Social commerce allows you to get your products in front of a large audience of people who are most likely to buy them.

social commerce

Many companies sell products online, but a new concept has changed the landscape in significant ways. Social commerce can harness the power of established platforms, offering expanded opportunities to companies wanting to sell online.

At one time, companies only used social media channels to engage and drive customers to websites, online shops, and landing pages. However, every step a potential customer must take in this process — from seeing a product to purchasing it — adds clicks and increases the risk of losing the sale.

Now, companies can sell to customers right on social platforms.

What is social commerce?

When companies use social media platforms to create personalized and targeted shopping experiences for their customers, that’s social commerce. It allows businesses to sell to customers using the capabilities within a powerful social media app.

It’s an enormous opportunity for businesses that have found the cost of creating an online shop prohibitive.

Why is social commerce so powerful?

Social media platforms have massive audiences who visit the apps regularly, even multiple times per day. Instead of working to attract traffic to your website, you can tap into these existing audiences. All social media platforms allow customers to search for products within their apps.

When people are happy with your business, they’ll already be on a platform where sharing is encouraged. Engagement is easy with share buttons, and discussion threads are open on each post. Potential customers can check your business out on social media and quickly learn what other people have to say about your company and products.

Some people plan their purchases carefully, especially big-ticket items, but in many cases, people buy because they see something they like. The easier you can make it for someone to act on an impulse, the more you’ll sell.

Social commerce has finally given us a way to calculate some of the return on investment (ROI) of social media for business. Understanding how engagement can be tied to revenue gives you more insight into your social media marketing. It helps you make better business decisions regarding investment in this area.

Social commerce by the numbers:

  • There are 1.82 billion daily active users on Facebook.
  • Eighty-one per cent of shoppers research products on Instagram, while 83 per cent discover new products and 80 per cent make purchasing decisions.
  • Shopping is a top priority for 48 per cent of Pinterest users.
  • Nine out of 10 consumers will buy from a brand they follow on social media.

Which platforms allow for social commerce?

Currently, you can sell on just three social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. This is a space to watch as other platforms test the concept. Twitter has tried and withdrawn the option of shopping on its platform but may try again. Snapchat has social selling in development, and TikTok may have plans to enter the social commerce landscape.


If you have visually appealing products to sell and can do a great job of showcasing them in photos and videos, Instagram can help you attract customers.

Instead of having to try to find the link to your website in your Instagram account bio, your customers could simply tap and purchase items they like from your feed. If this sounds like a fit, you’ll want to learn more about Instagram Shopping.


Facebook has a massive audience for you to tap into and extensive targeting capabilities. Facebook Live has also expanded the options for connecting with customers.

With its improved messaging to help you serve your customers, there’s a good chance leveraging Facebook’s social commerce capabilities will pay off. To get started, check out Facebook Shops.


Pinterest, like Instagram, is based on visuals. Users pin photos, products and ideas, categorizing pins on their boards as they go.

If Pinterest users find the way you showcase your products attractive, they can “repin” those products to their boards. The power of this sharing shouldn’t be ignored, as 80 per cent of pins on Pinterest are repins. If this sounds of interest, you’ll want to learn how to sell on Pinterest.

How can I use social commerce to increase sales?

Social commerce allows you to get your products in front of the people who are most likely to buy them. While a brick-and-mortar store is dependent on foot traffic and must appeal to shoppers within a convenient distance, social commerce allows you to sell to whoever you can attract online, a much bigger audience.

Using the built-in capabilities of existing platforms saves you from having to set up and maintain an online store. Social commerce is as easy to learn and use as social media posting, with user-friendly instructions, templates and tips available in the apps.

These platforms also give you the benefit of social proof. Shoppers can see what other customers have purchased from you. They can find out what customers think of your company and how they enjoyed their purchases. You can benefit as social media users watch your customers interact and leave their impressions in comments in real time.

Can I sell business products on Facebook and other platforms?

We most often see small businesses and business-to-consumer (B2C) brands using social commerce, but there are also opportunities for business-to-business (B2B) sales. As the selling landscape continues to change and new challenges arise, adding a social commerce strategy to your digital marketing may be the way to attract more business clients.

What kinds of companies could cross over to these types of sales? It might work for you if your products are easy to buy online and aren’t likely to need to be returned. Ideally, they are inexpensive, lowering the risk for your customer.

Would someone buy a custom software solution on Facebook for tens of thousands of dollars? Unlikely. A sale like that demands you build a relationship with your customer and offer information and education to show value. However, a stock photo service, photo editing software or project management software could sell on Facebook.

The process and customers for B2B social commerce require a specialized approach. A B2B brand will need to establish itself as a thought leader. It must invest in content that showcases its authority and expertise before a business client might choose to invest or purchase from it.

 Why social commerce is crucial for future growth

The shift to digital is happening whether companies are ready or not. As social media use and online shopping grow, we’ll see more movement to shopping online and shopping on social platforms. Expanding the ways you serve your customers can help you navigate challenging times and slower sales periods. 

Many businesses aren’t moving quickly enough and certainly not as fast as their customers. It’s valuable to be the company customers find first on a social media platform.

Social commerce isn’t a small undertaking. Any strategy created to tap into this powerhouse of potential should be carefully planned and executed.

Unsure where to start? An agency can help you create a social commerce strategy that integrates with the rest of your marketing to optimize conversions and increase sales.