TikTok: Case Study: How Aisle3 have used it to grow sales with Thomas J Vosper (episode 176)

by April Buencamino-dy

Thomas J Vosper, CEO and co-founder at trainers marketplace Aisle 3, where they’ve been focusing on TikTok ahead of any other channel during 2023 to fuel their growth. Going from zero to 33,000 followers in that time.

Thomas J. Vosper Aisle 3 TikTok

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Dive in:

[01:12] Thomas J Vosper shares their TikTok growth strategy.
[05:06] TikTok helped build an audience quickly, unlike other channels.
[09:14] TikTok offers a vast audience for content creators.
[11:03] Marketplace strives for brand approval on TikTok.
[19:19] Bypassed creator marketplace, and did targeted outreach instead.
[24:35] Posts with high engagement drive sign-ups.
[25:55] In-house team created majority of content.
[30:51] Consistency is key for optimizing content.
[33:56] The future of TikTok is uncertain with many alternatives.

Aisle 3’s Vision

Aisle 3’s vision is to simplify the online shopping experience, eliminating the need to open multiple apps or tabs for shopping. They initially launched with a focus on sneakers.

They operates as a tech product company that aims to build a community and audience. This is to drive awareness and sales through a more frugal approach compared to some of the larger eCommerce platforms. The core goal is to make it easy for consumers to shop with a single, user-friendly shopping option.

TikTok as a Growth Tool

For Aisle 3, TikTok was used to build a consumer community and stimulate consumer growth. They recognized an opportunity to quickly build an audience on TikTok, which was challenging on other platforms.

Instead of just marketing to people ready to buy, they focused on creating brand awareness at the top of the funnel. TikTok proved to be a successful channel for reaching a broader audience, especially in the niche market of sneakers. This allowed them to experiment with content and engage with potential customers.

The lower competition and ease of content creation on TikTok contributed to Aisle 3’s success. They also found a balance between aiming for perfection and being willing to experiment and adapt.

Aisle 3’s TikTok Strategy

Thomas says that TikTok Shop was not a viable option for Aisle 3 due to the complexity of brand approvals. Instead, they focused on building a community and engaging with a broader audience.

They aimed to funnel TikTok traffic onto their website, which they had gated. Their gated approach led to a high conversion rate, with two out of three visitors signing up. Most of their conversions were organic, driven by content and awareness.

The decision to gate their website was intentional. Their TikTok content made it clear that users would need to sign up to access the site, preventing any unpleasant surprises for visitors.

Organic vs. Paid

Aisle 3 primarily used organic activity for TikTok but also experimented with ads. They set up a proper business account and were strategic in their ad approach.

However, they didn’t find value in paying for views, as it often led to low-quality engagement. Paying for followers was more effective, especially when targeting their current audience, reducing the cost per follower.

Bypassing Creator Marketplace

Aisle 3 did not use the TikTok Creator Marketplace but rather conducted DIY outreach to potential creators. They looked for influencers with relevant content and discussed their goal in detail.

Creators often made extra free posts because they received prompt payments for their videos. At first, the creators would post the videos on their channels and tag the brand. Then, Aisle 3 would share these posts on their profile page and in playlists.

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?

For TikTok success, start with a clear understanding of your end goal and create content that encourages the desired action from your audience. Just sign up and start creating content without overthinking it.

If you’re a business looking to sell, make sure to set up a business account for better tools and data analysis.

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

To improve TikTok performance, Thomas says you have to be consistent. He shares that his team posted multiple videos daily, with a focus on maintaining a consistent output of content.

He also says there are advantages to keeping content creation in-house. Agencies may struggle with research and creating viral content, so keep this in-house as much as possible.

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

Thomas says that the best way to learn about TikTok is to simply start using it. He urges brands to use the passion and expertise of team members who love what they sell and let them get creative.

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

You can’t predict the future of TikTok or other platforms, so focus on a content-first approach. This way, regardless of what happens with TikTok or other channels, you’ll have content that can be repurposed to reach your target audience.

The key is to keep adapting and engaging with people who are consuming content on their phones.

Interview Links

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