The move, which was first reported by Business Insider, comes as TikTok looks to own the shopping experience on its popular video-sharing app and convince sellers to switch over to its in-house e-commerce platform, TikTok Shop.
At the same time, TikTok is improving its API integration with Shopify to make it easier for sellers to measure and improve ad delivery.
Per TikTok’s website, the TikTok Storefront integration will be removed on Sept. 12. TikTok wrote that it is discontinuing the feature for Shopify merchants and other vendors because it is “committed to building native, engaging, and entertaining shopping experiences that empower you to meaningfully engage with customers and grow your business.”
In addition to Shopify sellers, TikTok Storefront could also be integrated with online stores on other platforms, including BigCommerce, Lightspeed Commerce-owned Ecwid, and Square, which means that merchants using these platforms to showcase and sell products will also lose access to the Storefront feature.
At the same time, TikTok has signalled that it is still open to working with external platforms on advertising, announcing last week that it was improving its API integration with Shopify to make it easier for sellers to measure and improve ad delivery.
Despite the end of TikTok Storefront, a Shopify spokesperson told BetaKit that “nothing is changing in the relationship we have with TikTok,” adding that “Shopify merchants will still be able to leverage TikTok as a sales channel.”
As part of Shopify’s continued partnership with TikTok, it announced an integration with TikTok Shop during its 2023 Summer Editions. This integration, which Shopify president Harley Finkelstein said is coming soon, will enable Shopify merchants to sync products to TikTok for on-platform engagement and customer conversion while still managing orders in Shopify.
Social commerce has been a focus within Shopify for some time, with the e-commerce platform previously describing it as one of the fastest-growing sales channels for its sellers. In recent years, Shopify has partnered up with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Spotify, and TikTok to help its merchants advertise and sell goods via social media.
As part of a partnership expansion announcement in 2021, Shopify claimed to be the first commerce platform to bring organic product discovery and shopping tabs to TikTok. The Ottawa e-commerce giant first began partnering with TikTok in 2020 to make it easier for its merchants to advertise and sell products through TikTok’s app.
In 2021, the two companies expanded that partnership, making it possible for Shopify retailers with a TikTok For Business account to add a shopping tab to their TikTok profiles and sync product catalogues in an agreement that also saw TikTok bring product links to Shopify merchants that could be used to tag products in organic TikTok posts.
While TikTok’s China-based parent company ByteDance posted an operating profit of $18 billion last year, the growth of its Chinese business has reportedly been slowing.
Meanwhile, despite government threats to ban the app, TikTok has been investing heavily in TikTok Shop in the United States (US) as it looks to replicate the success of Chinese e-commerce platforms like Shein and Temu by selling made-in-China goods to US consumers.
According to The Information, TikTok Shop is expected to lose over $500 million USD from hiring, building a delivery network, and subsidizing merchants in the US, where it has reportedly faced difficulties enlisting US merchants. While The Information has reported that TikTok is planning to ban links to outside e-commerce sites like Amazon to support the growth of TikTok Shop, TikTok has denied this claim.
As TikTok Storefront ends, Shopify has added another integration to its platform: Solana Pay. Built on the Solana blockchain, Solana Pay is a decentralized payments protocol by San Francisco-based Solana Labs. Solana Pay, which facilitates USD Coin (USDC) payments, will now be available to Shopify merchants and consumers through an approved app integration.
Solana Pay enables immediate, direct payment settlement of USDC—a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar. By market capitalization, USDC is currently the second-largest stablecoin next to Tether (USDT).
Shopify already integrates with other crypto payment applications, including Coinbase Commerce, BitPay, and Crypto.com. In February, the company launched a slew of blockchain-enabled commerce tools and features.
UPDATE (08/25/23): This story has been updated to clarify the relationship between Shopify and the TikTok Storefront.
Feature image courtesy Shopify.