TikTok, E-Commerce Platform Shopify In Global Marketing Partnership

TikTok Tuesday unveiled a pact with e-commerce platform offering more than a million merchants on the platform a dedicated channel to reach TikTok users with creative marketing.

Through the new TikTok channel for Shopify, businesses can create, manage and measure TikTok ad campaigns without leaving the Shopify interface. The deal comes as TikTok continues to expand its advertising capabilities even as the future, or future ownership in the U.S., of the wildly popular service remains in limbo.

The Trump administration in late August banned the Chinese-owned app for national security reasons but a federal judge issued a temporarily stay a month ago after a legal challenge from TikTok. A hearing is set for early November. Meanwhile, TikTok last month also unveiled a tentative agreement with and Walmart that would put it largely in U.S hands in an attempt to address the administration’s ownership concerns. The Trump administration appeared to be on board but it’s not finalized and needs formal approval.

The Shopify agreement today also creates #ShopBlack, a co-branded campaign to spotlight Black-owned businesses “and empower Black entrepreneurs to share their stories with the TikTok community,” TikTok said.

“Social commerce is a vital channel for businesses of all sizes to reach new audiences, and our partnership with Shopify marks an exciting milestone in growing and expanding our global commerce capabilities,” said Blake Chandlee, Vice President, Global Business Solutions at TikTok. The channel is now available in the US, and will roll out into select markets in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia in early 2021.

The TikTok channel enables Shopify merchants to create native, shareable ads that resonate with the community. TikTok’s intuitive creative tools help turn merchants’ products into high quality TikToks in minutes. Eligible merchants can also claim a $300 ad credit to jumpstart their first TikTok campaign.

TikTok said that in a recent study 88% of its users said that they discover new content using the app and about half of users said they discover new products through advertisements posted by a product or brand.

“We’re thrilled to be the first partner to welcome TikTok to the world of commerce, particularly right now, as our merchants prepare for a busy online holiday shopping season,” said Satish Kanwar, Vice President of Product at Shopify. “TikTok is one of the world’s fastest growing entertainment platforms with over 100 million highly engaged users in the US alone. 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.”

The Trump administration’s executive order would remove TikTok from app stores in the U.S., effectively banning the service, citing national security concerns given the platform’s ownership by giant Chinese conglomerate . The President said the only way around a ban was TikTok being acquired by a U.S owner.

TikTok sued the government, denying it’s a security risk and saying user data it keeps on Americans is stored in the U.S. with a backup in Singapore. Meanwhile, TikTok simultaneously pursued a deal. The company first talked with Microsoft but those overtures ended and it inked a tentative agreement involving Oracle and Walmart, which would see each taking a stake in a new entity called TikTok Global with headquarters in the U.S.

Asked for an update, a  TikTok rep provided its statement from Sept. 27.

“We’re pleased that the court agreed with our legal arguments and issued an injunction preventing the implementation of the TikTok app ban. We will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees. At the same time, we will also maintain our ongoing dialogue with the government to turn our proposal, which the President gave his preliminary approval to last weekend, into an agreement.”

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