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What Is Social Commerce?

Kaya Ismail • 22 February 2023

Social media platforms continue to dominate the digital world and our attention spans. Over 4.5 billion people will use social media in 2022, which is expected to rise to almost 6 billion by 2027. 

Successful brands and personalities have been leveraging the power of social media to promote themselves, and it has been incredibly useful for eCommerce stores as well. But channels like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and others aren’t just for marketing anymore. They now represent the next phase of eCommerce that brands need to capitalize on.

social commerce explained

What Is Social Commerce?

Social commerce is promoting and selling products directly to consumers on social media platforms. Think of it like shopping on social media networks like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and others. 

When most people hear about social media and eCommerce, they think about just the promotion aspect. Your company or an influencer advertises a product, and eventually, a customer makes their way to your website to complete the purchase. With social commerce, everything is completed on social media — from product discovery to checkout — providing a seamless experience. 

Social Commerce vs. eCommerce

You should be aware of the difference between social commerce and eCommerce. While eCommerce refers to a shopping experience on a website or application, social commerce refers to an experience on a social media platform. Social commerce is a subset of ecommerce, and in reality, you don’t need an eCommerce website to enable social commerce. However, it does help to improve the overall experience. 

Social Commerce vs. Social Selling

Another distinction must be made between social commerce and social selling. Social selling involves connecting with prospective customers via social media and building relationships that eventually lead to a sale. Social selling is important to make social commerce a success, just like other sales and marketing tactics, but it’s not the commerce experience. 

In the case of social commerce, you enable customers to buy your products just as they would on your website, except in this case, they don’t have to leave the platform they were browsing and can quickly go back to scrolling through their feeds. 

Social Commerce Platforms to Consider

Once potential customers see your product on social media, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to purchase. You need to create a cohesive experience on every platform, and each platform has its own unique traits to consider. Here are some of the primary social media networks you should consider for social commerce:


Depending on your target audience, Facebook can be the ideal platform. The older statesman of the social media world, Facebook Pages are still valuable for eCommerce brands that use them correctly. 

Facebook allows you to create a customizable Facebook Shop, and data can be imported from your eCommerce website. You can also leverage the duality of Instagram Shops and gather data to use in Facebook ads to help promote your store. 


A key platform for influencer marketing and other promotional strategies, Instagram is also an excellent way to sell products to your customers directly. Feature products in photos and videos and allow customers to buy them from Instagram Shops. Brands can also tag products in stories using Shopping Tags. Plus, with the addition of the Shop tab, Instagram has become a mini-marketplace for products. 


The TikTok Shop feature enables brands to set up a digital storefront on one of the fastest-growing platforms on the web. If your target demographic is Gen Z, then TikTok is one of the best options for social commerce. Brands can sell products via the product showcase tab, in-feed videos, and LIVEs. 

Why Use Social Commerce?

There are a number of benefits that brands can gain from leveraging social commerce. 

Increased Customer Base 

Remember the over 4 billion people using social media? That creates a huge potential base of customers for your business. One of the ways to increase reach on social media is through virality, and if you are able to achieve going viral, then you can attract several impulse buyers as well, all of which leads to more revenue. 

Better Audience Targeting

Implementing a social commerce strategy allows you to achieve better audience targeting. Part of any social media strategy should include getting help from influencers. Many brands opt for large influencers with a huge following, but in many cases, micro-influencers who have a smaller but more dedicated audience can yield terrific results.  

Improve Conversions

Before social commerce, one of the biggest challenges was friction. Customers would scroll through their favorite social media feed, find a product they like and then have to go through several clicks to find a website and then start searching for a product again. Social commerce removes this excess friction, and customers can go from browsing to buying in only a few moments.

Get More Reviews

Reviews or social proof on social media come in different forms. Customer videos can be helpful, but so can likes, shares, and comments that help spread the word about your product and build brand awareness. 

Capitalize on Social Commerce With Instant Commerce

Doing social commerce right involves having an inviting digital presence. Social commerce reduces the friction of customers coming to your website, but what happens if they still want to do that? Considering that most social media customers are using mobile devices, it’s crucial to have a beautiful, engaging, and mobile-friendly website.

Instant Commerce is a headless storefront builder that allows you to quickly build a headless eCommerce store in a matter of days. With a headless storefront, you can experience faster time to market, increased speed, and conversions while creating a shopping experience on any device.

Integrations with Shopify mean you can still leverage a powerful eCommerce backend and let Instant Commerce take care of the frontend experience. You can also connect to social media platforms and build custom landing pages to maintain the same high-quality experience when your customers visit your website. 

Ready to build custom mobile storefronts that help with conversions and allow you to leverage social commerce fully? Try a demo of Instance Commerce today. 


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Author / Writer
Kaya Ismail
Content Marketer

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