What’s social commerce and why ought to your model care?

This blog post might be titled "What is Social Commerce?" But it might be titled "Would you like to make some money?" Be called.

Social commerce is currently a $ 89.4 billion market. It is projected to grow to $ 604.5 billion over the next seven years.

If you are a company with products for sale, this information will likely make you feel like a dollar sign emoji, eyes, green tongue.

Curious how you can get some of this change? We'll cover you. Read on for Social Commerce 101.

Bonus: Download a free guide Here's how to convert Facebook traffic into revenue with Hootsuite in four easy steps.

What is social commerce?

Social commerce is the process of selling products directly on social media.

With Social commerceThe entire shopping experience – from product discovery and research to check-out – takes place directly on a social media platform.

Source: Facebook

Currently, social apps that enable social commerce include Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

In social commerce, you might see a pair of cute strawberry print clogs on your Instagram feed. Click on "Shop Now" and complete the purchase directly in the app.

Or you can spot an inexpensive umbrella as you scroll through your Facebook feed. Click on "Buy". Once your purchase is complete, you can continue enjoying your usual Facebook experience by sneaking pics of your sister's ex-boyfriend's new baby without missing a beat.

These are shopping (shopping!) Directly on the digital platforms that your audience uses the most. And you should take advantage of them.

Social Commerce vs. E-commerce

Ecommerce refers to a shopping experience through a website or a special branded app. Social commerceby definition, so that the customer can make their purchase within their social media experience. Social commerce is not e-commerce.

Social commerce is not social selling either. Social selling refers to maintaining relationships on social media to build your prospectus list. Read more about social selling here.

Why Social Commerce?

Not sure if setting up a social media shop is a good idea? Here are seven reasons social commerce is worth trying.

Social commerce turns shopping into a social experience

Shopping on social media makes the experience much more interactive than a typical e-commerce spree.

Consumers can easily consult with their friends about purchases, showcase these hip new highlights, comment on Aunt Jackie's new "I Love My Niece" t-shirt, read comments from other savvy shampoo buyers and interact directly with the kombucha brands that you love.

For those who miss the social aspect of a day at the mall, social commerce may be the next best thing. (Although unfortunately without an Orange Julius pit stop.)

Instagram story poll

Source: Instagram

Social commerce eliminates friction

See it, click it, buy it. Social media shops eliminate friction losses on the consumer journey, making it easier to track from discovery to purchase. They are there. The product is there. Nowhere else than at the cash register.

Ultimately, every click of the mouse is an opportunity for a potential customer to change their mind. When they need to switch from your ad to your website to add the product to a cart or enter their credit card information, these are many moments to lose their attention.

Take these unnecessary steps away and bring the purchases straight to society.

There is serious money to be made

Like Shakira's hips, numbers don't lie. Researchers predict that e-sales will exceed $ 735 billion in the next three years.

If you want to take part in this promotion, it makes sense to bring your goods to the online areas where your customers already hang out.

81% of shoppers research products on Instagram and Facebook, and 48% of Pinterest users make shopping their top priority. Why not give them what they are looking for?

Lucky Shrub Facebook Shop

Source: Facebook

Social commerce provides an instant focus group

Social commerce not only speeds up the transaction process, but it is also an incredible way to gather feedback.

Your product catalog is available worldwide so that consumers can review and discuss it together. No crystal ball required: your customers can only tell you what they like or dislike.

Let your audience vote and think about product development and inventory decisions while they're there. (How do we feel about my glow in the dark wolf backpack design? Anyone? Hello?)

On social networks, you have clear data about exactly who your customers are and the ability to chat with them via comments or direct messages to provide personalized customer service.

Millennials and Gen Z like to shop here

If your target audience is between the ages of 18 and 34, they are already online and waiting to shop while they scroll.

48% of US internet users that age made a purchase on social media in 2019. For those in this demographic who haven't shopped on social media before, 27% have expressed an interest in giving it a try.

This is the modern mall. Time to open a store!

Outsmart your main audience

With an incredible wealth of customer data available on social networks, you have the best opportunity to optimize and target your advertising.

Your horse-print bathrobes can be advertised directly to the flannel-loving riders. Adorable baby-sized sunglasses can be beamed straight to the feedings of cool young fathers.

Social commerce provides the ability to get certain, ready-to-buy products in front of the specific people who would love them in ways that traditional e-commerce and marketing cannot.

Instagram shop page is displayed

Source: Instagram

What are the best platforms for social commerce?

Few of the top social platforms currently offer social commerce. As interest (and revenue) grows, more of these social media brands are likely to incorporate "Shop Now" options.

The current social commerce platforms are available here.

Facebook shops

You use your Facebook business page to exchange messages, connect with fans, and showcase your cute new logo. Why not sell a few things while you're there? Set up a Facebook shop and you can do just that.

Facebook shops are customizable. Select the collections or goods and adapt the fonts, images and colors to your brand. Import an existing product catalog from your website or create one from scratch.

Example for social commerce

Source: Facebook

Your Facebook store can be accessed through your Facebook page, Instagram profile, Instagram shopping ads, or shoppable stories and posts.

When the conversion time has come, your customers have the option of completing an in-app checkout or opening a direct messenger chat with your company. You can also send them to your website.

Facebook post of a dress with an option to buy on Facebook

Source: Facebook

A nice feature of Facebook stores: you can create a test store to learn more. Here you can add items, manage orders and even test the customer experience.

Our step-by-step guide shows you how to set up your own Facebook shops.

Instagram shops

60% of people discover new products on Instagram. Your products should be among them.

Instagram Shops allows users to purchase products included in their photos and videos from anywhere on the app.

Outdoor Voices Instagram Shop

Source: Facebook

Catch once: you need to set up a Facebook shop first (see above). Your Instagram shop pulls data from your FB catalog.

Company profiles can create a customizable storefront page that acts as a curated collection of products for sale. Each product has its own detail page with prices, media and a detailed description.

With Instagram's shopping tags, companies can mark their products in their stories or posts. US brands also have the option to highlight products in captions and bios.

For eligible US companies and developers, customers can checkout on Instagram to complete a transaction using Facebook Pay. (Those without a checkout can use other tools to complete the purchase outside of the company.)

Spearmint Baby Instagram Shop

Source: Instagram

To set up your Instagram store, all you need to do is live in a suitable region and have an Instagram Business account connected to a Facebook page. You must also adhere to Instagram's trading guidelines and merchant agreement.

It's also probably worth noting that Instagram shops can only sell products, not services.

Learn more about how to get your Instagram store up and running with the Hootsuite tutorial.


Okay, here's some news to pin right now: Pinterest isn't just about social commerce.

Yes, for business accounts, Pinterest offers the ability to create “Product Pins” (formerly “Buyable Pins”) that will appear in your brand's Pinterest store.

Pinterest x Stylist Magazine Shop

Source: Pinterest

However, it is important to note that this is the case not available for Purchase within the app. When you click on a beautiful vase, Pinterest will take you to an ecommerce website to complete the sale.

Is Pinterest still a helpful tool for getting your goods out into the world? Absolutely – especially considering that 89% of Pinterest users are there to shop.

For more information on getting the most out of your Pinterest account, check out eight business strategies.


In July 2020, Snapchat announced a closed beta launch of Brand Profiles. One of the features of the profile? A "native store" experience (powered by Shopify) that allows users to browse and buy directly from the app.

They debuted the feature with the help of five officially approved influencer accounts – congratulations to Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Shay Mitchell, Spencer Pratt, or Bhad Bhabie on this early access!

Kylie Cosmetics Snapchat Shop

Source: Snapchat

A few other brands have since been approved and it is likely that this feature will at some point be expanded to the rest of the non-Cardashian world.

In the meantime, keep an eye on Kylie Cosmetics to see how she's getting the most out of the Swipe Up to Shop app's features.

Or, improve your Snap credit using our Snapchat for Business strategy guide.

6 tips and tricks for effective social commerce

Your shop is set up. You are motivated and ready to sell. Here you will find important tips and tricks to get the most out of this beautiful new digital shop-o-sphere.

Get involved with your followers

To create a great social commerce experience, you need to remember the "social" part.

You can't just throw away your catalog and forget it. Answer questions, offer value and engaging content, be human and authentic, and so on. Set up a chatbot so people can continue their shopping journey.

The same best practices that you would typically use for engaging your followers apply here.

Facebook story from @color_camp

Source: Facebook

Listen strategically

You have a front row seat for your audience. Make the best out of it.

Keep an eye on comments and approvals in your shop and respond or offer customer service if necessary.

Setting up social monitoring on all platforms can be a great way to get feedback or industry news even outside of your own bubble.

Read our guide to social listening here.

Encourage reviews

93% of online shoppers say a review can make or break their decision. When you have a product that people are happy with, let them help spread the word.

Whether it's an automated follow-up email requesting a review after a product is delivered, or incentives like a competition to encourage previous customers to weigh up and share their experience, it's collecting social evidence is critical to building a positive reputation online.

When you've got some positive reviews, be creative in sharing them on your social feeds, whether you're posting user-generated content, hosting a live video with happy customers, or just creating a carousel of positive comments. There are tons of ways to do this so that you don't sound like you are bragging about.

Aim for your reach

Use the incredible data that is available to you on social networks to place your products or your shop in front of the right people.

Not sure who exactly your audience is? How to find and target your dream customer.

Remove these frictional moments

The easier you make the buying process, the more likely it is that someone will get through. What moments of friction or hesitation can you eliminate?

Make sure the product description includes all the details. Incorporate auto-fill options into the buying process. Maybe even set up a chatbot to answer customer FAQs.

Like a Grammy-winning Santana song: the smoother, the better.

Price to move your products

Social commerce is a great opportunity for many different types of products – clothing, dog toys, risky ceramics – but luxury products usually don't succeed here.

Because of the risk associated with buying something invisible, consumers are less likely to be interested in something at a higher price.

Simple Tiger Goods Instagram Shop

Source: Instagram

Shopify's data shows that a price below $ 70 is ideal: right in that sweet spot for many social users.

Include products from your Shopify store in your social media posts with Hootsuite

Although Hootsuite users do not strictly fall under the definition of "social commerce," they can post products from their Shopify store to their social networks through the Shopview app. It's an easy way to use social media to improve your customers' online shopping experience.

Creating a Twitter post in Hootsuite that contains a Matcha tea product

Of course, social commerce is probably only part of your entire digital marketing puzzle.

To develop a robust strategy that engages, sells, and fascinates across all levels of the internet, check out our guide to Social Media Advertising 101. Build your brand on all platforms for the best chance of success online or offline.

Save time and get more customers with Hootsuite. With a single dashboard, you can tag products from your Shopify store in posts, respond to customer inquiries, measure results, and much more.


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