TikTok is retiring its Storefront feature, which allowed ecommerce merchants to sync their product catalogs within the platform. This action will be taking place on September 12th, 2023 and it aligns with TikTok’s push to centralize the shopping experience on its own platform, emphasizing TikTok Shop.
TikTok states this decision is to help create a more engaging shopping experience, but it will impact merchants on various platforms, including BigCommerce, Ecwid, and Square.
However, this change doesn’t affect TikTok’s relationship with Shopify, as they recently unveiled an integration with TikTok Shop that will still incorporate their API to aid sellers in improving ad delivery. Cody Johnston, Coalition Technologies’ Director of Marketing states-
“This move is yet another point of emphasis on the importance of strong, engaging video content for ecommerce merchants. Whether or not TikTok can build a sustainable, independent shopping experience for the long term remains to be seen, but what’s crystal clear is that merchants who want to capture the attention of new audiences and drive new sales cannot ignore captivating video as a vital medium any longer.
As more shoppers demand a personal connection to the brands they are loyal to and more people turn to social platforms like TikTok to find new brands to patronize, it’s often not enough to simply lean on a well-optimized site experience or any one channel to earn new customers. Leaning into engaging video content – short-form, live selling, and more – will only continue to become more crucial.”
Enter TikTok Shop
ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, is investing heavily in TikTok Shop in order to properly set it up for success in the U.S. market. This move will cost around $500 million due to personnel and infrastructure investments. ByteDance’s goal is to transform TikTok into an international ecommerce giant, much like Douyin, with a goal of generating billions in revenue from the U.S. market. While this change could be beneficial, Jordan Brannon, the president of Coalition Technologies, had this to say on the matter-
“TikTok seems intent on creating a segmented internet.
It’s a surprising move for a platform that hasn’t fully resolved concerns about its security and privacy practices. Perhaps they feel their shoppable moment is now, and have seen other social platforms (Meta’s particularly) fail to really take hold in the lucrative ecommerce marketplace.
Whatever the case, for Shopify merchants who have thrived in TikTok, there’s a moment of truth coming. Can TikTok produce sufficient sales to warrant an independent marketing and management effort?“
Another move that Shopify appears to be making alongside this new integration is adding another new way to pay called Solana Pay. It’s a blockchain-based payment protocol that helps the company further its crypto integration efforts and capture a new audience of shoppers.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to entice more merchants to sell on their platform, TikTok is offering incentives to top-selling Amazon merchants such as zero commissions for the initial first three months.
To wrap up, TikTok shifting its focus and forging a stronger partnership with Shopify puts them in a better position to enact the changes they have planned for expanding into the U.S. market. The bold changes they are pursuing are risky but can be just as rewarding if the social media giant can pull them off and go toe-to-toe with Amazon on their home turf.