TikTok is embracing social shopping via a global partnership with popular ecommerce platform Shopify.
Shopify's more than one million merchants will now be able to create and deploy shoppable video ads on TikTok directly from the Shopify dashboard.
The partnership will be rolled out initially in the US from this week, before expanding to Europe and Southeast Asia early next year.
Merchants will be required to download a TikTok channel app from the Shopify App Store, from which they can create or connect their TikTok for Business account. TikTok is offering $300 (£251) in free ad credit for users who sign up for a new TikTok For Business account.
Within the app, merchants can select which product they would like to feature, and video ads will be automatically generated. They can choose from a selection of ready-made templates using existing imagery or video, rather than being required to create new assets.
The ads will drive TikTok users to a merchant's Shopify store for checkout.
Shopify merchants can also install or connect their "TikTok Pixel" to track conversions and performance.
The two partners will also collaborate to test new commerce features "over the coming months", aimed at providing merchants with the chance to expand their paid and organic reach in video and on profiles.
In a blog post announcing the partnership, Shopify's vice-president of product, Satish Kanwar, said the platform was "thrilled to be the first partner to welcome TikTok to the world of commerce", especially ahead of the holiday shopping season.
"TikTok is one of the world’s fastest growing entertainment platforms with over 100 million highly engaged users in the US alone," Kanwar said. "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."
TikTok's vice-president of global business solutions Blake Chandlee commented: "As social commerce proliferates, retailers are recognising 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 two companies have also launched a co-branded Hashtag Challenge Plus campaign called #ShopBlack to celebrate black-owned businesses. From 10 November to 15 November, TikTok users can call attention to black-owned businesses using the hashtag, and will be able to browse videos from more than 40 Shopify merchants. The campaign also features a custom-branded effect.
TikTok joins a growing list of social media platforms embracing social commerce. Shopify has existing partnerships with Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Facebook launched an online storefronts product called Facebook Shops in May, allowing small businesses to set up native storefronts across Facebook and Instagram. WhatsApp announced an integration with Facebook Shops last week, allowing businesses to integrate in-app purchases on the messaging app.
A version of this article was first published by Campaign Asia-Pacific