Merch 101: How To Sell Stuff on the TikTok Shop

sell on tiktok - how to open your own merch store, image of a woman at a desk making a list for her store
How to Sell on TikTok Cast Of Thousands/Shutterstock TATIA HART/Shutterstock Great Bergens/Shutterstock Remix by Caterina Cox

TikTok has become one of the most robust platforms for creators to earn money. Over the past two years, TikTok has expanded its monetization opportunities, even for those with a smaller audience. Beyond the Creator Rewards Program and TikTok Shop Creator Center, creators are leaning toward another path. 

TikTok has made it easy for anyone to set up their shop and sell products on TikTok Shop. If you’re a creator with an eye for design, here’s how to make and sell merch on TikTok. 

What Is TikTok Shop?

In September of 2023, TikTok rolled out an e-commerce option for businesses and creators in the United States called TikTok Shop. Like other e-commerce platforms, TikTok Shop lets sellers upload their products to the platform for direct in-app purchases. 

Sellers show their products directly in videos and Lives. Users can then find them while scrolling and searching through the product marketplace. This method allows sellers to market and advertise their products widely across TikTok. TikTok Shop sellers can even invite other creators to mention their products in videos. You can incentivize other creators to promote your products with affiliate revenue based on sales they drive. 

How To Get Started Setting up a TikTok Shop?

The process for selling merchandise on TikTok is simple. If you have an existing account, you can sign up using that or a phone number or email. 

Once you sign up, you’ll begin working on an application to become an official TikTok seller. Next, you’ll need to pick a business type. TikTok lets you choose whether to sell as a registered business or as an individual. 

Both business types require you to share documents. For individuals, TikTok will need your US passport or license, residential address, and the last four digits of your tax ID.

Registering as a business is slightly different. Registered businesses must provide their registered business address, tax ID’s last four digits, and employer identification number. 

Before submitting your application, you must pick a name for your TikTok Shop. You can use your TikTok user name if it hasn’t been claimed for another TikTok Shop or use a different name. After picking a product category, you’ll hit the submit button. TikTok will email you within 2-6 days to let you know if your store is approved.

How Can I Start Selling Merch on TikTok?

Once your application is approved, you can start setting up your TikTok store. You will add each product to your shop by sharing basic information, including product images, name, category, and price. After you submit a product for review, it will be live on your TikTok store. 

To streamline this process and help drive sales, spend time working on detailed product descriptions and imagery before setting up your shop. The more information you have ready for each product, the quicker it will take to set up your shop and allow you to start earning money.

Sell on TikTok- products from the TikTok shop

Can I Sell Handmade Items?

When you’re brainstorming what to sell on your TikTok Shop, don’t feel limited to creating merch, whether it’s a line of T-shirts or stickers. You can also sell handmade items on your TikTok Shop. You can sell handcrafted jewelry, ceramics, or other items as long as they don’t fall into one of TikTok’s prohibited categories

If you want to sell handmade items on TikTok, share details.  Explain the materials you used in the product description and upload multiple photos with every listing. That way, users can get a good sense of your product before hitting the buy button. 

What Are You Not Allowed To Sell?

Before setting up a TikTok Shop, look at the prohibited items TikTok doesn’t allow sellers to add to their stores. 

The list includes adult products, alcohol, tobacco, and e-cigarettes. You can’t sell animals, personal care products, drugs or drug paraphernalia, firearms, or weapons. The point is this list is extensive. Make sure you read the full list here

If you try to sell a product that TikTok has on the prohibited list, the platform might block or remove the product listing from your shop. 

How Much Does It Cost To Sell on TikTok?

Sellers can set up a store on TikTok Shop and begin listing their products for free. However, once orders start coming in, TikTok charges a fee per order. 

As of April 2024, sellers will pay TikTok a 6% commission fee per order. When setting up your store as a TikTok seller, consider that fee when determining your pricing on the platform. 

How Long Does It Take for TikTok Shop To Pay You?

After you pack up an order and send it out, the TikTok shop will send payment for that order within 1-8 days after the item’s delivery date. That can be an extensive wait at first. 

However, as you build a shipping history on the platform and get orders out fast, TikTok will release your payments faster. As a new seller, you will likely get paid eight days after the order is delivered. 

Is Selling on TikTok Shop Worth It?

If you’re a creator who has always wanted to sell merch, handmade items, or products you manufactured, TikTok Shop could be a great feature. 

When you list an item on TikTok Shop, it is available for you to promote through video content and LIVES on TikTok. Other creators can showcase your products to their audience by linking the item in their content on TikTok.

Since setting up a TikTok Shop is free, once you know what type of products you want to sell, you can spend a few months listing those products on TikTok, pushing out content about the products, and seeing how many sales you can land.

 If you’re eager to sell merch on TikTok, set up your shop today and see if being a TikTok Shop seller is a viable monetization option for you and your brand. 

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