The process of shopping online has evolved. Customers no longer locate a product and make a purchase on a retailer’s website. By utilizing the two hours and 27 minutes each day that the typical user (all 4.62 billion of them) spends on social media, social media is bridging the gap between the two actions.
Social networks have changed from being photo-sharing websites to being online storefronts. More than 25 percent of consumers have looked for things to buy on social media. 38% more people have bought something via a social media app. Since social commerce sales are expected to reach $2.9 trillion by 2026, 49% of the firms we surveyed want to boost their social commerce spending this year.
But in order to benefit from social commerce, a platform is required. In order to assist you in using the largest social commerce platforms to expand the revenue streams for your e-commerce firm, this book analyzes trends and best practices for each platform.
Unlike most of the other platform types we cover, there is no consistent definition of what a social platform is and what kind of services it offers. Probably the best way to look at a social platform is being a tool that enables social commerce to occur. While we include some of the leading social networks in this list, they aren’t social commerce platforms in their entirety. Instead, they now incorporate social commerce elements that allow social selling to occur, often without people having to leave their app. Some have effectively become self-contained marketplaces.
Of course, social commerce is more than just buying and selling. It encapsulates the entire sales process – from research through to after-sales service. That means it includes activities such as brands communicating with customers via Facebook Messenger as much as it does enable the use of Buy Now buttons directly on sales posts.
You might notice the absence of Twitter from this list, which is somewhat ironic because it was the first major social network to trial social commerce capabilities. Between 2014 and 2017, Twitter let some brands add a Buy button to their posts, allowing direct selling from tweets. However, in 2017 Twitter decided social commerce wasn’t for them, and they moved away from the idea. Perhaps they were just too ahead of their time.
The 10 Top Social Commerce Platforms
Creator.co is a collaboration and community hub that SMEs can use to create, manage, and monitor their influencer marketing initiatives. The platform connects clients to a strong database that contains millions of influencers.
Creator.co focuses on social commerce and uses advanced data and analytics, high-level reporting, continuous assistance on campaigns, and more. Its soon-to-come Marketplace+ will facilitate social commerce by enabling brands to sell their products and services across various social media platforms through creators, influencers, and publishers.
Impact.com supports shoppable content and provides integration with additional marketing analytics and e-commerce-related software to offer a comprehensive view of customer journey analytics.
With its shoppable content capability, impact.com offers businesses an opportunity to showcase their products and services in a visually engaging and interactive manner. The platform integrates with social media channels like Instagram and Pinterest, allowing businesses to tag products in posts and make them shippable.
The integration with Pinterest is particularly noteworthy as Pinterest’s visual discovery engine is ideal for social commerce, and 80% of Pinners starting with visual search when shopping. Impact.com integrates with Pinterest’s shoppable Product Pins, allowing businesses to make their products discoverable to Pinterest users. The platform also supports Shop the Look ads, which enable traders to feature multiple products in a single ad, and users can click through to the retailer’s site to check out.
Impact.com also provides integration with additional marketing analytics and e-commerce-related software, providing businesses with a comprehensive view of customer journey analytics. This feature makes it easy for businesses to track the effectiveness of their social commerce campaigns and make data-driven decisions to optimize their results.
To date, CommentSold has helped online sellers to sell more than 130 million items. Trusted by thousands of active merchants, it integrates with leading social media channels like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram.
Read Also: What is Social Commerce?
In short, it lets you sell directly to your potential buyers via Facebook newsfeeds, your Facebook page, shoppable Facebook Watch Parties, Instagram Stories, etc. What makes it such a powerful tool is that it also lets you embrace live shopping. This means that you can take your social commerce to a whole new level by combining social commerce with live selling.
In addition to letting you share your live shopping broadcasts via social sites, you can also use your own branded mobile app or customized web store to distribute these broadcasts. In fact, you can host your live sales on all three of these channels — your branded app, web store, and social accounts — at the same time
Grip, a South Korean social commerce platform founded in 2018, has been an industry disruptor since its expansion to the US in 2022. Grip’s accessible, real-time platform enables sellers worldwide to connect with buyers. Direct communication between creators and buyers fosters transparency and insight into products. The live shopping experience combines entertainment with exclusive deals, allowing users to purchase items instantly.
The platform also offers a community of trusted creators, known as “Grippers,” who share their genuine experiences and insights with users. These influencers help build trust and reliability within the community, further solidifying Grip’s reputation as a go-to social commerce destination.
Grip’s live shopping experience combines entertainment with exclusive deals. As users watch the live events unfold, they can take advantage of special offers and purchase items on the spot. This seamless integration of shopping and entertainment has resonated with users, contributing to Grip’s rapid rise in popularity.
Nowadays, the primary way that Instagram acts as a social commerce platform is with its “Shoppable Posts” feature.
Instagram has always had an advantage over many of its social competitors because of its inherently visual nature. It has always been the ideal social platform to display products, particularly if you make an effort to make your images enticing. It is the perfect medium for visual storytelling.
Initially, Instagram didn’t allow for pure social commerce. When somebody clicks on one of your Shoppable Posts, they follow a link to the appropriate page on your online store, rather than making the sale entirely on Instagram itself. However, Instagram has since upgraded the capabilities of Shoppable Posts, and they now include an in-app checkout feature, so the customer never has to leave Instagram to make their purchase.
Facebook is building a collection of social commerce tools to help brands. It now lets many US businesses use Instagram’s in-app checkout so that customers can experience the entire buying process within their Facebook app.
With Facebook Shops, merchants can create a customizable store from which consumers can shop within Facebook and Instagram. Facebook Shops have dedicated places on the platform for consumers to browse and make purchases. Facebook Shops have a messaging button so consumers can communicate with sellers through Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. Facebook also encourages brands to livestream and is looking at allowing consumers to purchase directly from a livestream.
Like Instagram, Pinterest focuses on creative things. Their visual discovery engine is ideal for social commerce. They feature a visual search engine, Lens, that works with shoppable Product Pins. These find items, based on users’ photos, that Pinterest thinks might interest the user. Pinterest makes suggestions to users of shoppable products, with a direct link to a retailer’s checkout. Research shows that 80% of Pinners start with visual search when shopping, compared to 58% of non-Pinners.
Pinterest also offers Shop the Look ads that allow traders to feature multiple products in a single ad. Pinners can discover great products related to a Pin’s image and click to check out on the retailer’s site. Sellers can tag up to 25 items in a photo.
Although Snapchat hasn’t particularly focused on social commerce in the past, they have encouraged augmented reality (AR) which has interesting social commerce possibilities. Snapchat calls its AR lenses. Users can take selfies using a lens that helps them digitally try on makeup and sunglasses. Indeed, they can now virtually try on any type of clothing.
Snapchat reports that more than 170 million users engage with AR on the platform daily.
At this stage, while you can try on products within Snapchat, using its AR lenses, you still need to click outside Snapchat to make the purchase, however.
It is relatively early for TikTok involvement with social commerce, but the video-sharing platform has been making trials in this area. It has already established a global partnership with Shopify.
Shopify merchants can create, run, and optimize TikTok marketing campaigns directly from the Shopify dashboard by installing a new TikTok channel app from the Shopify App Store. Merchants can create native, shareable content that turns their products into In-Feed shoppable video ads.
Shopify and TikTok have also trialed a new shopping button that allowed TikTok creators to link their Shopify storefront from their videos.
WeChat has done much to facilitate the growth of social selling. WeChat mini programs are pivotal to the success of social commerce on the platform. They allow users to share eCommerce-related content and shopping experiences.
Companies have created marketplaces using WeChat mini programs. Probably the best known is Pinduoduo, which sells to users, giving them steep discounts if they team up with other users to make bulk purchases.
The real advantage of WeChat mini programs is that users can make purchases and communicate with sellers from within WeChat. They can share the products they like with their friends and family. In fact, they can participate in all phases of the buying process without leaving WeChat.
Verint Community is a community-led social commerce platform that creates business opportunities from customer collaborations. It’s a customizable, interoperable, fully-featured platform that provides opportunities for socially-driven e-commerce.
An active, open discussion forum facilitates brand trust and leads to organic conversions through shared real-life experiences and interactions. Discussion and Q&A forums can be fully customized visually, as well as utilizing modern, responsive UX for ease-of-use.
12. Taggbox Commerce
Taggbox Commerce is a shoppable content platform for brands to grow sales, trust, traffic, and engagement and offer a full shopping experience. It helps you turn your social content or UGC into Shoppable feeds and galleries. Just collect content, tag products, and publish galleries on your eCommerce website and online store. Shoppable feeds allow users to get inspired and buy products, leading to more conversions, inspired purchases, brand social proof, and consistent revenue growth.
As we referred to above, Pinduoduo is built on a WeChat mini program. It incentivizes users by giving them steep discounts if they bring in other users. All of these transactions occur within the Pinduoduo platform (which in turn is built upon the WeChat app.) Users don’t have to go outside Pinduoduo / WeChat to communicate with anyone involved in the transaction. There is no need for a separate messaging app or email communication.
Pinduoduo includes two prices for each product it sells. One is the “single buyer” price. However, there is a second cheaper price shown that the buyer can pay if he/she can find someone else to buy the good (the second person also gets the lower price).
Beidian is another Chinese WeChat social commerce platform. It was founded in 2017 by the maternal and childcare shopping conglomerate Beibei Group. It lets users buy, share, and sell products across various product categories, though it focuses mainly on mother and infant goods. It directly leverages existing WeChat friendships for marketing. Most people on Beidian sell to someone they know rather than strangers.
15. Amazon Live
Amazon Live takes a different approach. It gives the opportunity for brands to engage with shoppers in real-time using interactive, shoppable livestreams. Amazon Live is designed to inspire, educate, and entertain customers in a format that allows real-time brand interaction.
You can use it to introduce shoppers to your products and provide them with the information they need to make confident purchase decisions. You can also use live streams to inform audiences on product features, benefits, and special offers in an interactive environment with live product demonstrations.
Amazon Live also includes a chat feature, where you can answer questions and provide information in real time to help drive connection.