The Wessex Wire

The Student News Site of West Essex Regional High School

The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

OPINION: Beware of TikTok Shop: Marketing tactic poses danger

Illustration by Nicolette Capalbo
TikTok Shop uses predatory marketing strategies to draw in consumers looking to buy cheap products recommended by other users.

Easy access, low prices, luxury brands—the appeal of TikTok Shop seems to be universal. Unfortunately, behind these alluring qualities are counterfeit goods and predator marketing strategies. Considering TikTok’s young audience, the people being targeted are more vulnerable to the advertising used by TikTok Shop and other massive e-commerce stores like Temu and Flip Shop. While more transparency with consumers would be ideal, it is highly unlikely that these online hubs will stop their intensive advertising. Instead, consumers need to be more vigilant when shopping online and look out for other fellow shoppers.

Many of these online stores rely on referrals from other consumers to drive business. The customer who originally shared the product is rewarded with either gift cards or commission once they convince other people to buy the products. With this incentive offered, many consumers are recommending products that may not actually be high quality just to make quick money. This kind of advertising is expected from influencers with large followings, who are paid to recommend products and make their livelihood off of it. However, these e-commerce shops are giving average people money to promote products, turning them into “influencers” themselves that are getting harder to trust. Many online shoppers are conflicted about whether or not to believe these testimonials, as the appeal of regular people promoting a product just because they like it no longer exists. Every product testimonial is now associated with commission and has lost the trust of many. 

However, these e-commerce shops are giving average people money to promote products, turning them into “influencers” themselves that are getting harder to trust.

This new practice does have its benefits, serving as a form of passive income for people looking to make some extra money. However, consumers have a responsibility to only recommend products that are high quality, rather than trying to make commission on bad or counterfeit goods. This fact is especially true when it comes to cosmetic and makeup products. Numerous people online have compared the product that they bought directly from the retailer to the item they were influenced to buy from TikTok Shop. There were obvious differences in the formula and texture, but the products shared the same ingredient list on the packaging. Consumers were rightfully terrified, as it is clear that the product from TikTok Shop must have other ingredients that were not disclosed. While they contemplated throwing away the product and therefore the money they spent on it, the “influencer” on the other side of the screen made money off of recommending the counterfeit goods to others online.

It is important to stand strong against the aggressive advertising and money-making ploys used by these companies and instead look out for fellow consumers. The bond between consumers weakens every time someone makes a video promoting a product they know isn’t good. Instead of continuously giving profit to massive online shops, consumers should refocus on recommending products that are actually good. 

Behind the Byline
Brooke Kupferberg
Brooke Kupferberg, Editor-in-Chief
Brooke Kupferberg is the 2024-2025 Editor-in-Chief for The Wessex Wire. She enjoys listening to music, spending time with friends and family and taking naps. She also plays tennis for the school team and loves watching her favorite TV show “Friends”.
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