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If You’re Not Selling within Social Media, You’re Losing Sales

By Andrew Luu

Convenience is king when it comes to shopping and retailers who make shopping easy are boosting their sales.  


That’s why “social commerce” is becoming the new buzzword for retailers online. What this means is the ability to browse, add to cart and buy all while using and never leaving social media apps like Instagram and TikTok. This makes buying so easy that three-quarters of consumers are now shopping via social media more than they did two years ago. 


In-app shopping growth exploded in 2020.


  • Instagram saw 185% improvement over pre-pandemic levels
  • TikTok dominated growing by 500% 


Consumers spend countless hours on social media every day and we project this trend will not only continue to grow, but will become a dominate way to reach consumers. To help you evolve with this emerging trend, here’s the Cole’s Notes for how in-app shopping works. 

Joining the Trend is Easy 

Shopping within platforms like Instagram is gaining traction because customers can browse a retailer’s product line, add items to their cart and check out all without leaving the app. And it’s just as easy for retailers to get their brands into these apps.  


The first step is creating a business account for each social media app. After that you can connect your ecommerce platform such as Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce in just a few clicks. If your platform isn’t supported, you can manually upload your product catalog. 

The Key Components of Selling in Social Media

Catalogs, Collections and More

One you’re set up for in-app shopping, you can then promote your products with tools like Instagram Collections. Here you can curate product collections into specific categories, highlight gift guides and provide tutorials like “Complete the Look” style suggestions.




Click-to-Cart Advertising

A whopping 53% of consumers discover new products through mobile advertising with video ads performing the best. And where do consumers notice the majority of these ads? Social apps! That is the top answer at 45% followed by gaming apps (38%).  


Exclusive In-App Launches 

You can build excitement by teasing launches and releases via attention grabbing formats like Instagram Stories. From there, adding a call to action to sign up for updates or setting reminders can help keep consumers engaged.




It’s So New the Options Keep Growing

Live streams, Instagram Reels and TikTok’s Smart Video are all extra ways to engage with consumers in addition to traditional posts and ads. 


TikTok and Shopify’s pilot social commerce program is set to expand to all merchants this fall. Like Facebook and Instagram, the functionality will include the ability to link to products in posts and add a Shop tab to their profiles. Prior to launching in-app shopping, TikTok was a hotspot for discovering products. The hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit has 4.6 billion views and is primed for success now that users will be able to instantly purchase what they see.

Top 3 Reasons to Embrace In-App Shopping

1. It Makes Checkout Seamless 


Social media time is personal time. When people are relaxing with social media, any interruption to that experience will likely be ignored. But when a consumer sees an IG post or TikTok video for an interesting product, they can now click on it, select a size, color or model, add to cart and check out. Once done, they go right back to where they left off. 


This simplifies the whole process and eliminates multiple steps like being redirected to a website or the need to Google the product. In-app shopping is as immediate as it gets and the result are more sales. 


Add in buy now, pay later – another new innovative consumer financing tool – and you can help overcome spending concerns by letting shoppers split purchases into four equal, interest-free payments. Learn how to add BNPL your checkout with Zip in just 10 minutes.  


2. Beauty Products, Clothing and Shoppers of All Ages Love Social Commerce  


Beauty, clothing, and health and wellness sales are hugely successful in social media, but electronics, home products, and food and beverage also sell extremely well. 



When it comes to social commerce, 85% of Gen Xers plan to use apps for holiday shopping, while nearly half (46%) of Gen Z and millennial shoppers say they make a social media purchase at least monthly.


With frictionless checkout a key factor for all ages, providing in-app shopping and ever-popular digital wallets, which is supported by BNPL, all contribute to making the decision to buy seamless. 


3. Social Media Increase Online Sales 


Over 70% of consumers make purchase decisions based on something they see on Instagram and one in ten shoppers say they’ve purchased a product immediately after seeing it on social media. 


According to eMarketer, U.S. social commerce sales will reach $36.6 billion in 2021, an increase of 35.8% over last year. Worldwide, social commerce sales are expected to more than quintuple by 2027.



In this age of instant gratification and technology-powered convenience, it’s important for retailers to adapt and evolve to these new norms. In-app social commerce is proving to be the new and dominant way to reach consumers because after all, it’s always easier to sell a story when there’s an audience.

About the author
Andrew Luu

Andrew Luu is an international award-winning journalist who spent a decade writing about cars before turning to the world of advertising. His resume includes AutoWeek Magazine where he tested cars and hosted its TV show, along with clients such as Chrysler, Ford and TD Bank.