Summer is a highly anticipated season for consumers worldwide, as it brings with it holidays, parties, raves, and travel. Women who love beauty and fashion eagerly search for summer fashion on various shopping platforms and social media, seeking recommendations and guidance from others. In this digital age, TikTok, with its high number of daily active users, plays a significant role in consumers’ purchasing decisions. The platform showcases hot summer topics that receive millions, or even billions, of views, such as #BeachVibes, #Summer2023, and #BeachWear. Users actively share their summer activities and outfit inspiration under these popular tags, engaging with their favorite brands.
TikTok has always been at the forefront of trends, igniting numerous fashion items. With the gradual integration of TikTok and e-commerce, an increasing number of direct-to-consumer (DTC) clothing brands and platforms have leveraged the power of TikTok, making the women’s clothing category even more popular.
Analyzing data from the TikTok Shop US closed-loop store, it was discovered that the top-selling item in the last 30 days was Soo Slick’s shapewear from their store of the same name. The sales trend over the past 7 days indicates that there is still room for further growth. Soo Slick’s shapewear has achieved remarkable success, with a single product generating over one million dollars in gross merchandise value (GMV) in just 20 days. This achievement begs the question: How did Soo Slick, a women’s shapewear brand, seize the first-mover advantage in TikTok’s American store?
The average unit price of Soo Slick’s shapewear is $23.99. From May 2 to May 21, 2023, the product sold 5.8K units, resulting in an estimated GMV of $137.97K, equivalent to approximately RMB 970,000. Soo Slick has yet to engage in live broadcast delivery but has instead opted for shorter, flat, fast, and long-tail short video deliveries. They collaborate with experts who align with their brand characteristics and target audience to promote their products. In the last 30 days alone, the total number of short videos featuring Soo Slick’s shapewear exceeded 4 million views. Despite the relatively low number of videos posted, the transaction value per thousand video views (GPM) reached an impressive $31.86.
To expand their reach, Soo Slick created a TikTok account and disseminated a large number of short videos featuring their products. In addition to showcasing their TikTok store on the account’s homepage, they also provide a Linktree, a multi-link collection website, where users can access more e-commerce channels offered by Soo Slick. This strategy effectively promotes a closed-loop action from display to order, enhancing the overall user experience.
As an early entrant into the TikTok Shop, Soo Slick has capitalized on their unique selling proposition. The founder, Elizabeth Adeoye, is a black woman, and Soo Slick’s popular product in the town store is their seamless shapewear, which is available in multiple sizes from S to 4XL. In their product displays, they primarily feature medium and large-size models with a low waist-to-hip ratio, along with key opinion leaders (KOLs) who possess similar figures for promotion. By showcasing their body-shaping clothes, Soo Slick enhances the visual impact of the figure curves for their target audience, many of whom are buxom minorities. Soo Slick has successfully solidified its position in the “plus-size women’s clothing” segment through their product displays.
Although Soo Slick is not a traditional
DTC brand and was relatively unknown in North America, they recognized the importance of social media marketing. In addition to TikTok, they also maintain a presence on mainstream social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. Their decision to enter TikTok Shop this year marked the beginning of their brand-building efforts. Currently, the #sooslick brand hashtag has amassed 1.3 million views on TikTok, indicating a growing community of followers.
The fashion industry, particularly clothing, presents both opportunities and challenges for sellers. While clothing offers high-profit potential, it is also prone to becoming outdated, resulting in high return rates, size discrepancies, and difficulties in inventory management. For novice sellers, breaking into the clothing market can be an arduous task. However, a seasoned factory seller with extensive experience in the North American women’s clothing market revealed an interesting perspective. Compared to the staggering 50% to 60% return rates in China, the return rate for clothing in Europe and the United States is only 15% or less, offering higher profit margins. Additionally, if a brand can cultivate a base of loyal customers who make repeat purchases over time, it can lead to a successful and sustainable business.
So, what sets fashion sellers like Soo Slick apart from thousands of products? What are the characteristics of enduring fashion hits? TikTok for Business released a report titled “Insights on Popular Consumer Products in Europe and America in 2022,” which categorized popular fashion trends on TikTok into four main categories: opportunity trend, head trend, fatigue trend, and stability maintenance trend.
For novice sellers, it is recommended to focus on top and stable trends that enjoy continuous popularity and low volatility. This ensures access to a large user base. From there, sellers can differentiate themselves from the competition and find their loyal fanbase within the niche, combining the concept of “big crowd + small fans.”
Soo Slick perfectly embodies this “big crowd + small fans” clothing explosion formula. The pursuit of exaggerated body curves and extreme waist-to-hip ratios by European and American women have led to the popularity of shapewear, especially among women with fuller figures. Shapewear offers versatility regardless of the season or outfit, thanks to its high elasticity and adaptability to various body types. It can be worn as innerwear or styled with jeans as an outerwear piece. Moreover, intimate clothing items like shapewear, swimsuits, and underwear enjoy distinct advantages in terms of return and exchange policies compared to regular fashion garments.
Shapewear also excels in terms of visual effects, as it provides immediate visible results before and after wearing, enticing customers to make quick purchasing decisions. Customers are willing to invest an average of $30 in a piece of shapewear, driven not only by the desire for fashionable clothing but also by the dream of achieving a perfect body instantly, without the need for dieting or extensive exercise.
While TikTok’s e-commerce endeavors in Europe and the United States initially faced challenges and were not as successful as anticipated, the case of Soo Slick demonstrates that social media platforms can be the pathway, or even the optimal route, for small low-budget brands to break out of the crowded market. Soo Slick’s success story is a testament to the power of targeted marketing, effective branding, and understanding the pulse of consumer trends through platforms like TikTok.
In conclusion, the summer season brings excitement for consumers worldwide, with women eagerly searching for summer fashion on various platforms, including TikTok. TikTok’s impact on consumer purchasing decisions is undeniable, with hot summer topics garnering billions of views. Soo Slick, a women’s shapewear brand, capitalized on the first-mover advantage on TikTok’s American store, achieving extraordinary success with a single product generating over one million dollars in GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) in just 20 days. Soo Slick’s strategic approach to TikTok played a pivotal role in their achievement.
With a focus on short, engaging, and visually appealing videos, Soo Slick leveraged the power of influencers and experts who align with their brand values and target audience. By collaborating with these individuals, they were able to generate over 4 million views on their videos in the last 30 days alone. Despite posting a relatively small number of videos, Soo Slick achieved an impressive GPM (transaction value per thousand video views) of $31.86, indicating the effectiveness of their content in driving sales.
Soo Slick’s TikTok account was designed with simplicity in mind. By showcasing a plethora of talent and product exhibits through their videos, they enticed viewers to explore their offerings further. In addition to featuring their TikTok store on the homepage, they also utilized Linktree, a multi-link collection website, to provide users with access to more e-commerce channels. This seamless integration from display to order contributed to the success of their closed-loop action.
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