Shopify launches new platform to connect creators, merchants

Shopify sign

Shopify is launching a new product aimed at helping connect social media content creators with merchants in a bid to help creators generate more income while exposing e-commerce businesses to new consumers.

The Ottawa-based software giant says the new program, called Shopify Collabs, allows creators to “discover and partner with merchants to build curated shops and share products that reflect their own interests.”

Using Collabs, artists and others who create content for platforms like TikTok and YouTube can apply for a free account that lets them browse Shopify merchants that could be a good fit for their audience. 

Creators can then partner with the merchants to curate a selection of products they can share on their favourite social media platforms. Creators get paid when consumers purchase products using the links the creators have shared.

Shopify is billing Collabs as a way to help creators cash in on their online popularity. 

$100B market

The company says that while the total creator economy is now estimated to be worth more than US$100 billion annually, “most creators struggle to make money and become independent.” Shopify says research shows just four per cent of creators are engaged in producing content full-time.

“With Shopify Collabs, we’re making it simple for creators to discover and partner with these brands so they can make more money and reach economic independence,” Shopify director of product Amir Kabbara said in a news release. 

“In the future, Collabs will be fully integrated with Shopify, giving creators access to more parts of our platform and accelerating their journey as entrepreneurs.”

Meanwhile, Shopify says the program will also help its merchants generate new business by tapping into creators’ well-established fan bases.

“For Shopify merchants, Collabs is a new way to find potential customers at a time when it's never been more difficult or expensive," Kabbara added. 

“By giving merchants the ability to discover and partner with creators that align with their brand, they can tap into the power of community-driven commerce to reach consumers in new and meaningful ways.”

Merchants that install the platform can use it to supply creators with unique links and discount codes they can share with their audiences. Metrics such as inventory, order and customer information are all tracked automatically on the merchant’s administration dashboard.

The launch marks Shopify’s latest effort to strengthen its ties to social media platforms in a bid to boost revenues. The firm has previously established partnerships with Twitter, TikTok, Facebook and Pinterest to make it easier for its merchants to generate sales through social media.

The move comes as Shopify’s stock has taken a hit amid a broad market selloff that’s rocked the tech sector over the past eight months. Shopify shares sat at $51.03 in mid-afternoon trading Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange, down more than 75 per cent from their peak of $222.87 (adjusted for a recent 10-to-one stock split) last November.

Late last month, the company reported a net loss of US$1.2 billion for the second quarter ending June 30, compared with a profit of nearly $880 million a year earlier. The financial report came a day after Shopify announced it was laying off 10 per cent of its workforce, or roughly 1,000 employees – a move the company said it was forced to make after misjudging the projected growth of the e-commerce market.

Never miss a story. Get OBJ's daily update in your inbox every Monday to Friday. Click here to subscribe.