American Express Co. is working with the popular social-media platform TikTok to launch the #ShopSmall Accelerator, a program intended to help small-business owners reach a new generation of shoppers on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 26, and throughout the rest of the holiday-shopping season.
The deal will provide business owners with access to digital tools and resources to become so-called TikTok creators, including an online tutorial on how to promote their business on the platform in a way that would appeal to TikTok users.
While TikTok originated as a way for users to create short videos to express themselves, and to share those videos across the platform’s community, it has begun morphing into a product-recommendation, advertising and e-commerce platform. Among dance and prank videos, TikTok users can find content about brands and products. The platform is especially popular with Millennials and Gen Zers.
Making TikTok available to small merchants coincides with the platform’s launch of TikTok Shop, the platform’s e-commerce component, in the U.S. last week. TikTok Shop allows consumers to make purchases directly through the TikTok platform. TikTok Shop is also available in the United Kingdom and seven countries in Southeast Asia.
The AmEx tutorial on using TikTok will instruct small businesses on how to use TikTok as a search engine, leverage sounds, trends, hashtags and communities, and drive engagement with users. To help small businesses get discovered by new audiences, AmEx has partnered with musical artist Chlöe Bailey to create a Shop Small Soundtrack, which small businesses can add to their content.
TikTok has an estimated 80 million monthly active users in the U.S. market, 60% of whom are age 16 to 24 and 26% are age 25 to 44, according to social-media advertising agency Wallaroo Media. In addition, 60% of TikTok’s users are female, according to Wallaroo.
“The #ShopSmall Accelerator will help give small merchants the tools they need to reach the next generation of consumers on TikTok, where our Shop Small Impact Study found that 67% of Gen Z users have shopped from a small business that was displayed on [TikTok’s] For You Page,” Elizabeth Rutledge, chief marketing officer for AmEx says in a prepared statement.
If every Gen Z and Millennial shopper spent $10 at a small business on Small Business Saturday, the total spending would support $2 billion in local economic activity throughout the U.S., according to AmEx’s “Small Business Economic Impact Study.” The study also found that 68 cents of every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S. stays in the local community, and that every dollar spent at small businesses creates an additional 48 cents in local business activity as a result of employees and local businesses purchasing local goods and services.
“More and more American small businesses are turning to TikTok to take us inside their world in a fun, authentic way, and as a result, they are reaching new customers, hiring more employees, and growing their business,” Sofia Hernandez, global head of business marketing for TikTok, says in a prepared statement.