On Tuesday, TikTok said it was expanding a 10-month-old partnership with Shopify to enable consumers to buy directly through the social-media platform from the Ottawa company’s merchants, starting with a select group of sellers in the United States, Canada and Britain. It will be the first time TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance Ltd., has enabled selling directly through its app.
“Our community has transformed shopping into an experience that’s rooted in discovery, connection and entertainment, creating unparalleled opportunities for brands to capture consumers’ attention,” Blake Chandlee, president of global business solutions with TikTok, said in a blog post. “TikTok is uniquely placed at the centre of content and commerce, and these new solutions make it even easier for businesses of all sizes to create engaging content that drives consumers directly to the digital point of purchase.”
TikTok, with more than one billion users globally, follows Facebook and Instagram in partnering with Shopify to offer shopping within their apps. Shopify also this year made its e-commerce checkout system available to any retailer that sells through Facebook and Google, even if the merchants don’t use its online platform to run their stores and operations.
Shopify said “social commerce” represents the fastest growing sales channel for Shopify merchants, including social-media influencer Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics, which will be one of the first merchants to test out the TikTok partnership. The partnership will enable merchants to “tag” products in TikTok posts that users can buy by clicking on them within TikTok videos.
Nimi Kular, senior product marketing lead with Shopify, said in a statement to The Globe and Mail that “social commerce is the next frontier for merchants. Today, brands are not only content creators, but content creators are becoming brands. We know that building a successful business means merchants need to meet their consumers where they are – that means social. With the launch of TikTok Shopping, we’re giving merchants access to the scale of one of the largest entertainment platforms in the world, empowering them to more deeply integrate commerce and content.”
While analysts have cautioned that Shopify will be challenged to repeat last year’s torrid pace of growth as shoppers shifted massively to online buying during the pandemic, the company has expanded its reach into all corners of the internet and pushed further into markets worldwide. Shopify has separately embarked on a lucrative strategy to invest in online companies that sell services to merchants through its platform, such as consumer instalment financing, same-day delivery and its payment processing partner, Stripe Inc.
Shopify has also expanded its financial services offerings to its merchants, including cash advances, while its “mobile shopping assistant” app, Shop, now has 23 million active users. Chief executive officer Tobi Lutke last month confirmed the company is also experimenting with selling online advertising.
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