a background in law and international relations. In her free time, Ilze is an avid reader and painter.