Candian Shopify Teams With Chinese TikTok For Social Commerce

Shopify is partnering with TikTok to connect its million-plus merchants with engaged users of the social platform, the Canadian eCommerce firm announced on Tuesday (Oct. 27).

“We’re thrilled to be the first partner to welcome TikTok to the world of commerce, particularly right now, as our merchants prepare for a busy online holiday shopping season,” Satish Kanwar, vice president of product at Shopify, said in the announcement.

Noting TikTok has in excess of 100 million users just in the U.S., Kanwar said, “The TikTok channel means Shopify merchants — even those without a strong TikTok following of their own yet — can connect with these new audiences using content that feels authentic and genuine to the TikTok experience.”

Merchants will be able to sell products in the form of shoppable video ads. TikTok users can click on an ad to buy the product.

Shopify and TikTok are also planning to collaborate and test new commerce features to expand merchants’ reach.

Blake Chandlee, vice president of global business solutions at TikTok, said the expansion of social commerce has merchants looking at TikTok, as its “creative and highly engaged community sets it apart from other platforms.” 

Chandlee added the company is always researching “new and innovative ways to connect brands with our users,” and Shopify is “the perfect partner” to help TikTok scale commerce capabilities worldwide.

The TikTok channel is available in the U.S., with plans to bring it to selected markets in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia in early 2021. 

Shopify and TikTok are also teaming up to showcase Black-owned businesses. TikTok’s first co-branded Hashtag Challenge Plus (HTC+), #ShopBlack, gives TikTok users a chance to spotlight their favorite Black-owned businesses using the hashtag #ShopBlack. The campaign will highlight products from more than 40 Shopify merchants.

Walmart has been looking at a deal with TikTok as a way to get into the social commerce game. A tentative deal has Walmart buying a 7.5 percent stake in TikTok’s U.S. operations. 

TikTok started looking into selling its U.S. assets in August after being directed by President Trump via executive order. TikTok has about 100 million users in the U.S., mostly younger, up from about 11 million users two years ago.

Even without a dedicated shopping channel, toy sales have been spiking on TikTok as people look for home-based fun amid the pandemic.