Social Media Marketing
7 min

Social Commerce Trends: A Revolution in Shopping

Grayson Gilcrease Grayson Gilcrease Senior Content Writer

Everywhere you look, new social platforms seem to be popping up and vying for consumer attention. Even the power players have been scrambling for new ways to differentiate themselves from the pack to prove their value to their users (and to advertisers).

The pursuit of both ad dollars and user growth has fueled the rise of social commerce. The traditional role social plays in the marketing mix basically consists of showing your brand and products on the platform and linking out to your website; now it’s possible to actually buy directly on social media.

But that’s still not the whole story: social media can drive commerce in more ways than ever before. Brand discovery is happening more and more on social platforms, especially for gen z, whether or not the transaction occurs there or on Amazon or in a physical store. A consumer could interact with an influencer on a platform, then go to LTK to find out more about a product and purchase on the brand’s site. 

We look at a much wider definition of social commerce: the role social plays in the commerce journey as a whole. Taking a more expansive view makes it clear how much innovation is happening.

Not only is social commerce a great way to build relationships with potential customers and deliver a more seamless shopping experience, but it also shortens the sales funnel, giving your brand a big advantage when driving conversions. 

So how can you set your business up for success in the ever-changing social landscape? Let’s look at the current trends shaping social commerce and driving new developments, then break down the pros and cons.

Success in social commerce means staying on top of what’s trending

According to Statista, social commerce is set to account for 5.2% of all ecommerce transactions by 2025. Deloitte predicts that social commerce will top $1 trillion in sales in 2023 and will only continue to grow as social platforms develop more sophisticated shopping capabilities.

Graph depicting the growth of the global social commerce market

Source: Deloitte

There’s no time like the present to take advantage of social commerce trends and incorporate them into your strategy before consumers get inundated with options and look for other avenues to complete their interactions or purchases. 

Every brand has different needs and challenges, but some critical trends are worth considering right now:

Instagram shopping, Facebook shops, and Pinterest buyable pins are just a few examples of transactional social commerce offerings from major platforms. Other options don’t necessarily require the creation of a shop, including TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram Live, where the customer can make the purchase as the content is being shared. 

Graph showing if US digital buyers made a purchase via select social media platforms

Source: eMarketer

Weighing the pros and cons of investing marketing budget in transactional social commerce

If you’re considering reworking your social strategy to take advantage of new commerce capabilities on social media channels, there are a couple of things you should take into account.

It’s simplest to start with the pros: the most obvious is that adding transactional capabilities to your social strategy makes the shopping experience seamless, reducing the customary purchasing friction that can happen in traditional social campaigns where a customer has to leave the platform and head somewhere else to make a purchase.

Ariana Grande’s song “7 Rings” might sum up the benefits to the customer experience best: “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it.” A simple tap takes you all the way from discovery to purchase. 

You can also inject more engagement into the shopping experience by introducing interactive elements or through influencer partnerships that let you take advantage of some of the inherent benefits of social channels. 

Example of content for Instagram shopping

Source: Instagram 

That’s not to say there aren’t challenges. Any time a piece of technology offers a new feature, there are growing pains as the platform develops and tests new capabilities, and social transactions will continue to evolve as the platform gets a better idea of how people use it or what’s not working.

Social commerce is also built for shoppers versus sellers and its reach is limited to the social sphere, so consumers need to be social-savvy to follow through on any purchases. On top of this, because each platform has its own audience, it can be time-consuming to maintain transactional campaigns or stores across multiple channels and stay engaged with your customers.

There are also more critical business functions to take into account. You need to consider how social shops or campaigns integrate with your inventory management and fulfillment. There’s also the matter of the different fees platforms take for any in-app or in-platform purchases and how that affects your margin/profit calculations. 

Brands need to assess if the incremental conversion rate of a frictionless experience will offset the cost based on volume, then potentially change product strategies based on product-level margin.

If you’re able to invest the time, money, and effort needed to integrate transactional social commerce into your marketing strategy, the rewards could be significant. The world seems to be moving toward a more social-focused internet, including every facet of commerce from discovery to research to purchase.

It’s time to start exploring what these new capabilities could do for your business and meet your customers where they are.

Learn more about building the perfect channel mix with our full guide Blow Up Your Social Strategy: How to Double Down on Channel Diversification.

Digital Marketing Ecommerce Social Commerce Social Media Marketing Strategy Trends


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