In what I can only assume is a carefully-laid scheme to ensure my long-term personal and financial demise, TikTok and Shopify announced on Tuesday a new partnership that will allow users to make in-app purchases directly from the streaming platform for the first time.
Shopify, an e-commerce platform, and TikTok, a short-form video app where people run around on milk crates, said that the new partnership will allow participating Shopify merchants to add shopping tabs to users’ profiles, and will also ensure that product links are nested within applicable TikTok posts. According to the New York Times, Shopify is hoping to extend the feature to all of its merchants by this coming fall.
While TikTok’s bite-sized content has long provided a literally endless scroll of content designed to waste your time, this will be the first time that TikTok has explicitly designed a pilot program to waste your money. It’s a venture that kind of makes more than a little bit of sense for a platform that has something to sell to everyone, be it book recommendations, makeup, cleaning products or new food items. And although the feature’s pilot will exclusively enable in-app purchases for merchants, it could also be a boon to creators down the line—assuming that they would, in fact, be making commissions off of affiliate links.
Clothing has earned a particularly strong foothold on the app in recent months—look no further than the recent flurry of Alabama sorority girls posting OOTD, or “outfit of the day,” videos for proof—which Harley Finkelstein, Shopify’s president, told the Times is a symptom of social media becoming “the new town square” for consumers looking for help or recommendations on which products to buy.
According to a survey that TikTok conducted in the fall with the London market researcher Walnut Unlimited, there are more than 4.6 billion views on the hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit—which does, admittedly, kind of make you wonder whether or not there’s something to the idea that it might be financially prudent for them to make it easier for you to buy things. Kylie Jenner, whose makeup and skincare brand Kylie Cosmetics is reportedly one of the brands that will be tested out in the pilot program, told the Times that the ability to make in-app purchases is integral to the success of her lines.
“The ability to shop my products directly on these platforms is so important because that’s where our audience is going first,” Jenner, whose TikTok account currently has 34.9 million followers, said.
Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook already offer in-app purchases, so it makes sense for TikTok to join the crowd. It’s just a horrible development for me both personally and financially.