TikTok Isn’t Just the New Facebook with Shopify Partnership

If TikTok is the new Facebook for a younger generation, there’s also increasing evidence they understand how to grow their social commerce revenue. Take the upgraded partnership with Shopify for instance.

TikTok users will soon be able to buy products directly in the app as part of the social media platform’s ongoing partnership with Shopify.

Canadian e-commerce company Shopify said Tuesday that businesses will be able to add a shopping tab to their TikTok profiles to create a “mini-storefront” that links directly to their online store for checkout. I could even see Lightspeed Commerce doing this too. After 2021 Chinese companies will make a big push into Canada, including Didi.

The new feature will allow select Shopify merchants in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. to add a shopping tab to their profiles and tag purchasable products in TikTok posts. According to Shopify, “Social commerce is the next frontier for merchants.” The Canadian software giant has also partnered with Facebook and Instagram to offer shopping within their apps.

You can listen to Shopify President talk about the partnership to CNBC here.

Shopify and ByteDance (who own TikTok) are both up-and-comers reaching mainstream importance in the future of social media and E-commerce retail. So this partnership has added weight since both are building ecosystems of scale.

TikTok can do what Facbook could not, actually get social commerce right.

Instagram or WhatsApp never really monetized properly outside of Ads and it makes their business model very vulnerable to disruption. TikTok is a more popular app much more central to contemporary culture’s evolution in convenience, style, education and perhaps also retail shopping.

While Instagram remains mostly a vanity dopamine capture prison with shades of Millennial infatuation with pointless experiences, TikTok is showing real signs of moving the needle in the future of retail.

The social video platform first announced its plans to partner with Shopify last October, with the introduction of new tools that allowed Shopify merchants to create, run and optimize their TikTok marketing campaigns directly from the Shopify dashboard, as well as new integrations within the TikTok For Business Ads Manager. This upgrade makes it a bit more realistic for consumers to easily access goods.

  • Shopify merchants with a TikTok For Business account will be able to add a new “Shopping” tab to their TikTok profiles and sync their product catalogs to create mini-storefronts on their profile.
  • This means even TikTok might have a B2B future as well, so even more revenue.
  • For example, Kylie Jenner is among the early adopters of the new service, and will use the feature with her Kylie Cosmetics brand, which will be available to shop directly on TikTok.

Facebook and Pinterest basically failed to keep up with China in social commerce. For ByteDance to implement this is fairly easy and simply grows ByteDance’s valuation pre IPO and utilizes Western traffic for Chinese innovation which can help also Chinese brands enter foreign markets better.

TikTok can Innovate in Social Commerce

What’s clear is TikTok’s incredibly popularity can lead to various new mechanisms for the future of retail in social commerce. Think about it, Shopify merchants product links 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.

Brands can be mentioned along memes and TikTok’s generally celebrative nature with real paths to purchase. WhatsApp and Instagram will never really be used at scale for shopping in my humble opinion, which means ByteDance will continue to disrupt Facebook and the bigger wave of GenZ culture.

The only western brand that might be able to keep up in social commerce is Snapchat, though at a much smaller scale.

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.

By the time ByteDance finally gets its HongKong IPO, it will already be a legend. It has major implications in the future of gaming, Ed-Tech, advertising and now E-commerce.

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