“To be seen on TikTok” is the new “To be seen on TV”

New York (AP) — Near It’Sugar’s Twizzlers and Sour Patch Kids, a random item (fidgeting toys, soft jelly candies in the shape of fruits) that became popular on the shelves of the candy store because it was talked about on TikTok. )there is.

A flood in last year’s video showed that people were chewing on fruit gummy plastic casings and spewing artificially colored jelly out of their mouths. The clerk urged the company to keep inventory, and Gummy was so successful that It’Sugar decided to make Tik Tok part of its sales strategy. The chain now has a sign in the store with the app logo, and TikTok products make up 5% to 10% of weekly sales.

“This is an insane number,” said Chris Lindstedt, vice president of merchandising at It’Sugar, which has approximately 100 locations.

TikTok, the most well-known app for dance videos with 1 billion users worldwide, is also a shopping phenomenon. The national chain wants most of TikTok to attract young users to the store and has a TikTok section reminiscent of the “As Seen On TV” store that sells products sold in infomercials.

Barnes & Noble will display the #BookTok sign on the table. This is the recommended hashtag for TikTok’s books that have pushed paperbacks to the best-selling list. Amazon has a section of the site called “Internet Famous” that has a list of products that anyone who has spent time on TikTok will know.

The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has been played over 5 billion times on TikTok, and the app has surprised grab bags for products such as leggings, handbags, cleaners and even feta cheese. A video of a freshly baked feta pasta recipe blew salty white cheese from a supermarket fridge earlier this year.

The code for what will be the next TikTok sensation is hard to decipher. How TikTok decides who can see what remains largely a mystery. In many cases, companies tend to be surprised and raid after a product is launched, throwing creators for free, hiring them to appear in commercials, or buying TikTok ads.

Kate Spade Chief Marketing Officer Jenny Campbell recalled a surge in searches for “hearts” on Kate Spade’s website earlier this year, saying “I was a little annoyed at first.” ..

The culprit turned out to be a 60-second clip of TikTok posted by 22-year-old Nathalie Covarrubias. She recorded herself in a parked car spewing around a pink heart-shaped purse she had just purchased. Others have copied her video and posted TikToks, where they buy bags and try on different outfits. The $ 300 heart-shaped wallet is sold out.

“I wasn’t trying to promote the bag, so I couldn’t believe it,” said Cobalbias, a make-up artist in Salinas, California, who wasn’t paid to post the video. “I was really excited and happy about the wallet and how unique it was.”

Kate Spade sent a free Covarrubias item instead of posting another TikTok when the bag returned to the store. (The video was marked as an ad.) It turned what was supposed to be a limited Valentine’s Day wallet into one that sells all year round in a variety of colors and fabrics, such as faux fur. rice field.

Gen Z Planet founder Hana Ben-Shabat said that TikTok is a powerful Gen Z because creators look real, in contrast to Instagram, where the goal is to post the most perfect looking selfies. It is a purchase push. Her advisory firm focuses on the generation born between the late 1990s and 2016, the cohort that actually lives in TikTok.

Users trust the recommendations, she said. “This is a real person and tells a true story.”

Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms have connected people with friends and random funny videos before marketers realize their potential for sale. For TikTok, losing a credible veneer can be a risk as more advertising and shopping methods flood the app. “If the ad is blatant or awkward, it’s more of a problem,” said Colin Campbell, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of San Diego.

Influencers who get paid for the brand Sakura say they are good at marketing their products to their followers, and even if they get paid, they actually recommend the products they like. “They don’t, but they feel like our friends,” he said.

Channah Myers, a 21-year-old barista from Goodyear, Arizona, bought $ 50 Aerie leggings after watching some TikTok videos of a woman who said that cross-banding on the waist gave her an hourglass-like appearance. “It’s funny. I’m religiously shopping at Aerie, but I didn’t know they existed until I saw them on TikTok,” Myers said.

After these Aerie leggings became a hot topic on TikTok in 2020, teen retailers expanded the same design to biker shorts, tennis skirts and bikini bottoms. All of these can be found by searching for “TikTok” on the Aerie website. I don’t know how many leggings sold.

TikTok, along with other tech companies like Snapchat, is preparing to challenge Facebook as a social shopping powerhouse. According to eMarketer, shopping on social media sites known as social commerce is a $ 37 billion market in the United States, most of which comes from Instagram and its parent company Facebook. By the end of 2025, that number is expected to more than double to $ 80 billion.

Last month, TikTok began testing how brands set up shops within the app and sent users to check out their site. But TikTok hinted that more would come. Ultimately, it could look like Douyin, a sister app to TikTok in China. With this app, you can buy and sell products without leaving the app, just as you would with Facebook or Instagram.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen a new kind of shopping experience driven by the TikTok community,” said Sandie Hawkins, general manager of TikTok, who works with brands to buy and support app ads. Stated. They boost sales. “We are excited to listen to the community and continue to build solutions that help them discover, engage and buy the products they love.”

This includes Pink Staff, a British cleaning product that was not available in the United States last year. It all changed when a video of people using it to scrub rusty pots and greasy countertops became a hot topic on TikTok and encouraged the brand to cross the Atlantic. According to Sal Pesce, president and chief operating officer of The Pink Stuff US, launched on Amazon in January in the United States, 1.3 million bathtubs are sold each month and are being sought after by major stores.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said.


Follow Joseph Pisani on Twitter @ josephpisani

“To be seen on TikTok” is the new “To be seen on TV”

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