TikTok is the bite-sized video-sharing app with an outsized reach. Launched here in 2018, the app became a global phenomenon last year among Generation Z users looking for a distraction during the COVID-19 quarantine.
Now, with more than 1 billion users worldwide, TikTok has found a foothold with influencers demonstrating, hawking, and reviewing products for millions of followers. Often set to a popular song, these videos typically range from 15 seconds to one minute – long enough to capture the attention needed to make even the most unsusceptible product go viral.
The app’s focus on e-commerce has spawned a robust subgenre: TikTok Made Me Buy It. The app is a place for sharing hacks, how-to’s,and helpful products across a range of categories.Items can garner millions of likes and thousands of comments overnight. But once they do, they’re gone.
Considerthe feta cheese that sold out from supermarkets when a feta pasta recipe went viral, #BakedFetaPasta, or L’Oréal Paris Infallible Fresh Wear Foundation-in-a-Powder, which disappeared from drugstore shelves in February shortly after launching. But a product doesn’t need to be name brand to succeed, whether it’s a whitening pen with more than 1.9 million likes, an alarm clock you need to chase, or a drawerful of kitchen supplies you didn’t know you needed.
The pandemic showed that demand for grocery products can shift overnight based on external factors like product availability and restaurant shutdowns. But TikTok has proven a boon for retailers who have unprecedented insight into which products are about to leap from the shelves.
Here are the products grocers should add to their assortment, according to TikTok.
“Oh my god,” Kelsey Venkov (@Kelseyvenkov) croons to her 1.6 million TikTok followers. “I just got the most life-changing Amazon product in the mail, and I have to share it with you.” Venkov, who says cutting onions makes her cry, calls the Chef’n VeggiChop Easy Pull Vegetable Chopper “a game-changer.” Chop your veggies in three steps: cut the item in half so that it fits into the chamber, shut the lid, pull the lid’s lever to activate the blade. “It’s so satisfying. I’m obsessed. I don’t think I’ll ever cut an onion again in my life.” No batteries required.
This miniature bag sealer uses heat to reseal bags storing chips, fruit, leftovers, and other snacks. The sealer includes a cutter, settings for various bags, and it comes in pink, green, and white. As @Homeinspirationlulu explains to her 43,900 followers as part of her series, it’s the gadget “you didn’t know you needed.”
“I love this,” @Laurcarnow says of this Dwellza Kitchen oil spray dispenser in her video, “Things TikTok made me buy that I love.” It’s so simple that she only spends six seconds on it: just fill the tube with oil and spray it into the pan. “We have not bought cooking spray since,” she tells her 411,600 followers. “It works so well.”
This wine bottle opener from Cork Genius uses air pressure to pop the cork, no corkscrew necessary. To use, press the device’s needle into the top of the cork and pump the handle to inject air into the bottle. The cork will eject, fully intact, as Luke Blumencranz, aka @the_blumencranz, demonstrates for his 42,400 followers.
Saucemoto’s dip clip, shared by Lauren Trupo, aka @lauren_trupo23, attaches to your car’s air vents and holds your barbecue sauce so that you can enjoy your drive-thru without a mess. “LOVE my Saucemoto Dip Clip!” one commenter says. “Before Saucemoto, I would hold my dip with my left hand and drive with my right. After Saucemoto, I drive with both hands!” It works in the backsear, too, as long as there’s a stable surface to clip.
Madeline LeBlanc (@madelineleblanc5) demonstrates this $13.99 Ecolution Micro-pop Glass Popcorn Popper without saying a word. Measure your loose kernels with the silicone lif and pour them into the glass chamber. Add butter to the lid and place in the microwave for a bowl of perfectly buttered popcorn. LeBlanc’s video was liked more than 1.3 million times.
Need to slice a banana with just one motion? “In today’s episode of ‘TikTok Made Me Buy It,’ I got this banana slicer and I’m going to try it out right now for my very first time,” the Ballinger Family (@ballingerfamily) demonstrates this device for 2.4 million followers. Simply put a banana on a cutting board and press the slicer over it. “Breakfast is ready!”
Stevie Moon (@thehealthcurator) uses these Toss & Chop Salad Shears from Trudeau as she makes a salad for her 308,100 followers. In this video, she pulls ingredients from her refrigerator – “no particular recipe in mind” – including a bell pepper, goat cheese, eggs, blueberries, a shallot, and an avocado. Finally, she uses these kitchen shears to cut the spinach and reminds her audience “These bad boys are in the link in my bio.”
In her video, Teresa Caruso, aka @teresalauracaruso, shows her 2.8 million followers how to use these colorful food storage bags from ZipTop. Their wide opening makes it easy to load food or liquid, and they are microwave-, freezer-, and dishwasher safe. “These silicone containers have been a life-saver,” she claims.
In this silent video, Corri Powell (@c_pow0) uses this Chef’n Slicester Watermelon Tool to cuts cubes out of a watermelon half. Drag the shears through the watermelon (or cantaloupe or honeydew) and use the rubber tongs at the opposite end to extract the cubes. It’s ideal for parties or picnics, no knife necessary.
This two-pack of Safe Grabs splatter guards cover the bowl to prevents spills or splashes when cooking with the microwave or stovetop. “They are so useful in many different ways,” @ourfavoritefinds tells his 843,900 followers in his video.” “They’re heat-resistant, so keeping one under a dish allows us to easily remove the dish or even lift the cast iron from the stovetop without burning ourselves. They also have an amazing grip which can be used to open bottles or jars.”
In his video, @amazonoholic sets this video to classical music and shows his 464,400 followers how to use this corkscrew-shaped peanut butter stirrer from EZPB. “This is the fastest way to stir up your nut butters. We’ve all been there before. We want the natural nut butters, but the oil separation is kind of annoying.” He says, “the best part is that it comes with a little black credit card thing” to scrape remaining nut butter from the corkscrew “so that none of it goes to waste.”
The banana corer and filler from Banana Loca has garnered thousands of likes, comments, and shares from @daveandsissy’s 432,800 Tiktok followers. The couple demonstrates the $26.99 device. Just pull out the banana’s center using the coring tool, fill the hopper with “Nutella, peanut butter, yogurt, or whatever you like,” and press the lever to refill the banana. Great for parties or kids.
14. This Egg Cracker
The Crack’em Egg Cracker and Spoon Rest has “been so handy, and it’s great for kids who want to help cook,” @toponlinefinds tells her 2.3 million followers. With one motion, she demonstrates how to crack an egg without making a mess or getting shells in the pan. “It has a little ridge in the middle where you actually crack the egg, and it creates the perfect slit so that you’re evenly cracking the egg and not getting shells everywhere.”
Could this $4.99 Cuisinart tool end the search for the perfect corn stripper? It comes with a durable stainless steel blade and comfortable finger grips so that you can easily strip corn kernels from the cob. It’s dishwasher safe, too. @magic_momma shows 176,700 followers how to strip corn from the cob using a similar gadget in this wordless video.
Sure, on one hand, retailers could just ignore TikTok. After all, it’s an app for silly videos and dance routines. But at the same time, it’s quickly gaining traction as a vital resource for discovering the most viral products of the moment. With more than 1 billion users and growing, TikTok is likely to endure beyond the pandemic, providing grocers with priceless insight into shopping habits, public sentiment, and consumer demand.
CB4 is the fastest, easiest, and most rewarding way for store teams to sell more and satisfy shoppers. The solution doesn’t drain store teams’ resources and they appreciate it: 84% of store managers like CB4 and see its value.
Check out our Product Overviews to see how retailers like Levi’s, Urban Outfitters, and Kum & Go are empowering their frontline workers with under 30 minutes of time invested each week.