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How To Set Up A TikTok Shop By Partnering With A Custom Manufacturer

If your goal this year is to set up a TikTok shop for your business, you’re making a smart move. TikTok has become one of the most popular social media platforms with over 1 billion monthly active users, and now with the option to shop directly on the app, it’s a no-brainer for businesses to have a presence there.

If you’re planning to sell custom items, then you’ve probably debated between using a print-on-demand (POD) service or partnering with a custom manufacturer to produce your products and hold your own inventory. While print-on-demand may seem like the easier option, there are many advantages to using a custom manufacturer and stocking inventory for your TikTok shop.

In this article, we’ll explore the advantages of custom manufacturing and walk you through how to set up a TikTok shop.

Custom Manufacturing Vs. Print On Demand

Custom Manufacturing Vs. Print On Demand

Print-on-demand services allow you to create and sell products such as custom patches for clothing on-demand without the need for holding any inventory. While this may seem like a convenient option, it has its drawbacks. But before we get into that, let’s explain the difference between custom manufacturing and print-on-demand.

Custom Manufacturing

Custom manufacturing involves producing unique items from scratch with the help of a manufacturer who specializes in creating customized products. This allows for more control over the production process, resulting in higher-quality products that stand out from mass-produced options. Some examples of customized products include custom patches, pins, and apparel.

Print On Demand

On the other hand, print-on-demand services use pre-made designs that are printed on various products such as t-shirts, mugs, or phone cases. This allows for fast production and fulfillment without needing to hold any inventory. The POD company takes care of the production and shipping, leaving you with only marketing and selling responsibilities.

Set Up a Custom Manufacturing TikTok Shop

Why Custom Manufacturing is Better for Your TikTok Shop

While print-on-demand may seem like the easier option, custom manufacturing offers many advantages for your TikTok shop. Here are some reasons why it’s better to partner with a custom manufacturing company and hold inventory for your products:

Higher Value Perception

Customers know that you’re not investing in inventory or taking risks with manufacturing, which can affect the perceived value of your products. POD products can come across as low-effort, mass-produced merch, barely a step away from dropshipping. On the other hand, when a customer orders something they know has been designed and manufactured by your brand from scratch, it conveys a more genuine and high-quality feel.

More Unique Options

With print-on-demand services, you are limited to pre-made designs that may not accurately represent your brand. Typically, this includes t-shirts with a limited printing space and only a few color options, or a standard patch or pin shape with minimal customization potential.

However, with custom manufacturing, you have more control over the design process and more options to create something that matches your vision. For example, at The/Studio, if you want to create a custom enamel pin or order patches, you can design and create the pin or patch in any shape, size, and color you desire, with full control over the design details.

Fashion Quality Products

When it comes to clothing and accessories, quality matters. With print-on-demand services, the focus is on speed and convenience rather than quality. With custom manufacturing, you’re designing everything from scratch and have more control over the production process. You also hold the inventory yourself, so you get to see the final product before it reaches your customers. Essentially, you get to perform your own quality control, making sure everything you send out reflects positively on your brand.

Higher Profit Margins

Custom manufacturing allows you to earn higher margins compared to print-on-demand services. With POD, you’re limited by the platform’s base prices and markup options, which can significantly decrease your profit margins. By creating your products through a custom patch factory or other manufacturing facilities, you have more control over the production costs and can set your prices accordingly.

Despite all these benefits, you might be asking yourself if it’s worth taking the inventory risk. The answer is, yes, it is. The key is to work with a manufacturing partner (like The/Studio) who can help mitigate these risks by offering low order quantities and reasonable prices. This way, you can test the market without committing to a large inventory upfront. And while you initially have to ship orders yourself, you can always explore options like third-party shipping companies once your business grows.

TikTok Shop For Custom Patches

How to Set up a TikTok Shop with Custom Products

Let’s talk about how to set up your own TikTok shop. The process is similar to setting up a regular e-commerce store, but with some tweaks specific to TikTok.

Research Your TikTok Audience

Before you start selling on TikTok, you need to make sure your products align with the TikTok audience. In many ways, TikTok is a unique platform – it has a much younger, more progressive, and highly engaged user base compared to other social media platforms. Understanding what appeals to them is crucial in creating products that will sell. You can look at the most popular hashtags and trends on TikTok to get an idea of what people are interested in. Research your competitors who sell on TikTok. What are their best-selling TikTok products? What makes them successful?

Decide What To Sell

If you’re a new company starting out, then small, lightweight, and low-cost items are a safe bet. These can include stickers, keychains, enamel pins, or custom patches. They’re low-risk, easy to produce and ship, and have high demand on TikTok. You can also go down the apparel route, such as custom baseball hats, beanies, or socks.

The great thing about all these items is that they won’t take up significant space in your home. As a small business, you won’t have the budget to invest in large amounts of inventory or the space to store it.

The/Studio Custom Manufacturing

Partner with a Custom Manufacturing Company

Once you decide what you want to sell on your TikTok shop, it’s time to partner with a custom manufacturing company. You need a company that:

  • Specializes in creating custom products you want to sell
  • Offers high-quality products
  • Can produce low-order quantities

Low minimums are crucial, especially if you’re just starting and don’t want to risk investing too much money in inventory. At The/Studio, we offer low minimums – you can just order one item if you want. For larger bulk purchases, we offer discounts to help you save money and increase your profit margins.

Register for a TikTok Business Account

There are four types of users who can set up a TikTok Shop:

  • Sellers
  • Creators
  • Partners
  • Affiliates

You likely fall into one of the first two categories: Sellers and Creators.

If you’re registering as a Seller, all you need to do is register for a TikTok business account. You’ll need to provide a few bits of information when you do this, such as:

  • Copy of your government-issued ID such as a passport
  • Business registration documents
  • The address where your business is registered

If you already have a regular TikTok creator account then you can turn this into a business account by going to your account settings and selecting “Switch to Business Account”. Just be aware that there are a few criteria you need to meet if you want to switch your creator account into a business account:

  • Have 1,000+ followers
  • Have 50+ video views in the last 28 days
  • Be 18 years old
  • Have posted a video on TikTok in the past 28 days

Next, you need to register for a TikTok Shop account and link the two accounts together. You’ll need to wait for TikTok to verify your account, which can take up to 2-3 business days. Once your account is verified, you can start setting up your TikTok shop.

Start Adding Products

To begin adding products to your TikTok shop, you’ll need to go to the “Products” tab on your TikTok Shop account. From there, you can add TikTok products manually or if you already have an online store on another platform, you can import your product feed. If you choose to import a product feed, make sure it contains all the necessary information such as product name, description, and pricing.

This is also where it’s important to invest in high-quality photography of your products. You need to show your products in their best light and make them look as attractive as possible to potential customers.

Promote Your Products Using TikTok Ads

Besides creating content for your own TikTok account, you can also create ads that will appear in your target audience’s For You feed. TikTok is all about creativity and “realness”. It’s not the place for polished and overly-produced ads. So, when marketing your TikTok products, keep this in mind. People want to see authentic and unique content, not just a sales pitch.

TikTok has over 8 different ad formats:

  • In-Feed Native Video Ads. Short video ads that appear in users’ “For You” page, seamlessly integrating with other TikTok content.
  • Brand Takeover Ads. Full-screen ads that appear when users first open the TikTok app, giving prominent visibility for your brand.
  • Branded Hashtag Challenges. Interactive campaigns where brands create specific hashtags and encourage users to create content around it.
  • TopView Ads. Similar to Brand Takeovers, these ads appear at the top of the “For You” page, offering the first in-feed post a user sees.
  • Branded Effects. Customizable filters, stickers, and special effects that brands create for users to use into their own videos.
  • Spark Ads. Native ads that allow brands to boost organic content from either their own TikTok account or other users, with permission.
  • TikTok Shopping Ads. These integrated ads directly link to TikTok Shop products, allowing users to shop within the TikTok platform straight from the ad.

Partner With TikTok Influencers

Partner with TikTok Influencers

Influencer advertising is also an effective way to reach and engage with potential customers. Partnering with TikTok influencers who have a large following in your target market can expose your brand and products to a wider audience. You’ll need to determine how much you are willing to spend on influencer campaigns and negotiate with influencers on the scope of their promotions.

There are different types of influencer collaborations you can do while selling on TikTok, such as:

  • Sponsored content. Where the influencer creates a video featuring your product or service.
  • Takeovers. Where an influencer takes over your brand’s TikTok account for a day to create and share content.
  • Live streams. Where influencers go live on their own TikTok accounts to promote your brand or product.
  • Event promotion. Where influencers attend and promote your brand’s events on their TikTok accounts.

You might think bigger is better when it comes to follower counts, but sometimes partnering with smaller influencers can be more effective. Smaller influencers often have a more engaged and loyal audience, leading to higher conversion rates for your brand. And of course, their rates are lower, so you don’t have to blow your budget on one collaboration.

Use TikTok Live

TikTok Live is another very useful feature that can help promote your TikTok shop. You can host live streams showcasing your TikTok products and interact with viewers in real time, building a stronger connection with your audience.

TikTok Live is also a great way to hold Q&A sessions or launch a new product. Customers like to see products “in action”, rather than just a static image. By using TikTok Live, you can demonstrate your products and answer any questions from potential customers while they watch.

Open Your TikTok Shop with The/Studio

If you’re looking for a manufacturing partner to help you set up your TikTok shop, then The/Studio team is at your service. As a leading custom manufacturing company, we can help you create custom products to sell on TikTok, including personalized patches, pins, hats, socks, and stickers. Our ordering process is simple and with low minimums, you can test the market and mitigate inventory risks.

FAQs

How many followers do you need to sell on TikTok Shop?

If you’re a TikTok creator, you need at least 1,000 followers to switch your account into a business account. You also need to be in good standing, so that means following the TikTok Community Guidelines and Terms of Service.

Can you sell custom items on TikTok Shop?

Yes, you can sell custom items on your TikTok Shop. In fact, selling custom items is a great way to differentiate your brand and stand out from the crowd. With The/Studio’s help, you can create unique and high-quality products that will attract more customers to your TikTok store.

What is the difference between a TikTok Shop for creators and sellers?

A TikTok Shop for a creator is specifically for those who have a large following on the platform and want to sell merchandise related to their brand or content. This type of shop allows creators to directly connect with their audience and promote their products through their own profile. A seller TikTok shop is for businesses and brands that want to use the platform as a sales channel.

Do you get commission from TikTok Shop?

Yes, those who register as an affiliate can earn a commission by promoting products from the TikTok Shop. Generally, affiliates earn between 5% and 30% commission for each sale they make, depending on the product and the agreement with the seller.

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