Link maker

Shopify targets influencers with new link in bio tool Linkpop

E-commerce giant Shopify wants to take a growing share of online sales from social media stars with a new in-bio link tool called Linkpop.

Like other bio link services, Linkpop allows users to promote multiple links on a single page – a musician can promote links to their merchant site, YouTube channel and Spotify page, for example. However, what sets Linkpop apart from other in-bio link tools is that it’s designed from the ground up to promote purchases with as few clicks as possible. Linkpop users can promote a curated selection of Shopify products that visitors can buy directly without leaving the link page in the bio, instead of clicking on a separate link that takes them to Amazon or another e-commerce site.

Unveiled today, the tool is free for anyone, whether or not they’re a Shopify merchant. But buyable links are only available for Shopify merchants. By doing this, the hope is that ultimately Linkpop users will be incentivized to create a Shopify storefront, in order to gain access to checkout experiences.

Over the years, link-in-bio tools have become an essential part of social commerce in the United States. to promote multiple links to a person viewing one of their social media pages. One of the most notable link-in-bio startups, Linktree, recently secured a $1.3 billion valuation last year. As social media apps like TikTok drive a larger chunk of online sales, e-commerce players like Shopify see a growing opportunity in the link-in-bio space — even as social media sites look to create their own e-commerce tools.

“Linkpop allows marketers to store all of their brand building touchpoints in one place and sell directly from their link page in the bio, making it easier than ever to turn subscribers into buyers and advocates. brand,” Shopify Chief Product Officer Amir Kabbara wrote. in an email to Modern Retail. “Linkpop was created with commerce in mind, which means merchants and creators can use Linkpop to launch social storefronts on the platforms they already use to build followings.”

The link-in-bio space started, essentially, as a workaround. Instagram still does not allow users to add direct links to their posts. As Instagram has grown in popularity – with over 2 billion monthly active users – its lack of support for direct links has become a problem for people who have built large followings on Instagram and media sites. social networks, which then wanted to direct their users to several sites. .

Jason Goldberg, director of business strategy at Publicis, said that right now in-bio linking tools, at least in the United States, “are the most popular way, the most common way, to monetize traffic on social networks”. Linktree, the most popular of these sites, was founded in 2016 and now has over 12 million users. The company now counts mainstream celebrities such as Katy Perry and Selena Gomez among its many users.

Over the past two years, more attention has been paid to companies that create tools for people who make a living by developing content and building a suite of social media apps, often referred to as creators or influencers. The growing relevance of the so-called creator economy is underscored by companies in this sector announcing higher and higher valuations – Patreon, for example, achieved a $4 billion valuation last year after its launch in 2014. Similarly, more traditional B2B companies, like Shopify, have started releasing tools aimed directly at creators.

Indeed, apps like TikTok and Instagram are playing a bigger role in product discovery and helping businesses drive sales. In turn, business enterprises realize that they must respond to these ever-changing spending habits. The term “creator,” for example, has been used recently in Shopify’s earnings calls. factors, means there are “more sales opportunities for makers, creators, influencers and curators”.

Shopify has over a million merchants, which puts it in a good position to launch new commerce tools like a link-in-bio feature. However, Shopify – along with other in-bio link companies – face increased competition from the social media platforms themselves.

“All social platforms have major moves to become commerce platforms on purpose,” Goldberg said. Instagram launched an in-app payment feature called Instagram Checkout in 2019, while TikTok unveiled an in-app purchase feature in August. It’s worth noting that in many of these cases, like with TikTok, Shopify is one of the vendors helping to optimize the in-app shopping experience.

With that, as more social media apps invest in commerce, Goldberg said in-bio link tools “probably aren’t a long-term solution.” In the face of this existential threat, link-in-bio companies are trying to show each other off by adding unique features to get users to stick with them, even as they are increasingly courted to use Instagram or commerce tools. from TikTok. Link-in-bio company Koji, for example, added tools last year to help users set up a rudimentary storefront, while Linktree is looking to add more integrations for various commerce companies, announcing a partnership with custom t-shirt manufacturer Spring last summer. This latest Shopify tool will make the space even more competitive for these startups.

Kabbara declined to say in an email what new features Shopify would add to Linkpop over time, but that the company sees its role as “the commerce infrastructure for all creators.”

“At Shopify, we view creators as anyone who has amassed a passionate following that they inspire, inform, or entertain,” Kabbara wrote.