We’ve all heard of TikTok, the short form video app that blew up in covid times. Gone are the times of making Banana bread and doing the renegade (too niche?) in lockdown, since dancing our way through the pandemic on the app, TikTok has not faded into the background but has continued to be at the forefront of pop culture and taken over platforms such as X (formally known as Twitter). We’ve all heard of (and been subjected to) ads on all the social media platforms but TikTok has taken e-commerce to new heights with the emergence of TikTok shop…

What is TikTok Shop?
tiktokshop screenshots

Essentially, TikTok Shop is an online marketplace (think of a more chaotic ebay or amazon) with thousands and thousands of different products and brands. When going on the TikTok app the ‘shop’ page sits right next to the home page, so it’s always easy to access and pretty hard to miss. This allows users to purchase things with a click of a button without ever having to leave the app. There is also a ‘live’ option in the shopping app which is essentially a modern day QVC. Sellers and brands will do a ‘live’ where they will show different products, offering big discounts with easy to shop links on screen.

What does TikTok Shop sell?

TikTok shop has items for sale from thousands of different sellers selling unbranded everyday household items to the more obscure gadgets, often for only a few pounds. Any business or seller can open up a shop however there are some caveats, read all about these in the T&C’s. From these sellers you can expect to find things anywhere from lamps to crystals. Aswell as having unbranded items, TikTok shop also have tons of household brand names such as Zara, Benefit cosmetics and Jack Wills.

Quickest checkout ever?

Any steps in a standard e-commerce shopping experience that could possibly deter customers, think – having to log in, forgetting a password, typing out a long discount code, lengthy card details process or even ticking/unticking marketing materials boxes, TikTok shop doesn’t have any of. The whole purchasing journey on TikTok shop can be as little as 2 clicks. Once you’ve seen a product you want to purchase you press ‘buy now’ and ‘place order’ and it’s done, it really is as simple as that. You’ll then get the standard email confirmation and updates on when your order is estimated for delivery.

Why is everything so cheap?

If you’ve ever had a look on TikTok shop, you’ll know everything is suspiciously cheap. It’s very hard not to get sucked in or tempted when most products are cheap as chips (literally), slippers, lamps, headphones you can all get for as little as £5, and more often than not TikTok are offering different coupons and price cuts. These prices can often seem to be good to be true and i’m sure will have you thinking, what’s the catch? You may even be skeptical as to, is TikTok shop even legit?

Is it legit?

For the most part, yes it is. Products really are that cheap and yes you will see that product arrive at your door! Obviously like with any online market place, read the reviews of the product and sellers and read the descriptions and dimensions to manage expectations. TikTok also has a returns and refunds policy. 

In our experience, looking into what other shoppers are saying online and talking to friends about their experience with TikTok shop, the general consensus is mostly very positive.

Is this just over the top, overconsumption?

Although Tiktok shop may be safe to use in terms of the legitimacy of the prices and products, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily ethical. Having this many products for sale at the click of a button and at extremely discounted prices, it begs the question 1. Do we really need all these cheap gadgets we are buying or are we buying for the sake of it? And 2, are these viral gizmos going to end up in landfill just a few months down the line? Aside from the overconsumption issues, is TikTok shop ethical, also poses the question of where, how and in what working conditions are these cheap items made?

So, should you be shopping on TikTok shop?

We can’t argue that you’ll be sure to get some great deals if you’re shopping on the app, with speedy delivery and little to no effort purchasing. However, with sustainability and ethical concerns over how and where things are being made, we’d really encourage you to stop and think if you really need those £5 slippers…


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