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A simple guide to Douyin Store – Case studies and how to create one

Douyin is taking another big step towards e-commerce. Now any user who uploads over 10 videos can create a Douyin Store to sell products. Earlier in December, the requirement was to have over 8,000 followers in order to launch a store.

How does Douyin Store work?

As you might know already, Douyin is now the largest short-video platform in China. There are 2 ways users can get from a short video to e-commerce:

  1. By clicking an e-commerce link inside the video
  2. Once the video loops for the 2nd time, a larger banner will appear linking to a product

Linking to Taobao store is the most common way Douyin KOLs sells.

Douyin also has a native e-commerce system. You will be able to purchase directly within the Douyin App.

The native Douyin Store has the following advantage:

  1. Users won’t need to exit Douyin for making a purchase.
  2. The store could be linked to apps in the Bydance ecosystem, for example, Toutiao, Huoshan Video, and Xigua Video.

Today most native Douyin Stores are owned by retailers selling unknown brand products below 100RMB.

Douyin’s Path to E-commerce

Douyin has been testing its e-commerce feature since May 2018.

May 2018

Douyin KOL’s could link to their own Douyin store. Only the KOLs with over 1 million followers could apply for the Douyin Store feature. 

June 2018

Douyin invited 100 KOLs and over 60k celebrities and companies to test the Douyin Shopping Cart feature. 

September 2018

Douyin launched Shine Tour platform, a KOL advertising platform, to take a commission from Douyin KOL advertising. Brands need to pay 30% commission to purchase traffic from Douyin if they want to promote via Douyin KOLs.  

November 11th, 2018 (Single’s Day)

Accounts with Douyin Store could sell up to 100k products per day. Total GMV sold during the Single’s Day reached 200 million RMB. 

December 2018

Douyin further lowered the requirement for KOLs to connect to their Taobao store to 8,000 followers. 

December 12th 2018 (Double 12)

During the Double 12, Douyin driven Taobao sales from the top 50 Douyin accounts reached over 100 million RMB. The total number of Douyin-driven transactions of the day is over 1.2 million. The most popular e-commerce categories on Douyin are women’s clothing, men’s clothing, cosmetics, and F&B products. 

December 28th 2018

Anyone with 10 video posts can drive traffic to a Taobao store.

Sucessful Douyin store case studies

Let’s look at a few examples of Douyin KOL’s and their shops.

Cherie (雪梨)

Douyin followers: 281k 

Weibo followers: 556k

Taobao followers: 11 million 

WeChat article average views: 1.5k-2k

Cherie started her Taobao fashion store in 2011, modelling for her own store. She started Weibo operation in 2013, posting pictures and text about her merchandise. Driving traffic from Weibo to Taobao, Cherie was able to grow to be the top KOL selling women’s clothing stores on Taobao. On the Single’s Day 2016, her Taobao store sales reached 100 million RMB sales. 

Cherie started her Douyin account earlier this year. On December 9th, 3 days before the Double 12 shopping holiday, she posted a video wearing a double-side down coat coming out from the airport. The Douyin video quickly went viral and drove 450k visits to her Taobao store.

On Double 12 year, Cherie was able to sell over 10k coat worthing 23 million RMB within the first 20 minutes.

Cherie was clearly popular before she started her Douyin account. The fact she is now leveraging traffic from Douyin is a strong indicator that Douyin delivers attractive conversion rates for influencers.

Chenyan 晨妍

Douyin followers: 2 million 

Weibo followers: 72k

Taobao followers: 471k

WeChat: NA 

Chenyan is another female clothing model. Unlike Cherie who leverage multiple social channels, Chenyan’s sales mostly depend on her Douyin traffic. 

Chenyan started her Taobao store in 2017. Within 8 months of operation, she was able to grow her Taobao store follower from 0 to 471k.

Chenyan’s most viral video is one where she models in purple sweatpants that look like a fashionable high school uniform. The video got over 1.7 million likes on Douyin.

Since then, Chenyan keeps posting videos of herself in different styles to drive traffic to her Taobao store. She was able to make 3.6 million RMB sales during Single’s Day 2018, and 4.4 million RMB sales during the Double 12 shopping festival. 

Guaxin 古阿新

Douyin followers: 612K 

Weibo followers: 36k

Taobao followers: 170K

WeChat article average views: < 1k

Guaxin is a men’s fashion designer, specialized in traditional Chinese needlework. He started his Taobao store in 2017. By May 2018, he had 100k Taobao followers with daily sales of 7k-8k RMB. 

Guaxin started to operate his Douyin account with a very distinctive fashion style and narrative. His marketing team dedicates 40% of their time to Douyin operation. 

One of the most popular videos of Guaxin shows him wearing a sharp metal decorator going through the airport custom. This video received 250k likes. 

He now has over 600k Douyin followers and a monthly revenue of 1 million RMB. Double 12 sales for Guaxin were 1.08 million RMB and an extra 200k RMB daily sales in the week after Double 12. 

According to Newrank, Guaxin’s Douyin to Taobao traffic conversion rate is around 10%. Around 60-70% of his Taobao sales are directly coming from Douyin traffic.  

These Douyin store case-studies have the following common points: 

  • All 3 KOLs are models wearing the products, consistently 
  • The most popular video of the KOL are the casual ones that users could easily relate with. For example: coming out from the airport with a down coat, modelling in school uniform, or going through airport customs
  • All the KOLs are driving traffic from Douyin to their own Taobao store 
  • Most of the KOL try to operate on multiple social media platforms

It is also an early sign showing that KOLs are already considering Douyin as a profitable traffic generation channel to sell their products.

How to create your Douyin Store to sell your Taobao products

You can activate the Douyin Merchandise Sharing feature to sell products from Taobao and Youyin’s own sourcing platform. It’s the most widely used Douyin store feature.

To apply for the Merchandise sharing feature:

  1. First make sure you have at least 10 videos posted on your Douyin account.
  2. Verify your Douyin account by entering personal ID information by going to: Privacy and Setting 账号与安全 – Manage My Account – Identity verification 实名认证
    The system will verify your identity with Zhima Credit’s facial recognition technology
    Note: for now, Identity Verification only applies to Chinese citizens and Chinese companies
  3. Go to: Privacy and Setting 设置-Merchandise sharing feature 商品分享功能 – Apply 立刻申请
  4. For me, the system says the store feature is still at a testing phase, and only 500 stores will be approved per week. But in fact, I only waited for 4 hours for the system to approve my application (And I’ve only downloaded the Douyin App 5 hours ago! So don’t worry, you will pass this.)
  5. Now you have 12 days to add products to your store until Douyin take this feature away from your account.
    Go to Privacy and Setting 设置- Toolbox 电商工具箱- Store management 商品橱窗- Add Items 添加商品
  6. You will need to upload 2 more videos and link the video with merchandise within 12 days. Here is how to add a product to the video. 

You can use the Douyin Merchandise sharing feature to earn some extra income. But you can only select from the sourcing platform where most products are from unknown brands and below 50 RMB.

Most of KOLs choose to link their own Taobao store with Douyin. And here is how you do it:

  1. Apply step 1-4 from the instruction above.
  2. Go to Privacy and Settings 设置 – Toolbox 电商工具箱 – Connect to Taobao PID 淘宝账号绑定 – connect your Taobao account with Douyin system
  3. Now if you go to Privacy and Settings 设置 – Toolbox 电商工具箱 – Mange my merchandise 商品橱窗管理 – Add Item 添加 – Taobao ecosystem 淘宝联盟
    You will be able to choose products from your Taobao store, and other KOL’s Taobao store.

How to create a Native Douyin Store 抖音小店

You will need to have over 1000 Douyin followers. Then you can create a Douyin Store as an individual (Chinese citizen only) or as a company. To create the store, you can visit Douyin Store’s official store page: https://fxg.jinritemai.com

As this stage, we do not recommend brands to create a native Douyin Store. Taobao stores are more widely used and easier to generate traffic. This may change later if Douyin decided to alternate the algorithm to favour its native stores.

Conclusion

Leveraging the newest social trends is often the best way to get the best conversion rates in Chinese e-commerce. Douyin cart might just be the best and newest option to push your brand in China.

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