Will Shopify merchants go viral with their TikTok videos?

Discussion
Source: Shopify
Oct 28, 2020
George Anderson

Shopify announced yesterday that it is partnering with TikTok to enable the one million-plus sellers on its e-commerce platform to place shoppable ads on the world’s most popular short form video app.

The deal will allow merchants on Shopify to meet more of their customers in a space where they are spending an increasing amount of their time. Sellers can use TikTok’s app to choose the product they want to promote and automatically create video ads that enable users to click and go right to their Shopify stores to check out. Templates are predesigned, allowing merchants of all sizes to participate. TikTok has opened the channel in the U.S. with plans to roll it out throughout North America, Europe and Southeast Asia early next year.

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Reply to @michae659 here’s how to get started #tiktokforbusiness #businesstiktok #shopifytips

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“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, vice president of product at Shopify, in a statement. “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.”

Shopify and TikTok are partnering in the video sharing app’s first co-branded hashtag challenge, #ShopBlack, which showcases Black-owned businesses.  The program will feature more than 40 sellers on Shopify and includes custom content and music.

“With TikTok and Shopify working together the process for reaching new customers will be much smoother,” said Michael Terrence Nightwing, founder and CEO of Neter Gold, a natural body care brand. “And I can spend less time working and more time creating, which is exactly why I’m looking forward to the #ShopBlack Hashtag Challenge, and why deciding to participate was a no brainer for me.”

Shopify also announced it is launching its Black Business Directory that shoppers can use to discover and buy products from Black-owned sellers on the platform. It follows last week’s announcement of a partnership initiative between Shopify and Operation HOPE to help create one million Black-owned businesses over the next decade.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does being a first mover give Shopify and its sellers an edge over others who may be looking to leverage TikTok’s popularity? How important a marketing tool will TikTok become for Shopify’s merchants?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Like Instagram Shop, Shopify and TikTok want to be visible where consumers already spend their time (and money). "
"Time will tell what behaviors users participate in and what they don’t. Message to merchants: don’t bet the farm on this until it is proven for your business."
"The effectiveness, of course, depends on the creatives, influencer marketing, and reach of the brand and marketing spend."

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16 Comments on "Will Shopify merchants go viral with their TikTok videos?"


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Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

As a hugely popular platform, TikTok provides an opportunity for retailers and brands to connect with and sell to consumers. So this deal is a good one for Shopify sellers. The key, however, is to be creative, engaging and to target appropriately. People use TikTok to entertain themselves and they don’t want to be spammed with irrelevant and boring advertisements for brands and products that have no meaning to them.

Ben Ball
BrainTrust

One advantage Shopify has over Amazon is that it can partner with established format leaders when Amazon tries to support its own ecosystem. This is will likely be the best example of that impact to date.

Suresh Chaganti
BrainTrust

I would not call it game changing or use similar hyperbole, but it’s a new audience and channel that can be monetized. The effectiveness, of course, depends on the creatives, influencer marketing, and reach of the brand and marketing spend.

In the end, brands will allocate the spend on channels that will get the best ROI. TikTok is an option, so are Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Michael La Kier
BrainTrust

Offering a selling platform with flexibility allows sellers options, the TikTok partnership does not guarantee virality. The integration speaks to Shopify’s vision to enable sellers to sell everywhere, compared to Amazon’s walled-garden platform. The more Shopify offers flexibility and integrations the stickier the platform.

Brett Busconi
Guest

Yes, this is an important position — and I can imagine that, depending on product, this quickly becomes the most important marketing tool for some companies.
Convert the sale from where the interest is – this will transform some companies.

Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

Social commerce is maturing in 2020. Like Instagram Shop, Shopify and TikTok want to be visible where consumers already spend their time (and money).

This year Shopify successfully attracted small retail businesses that need an e-commerce presence to avoid extinction during the pandemic. Now Shopify and its sellers will make their marketing more modern and magnetic as TikTok first movers.

Notably, Walmart collaborated with both Shopify and TikTok this year for e-commerce variety and relevance among influential Gen Zs and Millennials. It will be interesting to see how each of these companies fits in to the bigger social commerce picture.

Lee Peterson
BrainTrust

Talk about retail of the future. I know many RetailWire readers believe in the future of stores, but this one is hard to top, especially for young people who already shop on their phones for the majority of their purchases. Between this and all the online marketplaces out there now, including Alibaba’s new Tmall Global, it looks like a huge win-win for consumers and merchants alike — without opening a single physical unit.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust
Social media has boomed even bigger during 2020 and incorporating commerce into these services has become the new battleground over consumers. TikTok is the current trend leader, and Shopify is wisely opening the door to a new and exciting channel for its merchants. Making it easy to advertise and by extension sell on TikTok brings exciting potential to Shopify’s platform. This is the latest in a string of interesting enhancements Shopify has been adding. While I don’t expect merchants to abandon Facebook or Instagram (or Snapchat for that matter) this gives them a quick way to get into a social platform with a target audience that wants to be entertained and is ready to buy. Of course, this will depend on what products sellers have – if you’re selling apparel targeted to Gen Z then bingo, you’re going to jump on this. But if you’re selling furniture, not so much. Then if you add Walmart and access to their marketplace into this equation in the near future depending on what happens with TikTok ownership, you… Read more »
Patricia Vekich Waldron
Staff

This is another example of how making e-commerce quickly accessible to sellers and shopping easy for customers has enabled Shopify to shine during the pandemic. It will be interesting to see how gorillas like Amazon as well as BigCommerce and the newly launched Fabric respond to this latest capability.

Ken Lonyai
BrainTrust

First-mover status isn’t going to offer much of an advantage to merchants overall. Watching on TikTok and clicking-through to a purchase are two different things. Google and tons of start-ups have been and I believe Google is again trying to monetize video by in-video purchases. It has yet to catch on.

Time will tell what behaviors users participate in and what they don’t. Message to merchants: don’t bet the farm on this until it is proven for your business.

Bindu Gupta
BrainTrust

It is certainly a good strategy by Shopify to expand reach for its sellers through TikTok. However it is essential for the sellers to align their messages and product recommendations to the mood of the TiKTok users who use this platform for entertainment/fun. The success would lie in effortlessly integrating their brand voice with the audience’s expectations.

Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust
The move is risky given the TikTok ban and the potential overtaking of operations by Oracle. It remains to be seen how Shopify plays to the extended risk. The move might also be looked upon as a way to strengthen the case for TikTok’s survival in the courts. Whatever first mover advantage Shopify has gained will vanish quickly without intervention. U.S. merchants operating on Shopify will certainly miss the mark and customers in other countries may see a tainted environment to advertise. Regardless, video will be a key factor in the future but success wasn’t the word of the day for merchants when YouTube and others introduced product placement with a shopping interface. Google is also attempting to drive customers to Google Shopping. It may be that the market is a bit early and only companies like Douyin (China’s TikTok) has seen adoption – though video has been in works for several years by Amazon, Walmart and others. It is too early to guess an outcome – but first-mover advantage is not a substantial edge… Read more »
Karen Wong
BrainTrust

It’s a smart move and a clear reminder that retailers need to use platforms that are channel-agnostic in the long-term. TikTok will definitely help merchants that sell to the demographics that use TikTok, but in the long-term, it’s yet another channel for eyeballs.

Cynthia Holcomb
BrainTrust

Given TikTok content, the first-mover advantage only works if a Shopify retailer’s intended customer is in the age range of the TikTok audience. Per Marketing Charts TikTok data (March 2019), “over 50% of TikTok users in the US are aged 18-34.”

Many Shopify retailers consider themselves a brand. Adherence to their unique proprietary brand standards resulting in the creation of an authentic brand requires knowing one’s audience. Leveraging TikTok is not for every brand.

That said, Shopify retailers marketing to the sweet spot of the TikTok audience should have a lot of fun in content creation.

Brandon Rael
BrainTrust

What’s not to love about a strategic partnership between TikTok and the Shopify commerce platform? TikTok has quickly become the most viral social media app, and its audience has now extended well beyond Gen Z and Millennials.

The lines between social media and commerce have been blurring for years, however, the challenge has been on the execution side, while providing personalized advertisements. This partnership could potentially open up new opportunities for small to mid-sized independent retailers and creative companies. The key component here is for the shop now capabilities to follow the same authentic and quirky strategies as the viral 60-second videos do.

TikTok’s advanced algorithms along with Shopify’s platform may just be the right combination to provide the personalization and experience the modern digital-first consumer is looking for.

Casey Craig
BrainTrust

When it comes to social media platforms, early adoption can make all the difference, which is exactly what Shopify is doing. But for this to be successful, it’s vital for them to know not only their own brand but to understand the Tik Tok audience and figure out ways they can authentically engage with these audiences, within the confines of what makes this platform popular. Another thing to think about is that new platforms are also being created every day, so even though Tik Tok is having its moment in the sun, it’s important that Shopify and other brands continually look to what’s coming next to ensure they’re hitting audiences where they are and capturing the next generation of consumers.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Like Instagram Shop, Shopify and TikTok want to be visible where consumers already spend their time (and money). "
"Time will tell what behaviors users participate in and what they don’t. Message to merchants: don’t bet the farm on this until it is proven for your business."
"The effectiveness, of course, depends on the creatives, influencer marketing, and reach of the brand and marketing spend."

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