TikTok Shop launches UK logistics service

By Kirsty Doolan

- Last updated on GMT

TikTok said the initiative is a fast and affordable solution so merchants can "focus on important aspects of their business”
TikTok said the initiative is a fast and affordable solution so merchants can "focus on important aspects of their business”

Related tags Social media TikTok Logistics Sales social commerce Retailing digital beauty tech e-commerce

The social media company said its new 'Fulfilled by TikTok' programme will make it “easier than ever for merchants using TikTok Shop to sell on the platform.”

TikTok's social selling service TikTok Shop allows consumers to directly buy beauty and personal care products from sellers via live streams and videos, and the app takes a percentage of commission from products sold.

In the UK, the company has just launched a new logistics service 'Fulfilled by TikTok', which will be centred around TikTok Shop stores that will pick, pack and ship merchants' products to the customer.

Freeing merchants from "time-consuming logistics"

According to TikTok, the service is set to offer consumers same-day, automated fulfilment for orders made before 7PM from Monday to Saturday, a premium ‘next working day’ delivery service, an instant messaging service and dedicated customer service employees, and reduced delivery times.

The company said the service is designed to “free merchants from time-consuming logistics via a simple, fast and affordable solution, so they can focus on important aspects of their business.”

To be eligible for ‘Fulfilled by TikTok’, the merchants must be based in and delivering to the UK, and packages can’t exceed a weight of 30kg or a cubic volume of 31.5 cubic litres per shipment.

Sellers that sign up for the service will hand over a portion of stock and it will be stored at a warehouse. Then when an order is placed, the warehouse will pick, pack and label the merchandise before it is shipped. TikTok Shop also plans to charge fees for warehousing, shipping and other services such as labelling, pre-packing and inserting leaflets.

TikTok said that several small companies have already tested out the service and have seen positive results.

Ning Cheah, Founder of beauty brand The Beauty Crop said: "As a small independent company, it's always great to find ways to help make things more efficient. Since using FBT, we've seen volumes increase by 30%, shipping lead times drop by 36% and late dispatch rates drop by over 45%. It's made a huge difference."

While, Sach Gulati, Managing Director of personal care brand Nature Spell said; "Partnering with FBT has been a monumental shift for us. Before FBT, we were drowning in order volumes and couldn't focus on what we do best: manufacturing."

Relaunched on a Beta model 

TikTok had already launched a similar fulfilment centre set-up in various Southeast Asian countries, with a special focus on Indonesia – the region’s largest economy. 

TikTok Shop itself had seen the most success in the Southeast Asian countries, where it launched in 2021. 

In June this year, CEO Shou Zi Chew said that the app planned to “invest proportionately”​ in the region.

Although it had also launched in the UK the same year, it wasn’t successful and had only recently relaunched in this market in May this year on a Beta model, where it had invited a select number of sellers to sign up to its latest version before launching to the rest of the public.

It was speculated that the poor reception in the UK in 2021 had prevented TikTok Shop from being rolled out to the surrounding European countries and the US. 

In October 2022, TikTok had originally advertised roles on Linkedin for employees to staff an international fulfilment centre in the US. Yet nine months later, the initiative still hadn’t fully launched in the States. It appears that there is a pilot scheme in place, as TikTok said the fulfilment program is currently "invite-only for a small group of sellers."

Throughout 2023, ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, had also been blighted by speculation that it is a threat to the national security of various nations, due to allegations that the company shared personal data with the Chinese government.

As a result, governments in the USA, UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the EU countries have banned the use of the app on government devices.  

Since March this year, the US government had also been considering passing a nationwide bill to ban the app and in May the US State of Montana completely banned it.  

The African country Senegal had also recently issued a complete ban on the app.

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