The power of community commerce


October 12, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau

Aref Yehia, Head of Retail & E-Commerce Business Partnerships at TikTok MENA

Forty-four percent of TikTok users in the GCC buy something to fit in with friends, community or because everyone is talking about it. They make purchases that spark joy, with 41% of users in the GCC shopping to lift their spirits or as a treat for themselves.

So, how can brands take on a more active role in community commerce?

TikTok’s latest report ‘What’s Next: Shopping Trend Report’ explores shifts in shopping behaviours and culture on the platform with an aim to support retail brands gain critical insights.

“By blending community, entertainment and shopping, TikTok is reimagining the face of modern retail. As customers continue to turn to the platform for product discovery, brands of all sizes and across all industries have an amazing opportunity to connect with their own unique audiences on TikTok,” said Aref Yehia, Head of Retail & E-Commerce Business Partnerships at TikTok MENA.

It’s a Match: How relatable creators and attention-grabbing storytelling are the keys to finding a brand’s ideal audience

The world is cluttered with everyday stressors for regular shoppers. When their relationship with a brand is weak, shopping can feel less like an event and more like a chore. Friendship is the key to brand love and loyalty. Audiences are constantly shopping and making active connections to the content they see on TikTok. Here, users decide in seconds whether or not to engage with content. If brands don’t immediately communicate added value, users are inclined to swipe away.

If brands want a spark from audiences, they should avoid overt product marketing at the starting point. Instead, build and maintain user trust with unique, honest and authentic perspectives to create longer-form content, connections and partnerships, eventually leading to long-term loyalty from audiences.

METAP brands that advertised on TikTok consistently over an extended period increased their trust with viewers by 41%. Moreover, TikTok ads were found to spark positive first impressions. After seeing an ad on TikTok, viewers in Saudi Arabia were found to trust the brand 24% more and were 42% more likely to be loyal to the brand.

Getting to Know You: Building the foundation of a friendship through personal identity and community to engender real value for audience

Brands often only share at the surface level, not digging into the motivations, communities and aesthetics that inspire impulse and long-term purchase decisions. Tapping into identity and community unlocks new pathways for audiences to learn more about themselves, their communities and their favourite brands.

Moreover, communities influence purchasing decisions. As mentioned before, 44% of TikTok users in the GCC buy something influenced by their communities.

Shopping on TikTok is a safe, engaging and entertaining experience where users can discover and engage with products they love; 60% of TikTok users globally feel communities on TikTok are supportive and inclusive.

Growing Together: Driving user intent and brand loyalty by repeatedly making the shopping experience more fun

It is easy to get lost in the instant gratification of product ‘sell out’, ‘virality’ and ‘hype’. While TikTok is a catalyst for these moments, the real shopping magic is in the sustained fidelity established through the platform, which keeps products selling out and has customers begging for more.

Positive customer satisfaction, repeat purchases and organic word-of-mouth lead to sustained brand growth. TikTok generates double the post-purchase content creation than other platforms. In the GCC, 57% of TikTok users create a post about a product or brand they purchased from.

Moreover, TikTok users are 1.2 times more likely to buy from the same retailer again when TikTok is part of the purchase journey.

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