Aqueous Digital

Could 2017 be the year we see social commerce take off?

With social media platforms like Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram introducing increasingly personalised and innovative new features to encourage product discovery, alongside the rise in popularity of ‘contextual commerce’, could 2017 be the year we see social commerce take off?

What is contextual and social commerce?

For those unfamiliar with the two terms, they can roughly be defined as:

Contextual commerce – The implementation of purchase opportunities into everyday environments and activities.

Social commerce – The use of social media platforms to assist the online buying and selling of products.

Social commerce in 2017

How many times have you discovered a new product, brand or service on social media, either through ads or a recommendation from a friend or contact? Chances are you’ve purchased something that you’ve discovered via social media at least once in the past, but how easy was it?

In the past when discovering new products on social media we’ve had to move away from the platform or app to a search engine to try to find the product or business in question.  The journey from discovery to purchase has not always been smooth or easy, meaning many people give up before they’ve even found the product.

This is now changing as leading social media platforms are trialling and launching exciting new features to help connect businesses and buyers more seamlessly on social media.  Here at Aqueous, we’re excited to see how social commerce progresses this year!

Benefits of social commerce

  • New social commerce features allow in-app purchases that make the journey from product discovery to checkout quick, seamless and frustration-free.
  • Allows customers to make quick and impulsive in-app purchases; leaving less time for cart abandonment.
  • Increases the number of conversations about your business/products/services online.
  • Using the vast amounts of customer data stored on social media platforms can help you to show the right products or services to the right people at the right time.
  • Customers are more likely to trust and buy into products/businesses/services recommended by their connections.

Getting started with social commerce

If you’re ready to start incorporating social commerce into your business plans for the year ahead it’s very important to first do your research and pick the platform most suited to your business or products.  Learn more about the most promising social commerce features now available from Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram below.


Facebook store – This feature is still being rolled out and so may not be available to everyone quite yet.  Facebook stores appear as a tab on your Facebook business page and allow customers to buy products directly from your page without any need to leave the Facebook app.

Facebook Messenger payments – Businesses like Dominoes pizza are already using this feature to allow customers to quickly place orders and pay for them all within the Facebook Messenger app.


Instagram shoppable tags – Since late last year Instagram have been testing shoppable tags.  These tags allow users to get additional details about products featured in images and direct them to a page to purchase the product direct from the app.


Buyable pins – Allows users to buy products they see pinned on Pinterest without ever leaving the app.

Shop the Look – A brand new feature to Pinterest; Shop the Look is just starting out and we’re excited to see where it goes.  The new feature allows users to browse products, buy in-app and get recommendations for similar items.  The feature is currently aimed at businesses selling fashion or home decor products only.

Want to find out more about social media for businesses or get some advice on starting out with social commerce? Give us a call on 0800 285 1424 to speak with one of our social media experts, or contact us here

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