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Oct 7, 2021 | 5 minute read

Casual Observations on Social e-Commerce

written by Emily Kathi


While my purchases via social media are limited in scope, I’m fascinated and admittedly a bit hooked on what’s new on these apps for sale. I’ve spent more than a few hours scrolling when my intent was to unwind and shut off screen time. Oh well. There are worse habits I’m sure…
I’m not surprised to learn that in the last two years, social media traffic has increased 100% to online stores, or that about 70% of consumers search social media for potential buys. With so much time spent on sites like Instagram and Facebook documenting and sharing our lives, it makes sense to turn to those same platforms to inform our buying decisions. The existence of influencers on these apps further drives that purchase when I’m ready to live my best life in that handmade sterling silver earring and bracelet set, frolicking on the beach, with not a care in the world.
As I peruse social media for the next thing I must have, I’ve noticed a few app’s best practices catch my eye, and keep my cart full.

Instagram Envy:

The effects of a global pandemic forced people to shop and sell their wares in new ways. Instagram invested heavily in the new social marketplace and I’m here for it. The effortless, and downright gorgeous layout in-app makes it easy to search my favorite brands and what the latest makers have on deck.
I scroll the top navigation bar for more shops, live feed, tutorials or collections, and one of my favorite tabs the “Drops” – where I find the latest and greatest in the brands I follow, complete with a Get Reminder date for when the drop is official. Do I really need what’s coming this fall from the casual cool of Adidas loungewear? The answer is no, but oh how I love to look.

Instagram e Commerce

In my cart the now? A sample collection of original greeting card designs and handmade enamel pins from a small stationery company. I love to send hand-written cards for all occasions to the people in my life, and in a past life I was once a greeting card writer. (No, writing them is actually not that easy.)
Checkout is pretty streamlined with a variety of credit card and a few secure mobile payment options – and just like that, within a matter of days I’ve got a cheery addition to my greeting card library. Plus, I’m supporting a small business. All good things in my book.
As I was scrolling the other night, I noticed an alternative use of the story stickers that typically drive sales to a featured product. Within this celeb’s story, it was used as an in-story link for a charity donation. Yes! I will donate to the charity ride. And thank you for asking!

Instagram Story e Commerce

TikTok Shopping Madness:

I’m relatively new to TikTok and its frantic pace, but I admit it’s growing on me. I find I can’t resist live video of a cat dressed in a chef’s hat baking a pie, while Louie Prima’s rendition of “Pennies From Heaven” coos in the background. Incredibly endearing, addictive, and worth a follow.
The app opened the commerce floodgates recently, an endeavor 18 months in the making. It’s relatively new to market, but in a recent Yahoo article the company reports a descriptor of what the new capabilities offer:
“With product links, brands can feature one or more products directly from organic TikTok videos and direct users to product pages. Live shopping offers real-time demos or live streamed product showcases with concurrent links to buy products and services.
Collection ads allow brands to add custom, swipe-able product cards to in-feed video ads, while dynamic showcase ads can serve personalized, targeted ads based on users’ interests”.

If the experience is anything like their 1 billion-strong mix of eclectic users and influencers, it will be worth the ride. Bring on the baking cats.

Pinterest: The Matron or Social e-Commerce:

She’s got style, she’s got class. Pinterest is the place for people who love to curate, browse, and enjoy collaborating with other good taste makers.

The setup is flawless. I’ve chased down many a handbag or a duvet cover I spotted in-store to comparison shop on the app. While it can sometimes be frustrating to click on a new favorite only to find it out of stock, the app does a thorough job of filling your feed with alternate items.

Because I follow several food/entertaining boards, related content is pushed to my shopping page, so I won’t miss a recipe or reason to celebrate around the table.

Tik Tok e Commerce

Not to mention the pleasure I get creating fantasy boards of dreamy Italian vacations, and shiny new Airstreams just begging for a national park tour.

Social e-Commerce is here to stay in sweeping ways:

Social e-commerce sales rise year after year as a whopping 3 billion people flock to social media. As people seek out more personal shopping experiences, social e-commerce provides an open space where big brands and small proprietors alike can create and market to those exact experiences – much to the growth of their bottom line and influencer status.