TikTok Makes Moves in Social Commerce With Shopify Integration

Media buyers say it's a big deal

TikTok and Shopify logos
TikTok and Shopify are partnering for the first time. TikTok, Shopify
Headshot of Scott Nover

Shopify merchants can now create targeted marketing campaigns and see how they perform on TikTok without leaving the commerce platform as part of a new partnership, the two companies announced today.

“As social commerce proliferates, retailers are recognizing that TikTok’s creative and highly engaged community sets it apart from other platforms,” TikTok ad sales chief Blake Chandlee said.

Shopify’s vp of product, Satish Kanwar, said that the partnership with TikTok is welcome news ahead of the holiday shopping season. He said in a statement that the TikTok channel lets merchants create and connect their TikTok for Business account and deploy in-feed shoppable video ads, from Shopify.

“All merchants have to do is select which products they would like to feature, and the video ads are automatically generated and drive to their Shopify stores for checkout,” Kanwar said. He added that Shopify is rolling out “ready-made templates” for shoppable TikTok ads so the tools can “work for merchants of any size.”

The TikTok channel on Shopify is currently live and accessible to all merchants in the United States and will become available in other markets in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia in early 2021, TikTok said.

This year, the platform has made a more direct effort to court advertisers, debuting at the 2020 Digital Content NewFronts, creating its TikTok for Business umbrella brand, rolling out a self-serve ad platform and expanding user targeting capabilities. Even among the enormous regulatory pressure TikTok has faced this summer—including a ban in India and a likely corporate reorganization in the United—media buyers have kept spending with TikTok.

Melanie Rhoads, group director for strategic accounts at Nexstar Digital, called the partnership “very exciting and a smart move by TikTok” and told Adweek that the the company has “made a lot of advancements in a short period of time to become a contender when it comes to driving lower-funnel actions, like online sales.”

As TikTok exploded in popularity in recent years, it has expanded its ecommerce offerings, including an ad product called Hashtag Challenge Plus that lets advertisers sponsor a hashtag while directing users to an in-app shoppable landing page. Additionally, under TikTok’s proposed reorganization in the United States, retail giant Walmart would claim a 7.5% stake in the company. Walmart also recently announced a partnership with Shopify.

Shopify’s new TikTok channel will let merchants use the “core functions” of the TikTok for Business Ads Manager on the Shopify dashboard, including the TikTok one-click pixel for tracking conversions and creative tools. TikTok is also giving $300 ad credits to “eligible merchants” who have not previously claimed a credit through TikTok’s Back to Business initiative, TikTok spokesperson Laura Perez said.

TikTok and Shopify are also jumpstarting this partnership with a co-branded #ShopBlack hashtag challenge, which will run from Nov. 10-15 and will feature products from 40 Shopify merchants. In a statement to Adweek, Cari Bucci-Hulings, president of the Minneapolis, Minn.-based agency Periscope, praised the initiative, saying social media companies have a “meaningful opportunity to support the notion that racial equality and business growth are connected efforts.”

Media buyers and analysts said the move made a lot of sense considering recent trends in the social media space. 

Most social platforms have been moving toward shoppable ads in recent months, Jess Richards, evp and managing director of commerce at Havas Media Group, said.

“One of the concerns brands have with [the] growth of ecommerce across social, eretailers and their own .com is that it requires managing multiple retail streams,” she said. “The connectivity with Shopify for Merchants can simplify the approach.”

@ScottNover scott.nover@adweek.com Scott Nover is a platforms reporter at Adweek, covering social media companies and their influence.