Social Commerce: Definition and guide


As the term suggests, social commerce is shopping through social networks. This shopping model has great potential, and it is developing three times faster than traditional eCommerce, generating huge revenues, which is supported by the numbers.

In 2021, retail in Internet communities collected $ 492 billion worldwide. It is expected that by 2025, that figure will triple, amounting to $ 1.2 trillion.

Given the potential of this type of trade, if you are into selling, social media selling platforms are places where you should be. Whether you choose Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, you can’t afford to miss this selling channel. We will introduce you to social commerce, its characteristics, and its benefits.

What is social commerce?

Social commerce is an online trade, except that sales or purchases occur directly on social networks, not your eCommerce site. The entire process, from advertising (through which the user discovers your product) to payment, is done on the social network.

Unlike eCommerce, it differs in the platform on which the purchase is made – website vs. social network. Also, these retail platforms are different from social selling. Social selling involves generating friends on social networks to build a list of potential buyers.

By now, the networks where you can have it are Instagram, Facebook, and partially Pinterest. 

Many people today search social networks for pictures and reviews of products they want to buy. The idea behind social commerce is to allow customers to purchase the product they want immediately, without changing the platform. In this way, sellers minimize the possibility of canceling the purchase and enable customers to interact with their friends and connections about the purchase they just made.

If you own eCommerce, do you also need social commerce?

Having an eCommerce site does not exclude the possibility of starting a social selling platform. 

Why? It’s simple. Many people are present on social networks and are all your potential customers. When you advertise your products on social networks, there are people who, for one reason or another, won’t be willing to visit your eCommerce store. If they can buy your product in a few clicks on the same platform where they found it, they are likelier to carry out the initial intention.

Social commerce is intended for all sellers whose target audience is on social networks. It’s up to you to assess your audience’s preferred network – Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, set up shop there – and wait for the business to branch out.

So, why one or another, when you can have both?!

Reasons why you should try social commerce

Here’s why you should join selling platforms on social media as soon as possible (if you haven’t already):

You don’t have to look for customers – they are already there.

One-third of social network users (32.2%) are people between 20 and 29 years of age. Millennials and Gen Z are online, constantly scrolling, and in the mood for shopping, especially if you know how to present your products. What are you waiting for?

You can quickly target the desired audience.

All social media with integrated shopping platforms have excellent settings for targeting the desired customers. When you set up store, you can easily advertise your product according to the demographic of your targeted audience. With online tools, you will find out who your target group is and then adjust the parameters, and that’s it.

Social commerce can go worldwide, too.

As well as eCommerce, this type of trade can go worldwide. It’s up to you if you want to ship internationally; if you do, your targeted audience can be all around the globe.

A unique shopping experience

Social commerce provides a unique shopping experience. 

Shopping on an eCommerce site is an individual, private act, while on social media, it’s a more interactive, social act. Buyers can tag friends or relatives and exchange opinions about the product in the comments. They can interact with other users who already own the product they are interested in. They can ask for an honest review, and someone will respond, just like in an actual store or drugstore. 

Interaction can connect people with related interests, which is another benefit.

Less a possibility of canceling the purchase

When customers see an ad on a social network, a click takes them to an eCommerce site. If the site does not load fast enough or is too complicated to navigate, there is a possibility that the customer will lose interest and give up the purchase. With retailing on the Internet community, this “danger” is minimized. The customer sees the product, likes it, buys, and finishes everything in one place.

The possibility of good earnings

We talked about the numbers in the introduction. Social commerce is a fast-growing market that is getting better and better. People like to shop online, and you need to place the products in places where they stay for a long time. Let’s take a look at the statistics:

  • In 2021, 27.6% of the world’s population (2.14 billion) bought online.
  • It is estimated that 3.96 billion people will use social networks by the end of 2022.
  • 35.9% of all users of social networks made at least one purchase through this channel in 2021.

It is pretty straightforward: people like spending time on social networks and spending money online – social commerce is the key to success.


social commerce


Which social network is best for social commerce?

Today’s social retailing is fully enabled by Facebook and Instagram and partially on Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, WeChat, and others. Which network should you choose? It depends on the product you are marketing and your target audience.


While Instagram used to have a shoppable post option – the ability to advertise a product, the customer could not buy it directly. There is a check-out option in the app, so today, it is possible to shop directly on Instagram. By clicking on the image, the customer would go to the seller’s website, where he would make a purchase.

Instagram has 2 billion active users per month, of which the most significant percentage (31.2%) are people aged 25 to 34. Men and women use it, but men have a slight advantage (51.8%). Although you can sell almost anything on Instagram, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle products are top-notch.


Facebook shops also have a built-in check-out allowing the entire shopping process to take place on the social network. However, there is one exciting thing. Since Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp share the same owner, it is possible to communicate with sellers or make a purchase through each channel.

It turned out that it is best to sell furniture, toys, clothes, and tools on Facebook. The largest demographic group using Facebook is between 25 and 35 years old. Also, seven out of 10 adults in the USA use Fb, which means that older adults and seniors are very present on this network.


Pinterest is where people come to find inspiration for shopping, so your products should be placed on this social network. However, Pinterest does not strictly offer social commerce. This option exists for business accounts, which can create your shop within the profile, while for all others, by clicking on the desired piece, you will be sent to the eCommerce site of the seller.

The following age groups use Pinterest: 42.3 million users aged 18 to 24 (18.0%); 87.9 million users aged 25 to 34 (37.4%); 37.1 million users aged 35 to 44 (15.8%); and 19.8 million users aged 45 to 54 (8.4%). Pinterest is best for fashion items, accessories, jewelry, household items, fitness and lifestyle items, etc.

How to successfully use social retailing?

Here are some tips that will help you in the bare beginning:

  • Research your target audience and place products on social networks where they are active the most.
  • Have your products professionally photographed or filmed and described with relevant keywords so the audience can find them more easily.
  • Maintain interaction with customers and listen to their wishes.
  • Encourage customers to leave reviews on product satisfaction.

Now that you are aware that there is another sales channel that can contribute to your business, all you have to do is join it. Explore the endless possibilities of social commerce, find out on which social networks your target audience is represented, and meet them there with an offer they cannot resist.