The Future of Social Commerce

Yesterday, Shoosmiths hosted an event by The Fashion Network titled ‘The Future of Social Commerce: Connecting Business with Community’. During this event we heard from fashion industry leaders on social commerce's transformative impact on fashion and FMCG ecommerce - in partnership with The Ecommerce Club.

Here are our key takeaways

Social Commerce: The Future of Online Shopping

During this session, the panel established that social commerce is not a new concept, but it has evolved significantly in recent years. It refers to the use of social media platforms to facilitate or enhance the buying and selling of goods and services. There are two main types of social commerce: selling on social media and selling through social media.

Selling on social media

Selling on social media involves using social media as a marketplace, where users can browse, discover, and purchase products directly from the platform. This can be done through features such as Facebook Shops, Instagram Checkout, Pinterest Buyable Pins, and Snapchat Shoppable Ads. These features allow brands to showcase their products, create immersive shopping experiences, and reduce friction in the customer journey.

One of the benefits of selling on social media is that it leverages the power of social proof, word-of-mouth, and user-generated content. Brands can encourage customers to share their purchases, reviews, and feedback on social media, which can increase brand awareness, trust, and loyalty. A good example of this is the Marc Jacobs ‘Daisy’ perfume pop-up in New York in 2019, where customers were invited to pose for photos with the perfume and post them on social media. The campaign generated over 13 million impressions and 4,000 posts with the hashtag #MJDaisy.

Selling through social media

Selling through social media involves using social media influencers, celebrities, or creators to promote and sell products to their followers. This can be done through sponsored posts, stories, videos, live streams, or other forms of content. The influencers act as intermediaries between the brands and the customers, providing recommendations, reviews, demonstrations, and testimonials.

One of the benefits of selling through social media is that it taps into the influence, credibility, and authenticity of the influencers. Influencers can create a personal connection with their followers, understand their needs and preferences, and persuade them to buy products that suit their lifestyle, taste, or values. A good example of this is the sales through TikTok live, where influencers can showcase products, answer questions, and direct viewers to purchase links in real time. According to TikTok, live-streamed shopping events can generate up to 10 times more sales than regular videos.

Steps ahead

Social commerce has taken online shopping to a new level, by making it more social, interactive, and convenient. It has also changed the way brands and customers communicate, interact, and transact. As social media platforms continue to innovate and introduce new features and functionalities, social commerce will become more prevalent and influential in the e-commerce landscape.

However, social commerce also poses some challenges and opportunities for brands, customers, and influencers. Some of the key questions that need to be addressed are:

  • How can brands measure the effectiveness and return on investment of social commerce campaigns? Besides sales, what other metrics can be used to evaluate the performance and impact of social commerce, such as views, likes, comments, shares, engagement, participation, retention, and loyalty?
  • How can brands ensure that their social commerce strategies are aligned with their target audience, brand identity, and marketing objectives? How can they choose the right social media platforms, features, and influencers to reach and attract their potential customers?
  • How can brands maintain and enhance their brand reputation, trust, and credibility in the social media environment? How can they deal with issues such as fake reviews, negative feedback, privacy breaches, data security, and ethical standards?
  • How can customers make informed and rational decisions when shopping on social media? How can they verify the quality, authenticity, and reliability of the products and the influencers? How can they protect their personal information, payment details, and consumer rights?
  • How can influencers balance their creative freedom, personal brand, and financial interests when collaborating with brands and selling products on social media? How can they maintain their integrity, honesty, and transparency with their followers and the brands? How can they cope with the pressure, competition, and expectations of the social media industry?

These are some of the questions that need to be explored and addressed as social commerce continues to grow and evolve. Social commerce is not just a trend, but a transformation of the online shopping experience. It is not just about selling products but solving problems. It is not just about transactions, but relationships. It is not just about commerce, but culture.

Changing the way we shop online

This panel consolidated that live shopping and TV shopping are two different ways of online shopping that have their own strengths and weaknesses. Live shopping is more suited for the younger and more social customers who value engagement, entertainment, and influence. TV shopping is more suited for the older and more traditional customers who value familiarity, diversity, and reliability. Both forms of shopping have to adapt and innovate to meet the changing needs and expectations of the customers, and to overcome the challenges and opportunities in the e-commerce market.

Looking ahead

The final panel discussion looked ahead at the next five years and agreed that the retail industry is undergoing a rapid and radical transformation, driven by the emergence and adoption of new technologies and trends. These technologies and trends are creating new opportunities and challenges for retailers, consumers, and influencers. Some of the most prominent and influential ones are:

The metaverse

A virtual reality where users can shop in a 3D and interactive way. It can enhance the customer experience, reach, and spending, but it can also be costly, complex, and irrelevant for some brands and products. Some examples of how retailers are using the metaverse are:

  • Balenciaga’s collaboration with Fortnite, where the luxury fashion brand created a line of exclusive outfits, called skins, that users could buy and wear for their gaming avatars. The collaboration aimed to increase the brand awareness and appeal of Balenciaga among the younger and more tech-savvy consumers.
  • Nike’s collaboration with Roblox, where the sportswear giant created a virtual world, called Nikeland, where users could play games, socialise, and buy virtual goods from Nike. The collaboration aimed to showcase the innovation and creativity of Nike, and to engage and inspire the consumers with its brand values and vision.

Virtual influencers

Digital characters that promote and sell products on social media. They can be more consistent, creative, and appealing, but they can also be more expensive, controversial, and impersonal.


The environmental, social, and economic impact of the industry. It can be improved and enhanced by using blockchain technology, circular economy, and social responsibility.

Unique or bespoke customer experiences

Events or activities that provide a distinctive and memorable experience for the customers. They can increase the customer satisfaction, advocacy, and retention, but they can also be difficult, expensive, and inconsistent.

Monitoring the use of social media

The observation, analysis, and regulation of the content and behaviour on social media. It can help to prevent and correct false, harmful, or unethical information, and to understand and optimise the performance and influence of the content.


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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