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TikTok tests shopping tabs with select Shopify merchants

The company has experimented with shopping features in the past

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

TikTok announced it’s piloting a new in-app shopping experience on Tuesday as part of its ongoing partnership with Shopify (via The New York Times). TikTok Shopping allows select merchants from the US, Canada, and the UK to use a new shopping tab and product links to sell products from Shopify storefronts.

The shopping tab is basically a dedicated section of a TikTok profile with a scrollable list of products that you can click through to be taken directly to a merchant’s Shopify storefront. Product links offer similar integrations by allowing merchants to link directly to a product from a TikTok post. In its current form, this isn’t really a full-blown monetization option for creators. The new shopping features require a TikTok for Business account and a Shopify storefront, two things not every creator will have. It’s really more of an expansion of the advertising partnership TikTok and Shopify embarked on in 2020 than the future of making money on the platform.

The shopping tab and product links as used by Kylie Cosmetics.
Image: TikTok

Besides clear parallels to what Instagram and Facebook have been working on, TikTok Shopping might be familiar because the company has been testing it in a more limited form. Earlier this year, TikTok piloted the shopping tab with streetwear brand Hype in the UK. It’s not clear how many merchants are part of this expanded Shopify pilot, but TikTok does have one celebrity brand on board in the form of Kylie Cosmetics.

Shopping makes sense for TikTok. The company’s endless stream of highly personalized video suggestions feels like a natural fit for QVC-esque informercials — TikTok even previously looked into introducing something similar. TikTok’s first big steps into shopping start soon: Shopify says the shopping tab and product links will be enabled for merchants in the coming weeks, with plans to bring the features to more regions outside of the US, UK, and Canada in the coming months.