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Making a Success of Social Commerce


Making a Success of Social Commerce

One minute we are looking at pictures of our best friend’s baby dribbling over his birthday cake and with a blink of an eye, a shiny advert for a push up bra pops up. Our acceptance of social media adverts have made us highly adept at swapping between contexts. But shopping directly from them is something we are still a little uncomfortable with. The varied levels of success of social commerce has left retailers on the fence.

On one hand, it gives direct access to Gen Z, who seem to spend more time on their mobile than anywhere in the real world. As we have seen a growth across the channel in recent years, from 2% of sales carried out in 2016, through to 66% of brands adopting features last year, customers are becoming more familiar and happy to do it.

On the other hand, Gen Z do not hold all the buying power yet. And deciding which channels – Instagram Shop Now, Facebook Marketplace, Snap Chat’s Shoppable Snap Ads or Pinterest Buyable Pins – are right for which products is not always clear cut. Also, it’s only really Instagram that have cracked making the shopping process easy, the main consumer barrier for this channel.

Brand or product endorsements made by social media users themselves is the ultimate goal, as 80% of users see it like a piece of advice they would get in line at the hairdressers – an engaging independent, word-of-mouth source. However, it can’t be scaled or controlled which makes it a risky business for brands.

The Facts:

  • Gen Z are actually twice as influences by social media as by deals
  • Instagram influences 72% of its users’ purchase decisions
  • Even among heavy online shoppers, only 19% have ever purchased from a social media platform.
  • 45% follow brands on social media
  • 57% have purchased a product they heard about on social media
  • The number of social media users worldwide is 3.196 billion

Although a huge amount of people say social media inspires their purchases, will they continue to act more as a research and discovery tool than a buying tool? Here are some of the brands showing us how it can be done.


Kate Spade masters social media advertising across all platforms, but particularly impressive are their Youtube videos. Almost like a Netflix series, there is a set of videos featuring a famous actress and her ‘Miss Adventures’, dressed head to toe in items by Kate Spade and instantly shoppable from the video. The series is also advertised in print and on TV networks.



Nike ran a social media campaign where followers had to obtain emojis from Nike social influencers. You could then enter a series of emojis into the chatbot and access a red carpet experience featuring new shoes. Once they left the experience, they could then add the emojis into Facebook Messenger to buy the trainers. They sold out in less than an hour.



Gigi’s boutique have used a piece of software called ‘Soldsie’ which allows buyers to make purchases simply through commenting on the photo. The photo includes the colours and sizes available so followers can choose what they want without leaving the post. Both the seller and buyer must have the software for it to work.



BK Store selling woman’s fashion does not have a website as such, but rather uses Instagram as it’s main shopping platform. The way is collects payments from it’s followers it to use WhatsApp, putting the number in it’s Bio. Soon, Whatsapp will allow Instagram stories to be added to your WhatsApp page, which might be the way forward.


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