TikTok: From Ops to Sales with TikTok Shop with Derric Haynie, Pipe17 (episode 177)

by April Buencamino-dy

Derric Haynie is on a mission to get eCommerce Ops Teams out of spreadsheets, with the team at Pipe17. They’re leading the charge on TikTok Shop in the US – where TikTok Shop has only been available since mid-September. By the end of September, Pipe17 had already helped over a dozen merchants launch on TikTok Shop including some of the biggest TikTok Shop sellers AND they’ve run a whole virtual summit about it too!!

Derric Haynie Pipe17 TikTok

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Dive in:

[04:05] Improved infrastructure integrates order data with ERP
[09:35] Infrastructure, creativity, sales, live selling, omnichannel expansion.
[12:04] Lack of a system creates uncertainty in payments.
[14:39] Technology helps become a successful omnichannel retailer.
[17:46] Beauty is a prominent category, including trying on products and discussing their qualities.
[21:40] TikTok needs sellers and live content.
[24:20] Understanding browser buyers and TikTok’s audience.
[28:20] Testing new products and offers for optimisation.
[31:10] AI will handle customer service within a year.
[34:15] Incentives and reduced barriers.

Getting Involved in TikTok

Derric explains that Pipe17 specializes in eCommerce ops tech. They quickly got involved with TikTok due to the challenges in getting order data from selling channels to fulfillment and ERP systems.

Derric says there are significant opportunities the TikTok Shop channel presents for businesses. This can be seen in the rise of seven-figure brands emerging from viral TikTok videos. But this also means there is a need to address fulfillment and order management.

Mastering TikTok Operations

It’s important to master the operational side of TikTok Shop. Derric says that setting up the shop and product catalog are crucial first steps. Brands must tailor their product offerings to TikTok’s audience. They also have to ensure that orders are efficiently communicated to fulfillment centers.

Derric adds that TikTok Shop prefers keeping customers on the platform for greater organic reach. This is as opposed to redirecting them to external websites.

Customer Service and Fulfillment

Derric says that TikTok Shop merchants should be prepared to handle customer inquiries and issues.

Businesses need to focus on financial reconciliation and receiving payouts from TikTok. This is important, especially for brands with high order volumes. Using an ERP system and automated reconciliation can help streamline this operational aspect.

Returns have to be processed effectively because they can become complex. This is where technology and integrations come in. They are important to ensure smooth TikTok Shop operations.

Live Selling on TikTok

Live selling is the primary method for selling on TikTok Shop. However, a shop tab feature is being introduced soon. This will provide a digital storefront for users to browse and purchase products without the need for a live stream.

Currently, live shopping involves someone from your team or an influencer presenting products and engaging with viewers through live video. This is typically for an hour to three hours. Live selling can include demonstrating products, trying on items, and guiding viewers on how to make a purchase.

TikTok has an affiliate network of influencers and creators that brands can connect with to facilitate live selling. This offers flexibility for those who may not want to go live themselves.

The Future of TikTok Shop

Significant advantages and promotions are coming to TikTok Shop.

First, TikTok is offering to handle fulfillment through US-based 3PLs or their own fulfillment service. This includes partial reimbursement of shipping costs, making it profitable for merchants.

Second, TikTok is also offering to pay back the discount merchants offer during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. In effect, sellers will receive full price for their products, which is a huge benefit for brands participating in these promotions.

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with TikTok – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

Derric offers some advice for TikTok Shop newcomers:

  • Understand audience expectations.
  • Consider your price points.
  • Beginners with zero followers can get significant views, so go ahead and go live.
  • Have products in stock.
  • Test the waters. Experiment, learn, and adapt to find your strategy.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve TikTok performance?

Do product and offer testing. Experiment with various products and offers, including bundles and cross-brand collaborations, to find what resonates best with your audience.

If someone listening wants to learn more about TikTok is there one cheap/free resource you’d recommend?

To learn more about TikTok, Derric recommends a recently completed virtual summit by Pipe17. It covers various aspects of TikTok Shop, such as going live, creating viral videos, operations, and fulfillment.

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in TikTok?

Derric foresees AI playing a more significant role in various eCommerce activities. He mentions the potential for AI agents to streamline processes and automations. He also anticipates new channels or innovations in the eCommerce space, making it an exciting and dynamic time for the industry.

Interview Links

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