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10/27/2020

TikTok enters e-commerce partnership – but not with Walmart

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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E-commerce platform Shopify is integrating shoppable TikTok videos.

Canada-based Shopify is enabling retailers selling on its platform to create and connect their TikTok For Business account and deploy in-feed shoppable video ads directly within its site. The new social commerce partnership is launching as Oracle and Walmart continue pursuing a potential joint 20% acquisition of a new business that will be called TikTok Global.

Under that proposed merger, which still needs approval from both the U.S. and Chinese governments, TikTok Global would provide all TikTok services to users in the U.S. and most of the rest of the world, including Canada. In addition, Walmart would enter into commercial agreements to provide e-commerce, fulfillment, payments, measurement-as-a-service advertising, and other omnichannel services to TikTok Global. 

It is not clear how or if consummation of the TikTok Global agreement would affect the new Shopify partnership. The Trump administration has also threatened to ban TikTok in the U.S. if its American business is not spun off in an acquisition that includes at least some U.S. corporate ownership.

However, retailers on Shopify can now select which product they would like to promote on the TikTok channel of Shopify Channels, a feature that enables integrations with social media, entertainment and search platforms. Through Shopify Channels, TikTok video ads are automatically generated that drive to retailers’ Shopify stores for checkout. 

Ready-made templates designed specifically for commerce mean retailers of any size can utilize the TikTok channel using their existing imagery or video. In addition to the newly launched TikTok integration, Shopify Channels also provides connections to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Google; as well as major e-commerce marketplaces, such as Amazon and Walmart. 

“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,” said Satish Kanwar, VP of product at Shopify. “TikTok is one of the world’s fastest-growing entertainment platforms, with over 100 million highly engaged users in the U.S. alone. 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.”

"We are delighted to partner with Shopify and provide a channel for their merchants to reach new audiences and drive sales on TikTok," said Blake Chandlee, VP, global business solutions at TikTok. "As social commerce proliferates, retailers are recognizing that TikTok's creative and highly engaged community sets it apart from other platforms. We're constantly exploring new and innovative ways to connect brands with our users, and Shopify is the perfect partner to help us grow and expand our commerce capabilities globally."

The TikTok channel is now available in the U.S., and will become available in other select markets throughout North America, Europe and Southeast Asia in early 2021. Shopify and TikTok will also collaborate to test other new commerce features over the coming months.