Mastering TikTok Shop Fulfilment: A Comprehensive Guide for UK Sellers

In the dynamic landscape of e-commerce, TikTok has emerged as a formidable force, blending entertainment with shopping through its innovative TikTok Shop platform. For UK sellers, capitalising on this trend requires a deep understanding of fulfilment options, performance criteria, and future trends.

In this extensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of fulfilling TikTok Shop orders in the UK, providing a roadmap to success for both seasoned retailers and budding entrepreneurs. Head here to learn how to set up your UK TikTok Shop.

Navigating Fulfilment Options

1. Shipped via Platform

This option offers convenience and simplicity, allowing sellers to purchase shipping labels directly through TikTok Shop. Whether orders are dropped off or picked up, the process is streamlined, with tracking information integrated seamlessly into the platform. This often involves TikTok partnering with various third-party logistics providers or carriers to handle the transportation of the ordered items from the seller to the buyer.

2. Shipped by Seller

For sellers with established logistics networks or preferences for specific carriers, shipping orders independently may be the preferred choice. With this option, sellers have full control over the packaging and shipping process, leveraging existing relationships with third-party logistics providers or postal services. 

3. Fulfilled by TikTok (FBT)

Fulfilled by TikTok goes a few steps further than Shipped by Platform. Not only does TikTok handle the shipping logistics, but it also takes on the responsibility of storing inventory, picking, packing, and shipping the products directly from its own fulfilment centres.

This means that the seller sends their inventory to TikTok’s fulfilment centres, and TikTok manages the entire fulfilment process, including customer service and returns.

By entrusting TikTok to store, pick, pack, and ship goods directly to customers, sellers can focus on content creation and business growth without the burden of logistical complexities. With next-day delivery options and promotional offers, FBT streamlines the entire fulfilment process, enhancing the customer experience and driving sales.

UK Approved Integrated Carriers for Shipped by Seller

These are specific carriers and services approved by TikTok Shop UK. Sellers who opt to fulfil their orders via self-shipment are required to use one of the following TikTok Shop’s Approved Integrated Carriers:

  • Royal mail – 24®/48® RM tracked 
  • Hermes/EVRI 
  • DPD 
  • Yodel 
  • Amazon Logistics 
  • Parcel Force 
  • UK Mail 
  • DHL UK 
  • Panther UK
  • DX Delivery

The carriers mentioned above have been integrated into the TikTok Shop UK Seller Center system. This helps to facilitate the easy tracking of dispatched orders.

How to Qualify for FBT

Unlike some fulfilment programs that impose stringent requirements or membership fees, FBT is open to all UK sellers, regardless of size or sales volume. Registration is free, with fees applied on a pay-as-you-go basis, ensuring accessibility for businesses of all scales. With no minimum order commitments or volume restrictions, FBT empowers sellers to scale their operations at their own pace, without the fear of overcommitment or financial strain.

What are the Costs of FBT?

Receiving Fees: TikTok’s fulfilment centres offer competitive rates for shipping goods via courier or container, with promotional discounts available for container shipments until April 30th, 2024. Small parcel delivery (SPD) and Less Than Truckload (LTL) options are available for sending individual boxes or pallets of products, which is currently free for most sellers. Fees may apply if delivering a container, typically for sellers shipping directly from manufacturers to fulfilment centres.

Fulfilment Fees: While there is an initial fee per item, this cost is often rebated as a promotional incentive to onboard new sellers. Additional fees apply for each subsequent item, ensuring that sellers pay only for the services they utilise.

Storage Fees: With free storage for up to 30 days, followed by nominal fees per cubic metre, FBT provides a cost-effective solution for inventory management, allowing sellers to optimise their storage strategies without breaking the bank.

Packaging Costs: Sellers have the option to either ship products to FBT centres in their own packaging or have TikTok handle the packaging process.

While it is free for sellers to request TikTok to package products in shipping bags, there is a fee of between £0.48 and £1.68 for box packaging, or £0.24 for a bubble mailer.

Here are three Fulfilled by TikTok margin breakdowns based on different prices and product dimensions. 

Sales Price£19.99£25.99£6.99
Sales Price exc VAT£16.66£21.66£5.83
TikTok Commission (5%)£1.00£1.30£0.35
Est. Creator Commission (10%)£2.00£2.60£0.70
COGs (est. 30%)£6.00£7.80£2.10
Fulfilment Fee£0.95£0.95£0.95
Packaging Fee £1.68£1.68£0.00
Margin (pre marketing)£5.98£8.28£2.68
% Margin29.93%31.87%38.33%
Package Dimensions (cm)28.3 X 25.5 X 5.429.2 X 27.2 X 9.325.4 X 18.5 X 1.5

Pros and Cons of Each TikTok Fulfilment Option

Shipped By Seller

Advantages:

Quick Start: Opting to ship orders using existing order processing systems allows sellers to swiftly set up their TikTok channels and begin selling without waiting for stock to be processed at FBT fulfilment centres. Brands can integrate their order processing systems into TikTok Shop, providing an easy way to manage stock and orders seamlessly. You can find all applications that can connect existing e-commerce stores with TikTok Shop here.

Before diving in, it’s crucial to ensure compatibility between your CMS or order management system and TikTok Shop. You must connect to TikTok from the application rather than adding it from the TikTok Shop account.

The only thing you will need to add in the Shop account is the warehouse address.

Additionally, once the integration is set up any third-party shipping costs will be applied automatically upon a customer order. 

Operational Control: Sellers maintain full control over their logistics operations, including inventory management, packaging, and shipping. This autonomy enables them to tailor their processes to suit their unique business needs and customer expectations.

Risk Management: With all stock under the brand’s control or that of their chosen 3PL, there’s less exposure to external factors that could disrupt fulfilment, such as delays or errors at third-party warehouses.

Disadvantages:

Logistical Challenges: Maintaining efficient order fulfilment requires a well-established logistics infrastructure. Sellers must ensure timely processing and dispatch to avoid penalties for late shipments, which can adversely affect their shop performance and potentially lead to account freezes.

Data Integration Complexity: Integrating order tracking information and stock availability updates with TikTok Shop via third-party logistics systems can be complex. Inaccurate or delayed data transmission may impact shop performance and result in customer dissatisfaction.

Stock Management: Sellers are responsible for ensuring accurate stock availability on TikTok Shop. Failure to update inventory levels promptly can lead to overselling and subsequent order cancellations, harming shop performance metrics.

Shipped Via Platform

Advantages:

Simplified Shipping: By offering customers the option to purchase shipping labels directly through TikTok Shop, this fulfilment method streamlines the shipping process for sellers. Customer-paid labels and integrated tracking information reduce the administrative burden on sellers and enhance the overall shopping experience.

Delivery Options: Customers can choose between express and standard delivery options, providing flexibility and convenience. This range of choices may not always be available through sellers’ usual courier services, offering an additional value proposition to customers.

Accessibility: Shipped via Platform is ideal for sellers who may not have established professional logistics setups or partnerships with third-party logistics providers. It democratises access to TikTok Shop marketplace, enabling a broader range of sellers to participate in e-commerce.

Disadvantages:

Weight Restrictions: Orders exceeding 20kg are not eligible for shipping via this method, limiting its applicability for larger or bulkier items. Sellers offering such products may need to explore alternative fulfilment options to cater to all customer needs.

Integration Complexity: While this method offers seamless integration with TikTok Shop, it adds an additional step for third-party logistics providers to package and label orders. This may introduce complexity and potential errors into the fulfilment process, requiring careful coordination to ensure smooth operations.

Fulfilled by TikTok (FBT)

Advantages:

Expedited Delivery: FBT offers customers the option for next-day delivery, enhancing the overall shopping experience and potentially increasing conversion rates. Products fulfilled through FBT are labelled with a ‘next day badge,’ signalling to customers the availability of fast shipping options.

Hands-Off Fulfilment: By entrusting TikTok to handle order fulfilment, sellers can focus on content creation, marketing, and business growth.

Scalability and Flexibility: FBT accommodates sellers of all sizes, with no minimum order volume requirements or commitments leveraging TikTok’s infrastructure and resources to expand their reach and maximise sales potential.

Disadvantages:

Logistical Complexity: Shipping products to TikTok fulfilment centres introduces an additional layer of complexity to sellers’ operations. Managing inventory levels, coordinating shipments, and navigating storage fees require careful planning and execution to avoid disruptions or inefficiencies.

Storage Costs: While FBT offers free storage for up to 30 days, prolonged storage beyond this period incurs additional fees. Sellers must carefully manage their inventory to minimise storage costs and optimise their profitability.

Dependency on TikTok’s Infrastructure: Relying on TikTok for order fulfilment means sellers are subject to TikTok’s policies, procedures, and service levels. Any disruptions or changes to TikTok’s fulfilment operations could potentially impact sellers’ businesses and customer satisfaction levels.

Adapting Fulfilment Methods to Suit Your Business

Sellers have the flexibility to switch fulfilment methods at any time, allowing for experimentation and optimisation based on evolving business needs. Whether leveraging a hybrid approach or transitioning entirely to FBT, sellers can tailor their fulfilment strategies to maximise efficiency and profitability. 

By evaluating the pros and cons of each option in the context of their unique business requirements, sellers can make informed decisions that drive success on TikTok Shop.

Meeting Performance Criteria for Success

The shop’s performance score is influenced by three key factors: product satisfaction, fulfilment and logistics and customer service. The evaluation of fulfilment and logistics is based on two main metrics: seller fault cancellation rate and late dispatch rate. TikTok uses these metrics to calculate an overall shop performance score, ranging from 0 to 5, which is visible to customers.

Seller Fault Cancellation Rate: This measures the proportion of cancelled orders compared to the total number of orders placed within the last 21 days. Cancellations can occur for various reasons, including seller, customer, or TikTok Shop-initiated cancellations. Examples include seller cancellation due to items being out of stock or incorrect pricing, customer cancellation due to delayed shipment by the seller (excluding orders fulfilled by TikTok Shop), and TikTok Shop platform cancellation due to the seller’s delayed shipment (excluding orders fulfilled by TikTok Shop). The target rate is less than 2.5%.

Late Dispatch Rate: This metric calculates the percentage of orders that did not meet the dispatch service level agreement (SLA) of 4 business days, divided by the total number of orders shipped within the last 7 days. This excludes orders fulfilled by TikTok Shop. The target rate is less than 4%.

Valid Tracking Rate: This target aims for a rate of over 95% of orders having valid tracking information.

These factors collectively determine the shop’s overall performance score, which helps customers gauge the reliability and service quality of the shop.

Consequences of Poor Performance

Continuous failure to meet performance criteria may result in restricted visibility or account suspension, highlighting the importance of prioritising fulfilment excellence. By adhering to TikTok’s standards and delivering exceptional service to customers, sellers can safeguard their reputations.

Embracing the Future of TikTok Fulfilment

As TikTok continues to evolve, sellers can expect advancements in FBT technology and infrastructure, including expanded warehouse locations and enhanced seller benefits.

By staying attuned to emerging trends and leveraging TikTok’s growing ecosystem, sellers can position themselves for long-term success. For the latest TikTok Shop features and operational developments, check out TikTok newsroom.

Empowering UK Sellers for Success on TikTok Shop

In conclusion, mastering TikTok Shop fulfilment in the UK requires a multifaceted approach, encompassing strategic decision-making, meticulous execution, and a commitment to excellence. 

By leveraging the diverse range of fulfilment options available, UK sellers can unlock new opportunities for growth and prosperity on TikTok Shop, harnessing the platform’s immense reach and influence to connect with audiences in meaningful and impactful ways. 

So, seize the moment, embrace the journey, and embark on your path to e-commerce success with TikTok Shop!

We’ve recently launched a TikTok Shop workshop designed to unravel the complexity of TikTok Shop providing invaluable insights, practical tips, and actionable strategies to elevate your TikTok Shop experience. Sign up here and embark on a journey with us towards TikTok Shop success.

*This post is accurate as of 19th April 2024

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