A just-announced partnership between the social giant TikTok and the ecommerce giant Shopify could mint a brand-new class of TikTok-friendly ecommerce stores.
The two platforms are both huge in their respective markets. By connecting TikTok's audience with small businesses online everywhere, this team-up could offer a lifeline to business owners amid a rocky economy.
We explain what you need to know about the Shopify-TikTok team-up (plus, how to bag $300 in ad credit).
See our guide to Shopify Pricing for more on its plans and fees
How the TikTok-Shopify Partnership Works
The new team-up has a lot of moving parts: Shopify even termed it a “first-of-its-kind” partnership in its announcement blog post.
Through the deal, Shopify merchants will be able to add a TikTok channel app available that's in the Shopify App Store. With it, they can create, execute, and refine TikTok marketing campaigns. They'll need to open a TikTok For Business account and select a product to feature, before auto-generating video ads that can link any interested TikTokkers directly to the merchant's Shopify store.
On the website side, merchants can add a “TikTok Pixel” to better track TikTok-powered conversions. Merchants can target campaigns by gender, age, user behavior, and video category, with their total cost varying based on merchants' needs and budget.
The platforms will add additional ecommerce features down the line, though they're a little vague on what those will be. The TikTok channel is already available in the US, and is coming to “select markets” across North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia by early next year.
Why TikTok is an Ecommerce Opportunity
TikTok is among the fastest-growing social platforms today, with a heavily engaged user base: The app has seen over two billion downloads and has more than 100 million users across the US spending an average of 52 minutes per day within the app.
Shopify is also a mammoth competitor in the ecommerce industry, with over half a million active stores that have realized a total of $135 billion in sales. Purely in terms of scale, this new ad channel is connecting two powerful services.
I've been on the Shopify x TikTok beta for the last couple of weeks and I've been really impressed so far! Would highly recommend downloading. https://t.co/bA7cGQQwlE
— Savannah Sanchez | The Social Savannah (@social_savannah) October 27, 2020
But it's a decent market fit, too: Many of Shopify's stores are offering boutique and highly-targeted products, from handmade jewelry to a suite of men's beard care products. TikTok has similarly niche audiences, from skincare influencers to, uh, whatever this is.
Fitting the right audience to the right product will be tricky, but the potential upside is big.
Who Will Take Advantage?
Granted, this ad channel isn't reinventing the wheel. It's still just a way to put eyeballs in front of advertisements. Any Shopify stores that don't offer a product worth buying won't drive any more sales than they would otherwise.
But, it is a new opportunity, and some stores will definitely take full advantage.
“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,” Satish Kanwar, Vice President of Product at Shopify, said in a statement.
The Shopify store owners who benefit won't need a TikTok audience, but they will need to understand TikTok inside and out. They'll also need to invest time and money into iterating their campaign approach until they figure out what works.
Any store that comes across as spammy or inauthentic won't stand a chance against TikTok's largely Gen Z audience. But those who can offer a worthy product now have an in-road with one of social media's biggest and most engaged groups of potential shoppers.
Start With a Free $300
One last element worth mentioning: Shopify merchants will get a $300 ad credit when they launch their initial TikTok campaign through the new channel.
If you're a TikTok-savvy entrepreneur interested in launching a Shopify store, now seems to be the time. But the first step is making sure that Shopify is your best option. It's definitely a top contender in the ecommerce world: We've rounded up all the top ecommerce website builders here, and it's second only to Wix in our estimation.
You can learn more about Shopify's pricing options with our guide, too, and here's a table below that gives you a brief overview.
Cost (paid monthly)
Cost (paid annually)
Abandoned cart recovery
Online credit card rates
In-person credit card rates
Shopify POS app
Hardware peripheral support
2.2% + 30c
1.9% + 30c
1.6% + 30c