What Is Social Commerce? Social Shopping Tips and Trends

Here’s how social commerce will help you engage customers, boost sales, and improve service.

Time to read: 15 minutes

Lauren Wallace
Editorial Lead, Commerce Cloud

Where can businesses find billions of potential customers any day, any time? On social media platforms. That’s why social commerce is quickly becoming the shopping norm and reaching new heights every day. These staggering statistics help make the case for the importance of social commerce:

What is social commerce?

Astro discovering the recommended products as he is shopping for sneakers on social platform

Social commerce brings the entire shopping experience — from browsing to checkout — to social media. Customers can discover products as they scroll through their social feeds, browse your brand’s social posts for products that match their needs, then make a purchase directly on a social platform. For customers, social commerce is a convenient, easy way to find and purchase products. For businesses, it’s a great way to quickly expand your reach and your customer base.

Social commerce allows even the smallest players to tap into global audiences, gain massive followings, and drive online revenue. And customers have come to expect social media to be a part of their shopping journeys. Social channels are now table stakes when it comes to delivering a personalized, unified shopping experience — one that helps shoppers connect with their favorite brands, discover new products, and access convenient customer support.

Social commerce is about engaging with potential customers during micromoments — short periods of time when shoppers reach for their mobile devices to fill moments in their day — giving them opportunities to interact with your brand on social media and buy your products in just a few clicks.

Here’s why social commerce matters for your brand and how to roll it into your omni-channel strategy to boost sales and win the hearts of your customers.

The benefits of social commerce

Social commerce presents a huge opportunity for businesses to understand today’s shoppers and curate personalized content. A smart social ecommerce strategy will boost brand recognition, generate traffic, drive online sales, and be an important part of a unified shopping experience.

Social commerce empowers brands to:

  • Use social media as an effective revenue stream
  • Diversify their marketing channels
  • Take advantage of influencer marketing and brand partnerships
  • Reduce the sales cycle, creating a faster click-to-close experience
  • Personalize shoppable content with the help of social data
  • Get the most out of major shopping events like holidays, seasonal sales, and consumer trends
  • Drive loyalty and maintain customer retention

These are just a few of the benefits of incorporating social ecommerce into your omni-channel strategy. Ready to reap the benefits? Let’s start with the basics.

The evolution of social commerce

Social commerce is still a relatively new channel, but it has changed significantly over the last two decades — and it will continue to evolve quickly. The term “social commerce” was first introduced on Yahoo in 2005 with the company’s Shoposphere — a place where users could create lists of products and provide their personal thoughts and ratings.

Since then, social commerce has grown to encompass much more than that, and it now refers to the activity of selling or buying products on all native social media platforms — such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, to name a few. Brands use social media to promote their products and services, and shoppers search for and engage with them directly from their social feeds. Essentially, brands are meeting their customers where they are.

Shoppers are quickly and easily introduced to new brands, can buy products and services directly through platforms in just a few clicks, read and write reviews, and more. Convenience is click-worthy. Now that customers have come to expect the ability to transact on social platforms, brands are hyperfocused on differentiating their social media presence, shoppable content, and social commerce strategies. This has brought on an emergence of new social ecommerce tools that help brands personalize the social shopping experience, highlight the importance of social engagement, and create a new culture of social media influencers. This investment in the customer experience is further driving social commerce growth.

Platforms dominating the social commerce space

Astro shopping through different social ecommerce including Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok and Snapchat

Most brands and consumers know the heavy hitters when it comes to social ecommerce: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok. Here’s a breakdown of the platforms currently dominating the social commerce space — and how they can help you grow your business.


Social commerce sales for TikTok grew 34.4% this year to $53.10 billion. It’s safe to say that TikTok has entered the social commerce chat.

With TikTok social commerce, brands can:

  • Build community: Tap into micro-influencer audiences to build awareness and create hashtag challenges to drive engagement
  • Uplevel marketing: Launch highly entertaining short-form video content and build a loyal audience with live video streaming
  • Boost sales: Partner with influential creators to get them to promote, review, or feature your brand in their content
  • Extend visibility: Run strategic paid advertisements with TikTok ads to get your brand in front of the right audience and attract potential customers
  • Improve support: Respond to customers directly via TikTok tagging
  • Gain insights: Establish social insights with TikTok’s algorithm which factors the number of comments and likes on posts to determine engagement

TikTok has become even more shoppable with the inclusion of new ad formats, its Shop feature, and commerce partnerships that elevate the customer experience. And, the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag has stood out as a popular social commerce strategy, which continues to generate billions of views.


Instagram is one of the most popular channels for social commerce. Its highly visual and interactive platform makes it the perfect place for social shopping. Consumers can follow their favorite brands and influencers, discover new products through Instagram ads, and share their brand experiences with their own followers.

Plus, with the Swipe Up feature on Instagram Stories, shoppers simply swipe up to see brands and influencers promoting the latest products to be taken directly to the product page. Instead of going to their web browser to search for the product, they can add it to their cart in just a few clicks. Fewer clicks = higher conversion.

You can also integrate a commerce solution to your Instagram Shopping account. This allows you to upload your product catalog directly into Instagram so you can tag products in your posts for faster purchasing.

With social commerce on Instagram, brands can:

  • Build community: Grow your Instagram following and build strategic partnerships with Instagram influencers and micro-influencers
  • Boost sales: The coveted Swipe Up feature boosts sales by making shopping convenient and easy
  • Uplevel marketing: Build brand awareness through Instagram ads, tagging, and hashtags
  • Improve support: Monitor and respond to comments and direct messages from customers, and host live shopping events to engage with customers during the decision-making phase of the shopping journey.
  • Gain insights: Collect customer stories with Instagram Insights to build trust and social proof


If you’re looking to connect with a younger, highly engaged demographic, consider making Snapchat a part of your social commerce strategy. In more than 20 countries, Snapchat reaches 90% of the Gen Z population. It’s also worth noting that users are more likely to share their shopping experiences and favorite purchases on Snapchat more than any other platform.

With social commerce on Snapchat, businesses can:

  • Build community: Grow your Snapchat community and get discovered organically by engaging with your customers where they want to shop.
  • Boost sales: With Snapchat’s AR tools and sharing capabilities, customers can try on your products virtually, then share the real deal with friends after purchase.
  • Uplevel marketing: Get products in front of highly engaged audiences and take advantage of Snapchat’s Goal-Based Bidding and Campaign Lab to expand your reach.
  • Gain insights: Snapchat also has tools to help you understand your audience on a deeper level. Snap Pixel allows you to track your return on ad spend (ROAS) and see what people do on your website after they see an ad.


Facebook is a staple in social shopping and has continuously ramped up its shoppable content capabilities.

Facebook commerce, or F-Comm, helps brands reach customers with targeted Facebook ad campaigns, enables businesses to create Shop Now stores to drive sales, and provides a support channel with automated Messenger bots.

With social commerce on Facebook, brands can:

  • Build community: Launch a Facebook group where members can ask questions, leave reviews, and get support throughout their journeys with your brand
  • Uplevel marketing: Build a loyal audience on a business Facebook page and launch automated marketing sequences with Messenger bots
  • Boost sales: Upload product images and descriptions, and sell directly from a Facebook page
  • Extend visibility: Enable and run Facebook Dynamic Ads to promote products and deals
  • Improve support: Respond to customers on a familiar channel, directly via Facebook Messenger
  • Gain insights: Use Facebook Analytics to uncover actionable insights about audience demographics, behaviors, preferences, and attitudes

Brands can tap into the power of Facebook by optimizing their existing business profile, experimenting with paid ads, promoting products, responding to customer comments, and generating customer reviews.


Twitter gives brands and influencers a platform for building partnerships and for publishing #sponsored posts and tagging other brands to expand their reach. It’s also a great platform for riding the latest trends, launching flash sales, and offering speedy customer support.

Twitter has teamed up with a variety of ecommerce businesses and partners to make online selling simple and seamless, even for brands who are new to social commerce. It’s a highly interactive platform and offers that quick, short-form content today’s consumers love.

With social commerce on Twitter, brands can:

  • Build community: Launch a live shopping experience on Twitter with their followers and build new groups in Twitter Communities 
  • Uplevel marketing: Build a loyal audience with Twitter chats and the #Explore feature 
  • Boost sales: Merchants can use Twitter Shops to showcase up to 50 products from their online stores 
  • Extend visibility: Run Twitter ads to promote products, services, and deals to a wide-ranging audience 
  • Improve support: Respond to customers directly via Twitter Direct Message 
  • Gain insights: Use Twitter Analytics to uncover actionable insights about audience demographics, behaviors, preferences, and attitudes

Plus, brands can show shoppers a sneak peek of products before they officially launch with Product Drops. Twitter is a solid approach to trendy shoppable content and can produce a niche group of commerce sales for your brand.

The anatomy of social commerce

Astro holding a tablet device featuring social commerce engagement stats

Shopping is no longer linear. Customers bounce from channel to channel, shopping in spurts throughout the day based on when they feel motivated and inspired. To win mindshare and stay relevant, brands need to create compelling content for the micromoments people spend social shopping. These micromoments are critical for conversion.

For example, shoppers may be waiting in line for their morning coffee, scrolling through Facebook, when they see an ad for a filtered showerhead. But their order’s up, so they quickly close out of Facebook, grab their cup of joe, and go along with their day. At lunch, they see an Instagram post from the same company, which leads them to the brand’s website where they take a deeper look at the product’s skin and hair benefits. A few days later, the shopper sees a targeted ad on Instagram, this time with a discount code. The customer clicks the “Buy Now” button, and by the end of the week, the showerhead arrives at their doorstep. This is how social ecommerce attracts attention during micromoments and turns scroll sessions into purchases.

Micromoments happen at every stage the entire customer journey, including:

  • Discovery: Finding a new brand or product on social media 
  • Engagement: Liking, sharing, and commenting on social media posts 
  • Decision: Reading through social media reviews and comments about brands and products that ultimately influences a shopper’s purchase 
  • Support: Accessing customer service through social media, either by messenger apps, chatbots, or the comments section of social posts 
  • Loyalty: Following brands on social media, sharing branded content, and continuing the shopping cycle

With social commerce, online sellers can proactively engage with existing and prospective customers wherever they are, at every stage of the buying journey. Interacting with customers on their terms increases loyalty, boosts sales, and provides personalized customer service when consumers need it most.

Creative ways to boost social media engagement:

  • Create polls or questions on your Instagram Story, TikTok, or Twitter feed
  • Tag followers and brands in posts and comments
  • Run a sweepstakes or giveaway where followers have to like, tag, comment, or share in order to enter
  • Monitor social media accounts to comment on posts where your followers have tagged your brand
  • Encourage followers to tag your brand and share their product stories and testimonials
  • Create a branded hashtag that customers can use when they post about your products or services
  • Feature followers’ photos on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, or Instagram
  • Host Q&A sessions where followers can post their questions live on social media
  • Repost content from customer videos and micro-influencers
  • Accept guest posts on your blog to share across social media
  • Add visuals like photos and videos to your posts to increase likes and shares
  • Add relevant hashtags to your posts to get discovered by a wider audience

By encouraging follower engagement, you can generate momentum and sales for your brand.

Social commerce tactics that convert

Global sales through social media platforms were estimated at $992 billion in 2022. Forecasts suggest the value of social commerce sales will reach around $2.9 trillion by 2026. So, how do brands create winning content that makes customers stop scrolling and start shopping? Short-form content is becoming the norm. Today’s consumers have less patience for slow load times, spammy marketing tactics, or flashy ads. They want quick, entertaining content that’s authentic, tailored to their interests, and stems from brands they trust.

The takeaway? Get to the point quickly and make it count. That’s where ecommerce merchandisers and marketers come in. They’re the unsung heroes of social shopping and the driving force behind what makes your brand stand out — quickly — in a sea of content.

  • Imagery and video: Experiment with different formats. You’ll need both long- and short-form content to keep your social media audience engaged. Study your competitors to get a feel for how they position their products in imagery and video, and determine strategies that could help you stand out. Ecommerce marketers can even poll your followers to see what kind of content they want to see from you.
  • Ecommerce content marketing: Words matter. Ecommerce content helps you tell your brand story and give shoppers information about your products and services. Keep it brief, but make it count.
  • Values-driven marketing messages: Most consumers (73%) are more likely to purchase from a company that supports a cause they believe in. That means whether you’re creating an image, video, or ad, ecommerce marketers should lean into your brand’s “why” to drive awareness, sales, and loyalty. Do you donate a percentage of profits to a specific cause? Show shoppers how they can be part of your initiatives with their purchase. Is your brand focused on sustainability? Tell the shopper how the highlighted product is a part of your efforts.
  • User generated content: Authenticity helps your brand stand out, and it drives sales and loyalty. But what does authentic content really look like? Mostly, it’s genuine reviews from real customers who actually use and love your products. User-generated content resonates with consumers in a way that celebrity advertising cannot.
  • Product, placement, pricing, and promotion: Merchandisers and marketers should work together to present products and pricing in a catchy, but straightforward way. Don’t make shoppers guess the price. Be clear about any promotional details.
Astro virtually trying on a fishing hat through AR shopping

Twitter gives brands and influencers a platform for building partnerships and for publishing #sponsored posts and tagging other brands to expand their reach. It’s also a great platform for riding the latest #trends, launching flash sales, and offering fast customer support.

Twitter has teamed up with a variety of ecommerce businesses and partners to make online selling simple and seamless, even for sellers who are new to social commerce. It’s a highly interactive platform and offers that quick, short-form content today’s consumers love.

Plus, Twitter also offers the option to run paid ads if you want to expand your reach at a pay-per-click cost. You can fine-tune your ads to target a niche audience, and encourage users to follow your profile and buy your latest products.

The world of social commerce moves pretty fast. It seems like new innovations crop up every day to help brands improve the social shopping experience. Over the years, a few key features have made social commerce the megahit it is today.

So, what will the future of social commerce bring? We’ve got a few ideas:

Say hello to augmented reality (AR)

Augmented reality in ecommerce is here, so strap on your head gear. AR is tech that enhances the world around your customer — creating a layer of computer-generated personalization over their entire shopping experience. Over 16% of people in the U.S. already use AR on social media and, by 2025, that figure is expected to be almost 20%.

Major brands like L’Oréal are leading the way with experiences like AR-powered makeup try-on. AR helps bridge the gap between in-store and online shopping by creating moments that offer more than just a product description or an image. This can help decrease return rates, boost sales, and drive customer loyalty.

Micro-influencers aid in brand boosts

Quality over quantity is the name of the micro-influencer game. Micro-influencers are people who act as brand ambassadors, reviewers, and promoters. They typically have between 10,000 and 50,000 followers of trusted fans.

With tight-knit communities, their followers are loyal and engaged. They offer more transparency and authenticity with highly specific, targeted niches to tap into. For brands trying to break into the social shopping scene, micro-influencers are an ideal way to test the waters without breaking the bank on a full-fledged, all-in strategy. Their authenticity shines in product or service trade-offs and shout-outs.

AI makes social selling even more efficient

Today’s consumers expect a unified and personalized shopping experience, with top-quality service when and where they need it. As social ecommerce grows — and brands grow with it — there will be an even greater need for automation and AI-enabled selling.

To tailor experiences to shoppers’ individual needs at scale, brands need ecommerce tools that enable automated, intelligent product recommendations and tailored site search results. This eliminates the need for time-consuming tasks like manual merchandising, segmenting, and product sorting.

Automation and AI help companies reach and serve more customers. You’ll save time by automating manual tasks, and you’ll increase sales by presenting customers with products that suit their interests.

B2B brands make a splash on social media

Social commerce isn’t just for direct-to-consumer brands. In fact, B2B companies are investing heavily in developing a social presence and selling on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. More than half (55%) of B2B brands are investing in social media (and that’s a larger investment than any other channel — including websites and third-party marketplaces). B2B buyers expect to discover, engage, and transact with businesses the same way they do when they’re off the job and at home: conveniently and quickly on social media.


More than half (55%) of B2B brands are investing in social media

The omni-channel experience: Connect social commerce to the rest of your business

Social shopping is only one part of a broader customer journey. Even as shoppers browse social media, you need to consider how this is connected to the rest of their experience — from in-store shopping to how they find you on the web to the post-purchase experience. Simply put: your social commerce experience shouldn’t feel separate from the rest of your selling channels.

To ensure a consistent, seamless experience, consider these questions when developing your omni-channel strategy:

  • Is your support and service consistent across all channels? A whopping 83% of customers say they’re more loyal to companies that provide consistency across departments. When a shopper switches between channels, it should feel seamless — like they’re continuing the experience rather than starting over. 
  • Does your business have a throughline of branding and messaging across all channels? It’s important to show up as the same brand — with the same marketing messaging, pricing, and promotions — across every channel. Customers expect the same experience whether they shop on social, your website, or in your brick-and-mortar stores. 
  • How are you engaging with customers at multiple touchpoints? Ensure that customers can reach you easily on any channel. Shoppers should be able to ask questions just as easily on social media and your website as they can inside your stores. Consider adding a chat function to your website, and stay available through social media messages and comments.
A whopping 83% of customers say they’re more loyal to companies that provide consistency across departments

The key is understanding where and how your audience shops. You can gain these insights by looking into past sales and social data to determine where your customers are, what they buy, and how they engage with your brand.

This provides an insightful blueprint for where you need to focus your attention when it comes to your omni-channel strategy.

Adopt a test-and-learn mindset

Much like “choose your own adventure,” you’ll need to choose the right platforms, content, and content format for your unique brand audience. What works for one business might not be right for the next. For example, products that require storytelling and a lot of explanation might thrive with long-form, lean-in video content. But lengthy videos won’t keep all audiences engaged.

Collect data every step of the way to help inform your decisions and learn what really resonates with your shoppers. This will ensure that you keep your focus on the platforms and strategies that are most likely to generate the highest ROI for your business. Once you lay the groundwork, you can expand and experiment with additional platforms or add new strategies into the mix.

For example, if you’re already seeing success on Instagram with your custom graphics, Instagram Live videos, and user-generated content, you might consider expanding this to TikTok.

Use data to fuel automation and AI

Today, you can get smarter about presenting the perfect offers to the right audience at the right time, on autopilot. Smart selling tools like social media automation, AI, and CRM software make managing your social commerce platforms easy. You can create content that’s tailored to your audience, automate your marketing posts, move customers along your funnel, and manage your contacts all in one place. This results in increased cart sizes, AOV, and significant lifts in sales.

Good news: You don’t need to be a data scientist to apply data to your commerce strategy. With the right commerce reporting tool, your data will automatically inform your social selling strategy and marketing campaigns. You’ll save time while boosting merchandiser productivity and eliminating guesswork, automating tasks, and making profitable decisions with deep insights.

Find the right solution to integrate with your website for intelligent search recommendations, predictive sort, and product recommendations for smarter merchandising. With the right tool, your unified selling experience will go far beyond social, creating a personalized experience for your shoppers across multiple channels.

Grow community, sales, and brand awareness with social commerce

Now that you’ve considered the history and benefits of social commerce, platform options, and an omni-channel approach, it’s important to remember what makes social commerce so different from other channels: the social aspect and community focus. Social commerce is more of a conversation, and users expect these experiences to be a two-way street.

A successful social commerce strategy depends on brand-customer interactions. Encourage your followers, fans, and friends to join the conversation, but always be available and ready to respond when necessary.

Successful social commerce strategies take into account the conversational nature of social media. Social commerce is more than just a way to sell your products — it’s a way to communicate, build relationships, and understand your customers.


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