TikTok has teed up its first creator merch sales integration.
The shortform video app has partnered with Teespring, a platform that allows creators to design and vend their own versions of standard catalog items like T-shirts, mugs, and cell phone cases, as well as one-of-a-kind bespoke offerings like plushies.
Teespring’s integration will let TikTok creators “create their own products on Teespring, push it directly to TikTok, and then have fans be able to buy products directly through TikTok,” Teespring CEO Chris Lamontagne told The Verge. (Disclosure: Teespring is sponsoring the 2020 Streamy Awards, which Tubefilter produces alongside dick clark productions.)
Basically, having Teespring within TikTok will keep users from navigating out of the app, and shorten the distance between seeing a product and buying it. Creators won’t have to exit TikTok to design merch, and their followers won’t have to exit to buy it.
This is the first time TikTok has allowed creators–who have notoriously limited monetization options–to sell merch directly through its app. Tubefilter has reached out to ask if TikTok will take a cut of sales made via the integration. (Teespring charges a flat production cost for each item sold, and creators keep the profits.)
Like Teespring’s integrations on YouTube and Twitch, its TikTok partnership will let creators pop up “shelves” of merch. But unlike YouTube and Twitch, TikTok’s content is all full-screen. The entire app is a video player, with no below-video text boxes or other content; video descriptions, like and view counts, and links to creators’ profiles are layered on top of videos. That makes it challenging to effectively display a shelf of merch.
As such, the final look of merch shelves, and where they’ll appear, is something Teespring is still working on, Lamontagne said. It’s also figuring out creator eligibility.
The integration is set to roll out to all eligible creators in September. For now, around 4,000 U.S.-based creators have access to a private beta. They can make custom versions of around 180 products, plus their own bespoke items, per the company.
TikTok also recently greenlighted an integration with music distributor UnitedMasters that will let artists boost their songs from its app to popular listening destinations like YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud.