TikTok is moving into e-commerce. The company announced yesterday an expanded partnership with e-commerce platform Shopify, as well as a pilot test of TikTok Shopping among select Shopify merchants across the U.S., U.K. and Canada in the weeks to come.
Another aspect of the new partnership involves bringing to Shopify merchants product links that can be used to tag products in their TikTok videos. This way, TikTok users will be able to click the tagged product to be directed toward the merchant’s storefront for checkout.
“Link in bio”… So 2020. US social commerce sales are expected to exceed $35B this year, up 36% from 2020. New shopping features from TikTok and Insta are fuel for the creator economy, which relies on affiliate sponsorships. TikTok Shopping will give Shopify merchants — and their influencer partners — the ability to tag products in their videos. Instead of just posing next to a bottle of protein powder, you can also link it.
Shopify also said there’s growing demand among merchants for working with TikTok, noting installs across Shopify’s social commerce channels increased by 76% from February 2020 to February 2021.
“Creators are paving the way for a new kind of entrepreneurship where content, community, and commerce are key,” said Harley Finkelstein, president of Shopify, in a statement. “By enabling new in-app shopping experiences and product discovery on TikTok for the first time, Shopify is powering the creator economy on one of the fastest-growing social and entertainment platforms in the world. We are excited to help this next generation of entrepreneurs connect with their audiences in more ways — and with TikTok as a visionary partner,” he added.
TikTok’s larger goal with shoppable content could ultimately be to challenge Facebook and Instagram, which has also been investing in online shopping in recent years with things like Facebook and Instagram Shops, a dedicated Shop tab in Instagram, shopping in Reels and more.
However, in TikTok Shopping, the checkout takes place through Shopify — by clicking the storefront or product link within TikTok, the user is directed to the merchant website to make the purchase and complete the transaction. Shopify then powers the transaction and payment. On Instagram Shop, meanwhile, checkout takes place natively inside the app, and transactions are processed through Facebook Pay, which can feel more seamless to the end user.
TikTok tells us it plans to pilot these new shopping solutions among hundreds of Shopify merchants, ahead of a more public launch.