For fashion and beauty brands in the U.S., attempts at livestreaming have been hit or miss. However, with TikTok Shop promoting discounts of up to 60% off for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, many brands decided to rise to the challenge and go live.
Beauty brand Trio Beauty opted into TikTok Shop’s BFCM campaign, which involved registering to be included in TikTok-subsidized discounts of up to 30% for beauty. The brand has 24,700 followers on TikTok and does $12 million in annual sales.
Before the TikTok-applied discount, Trio Beauty had discounted its products by 30% for the sales period. As such, with all discounts applied, its Allure Award-winning Brow Wax, which usually sells for $19, could be purchased on TikTok Shop for $7.45.
To call attention to the sale, Trio Beauty went live twice on Black Friday for a total of five hours. Prior, it had also sent the sale products to multiple creators, allowing them to earn an affiliate commission on products sold through their platforms. Compared to the brand, the creators were more successful at driving sales. In addition, the brand posted short videos on TikTok Shop for people wanting to see all the sale products at once.
“TikTok Shop has so much potential, as there are many ways to lead a customer to the store,” said Briana Olson, founder of Trio Beauty. “It has a very relaxed, anything-goes type of feel, so people can connect to the brand and products without feeling like they’re being sold to.” Compared to Amazon, TikTok was a greater draw for Olson’s brand on Black Friday because of the subsidized discounts and the longer sales period, she said. Amazon has not yet disclosed its total BFCM sales.
For Trio Beauty’s first livestream on Friday morning, about 50% of viewers came from the For You page. The top-selling product proved to be the brand’s CloudStick Trio contour stick. TikTok is not releasing TikTok Shop sales numbers for Black Friday until after November 30, when its TikTok BFCM campaign wraps, according to the company. TikTok did not respond to a request for comment on its BFCM strategy.
For Trio Beauty’s part, it had a 525% order quantity increase on TikTok Shop compared to last month. Forty-four percent of sales came from the videos, 28% came from livestreams, and 28% came from the brand’s product detail pages.
Increasingly, what’s working to drive TikTok Shop sales are creators and brand incentives. TikTok has reportedly upped its creator revenue for engagement, and brands receive better affiliate marketing rates, compared to other platforms, according to social media studio Ghost Agency founder Nicole Rechtszaid. To take part in the Black Friday-Cyber Monday campaign, brands had to opt in and provide a discount of their own — of as little as one cent off. TikTok is subsidizing discounts of up to 50% off on orders over $100 to ensure brands receive their full rates.
“Brands [that are focused on social commerce] are going after TikTok Shop, then Instagram, and then Amazon Live as a lower priority,” said Rechtszaid. “Amazon has been undergoing a lot of changes in the last several years and changing their priorities internally. … For brands leveraging Amazon Live, their most successful sales periods are Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Prime Day, just because of the influx of users on the platform.”
“TikTok has been subsidizing coupons, offering free shipping, even adding extra commission for creators,” said Jenny Woo, co-founder of the Ghost Agency. “As far as how long these incentives subsidies will last, who knows?”
Woo said that the U.K.’s TikTok Shop offers insights into the future of the platform’s brand incentives. TikTok Shop launched in the U.K. in 2021 and has been offering less enticing deals this year.
In the U.S., TikTok’s subsidies spree is slowing down, as well. “We’re already seeing a decrease from this summer, when they were giving a lot of coupons, incentives, and free subsidies for sellers and creators,” said Woo. “We’re still seeing those deals, but now they’re timing them to campaigns, like a fall campaign or a back-to-school campaign.”
On Black Friday, “TikTok had up to 60% discounts on products, while you won’t be seeing the same discounts on Amazon,” said Rechtszaid. “And shoppers will compare on different platforms before buying.” The campaigns for Black Friday started early on TikTok Shop, with deals kicking off two weeks ahead of time.
According to Woo, Ghost’s clients on Amazon experienced a lot of restrictions on what they can promote and sell leading up to Prime Days and Black Friday, as Amazon wants sales to be timed to those days. “On TikTok, though, they have early Black Friday sales, so you’re still being incentivized to sell ahead of Black Friday,” said Woo.
For creators, too, TikTok has been an attractive platform, when it comes to selling on BFCM. “Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a dying breed. The deals are not what they used to be,” said Samantha Zink, founder of Zink Talent, an influencer talent agency. “Creators don’t really receive a lot of commission, maybe 12%, through Amazon storefronts. But TikTok has really been paying out. … Some of my clients that have jumped on TikTok Shop have been making a ton of money.” Zink was referring to creators selling existing items on TikTok Shop for affiliate commission. She declined to disclose exact figures.
“All they’re doing is organically sharing products or fashion, and TikTok is blowing up those videos and putting them on the For You page,” she said.