media update’s Taylor Goodman takes a look at the ins and outs of the social commerce environment. 

In our technological society, businesses strive to stand out in order to access new customers and find new ways of marketing — introducing social shopping.

What is social shopping?

Social shopping allows users to purchase products directly through social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook. Users are able to shop on social media through features like product tags, shoppable stickers and ‘Shop’ action buttons.

According to Single Grain, 87% of people claim that social platforms help them decide what to buy. This begs the question: Is social shopping the future of e-commerce? 

It could very well be. Social media continues to play a prolific role in most people’s lives, influencing what they buy and where they buy it from.

It is undeniable, however, that some generations are more involved in the social scene than others. Younger consumers — aged 18 to 34— were named as the most likely to shop through social media, with 54% of that age group having participated in social shopping in the past. 

How will venturing into social commerce benefit retailers?

From a retailer’s perspective, making their brand shoppable through social media can actually increase in-store traffic. 

Social commerce seems to peak consumer interest, many of whom choose to follow brands that they are interested in online in order to gain a better understanding of their products. This is reflected by 36% of consumers searching a product on social media before making a purchase.

When users search for a product on social media, they are more likely to be engaged and have a higher purchasing intent. If you market towards those that are visiting your page and viewing your content regularly, your efforts can have a positive impact on your foot traffic and sales.

Another reason why social shopping is becoming more popular amongst consumers is that it gives them a multi-channel shopping experience.

This involves using various channels to interact with consumers, such as email, social media and the Internet. It is important that brands have seamless messaging across their platforms to improve customer experience. 

Multi-channel consumers reportedly spend 82% more than their single-channel counterparts. This appeals to consumers because they are spoilt for choice, able to shop anywhere and any way they choose. Through multi-channel shopping, consumers feel empowered and engaged.

What this means for retail stores is that they can no longer avoid having an online presence if they want to keep their customers’ attention. They will have to work on creating a cohesive and consistent brand presence across all their platforms.

This process of social shopping appeals to the consumer because it is streamlined, allowing them to make a purchase in one fell swoop. 

58% of consumers admit to following their favorite brands on social channels, so retailers that seize the opportunity to create a social commerce presence increases the likelihood of them building a loyal, online following that could easily translate to in-store customers. 

What is the best social commerce option for your brand?


It comes as no surprise that Facebook is the most influential network when it comes to purchasing behaviour. This is proven by 35% of consumers claiming that Facebook plays a key role in deciding what retailers to buy from. 

Users are able to make purchases through Facebook’s Marketplace feature, which was launched three years ago, birthing the social commerce movement. 

Marketplace enables retailers to list a product and connect directly with potential customers in their area. Facebook also enables retailers to post promoted ads and get insights on how their posts are performing. 

Retailers can also utilise Messenger to communicate with buyers pre- and post-sale.


Ah, Instagram — the social shopping hub. The photo-sharing app is quickly surpassing its parent company Facebook in the social commerce sphere

Instagram has become increasingly popular among marketers, with the number of marketers using the platform to grow their business increasing from 53.2% to 73.2% over the last three years

Brands should consider social commerce on Instagram because:
  • 60% of users discover new products on the platform
  • 75% take an action after seeing the post, and
  • 80% of users follow at least one brand on the platform
This creates a great opportunity for brands to expand their reach and sell more products. Through Instagram, users can shop through ‘shoppable posts’ where they tap on an image to view the price tag; they can then view the product and purchase it via an in-app checkout feature


Some consider Pinterest as more of a shopping destination than a visual search engine. This is because users of the app are usually on there looking at specific products, meaning they have strong purchasing intent. 

Many brands are taking advantage of this by marketing products through shoppable pins, of which there are about 60 million on the platform

What makes Pinterest an appealing option for retailers is that most of the content on the app is re-pins or re-shares. This appeals to brands as creators of original content because their followers can re-pin their content, allowing them to grow their customer base. 

Have you made a purchase through social media before? What did you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

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If you know more about the rise of e-commerce, then be sure to check out E-commerce and purchasing behaviour during trying times right here.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy