Did you know that Douyin is the second most popular social media app in the Chinese market? In fact, this platform has garnered an enormous user base of over 750 million monthly active users in 2023. Since its catapult to fame, this channel has become the go-to app for businesses to connect with Chinese consumers.
And with the online shopping trend’s rapid growth, the platform saw a huge opportunity to introduce flagship stores as a new service in 2021. Through this e-commerce feature, Douyin users can now make purchases without leaving the app.
In this post, we’ll discuss how international brands can create their business accounts on the platform and explore the different strategies to maximize your Douyin e-commerce store.
Can you sell on Douyin?
Yes, you can sell on Douyin because this app is not only a social channel but also a B2C cross-border e-commerce platform. So, as long as they present the proper requirements, a foreign brand or retailer can set up their own Douyin store to showcase and sell their products.
Unlike other social media apps, Douyin also has in-store search bars specifically dedicated to Chinese users to find and buy products within the platform.
The methods you can use to sell products on Douyin vary depending on your marketing goals and strategies. Besides utilizing advertising formats, foreign brands can host e-commerce live-streaming sessions to attract customers within the app.
What is Douyin Flagship Store?
A Douyin Flagship Store is essentially an integrated e-commerce store within the social app. It allows brands to create a more immersive shopping experience for their targeted Chinese consumers to browse and purchase products without the need to connect to a third-party website.
The immersive nature of Douyin Flagship Stores creates a deep consumer engagement. On top of that, its ability to target content makes these stores very effective for reaching specific demographics.
Clarins’ flagship store on Douyin
It offers a unique blend of content and commerce, encouraging innovative marketing strategies like interactive challenges and user-generated content. Here are some e-commerce features you can expect when launching a flagship store on Douyin:
- Product Integration: When you promote a product within the app, it’ll seamlessly blend within the platform’s content feed. Using your business profile, you can create short videos to showcase your products, making purchasing easier for consumers.
- Live Streaming: It’s a feature where brands can reach Chinese consumers in real-time. The content can range from product demonstrations to Q&As, all of which are particularly effective for conversion.
- Customization and Branding: Flagship stores offer customization options to align with the brand’s identity, ensuring a consistent shopping experience.
- Data Analytics: After launching marketing and advertising campaigns in Douyin, business accounts will have access to data and analytics. Through these details, brands can understand consumer behavior, optimize strategies, and increase sales more effectively.
How Does Douyin Store Work?
Since its creation, Douyin has made setting up a store even more accessible for its users. To establish it, users must upload at least ten short videos.
Here are two primary methods through which you can engage with the e-commerce functions on Douyin:
- Direct E-commerce Links in Videos
While watching a video, Douyin users can interact with an e-commerce link embedded within the content. This link directs them to a detailed product introduction page within the app.
- Product Banners on Video Loop
A product banner will be displayed upon the video replaying for a second time. This banner serves as a visual prompt, inviting viewers to explore the featured product.
Once it captures the user’s interests, they can proceed by clicking the “Buy Now” button. It’ll redirect them to the product’s page on Taobao, one of China’s largest online shopping platforms.
The integration between Douyin and Taobao exemplifies the interconnected nature of social media and e-commerce in China’s digital market landscape.
How to Launch Your Own Flagship Store on Douyin App
Like other e-commerce giants like Tmall Global and JD.com, Douyin requires businesses to undergo an approval process. Here are some of the things you must provide for your account to have access to the platform’s e-commerce features:
- A previously created Douyin account
- Ten short videos must already be uploaded to the account
- A business license to prove the legitimacy of the brand
- An ID card information from the marketer or business owner/s
- Bank card information and real name for authentication purposes
- A deposit fee for your Douyin Mall account
You’ll need all the requirements above to verify the business as eligible within the Chinese market and set up your own store on Douyin.
Once verification is complete, you can go to “Share Merch” and apply for your Douyin store. It usually takes a few hours to get feedback on your application. From there, you can link your JD, Taobao, or Tmall store to the platform and add products to your store’s landing page.
As previously stated, you can opt to add your products to a short video during the posting process. The rest of your products will be visible on your Douyin account profile.
Best Digital Marketing Strategies for Douyin Stores
● Develop An Effective Branding
When you launch a brand account on popular short video apps like Douyin, users expect to find everything they need to know about the business within the platform. Consumers in China are savvy online shoppers, so it’s worth noting that they’re especially wary of new brands entering the local market.
Typical customers would like to see basic information, like your brand name, contact details, and official website links, on your account. Businesses can also connect better with their targeted audiences by creating a brand video or a personalized hashtag.
● Add a Product Catalog
After establishing your brand profile on the Douyin platform, the next step involves adding products to its catalog. These common features can accommodate a diverse range of items, from tangible goods like clothing, accessories, food, and beverages to digital offerings such as software.
For each product, it’s essential to include comprehensive details like:
- Showcase your products with clear, appealing images
- Provide thorough descriptions to inform and entice potential customers
- Clearly state the price of each item for better selling results
- Outline the available shipping methods, ensuring they are tailored to your product type and target audience
- Specify realistic delivery times to set appropriate customer expectations
● Set-Up Digital Payment Options
When selling products on Douyin’s e-commerce platform, don’t forget to configure your payment settings. The platform supports various payment options, so users can make purchases through credit cards or connect via Alipay and WeChat Pay.
● Create Engaging Content
With your Douyin store fully operational, the focus shifts to its promotion. Fortunately, the app offers a full suite of templates and tools designed to assist you in creating video campaigns that align with your marketing goals.
Another way to amplify your brand presence on the app is by using hashtags on your product listings. You can rely on it to boost your post’s visibility, which can lead to more customers discovering your products.
Hashtag challenges for Coach
Adding personalized hashtags to your store’s marketing content can also potentially build a dedicated community around your brand.
We suggest utilizing the same hashtags for your digital marketing campaigns as much as possible because it will generate better brand recognition among Douyin users.
● Collaboration with Key Opinion Leaders
The number of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) on Douyin is nowhere near other platforms in Mainland China. With 48% of the Gen Z consumer market keen on following the recommendations of these influencers, brands can count on this strategy to boost their visibility and recognition within the app.
KOL marketing strategies are an excellent way to reach your target audience in China., mainly because these influencers often have a specific niche or demographic that trusts their opinions and recommendations.
So, when a KOL endorses a product from a global brand’s Douyin flagship store, it can lend credibility and foster trust among its potential customers.
They are also well-versed in the functionalities and trends of Douyin. Collaborating with these online personalities can include live streaming, short video clips, and interactive elements (like polls or quizzes) to promote products more engagingly and interactively.
● Utilize Douyin Advertising Tools
Compared to other apps, there’s no denying that Douyin has a relatively more massive user base and higher engagement rate. Because of this, ads launched on the app can reach more users and provide significant exposure for your flagship store.
Brands can also choose from a wide range of advertising formats, including short video ads, brand takeovers, in-feed ads, search ads, and hashtag challenges. These ad types can be creatively utilized to engage users and direct traffic to the brand’s flagship store.
Douyin wide range of ad formats for businesses
The advertising system on this short video app also allows for precise targeting options that brands can set based on user demographics, interests, and behavior.
Douyin’s integrated e-commerce functions allow users to shop directly through ads without issues. It also gives brands more control over the consumer buying cycle since users can quickly move from discovering a product in an advertisement to purchasing it in the flagship store without switching platforms.
Advantages of Douyin Store over Other E-commerce Platforms
1. High Engagement Rate than Other Apps
The average time spent on Douyin monthly is 33.9 hours, the highest among other short video platforms in China. You may not know, but this level of engagement rate is all thanks to the platform’s algorithm. It’s designed to keep users engaged with content that matches their interests.
Monthly time spent on leading short video apps in China 2022 (Source: Statista)
For brands, increased engagement rates on Douyin means more visibility and the opportunity to connect with a highly engaged audience. If utilized correctly, it can translate to better conversion rates than other e-commerce platforms.
2. Douyin Store Mini Programs
WeChat originally created mini programs, but their popularity has expanded across many other platforms, including Douyin. Bytedance allows merchants to sell to users directly through these features.
These mini-programs allow for better product selections for users and give them an all-in-one shopping experience.
It can also be shared with users in many ways, including via WeChat in the form of QR codes, but the one way that drives the most traffic would be through video links.
3. Access to a Younger Demographic
According to Statista’s report, one out of every three Douyin users belong to the younger user base under 26 years old. So, for brands targeting Gen Z and younger millennials, it’s an ideal platform to reach this demographic.
Douyin (TikTok) user age distribution in China 2022 (Source: Statista)
Most of this demographic is drawn to dynamic and interactive content, which Douyin specializes in. The platform’s focus on short-form videos resonates well with the younger generation’s preference for quick, engaging, and visually appealing tastes.
4. Viral Marketing Potential
The main structure of Douyin’s content is short, creative videos, which are characteristics that are perfect for viral video marketing. Through these formats, brands have higher chances of gaining rapid popularity within the app.
This organic reach is a significant advantage over traditional e-commerce platforms, where visibility often relies heavily on paid advertising.
What is restricted on Douyin?
Douyin has specific content guidelines that must be adhered to. Any promotions or advertisements that are misleading, false, or deceptive are not allowed. It includes making unsubstantiated claims about a product’s effectiveness or benefits.
There may also be limitations on how certain products can be advertised on the platform. Most restrictions cover how and when products like pharmaceuticals or financial services can be marketed.
How Much Does It Cost To Open A Douyin Store For Your Brand?
Compared to some major platforms, the fees of launching stores on Douyin are relatively more affordable. For basic virtual storefronts, brands are only required to pay a 500 RMB deposit.
Meanwhile, you’ll need around 4000 to 20000 RMB deposit fee if the brand launches Flagship, specialty, and franchise stores on Douyin.
The payment for individual businesses and enterprises also varies depending on the store type you’re trying to open. Your required deposit can also change according to sales volume, so we suggest allocating your e-commerce budget accordingly.
What is the difference between Douyin and Kuaishou?
Douyin is a trendy short-video platform in China popular among a younger, urban audience. It mainly features sophisticated algorithms, e-commerce, and entertainment content. Meanwhile, Kuaishou has a more diverse user base, including older and rural users, focusing on real-life, relatable content and strong in livestreaming e-commerce.
Can I use Douyin outside of China?
No, Douyin is designed for the Chinese market and is only available within China. ByteDance offers TikTok, the international version of Douyin, for users outside China. While the core functionality of sharing short videos is similar, the two apps have different content features and are subject to different regulations.
What is the difference between Douyin and TikTok?
Douyin and TikTok are both owned by ByteDance but are separate entities. Douyin is tailored for China with content and features that cater to Chinese users and comply with Chinese regulations. In contrast, TikTok is the app’s international version, available everywhere except China. It has a global user base with diverse content.
Your Douyin E-commerce Partner in Mainland China
China is one of the largest e-commerce markets in the world, so new brands need to choose the best platform to list their products. Douyin, in particular, has a massive reach that can boost your brand’s visibility and potential revenue. However, utilizing this tool requires a deep understanding of the Chinese digital landscape.
At Sekkei Digital Group, we understand the subtleties inherent to this local platform – including consumer behaviors and the ever-evolving trends that shape it.
If you want more insights into Douyin’s e-commerce features or have any questions about setting up your brand’s account, don’t hesitate to contact us today!