GS1 UK collaborates with TikTok to help SMEs join growing community of 1.5 million UK businesses

London, 13 March 2024 – GS1 UK has announced a new partnership with TikTok. The two organisations will work together to provide SMEs with exclusive content, guidance and support designed to help them join the 1.5 million UK businesses now trading on TikTok Shop. 

Over the next six months, GS1 UK and TikTok will publish a programme of exclusive content designed to ensure that GS1 UK members have the knowledge and tools required to take advantage of TikTok’s phenomenal growth. This will include an exclusive TikTok Shop playbook; getting started webinars; expert insights and a live panel event featuring GS1 UK members that have enjoyed great success on TikTok. 

Launched in the UK in June 2021, TikTok’s innovative shopping feature enables brands and creators to showcase and sell their products in a seamless end-to-end experience, delivered entirely on the platform. 

With over 80 per cent of new GS1 UK members looking to trade direct to consumer, selling products on TikTok now ranks amongst the top reasons businesses are joining. The simplicity and cost effectiveness of the platform, not to mention TikTok’s thriving community of 150 million users across Europe, presents a huge opportunity for SMEs looking to expand their sales channels. 

With over 23 million UK users and over 1.5 million UK businesses now using the platform to boost their sales, TikTok is rapidly becoming one of the most popular digital channels in the country. With UK consumers making an average of 10 annual purchases on the platform, contributing over £1.63 billion to UK GDP in 2022 alone, TikTok Shop not only offers exciting new opportunities for growth, it can also provide a valuable innovation for any struggling SMEs looking to revitalise their sales amidst the current economic crisis. 

Commenting on her experience and the opportunity TikTok represents for other UK businesses, Lizzie Carter, a GS1 UK member and founder of London haircare brand Only Curls, said: "Since joining TikTok, our sales have increased exponentially. We’ve built closer and more trusting relationships with customers and we’ve had so much fun getting creative with content along the way.” 

The partnership follows TikTok joining the many online platforms around the world that harness the power of GS1 standards to improve customer experience and supply chain efficiency. In June 2022, TikTok began requesting businesses to provide GS1 Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) for all new product pages and listings to support an improved customer experience. 

GS1’s unique identifiers provide SMEs and TikTok Shop a common global approach to uniquely identify, describe, track and communicate information about any product. This creates greater trust in data for everyone, improves catalogue management and helps businesses increase the visibility of their products online. 

Commenting on their partnership, Sarah Atkins, CMO and membership director of GS1 UK, said: “A thriving SME community is vital, not only for the UK economy but also for society as a whole. With so many of our members relying on online channels to grow their businesses, we are thrilled to be building this partnership with TikTok. Nearly half of small businesses fail in the first two years and driving growth is critical to address this.

"TikTok users are curious and 47 percent say TikTok is their platform of choice when it comes to engaging with small businesses so, with this programme, we want to help many more business owners unlock the exciting growth opportunities on offer."

GS1 UK and TikTok’s SME support programme launches on today. To find out more, visit: 


Notes to editors 

For further information or requests for interviews, contact Alex Cox: 07464 946 769; 

About GS1 UK 

Whether online, in store or in a hospital, the common language of GS1 global standards is helping our community of more than 60,000 organisations across the UK to uniquely identify, describe and track anything, creating greater trust in data for everyone. 

From product barcodes to patient wristbands, GS1 standards have been transforming the way we work and live for over 50 years and with the arrival of the new QR code powered by GS1 we are excited about the possibilities for transforming the future. 

GS1 UK is one of 116 neutral, independent, not-for-profit GS1 organisations operating worldwide. 

About TikTok 

TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy. 

TikTok’s global headquarters are in Los Angeles and Singapore, and its offices include New York, London, Dublin, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Jakarta, Seoul, and Tokyo. 

About TikTok Shop 

TikTok Shop is a one-stop E-commerce solution for driving sales and brand growth on TikTok. TikTok Shop allows sellers to sell products directly on TikTok through in-feed videos, LIVES, and the Showcase tab. It enables product discovery, product details, checkout, and post-payment activities all within the TikTok app. TikTok Shop is currently available in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.