TikTok users will soon be able to buy items directly through the short videos on the app – something they had only been able to do through ads until now.

Canadian e-commerce company Shopify said businesses will be able to add a shopping tab to their TikTok profiles to create a “mini-storefront” that links directly to their online store for checkout.

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The shopping tool, which is still being tested, is available to merchants in the US, the UK and Canada, and will roll out to more regions in the coming months.

Shopify already had a deal with TikTok that let merchants create “shoppable” video ads that drive customers to online stores.

Kylie Jenner
Kylie Jenner is among the first merchants to participate in the programme (Ian West/PA)

ByteDance, the Beijing-based company that owns TikTok, already runs a thriving social media marketplace on Douyin, its twin video app for the Chinese market.

Buying products through social media websites is not yet as common in the US, though Pinterest and Facebook-owned Instagram have made some inroads.

Reality star Kylie Jenner is among the first merchants to participate in the programme by selling her skincare and cosmetics line through TikTok.

Shimona Mehta, Managing Director EMEA at Shopify, said: “We are excited to bring new shopping experiences to one of the world’s most popular social and entertainment platforms. Social commerce has fundamentally changed the way we shop as people now expect to be able to browse and purchase through the platforms where they spend most of their time. The expansion of our partnership with TikTok will mean that our merchants can reach the platform’s hundreds of millions of highly engaged users across the UK.

“By more deeply integrating commerce with TikTok, we will help merchants to reach consumers where they like to shop and help creators and merchants deepen their relationships. We look forward to continuing to push the boundaries together with TikTok as social commerce and the creator economy continue to grow.”

Lisa Friedrich, Head of SMB at TikTok EMEA, said: “The businesses thriving today innovate to find the best ways to engage with customers, and TikTok has provided brands a creative outlet to authentically do this. As the home of joyful creativity, and with a hugely diverse audience, we are thrilled to expand our partnership with Shopify as it means we can go even further to help support brands on this journey. We hope that this partnership will continue to be a game-changer for Shopify merchants in Europe, helping them to quickly, effectively and accurately connect with our community in the UK.

“We are committed to helping support our platform with innovative shopping solutions, and work towards ensuring these businesses are at the heart of future economic growth.”

Discoverability has become a growing priority for Shopify merchants with social commerce providing an opportunity for independent businesses to increase awareness of their brand. Shopify’s 2021 Future of Commerce report found that 54% of younger consumers globally discover brands via social media.

Diarmuid McSweeney, Co-founder and Chief Marketing & Community Officer, Gym + Coffee, said: “Since launching in 2017, we’ve seen phenomenal 300% year on year growth and social commerce has played a big role in helping us to achieve that. TT Shopping will enable us to increase brand awareness of Gym+Coffee and engage with our customers on a platform we know they love to use.  The strength of our brand lies in our community and the new storefronts feature will mean we can connect more authentically with both new and existing customers.”

Shopify has also partnered with TikTok to launch product links, which Shopify merchants will use to tag products in organic TikTok posts and send consumers directly to their online store for checkout. Consumers can choose to shop directly from the merchant’s storefront or click a tagged product in a merchant’s TikTok post.

The TikTok Shopping pilot is currently available to Shopify merchants in the US and UK. A select group of merchants in Canada will participate in the pilot in the coming weeks, and the feature will roll out to additional regions in the coming months. Shopify merchants can request early access to the TikTok Shopping pilot via the TikTok channel for Shopify. To learn more about Shopify’s TikTok channel and install the app today, visit apps.shopify.com/tiktok.