What Is TikTok Shop? Staying Safe When Buying Online

31 May 2024 Beverley Thornton

TikTok has become one of the most popular social media platforms, known for its fast-paced videos and the ability to search for and visually explore content from around the world. Among its many features, the introduction of TikTok Shop has allowed users to purchase products directly through the app.

Find out more about TikTok Shop, and how to stay safe when using it in our latest blog.

What is TikTok Shop?

TikTok Shop is an in-app feature enabling users to buy products directly from TikTok creators and other sellers. It supports brands and buyers to connect with creators, influencers, and communities. Currently, TikTok Shop is available in countries including the United Kingdom, United States, and Singapore.

How Does TikTok Shop Work?

TikTok Shop operates similarly to popular e-commerce platforms like eBay and Amazon, allowing third-party sellers to list products ranging from technology to food. Through TikTok Shop, sellers and influencers can engage with customers via live streams, offering flash sales and exclusive deals. Only new products can be sold, although handmade crafts from creators are also permitted.

To access TikTok Shop, users can click the ‘Shop’ button on the bottom bar of the TikTok app. The search bar allows users to browse products, videos, and users.

Safety Tips for Using TikTok Shop

While using TikTok Shop, it’s important to ensure you know how to stay safe whilst using the feature, and know what to do if you’re worried about something you have seen.

  • Stay in the TikTok app: Genuine purchases on TikTok Shop never redirect you outside the app. If a link takes you off TikTok, it might be a scam and won’t be protected by TikTok’s terms and conditions.
  • Beware of counterfeit items: Since anyone can open a TikTok Shop account, it’s hard to know what’s real. You can check seller reviews and be cautious of prices that seem too good to be true.
  • Watch out for faulty items: Reviews can help ensure the items, especially electronics, are safe. It’s always a good idea to consider comparing products with traditional retailers for safety.
  • Be careful when messaging sellers: Don’t share too much personal information. You can report inappropriate or harmful messages to TikTok, and for additional support, you can visit Report Harmful Content.
  • Report suspicious content: If you believe you’ve found an item in TikTok Shop that goes against their policies, you can make a report through the product’s page. Users can report one of several issues that would violate TikTok’s product guidelines and include a description and images detailing their concern. To report a suspected scam, you can follow TikTok’s guidance here.

To protect users, TikTok Shop requires sellers to submit documentation verifying their identity and eligibility. Alongside this, anyone who purchases on TikTok Shop UK is protected with a 30-day return policy and a Buyer Protection Program, allowing users to file cases with TikTok Customer Service if issues arise. Additionally, users can report any product that violates TikTok’s policies through the product page.

In addition to staying safe whilst using TikTok, professionals working with young people can also contact the Professionals Online Safety Helpline, operated by SWGfL and delivered by the UK Safer Internet Centre. The Helpline provides support for any online safety concern that you or a young person in your care may be having, including a comprehensive guide on making a report to TikTok.

To find out more about how to use TikTok Shop safely, SWGfL have released an in-depth article here.  

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