Iced Media CEO urges onboarding of TikTok Shop as key 2024 digital marketing strategy

By Cassandra Stern

- Last updated on GMT

TikTok Shop has “disrupted the social ecosystem and the creator economy in the short four-month period since it launched,” said Iced Media CEO Leslie Ann Hall. © MUNTHITA LAMLUE Getty Images
TikTok Shop has “disrupted the social ecosystem and the creator economy in the short four-month period since it launched,” said Iced Media CEO Leslie Ann Hall. © MUNTHITA LAMLUE Getty Images

Related tags TikTok social commerce Social media e-commerce Consumer trends

The recent launch of TikTok Shop has opened the platform for beauty brands to engage with consumers through an avenue of e-commerce that affords the opportunity to ‘combine America’s top entertainment program’ with ‘what has the potential to become a top sales channel.’

Last year, CosmeticsDesign attended the Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) State of the Union event and spoke​ with presenter and CEO of Iced Media Leslie Ann Hall for her strategic advice and predictions for the key drivers of digital marketing efforts for beauty brands in 2023, which included the ‘tiktokification’ of ads and influencer-driven advertising content.

Following this year’s CEW State of the Union event, we followed up with Hall to revisit this topic and gain new insight into the most significant changes in the beauty industry digital marketing and her forecast for this year’s most impactful aspects of social selling.

What’s changed

Social media platform TikTok again took center stage in Hall’s CEW presentation this year but with a new look. Since our discussion last year, the platform has launched TikTok Shop, a feature that allows users to list and sell products in digital storefronts. The platform also allows users to take advantage of direct selling to followers.

These new opportunities in e-commerce have “disrupted the social ecosystem and the creator economy in the short four-month period since it launched,” said Hall, and with the meteoric rise of TikTok Shop, “brands are seeing even more sales come from TikTok.” The increase is “primarily being led by Creator content,” she explained, “where shoppable, short (mostly Creator-led) videos are driving 75% of sales on the platform.” 

Further, she continued, digital sales are being driven through TikTok Shop thanks to the “robust, built-in Creator platform, where instead of Creators getting paid in advance to make content, they are choosing brands to co-create content with based on the future promise of getting a percentage of the sales they drive.” As a result, these innovations are “completely changing how these types of partnerships are structured,” she shared.

What manufacturers and suppliers need to know

Hall’s critical takeaway from her presentation for beauty industry manufacturers and suppliers is that she is “encouraging social media advertisers to experiment with AI, to consider live shopping based on the best practices in their region and to onboard to TikTok Shop,” she shared. She urged the adoption of these innovations as companies “need not to get left behind” and “need to know that TikTok Shop is a real business opportunity.”

Considering that Iced Media analysts are “seeing the magic of combining America’s top entertainment platform (150 million users, spending an average of 128 minutes per day) with what has the potential to be a top sales channel,” she explained, which has “never existed before,” its crucial beauty industry companies understand that for companies adopting these innovations as “the results are staggering.”

For example, she illustrated, “we have clients selling tens of thousands of products and earning millions of dollars in sales in just a few months.” She added that brands like these “understand the true potential for TikTok Shop to scale their business,” as “it’s the true democratization of beauty selling where upstarts and legacy brands alike have the potential to see big results.”

Further, she added, “by looking at top sellers, it’s easy to see both the types of products that are selling - from hair stylers to hot tools to color cosmetics,” such as “products that can show a visual transformation, like Sacheu Beauty’s Lip Stay’n.” With “its satisfying peel-off step,” she explained, products like these “have an advantage when it comes to content creation.”

Application of unexpected findings & looking ahead

Data findings revealed intriguing insights into the TikTok shop trend as well. “It was surprising,” Hall explained, “to see that despite all of the buzz around TikTok Shop of the top 130 beauty brands we benchmarked, only one-third have been onboarded to TikTok Shop.”

Further, it was also unexpected for analysts to “see the median price of top selling products (>10,000 units sold) is $37,” she shared, because “there’s a misperception that TikTok is just teenagers making $10 impulse buys, but we see a real appetite for masstige and prestige products.”

Additionally, “it was also surprising to see that the top sellers are both billion-dollar brands like E.L.F. and also new brands entering the market like Dieux Skin or Beachwaver,” which “proves that brands of all sizes can win on TikTok Shop,” she further stated.

Moving forward, Hall cautioned that “brands that onboard should not expect instant results,” and “should be thoughtful about their merchandising” by assessing “what products have the best fit for TikTok versus other sales channels they have.” She further advised that brands should view onboarding to the new platform “as a serious and sizable investment of time and resources, and in some cases money, as advertising is becoming more important on TikTok Shop.”

Brands should also consider onboarding “as a long-term approach the same as they would when onboarding to Sephora or Amazon,” because TikTok is a “real sales channel and their time and investment should match their distribution strategy,” she concluded.

In 2024, Hall predicted that regarding the ‘era of social selling,’ she believes “that products with more unique packaging, unexpected ingredients or more satisfying ways to use them will win.” Because “TikTok is a hyper-visual platform where you have half a second to engage a consumer and under three seconds to get them to buy,” she reasoned, “the more you can wow someone and disrupt their scrolling the better chance you have to win.” 

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