Shopify partners with TikTok to launch 'shoppable video ads'

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E-commerce powerhouse Shopify is partnering with one of the planet’s hottest social media platforms in  a bid to help its growing stable of more than a million merchants reach new customers.

The Ottawa-based company said Tuesday it’s signed a deal with video-sharing app TikTok that will allow Shopify merchants to generate short “shoppable video ads.” Customers can then click on the ads embedded in merchants’ websites to buy products.

Shopify (TSX:SHOP) said it’s also working with TikTok to “test new commerce features” in the coming months.

“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 vice-president of product Satish Kanwar said in a statement.

TikTok, which has more than 100 million users in the U.S. alone, said the partnership is one of the “new and innovative ways” the social media platform is looking to connect global brands with its users.

'Perfect partner'

“Shopify is the perfect partner to help us grow and expand our commerce capabilities globally,” Blake Chandlee, TikTok’s vice-president of global business solutions, said in a statement.

Financial details of the new arrangement were not disclosed. Shopify said the TikTok channel is now available to its merchants in the U.S. and will be rolled out in select markets throughout North America, Europe and southeast Asia in early 2021.

The news comes just over a month after retail giant Walmart announced it had tentatively agreed to buy a 7.5 per cent stake in TikTok’s U.S. operations – a deal that’s in limbo pending the outcome of a U.S. appeals court hearing expected next month on whether the country can bar transactions with the Beijing-based company.

Back in June, Shopify partnered with Walmart to allow its merchants across the United States to sell their wares on the big-box department store giant’s website. 

Shopify shares were up more than four per cent in late-morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange to $1,426.75. Earlier this year, the Ottawa firm surpassed RBC to become Canada’s most valuable publicly traded company.