What is social commerce?

Social commerce – or social selling – is the next big thing for business, according to the Global Payments 2023 Payments Trends Report, published earlier this year.

These days, it’s almost impossible not to be touched by social media – in fact, according to LinkedIn, almost half the world’s population is on some form of social media – and the numbers are growing. By 2027, this figure’s set to rise to almost 6 billion.

Having such a global audience at your fingertips represents a huge opportunity for your business to reach more people than ever before. Even tapping modestly into this pool of potential customers could result in a surge in sales for your business.

Isn’t this just social marketing?

Social marketing has been around for a while, so you’ve likely heard of it, and you may already be doing it. Basically, this refers to using social media platforms like LinkedIn to find, connect, and build relationships with leads and prospects in hopes of driving sales. Your sales team might connect with a prospect on Thursday, book them for a call the following Tuesday, give them a demo that Friday, and close before the weekend. Or your customer might see an ad on their feed and be redirected to your website to complete a purchase.

Social commerce is different

Social commerce has evolved to enable people to make purchases directly on the social media platform, immediately and seamlessly, resulting in a faster, frictionless buying experience.

Live commerce extends social commerce even further by allowing customers to buy products they see on screen during live streaming events. The purchase is often completed in one click using “buy” links or QR codes shown on screen. It’s growing rapidly, thanks in part to the appealing mix of shopping, entertainment and social interaction that it offers.

How could social commerce work in your business?

According to the Global Payments report, worldwide social commerce sales reached $492 billion in 2021, a number expected to nearly triple by 2025 to $1.2 trillion. Additionally, more than half of businesses surveyed indicated they plan to introduce social commerce as a sales channel in 2023. Sales driven by live commerce could account for as much as 20% of all ecommerce by 2026.

Social media platforms are creating more and more opportunities for brands to drive commerce directly. Platforms like Facebook Shop, Instagram Shopping, Pinterest Shopping and TikTokShop make it easy for your business to get your products and services in front of audiences and capitalise on customers’ desire for instant gratification.

Social and live commerce give consumers the ability to buy a product as soon as they see it. You can embed familiar easy-to-use payment links and QR codes directly into social media posts and live commerce streams. Embedded payment links allow businesses to integrate payments directly into posts and ads across social platforms. You can also integrate these links into other channels that didn’t previously enable commerce, like WhatsApp and text messages.

Better sales results

As the leading B2B social networking platform, LinkedIn has established the Social Selling Index (SSI) to gauge social selling effort of brands or products. Their conclusions:

  • Social selling leaders create 45% more opportunities than peers with lower SSI.
  • Social selling leaders are 51% more likely to reach quota.
  • 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media.

Social selling delivers better sales results – and if you’re not already doing it, you can bet your competitors are.

Make payments easy

Social selling will make the ability to make payments anywhere and anytime more important than ever. The more flexibility and security you offer customers when it comes to paying your business, the easier it is to convince them to do business with you.

Moving further into 2023, consider embedding pay-by-link capabilities directly into your social platforms. It will make payments seamless and effortless for your customers. And we’re all for that!

Have a payments related question? Talk to one of our payments experts today to find out how we can help your business grow.


This article is based on the Global Payments 2023 Commerce and Payment Trends Report. Eway is a Global Payments company.

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