Kroger Is Using a New Shoppable Offering on TikTok to Try and Sell Back-to-School Staples

Grocery chain is the first to test the ecommerce feature

Kroger is running a campaign on TikTok, marking its first collaboration with the popular app. Illustration: Trent Joaquin; Sources: TikTok, Kroger
Headshot of Minda Smiley

Kroger is running a campaign on TikTok that lets users shop for its products within the app.

With back-to-school season in full swing, the grocery chain is running a sponsored hashtag challenge, an ad format that brands can use to engage with users by encouraging them to make videos using a branded hashtag. Chipotle, for example, ran one earlier this year asking users to post videos of themselves flipping its burrito bowl lids.

In partnership with four influencers, Kroger is encouraging college kids to post videos of their “cool and essential dorm room transformations” with the hashtag #TransformUrDorm. But what makes this sponsored hashtag challenge different from previous ones is that users who choose to engage can also shop for Kroger products on a dedicated brand page.

On the page, users can tap a discover tab to view and buy products, all of which Kroger has curated to appeal to college kids. Items currently available include granola bars, a popcorn maker, laundry baskets and hangers.

Users who choose to browse the products can do so on Kroger’s site while remaining in the app.

According to TikTok, Kroger is the first brand to make use of the in-app shopping feature as part of a sponsored hashtag challenge campaign. TikTok is calling new offering “Hashtag Challenge Plus.”

In addition to the shopping feature, Kroger’s campaign also ensures that the #TransformUrDorm hashtag appears in TikTok’s main Discover feed to give its videos increased visibility.

Kroger enlisted four TikTok influencers—Joey Klaasen, Cosette Rinab, Mia Finney and Victoria Bachlet—to post videos promoting the hashtag on behalf of the brand. The videos were created in partnership with digital marketing agency 360i.

TikTok’s advertising offerings are still in their early days, but more and more, brands are finding ways to spend on the platform to try and reach its coveted Gen Z audience.

In addition to hashtag challenges, brands can also run in-feed video ads that show up between user-generated content as well as brand takeover ads, where a full-page ad appears when a TikTok user first opens the app.

Hollister recently ran in-feed video ads that pushed users to a microsite experience where they could browse and shop while still in the TikTok app.

@Minda_Smiley Minda Smiley is an agencies reporter at Adweek.