As TikTok gears up for an uncertain, yet ambitious, few months ahead, one thing is clear – TikTok Shop has become a critical player in the Social Commerce landscape. 

Still aiming to grow its US business tenfold to $17.5 billion before the year is through, the platform shows no signs of slowing down. 

From the explosive growth in Live Shopping events (where half of all TikTok users have now purchased something) to its impact on brand discovery and consumer conversion, TikTok continues to reshape online retail and what this means for Fashion & Beauty brands. 

Making the best before potential bans begin is at the forefront of every marketer's mind, too.

So, here’s how to do it. 

Join Verity LIVE from the Social Commerce Summit: New York 2024, as she talks to Bri Kennedy (Director of Integrated Marketing @ Maesa) and Broghan Smith (Fashion Key Accounts Lead @ TikTok Shop) on the topic.


You’ll learn all about…


  • Launching Influencer-Founded Brands: Starting out as an influencer-founded brand on TikTok Shop requires strategic considerations. There’s order management, warehousing, and stock inventory to consider – especially for brands who don’t yet sell D2C. This is how you do it right. 


  • Mastering In-App Affiliate Marketing: Affiliates play a significant role in driving sales and engagement on TikTok Shop, with creators driving higher conversion rates than brand channels. Driving interest for in-app discounts, bundles, offers, and events through your affiliates on the platform is key to coming across authentically; while reserving your brand channels for entertainment and education. 


  • The Potential of Live Shopping: Live shopping is an exciting and evolving aspect of TikTok Shop – one that continues to offer unique opportunities for product communication and sales in the UK and US. We need only look to Douyin’s example for where this has the potential to go.


Fashion & Beauty brand builders, here’s your TikTok Shop blueprint. 

Tune into Broghan’s previous episode on ‘How To Win On TikTok Shop’, recorded at the Social Commerce Summit: London earlier this year.

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Content & Commerce: Maesa x TikTok Shop's Success Blueprint for Fashion & Beauty Brands

Verity: Okay, so we are, as Broghan said… there's going to be an opportunity to ask him some questions in a bit, but we just wanted to welcome Bri to the stage. We did this in London and we invited a brand to come on to talk about how to bring all of this stuff that Broghan's just talked about in real life and how it works.


So, Bri, do you want to just give us an introduction to yourself and the brands that you look after before we dig in?


Bri: Yeah, amazing. So hi, I'm Bri Kennedy, Director of Integrated Marketing at Maesa. We launched two brands on TikTok Shop at the end of 2023. So we've been on with a hair care brand and a skin care brand, so Hairitage and ITK, for about five – going on six – months now. It's been an amazing journey; a really fun platform to play around with and experiment with. So, excited to be chatting more about it today.


Verity: Thank you. So yeah, first of all, you've taken two influencer-founded brands that are Walmart exclusives and launched them on TikTok Shop. Could you just… let's start from the beginning. What are some of the strategies and some of the considerations that you've had to put into place to take it there? 


Bri: So as I already said, these two brands are influencer-founded. So we like to think of ourselves as social-first brands. And because we're led by influencers, of course, they're up to date on TikTok Shop. They're using it themselves, even before the brands were live. So it only made sense for us to try to integrate our brand onto that platform as well.


As much as Broghan just talked about how seamless it is to set up, I do agree. However, our brands do not have D2C, so TikTok Shop actually functions as more of our D2C. As Verity said, we were exclusive at Walmart. And so when it came to things that we had to get in place, we had to figure out order management, warehousing, stock inventory – because, again, we didn't have a Shopify already set up that we could just seamlessly link up. That would have been so much easier and nicer. And then we also, of course, because we were exclusive to Walmart, we had to chat with our partners there and kind of explain how we envision TikTok Shop living in our commerce ecosystem.


So the intention is more about brand awareness and just being where our consumers are, and being where people are talking and sharing products and wanting to amplify that, versus taking market share away from Walmart. So our ultimate goal is always get those new consumers on TikTok Shop and hopefully then have them go and replenish at our primary retailer. 


Verity: Amazing. And you've amassed such a significant following between the two brands. What are some of the key actions that have kind of spiraled that growth? 


Bri: Yeah, so I would say two things. One is posting consistently. And then the second one is not worrying about being perfect and just posting a bunch. I've definitely… on both brands, we've been in, you know, the infamous ‘400 view’ jail, which can be discouraging sometimes. And, you know, sometimes you're like, why do I keep, you know, putting effort into this? 


But my recommendation would be just to keep going at it, keep leaning into, you know, the formats that TikTok themselves are pushing. So obviously right now, photo carousels, which, you know, feels a bit, a bit more like Instagram, but much easier to create. So like, for me and my team, it's almost like there's no reason we shouldn't be doing some sort of photo carousel almost every day and then continuing to amplify that with our video content as well.


And then of course, just with TikTok Shop and working with affiliates, we've been able to get content just out there. 


So definitely just don't give up, keep posting and keep just, you know, pivoting into, you know, what the platform and what the algorithms are prioritizing. So many people suffer from the ‘400 views’. I've been there, trust me. I've been there and I've gotten out of there. I'm sure I'll get there again someday. But no, we're on the other side right now. 


Verity: Amazing. You mentioned views there. What are some of the metrics that you track that shows that you've got that success on TikTok? 


Bri: Yeah, we definitely… So, while of course we always want to build our Follower base, it really is more about those engagement metrics. So it is more about the Views, the Likes, the Comments. Anytime that we get really great Comments, I'm sure some people in the room have experienced this where it's like, ‘your marketing team needs a raise’. Those are true metrics of success. But honestly, yeah, it's more so the engagement metrics. Of course, we want people to follow along and join us and join our brand, but as long as they're engaging with the content, whether they follow us or not, it's neither here nor there. 


Verity: And in terms of content formats and the kind of content that you're pushing out there, I suppose there's always been a big conversation around balancing the education versus the promotional side of things. How do you get that right to drive the sales but also build the brand loyalty? 


Bri: Yeah, so we as a brand mostly focus on the engaging and educational type of content. I'm sure as we all know, like as a brand forcing promotions down people's throats doesn't necessarily always perform well. So even with us now on TikTok Shop and you know, when there are TikTok Shop promos, for example, as a brand, we don't post about them that much because we don't see the return on it. 


I'd rather, you know, post engaging content that's going to get people to engage with us, stick around. and we really leave the promotional type content up to the affiliates, which has been super successful.


And again, just kind of then eliminates assets that we feel like we have to create just to post to promote a sale. We just kind of stay away from that and let the community do that for us. 


Verity: Yeah. And trending audio on TikTok, how crucial is it? 


Bri: It's very important. TikTok has made it much more difficult sometimes to be able to sync them, which is painful. But no, super important, I would say, in terms of trending audio, trending formats. Again, when I was talking about the photo carousels, that's been a really easy way, I think, as a brand to be able to tap into those trends. 


There's oftentimes a lot of trends that are like then and now type content. And so just figuring out how can the brand fit into that. So maybe we showed the packaging at stage one, and then it swipes to what the assortment looks like now. And we find that our audience really resonates with that, and they love seeing, like, how far the brand has come. So I think anytime that you're able to tap into what's trending, whether it's audio, whether it's the formats has proven to be really beneficial. And that's where we see the pieces of content that we have seen that have gone viral are basically all trend-based versus just straight branded content. 


Broghan: Sorry, to build off that… I think we try and adapt really quickly as a platform to allow you guys to do that, right? I'm sure you guys would have seen if you're avid TikTok users in the room, the song of the summer, ‘I'm looking for a man in finance, how do you get on that track quickly? Six five, blue eyes’, et cetera. We want people to be able to respond quickly through their content, right?


So there's kind of two ways to do it, be adaptable to the sound and be able to move quickly, but also the commercial music library, which has got millions of commercially cleared songs for brands to use risk-free, which is also really important when we're talking about social reach, right? And yet it just enables that real fresh, organic, exciting content to feel quite natural, which is the goal, right? We want it to feel seamless and be able to respond quickly. So I'm sure loads of social media strategists and planners in this room are thinking, how can I capitalize on that trend to be involved in the song of the summer – but just a good example, right? 


Verity: Affiliates, obviously, Broghan, you just talked about that as being a big part of a successful strategy on TikTok. And Bri, obviously, that's a big part of your strategy as well. What does an ongoing engagement affiliate engagement model look like? 


Bri: Yeah. So definitely, again, when we were thinking about launching on the platform, I would say affiliates was really the main pull, again, because we are influencer founded brands who also as the influencers work as affiliates. That's been a really key marketing tactic that they've been wanting to push. And in the absence of D2C, seeing that TikTok had that offered, sort of had the affiliate marketplace baked right in, was really what helped us push this through. 


And so honestly, I mean, we've had so much fun exploring with affiliates on the platform. We, right now, again, sort of five months into it, keep everything super broad, super open. 


When we were first launched, we had our settings set up that we had to approve each affiliate, we had to go through, look at them and we were looking at them with more of an eye that we would look at like a paid influencer partner, which we quickly learned is not the way to go. 


Because, as Broghan was saying, you know, the top creators on TikTok Shop don't really look like your traditional influencers. You know, they look more just like a normal person. So I think you have to be willing a little bit to understand that like maybe their content isn't as high of quality as you would expect from a paid influencer. Maybe it's not exactly what you as a brand would post but you know, TikTok has the metrics in the backend to let you see how much they've sold recently. And it's hard to deny that and hard to say like, no, I don't want to work with you. 


So, I think TikTok definitely has a functionality set up to really, you know, help push through top affiliates and be able to recognize who's going to work. 


Broghan: And the numbers really do back that up. Creators drive on average about 30% higher conversion than a brand's channel, because ultimately they convey a message that a brand can never replicate. 


Bri: Right! It's a true customer's insight into your product. And really good point. Sometimes they don't look like how you'd kind of imagine them to look. There's a difference between who you want on your brand assets, right, driving your kind of top of the funnel marketing campaigns to who's going to drive sales on TikTok Shop. 


Broghan: And don't kind of… I guess, be open to that. And we work with some of the biggest brands in the world now on TikTok Shop – Puma, Asos, all the way through to kind of like, more traditional brands and it's ultimately a journey we go on with them of starting in a really controlled environment and then ultimately getting to that open plan space where any creator who kind of has that product or requests a sample can make shoppable content and their insight is unique to them. That's something that cannot be replicated and that's ultimately the real value. The bonus is they drive sales and that incremental view built by creators over time is driving more and more conversion, therefore more sales and it just amplifies from there.


Verity: I would just like to tap into Live Shopping because, when we did this in the UK, we had a brand on and they were going live 8 to 10 hours a day and making more money in an hour through Live Shopping than they were in their retail store and it absolutely blew everybody away. Broghan, obviously you touched on it before. There's obviously some interesting and exciting things happening but do you want to just give us a little bit of a lay of the land of what are we going to expect? How is it evolving over the next few years?


Broghan: I think it's the most exciting part of our platform. But I think the key element is it's a completely new world. I know from my own first experience that a Live Shopping environment was like nothing I'd kind of seen before. It was a completely new way to communicate. And I'm sure many people in the room today have seen kind of what that looks like on Douyin and how they communicate products through lives. And some of the most premium fashion houses are live 8 hours a day on Douyin out there and it is a wave that's coming. 


And I think in my kind of world in fashion back in the UK, it's about translating Live to those like fashion key accounts, your Adidas’, your Pumas, your Zaras, your ASOS’ your PLTs – it's like, how do we make Lives work for them? 


And ultimately there are so many different ways to do it. And yeah, we've seen examples where brands have actually closed down retail stores because Lives are becoming more valuable. But yeah, I think to start, I think the first step is the hardest. Just start by something that feels super kind of natural for what you're already communicating. But also don't be afraid to use creators in Lives as well. We have creators who literally go live, variety of different brands and products, 6 to 8 hours a day. They can do exclusive Lives for your product and communicate again in a way that's completely unique to them. So that's a really great opportunity if you don't want to do the full branded Live as your first kick-off; let a creator translate it for you. They're still driving sales through their Lives in a completely unique way to them, and it's a really low touch way to do it. 


Bri: Yeah, I also think there's a bit of an art to this, that the presenters as well. And I mean, when I'm kind of scrolling through this certain Live Shopping, like the presenters that I just don't warm to instantly. And I think it's just kind of working with different people, getting those different personalities across and seeing how it works. 


Broghan: Also, I just say don't be afraid to like it kind of feels like a TV environment naturally. That's kind of what we've all grown up watching right? But it's not unusual for our presenters on Lives just like not speak for like five minutes – the live still going on and you're like no one's talking with that. That's just them being natural, right? That's just them just waiting for that comment to spark the next conversation for the next product to come up on the pin videos. 


It doesn't have to be a constant 6 hour stream of talking, like it's actually more natural if they're just being themselves and engaging with things in real time. That's; that's kind of what we're looking for. I encouraged you to just be able to go through and watch some of those lives. 


Bri: Our team has learned a lot just from watching some of those creator lives, working with certain creators. We have some, you know, who do full-on hair tutorials. They're live for 3, 5 hours. And then we have others who you never even see their face while they're live. And it's just like, OK, I guess our team can do that too. Like, let's try it, you know? 


And honestly, we've seen the ones where there's not even a face in it outperform the ones where they're doing hair tutorials for 5 hours. You wouldn't think that makes sense. But just seeing it, it's kind of just, you know, a fun playground to be able to experiment. 


Broghan: Before we go on stage, I think the phrase we used was like test and learn. And that honestly underpins a lot of your strategy here. Test things, be brave, do things that are kind of against maybe your already existing communication and let kind of TikTok work its magic there. And then when you find something that works, you can double down, amplify and really see the return come through. I think we're in a world where if it doesn't make sense, it's actually a good thing. 


Verity: Yeah. Okay, a couple of questions. Have you found any differences with your top selling SKUs on other channels versus TikTok Shop? Has it had any impact on your larger marketing calendar?


Bri: Yes, so we actually see… so we launched on TikTok Shop kind of just with not a full assortment, just smaller. We launched with some hair tools, some hair care products, and some hair accessories. And the goal was just to see what's gonna happen, what are people gonna pick up on? And we have seen that hair tools have been our top performers. 


Also interestingly, our highest selling items are the top performers, and that's not necessarily what we see at retail. So again, it's actually been fun to see the TikTok community pick up on tools where maybe more of the consumer in-store is actually shopping more of the haircare. 


And we have started to see the halo then at retail as well of, you know, once consumers are seeing these tools out there more and more, hearing about the brand more, you know, maybe they're not buying right that second, but they are then going and shopping. 


Verity: So what is your system for giving creators more samples when they run out? Are they able to order for themselves via TikTok Shop? 


Bri: Yes. And so that's also, again, been so great of like, you know, when you see giveaways happen during Lives, you see creators ask for samples. It all runs through TikTok Shop. There's no like, let me write that down. Let me get in touch with them for their address. No, it's all done.


I will say, and so we do see creators, you know, come back and request more samples. But we also then work to build those relationships off of the platform as well. So some of our top affiliate creators, they have my contact information. They know they don't need to request it via TikTok Shop. They can just come ask for it. We'll send it their way. But I think definitely continue to get more product in the hands of some of your top affiliates, because once they love the brand and are talking about it, they want new things to talk about too. They're just like brands in that sense, and they're always looking to create content. So give them things to see. 


Broghan: We try really hard to have a solution for everyone, right? So this example is a great one because you've got no DTC site. So we can do everything from kind of manage orders, manage crates, a sample sending out to everything within a fully integrated seller center. So we can do everything from ship the product for you. We've got Fulfilled By TikTok, which is live in the US and the UK, to send samples out seamlessly. So yeah, it can work kind of regardless of your situation from that resource tech setup to fulfillment. It's all possible. 


Verity: And Broghan quickly, you mentioned Gen Z being a big demographic. But if a brand has a customer 45+, is TikTok a good platform to reach them? 


Broghan: It's a good question. And I'm excited to say that it's actually our fastest growing category. Of course, we're pretty saturated in the Gen Z space. It's been the audience on TikTok that kind of started, grew with us. But now we're kind of seeing that adoption take place in, kind of, all the categories. And yeah, we're seeing brands like Victoria Beckham translate their product to that customer who maybe has a bit more spending power or maybe is, you know, come with the brand on their journey across TikTok and now can purchase directly. So it's the fastest growing category. 


It's an exciting space. We've got loads of different hashtags that are kind of running through that demographic naturally and seamlessly. So yeah, I would say definitely now is actually probably the perfect time. 


Verity: Bri, lastly, what would be your advice for, well, I suppose more beauty brands and getting started on TikTok or converting their TikTok followers into superfans?


Bri: Yeah, I think going back to the test and learn and just pushing the content out there again, don't be afraid. Like if it gets 400 views, OK, move on, archive it. If you don't want people to see that you only got 400 views, move on. Try it again.


You know, we've also been exploring, you know, leaning in, like if we do a trend and it performs, do a trend again, change it up. You know what I mean? It doesn't have to be so limited to just, you know, maybe like people do one Instagram post a day, one TikTok post a day. It's like, just keep it moving. 


And then we've also been really lucky at Maesa and with these brands in particular, that the social team has sort of free reign with social. So there's no sitting around a conference table explaining a trend to someone, getting it approved. You know, our teams have full trust that like, if you see a trend, it makes sense for the brand, it fits within, you know, sort of the brand messaging we're trying to get out, just activate against it and be out there and move quickly.

Verity: Amazing. Thank you so much, everyone. And I'm sure these guys are going to be hanging around. So if you've got any more questions, they will be free to chat. Thank you.