Shopify announced on Tuesday that they would be partnering with the highly popular short video app TikTok to allow Shopify shop owners to market their products on the app. Shop owners can connect to TikTok For Business accounts to create ads and publish content from their Shopify dashboard.
The move taps into the vast TikTok audience of 100 million in the US as of August 2020, and over 40 percent of those are between the ages of 18-24. Gen Z has the buying power of over $140 billion according to a 2018 study, which makes TikTok an app that’s ripe for consumer spending.
Shopify has several other social commerce channels, including Instagram and Facebook Messenger. It also integrates neatly with Amazon, Walmart Marketplace, and eBay, and has tools for websites to easily list their products in Google Shopping. The Shopify TikTok channel is currently available in the US and will roll out to other areas early in 2021.
Shopify makes TikTok ecommerce easier
To date, TikTok has had limited shopping capabilities. In 2019 the platform introduced the Hashtag Challenge Plus feature, which gave creators a way to link out to their separate ecommerce websites. In April of this year, Digiday reported that a few vendors like Levi’s were experimenting with a “Shop Now” button on sponsored influencer posts.
The Shopify tools democratize TikTok ads by bringing the capabilities to smaller creators and brands without the ability to fund influencer campaigns. The channel is specifically designed for small businesses in that the Shopify tool will automatically build video ads when vendors choose a product to promote. Shopify puts existing product imagery into a video template, saving creators time and money on design.
Shopify is taking a risk with TikTok
The Shopify-TikTok partnership comes at a weird time for the app, which may still get banned in the US by the Trump Administration—even though a deal with Oracle and Walmart is still in the works. In September, the Trump Administration called for Apple and Google to ban the app from distribution on US app stores. That was followed by a preliminary injunction later in the month, which allowed the app to continue to be listed. Recently there was an appeal by the administration to reverse the order. Got all that?
All of this back and forth probably means that TikTok will survive in the US for a little bit longer. Even if a ban does go into place, it would require Google and Apple to agree to pull the app from their stores. That would still leave the app on users’ phones. And while the Trump Administration could call for the major phone developers to pull the app from their phones, there are First Amendment issues with an outright ban.
In all, creators and small businesses can still profit off the increased audience and revenue that the Shopify TikTok channel offers.