Social Commerce

Social Commerce


Ever since Instagram added the ability to tag a product in a post, the concept of shopping directly from the social media platform has snowballed. More recently Instagram have launched a “donate sticker” for Stories and a “donate button” for a profile page, meaning charities can now benefit from donations being made from social commerce too.

Emarketer.com suggests that in 2020, time spent on mobile devices is estimated to surpass time spent watching television. And as consumers shift to social and mobile as a primary means of content and product discovery, it is likely that more social media users will make purchases directly on social media rather than clicking through to a website or walking to the shops.

According to Teikametrics, social commerce adds several new dimensions to the shopping experience:-

  • Convenience
  • Shopping as play
  • Shopping as exploration
  • Shopping as entertainment

Up until now, e-commerce platforms have mainly focused on convenience, but there are clearly opportunities to extend into other areas of social behaviour.

Just having the ability on your smartphone to explore products in a 360-degree video, try on augmented reality glasses and add virtual furniture to your living room – suddenly the whole shopping experience has notched up a level.

The Key Social Players

The main social players like Facebook, Instagram and interest already have elements of social commerce built into their platforms.

Instagram Shopping allows you to tag your images and stories with the products that are featured in your posts. Then your audience can tap to go straight to your store to make the purchase. However, Instagram Checkout, offers a fully contained shopping experience within the Instagram app. It’s currently only available to select brands like Nike and Kylie Cosmetics. With Instagram Checkout, you can see a product that you like in the Instagram feed and then complete the entire purchase without ever leaving the platform.

Facebook has made some huge moves to introduce social commerce with Facebook Page Shops, Marketplace and Messenger. Businesses can create an entire store within Facebook quite easily and sell direct from your page.

Pinterest also has some really powerful social commerce features for businesses, with new features coming out all the time. Buyable pins have been around since 2015, but new commerce features like “Shop the Look” and “Catalogs” add another level of functionality to Pinterest.

30% of online shoppers say they are likely to buy direct from a social media network like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat.

Social Commerce in 2020 and beyond

As social media continues to grow and evolve, social commerce will follow, giving consumers more choices and ways to browse and buy within different social channels. It is important for companies to look beyond the simple “buy button” and explore the social commerce opportunities with these fast-paced platforms. The new entrants, such as TikTok are already testing new ways of connecting with a growing number of younger consumers and could become the new leaders in social commerce