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Brands and Consumers: How TikTok is Changing the Dynamics

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Are you thinking of using TikTok for your retail brand? Well, the video sharing app is rapidly changing the face of discovery opportunities and influencer marketing, and instantly improves the customer experience in the world of cross-channel retailing. 

TikTok is undoubtedly at the forefront of technological innovation and more advanced, engaging content. This makes it the perfect tool for retailers that want to seem accessible for the younger audience and early adopters, or want to show they are up to date with the latest trends and new tech. However, TikTok shouldn’t just be used alone — content across many different channels will further boost performance and promote “surround sound marketing.”

To harness the real power of TikTok, brands need to understand how it is changing the dynamics between their businesses and customers. Let’s jump in.

Discovery Opportunities

Retailers are now working with a digitally literate customer base where the opportunity is enormous, but so is the competition. Therefore, discovery commerce is the only way to cut through the noise and win customer spend in an increasingly crowded ecommerce market. 

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Opportunities are already in full flow on TikTok and Instagram. For example, at Decorilla we often tag a vendor’s account directly to offer our customers a 30% discount using our promo codes. The audience is immediately able to see the product through visually stimulating content, and that allows retailers to build a relationship and trust. 

It’s hard for some people to spend $1K on a product they haven’t seen or interacted with before, but TikTok is making buying things online and social ecommerce surprisingly seamless.

If you are a retail brand looking to market on TikTok, discovery is also about working with the algorithm to get your content on as many “For You” pages as possible. TikTok’s algorithm is more advanced than that of Instagram because it doesn’t depend on followers. While a video is naturally likely to receive more views if posted by an account that has more followers, neither follower count nor whether the account has had previous high-performing videos will affect the algorithm. 

The first step is to use the right hashtags according to location and trending videos by category, which you can find on the “Discover Tab.” Keep an eye out for fire icons next to the hashtags and incorporate them into content that aligns. Then, go into TikTok’s video editor and press the plus icon at the bottom of the screen to scroll through what songs are trending.

Another great opportunity for discovery would be for retail brands to offer visual, engaging video solutions, and responses of 15 to 60 seconds, to customers that have tagged brands, posted pictures or asked questions.

Influencer Marketing 

Dozens of furniture retailers are on TikTok, but the latest trend is that influencers are talking about brands, and consumers are tagging them, without brands even being on the platform or having an account. Take Jonathan Adler, whose own hashtag has 755K views, plenty of unboxing videos, reviews and videos of the furniture or décor in people’s houses

Direct collaborations are also extremely powerful. Influencer marketing allows brands to get in front of people who are likely to be interested in their products. A great example is the clothing brand Lulus, which partners with influencers to provide clothing hauls, ‘outfit of the day’ or wardrobe hacks using its products and hashtags. 

These kinds of campaigns improve the customer experience because consumers have instant access to advice and reviews, speeding up their shopping and discovery experience. 

Brands should also engage with other creators’ content in their industry by responding to common pain points people share, reaching out to sort collaborations or leaving comments. This could increase the likelihood that another brand or influencer will use the comment on a post as the topic of their next video.

For some further advice, instead of looking for celebrity designers to help boost your retail store, look within your company. You may discover there are many unexpected internal rising stars on TikTok — that’s the beauty of the algorithm. These colleagues and team members with established TikTok accounts could showcase their company work culture, team and retail goods.

The Future of VR Interactions on TikTok

Nowadays, people are accessing social media via smartphones and tablets, but they could begin to do this via a VR helmet. Transferring to VR would take away a lot of the activities that require physical presence. For example, take the retailers and vendors that work in design centers like 200 LEX — they could easily engage customers in virtual online and showroom tours. 

Expect to see more platforms offering VR-enabled products. The entire experience is about to become much more personal and engaging.

If TikTok adopted VR, it would allow retailers to showcase tech products, such as smart lighting, and potential customers could test out products and see before-and-afters. For interior designers, VR is so rich in content that it would be easy to create reels and videos of virtual rooms to allow customers to preview every angle.

In fact, YouTube already offers a VR app on the Android Marketplace, and Facebook’s studio tool, Spark AR, enables brands to create their own AR effects, publish them on social platforms and view metrics on impressions and shares. It seems that creators, designers and retailers are quickly going to be able to bring their own 3D objects into TikTok projects. So start thinking about where to apply VR to connect with your customers. 

TikTok offers substantial marketing opportunities for retail brands. Being an early adopter for retail and building a strategic presence before the platform becomes oversaturated means your brand has the potential to surpass competitors. You shouldn’t just jump on the trend; think of ways you can continuously engage more customers and implement the latest technologies.


Devin Shaffer is the Lead Interior Designer at Decorilla, a company at the forefront of interior design known for bringing VR technology to the industry and redesigning thousands of households in 2020. His focus is on holistic approaches to projects with comprehensive phasing. He has been  mentioned in The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Realtor.com, She Knows Magazine, Curbed.com, Property Club NYC, How Stuff Works, Chicago Daily Herald, SF Gate, MSN news and Heavy.com.

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