TikTok and Shopify, the e-commerce platform, said Tuesday that they are working together to make it possible for consumers to shop directly in the TikTok app for the first time.
TikTok is largely known as a video app that provides entertainment and memes. Users can’t buy products directly in the app, although TikTok has many influencers who often talk about clothing, makeup, and household products. Instead, users can only make purchases on TikTok through ads on the app.
But under the new partnership, Shopify sellers participating in the pilot will be able to add a shopping tab to their profiles and link to products in TikTok posts. Shopify says it expects to expand the feature to all of its merchants this fall.
TikTok joins Instagram and Facebook to offer in-app shopping, part of a larger shift towards what’s known as social commerce – buying products directly within the social media platform – as creators look for new ways to monetize their audience.
“Social commerce is important because it’s the new town square,” where consumers come to find and buy new products, said Harley Finkelstein, president of Shopify.
Blake Chandlee, TikTok’s president of global business solutions, said the move to in-app shopping reflects how people have used the app to find products. The app has inspired two-thirds of users to shop even when they weren’t meant to, according to a survey TikTok conducted this fall with London-based market researcher Walnut Unlimited. The hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit has 4.6 billion views.
One of the brands included in the new pilot program is Kylie Cosmetics, Kylie Jenner’s makeup and skincare brand, which has two million followers on TikTok. Ms. Jenner’s personal TikTok account has 34.9 million followers.
Social media is “where I grow my audience and community,” Jenner wrote in an email. “The ability to shop for my products directly on these platforms is important because that’s where our audience comes first.”
Shopify says sales across its social commerce channels — including TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest — grew 76% from February 2020 to February 2021. In total, Shopify works with 1.7 million sellers.