Shopify merchants in the United States can now reach hundreds of millions of potential customers through a partnership with BuzzFeed that will allow users to tag their products for use in the viral content site’s product campaigns. However, the move has some Shopify merchants north of the border reacting with a “WTF?”
Announced this week via blog post, BuzzFeed’s editors are now able to search and feature Shopify merchants’ products in the site’s regular campaigns found under its “shopping” section, if users so choose. When the site’s editors – known for creating viral online content – are composing articles such as “All The Best Deals On The Internet Today” and “22 Inexpensive Off-The-Shoulder Tops You Should Add To Your Wardrobe Right Now,” they can now more easily find items tagged by Shopify’s merchants to include in their collection, complete with a price and custom URL to purchase online.
Most of these articles have disclaimers that advise readers that BuzzFeed makes a small percentage from any sale, with Shopify merchants setting their own commission rates.
The blog post adds that BuzzFeed has a regular audience of 200 million, 50 per cent of whom are between the ages of 18 and 34; merchants targeting a millennial market may offer just the products BuzzFeed wants to highlight.
“We’re leveraging the scale and reach of a media company to act like a retailer,” said Ben Kaufman, head of BuzzFeed’s product labs, in the post.
Currently, the BuzzFeed channel is open only to U.S. merchants with U.S. customers dealing in U.S. currency. That upset international commenters on the blog post, with some suggesting the Ottawa-based Shopify should cater to Canada first or equally.
Shopify’s comment moderator addressed these frustrations, saying that Shopify was working on expanding the channel partner program to other countries, but that the critical mass of U.S. merchants made the most sense to launch the program south of the border.