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Social Storefronts: How Retailers are Using Social Media to Lift Revenue

Person purchasing online

Instagram was once a place to share photos of loved ones. Now it's also a shopping platform that lets users view and purchase products with a swipe of a finger. It's not just Instagram. Facebook, Pinterest, and other social networks have become 'social storefronts' with e-commerce functionality, providing new ways for consumers to engage with their favorite retail brands. Here's everything you need to know about this social shopping revolution.

What are Social Storefronts?

Social storefronts are essentially e-commerce stores on social media platforms. Take Instagram, for example. Brands can use the social network to drive product discovery, influence purchasing decisions, and attract new customers to their online store. Nearly half of Instagram users shop weekly on the platform, providing retailers with unparalleled opportunities to increase brand awareness, move prospects through sales funnels, and generate revenue.

Social storefronts work in different ways. On Instagram, a retailer can add product tags to images and videos or create ads with tied to their catalog through the platform's Ad Manager. However, perhaps the most lucrative social commerce feature for retailers is 'Checkout on Instagram,' where consumers can purchase products without leaving the social network. Facebook Shops works similarly. Brands can create a digital storefront where users browse, explore, and purchase products directly through Facebook.

Why Do Retailers Need Social Storefronts?

Social media presents retailers with incredible reach. Facebook, for example, had around 2.91 billion monthly active users in the fourth quarter of 2021, making it the most-used social network in the world. By putting products front and center on their social pages and across social networks, retailers can target global audiences and build new customer bases.

Social storefronts also help retailers target specific demographics they can't reach through conventional digital marketing like SEO or paid ads. TikTok, for example, which helps merchants promote their products, is extremely popular with young audiences. (Sixty percent of its users are aged 16-24.) Using this social network to expand your retail operations, therefore, could prove lucrative when targeting younger customers.

Ultimately, social storefronts are all about exposure. The average daily social media usage of internet users was 145 minutes in 2020, and retailers can target these potential customers with carefully-crafted content marketing campaigns that increase sales.

Which Brands Use Social Storefronts?

Retailers in all niches invest in social selling services to increase engagement with customers, advertise products, and attract users to their online stores.

Watch brand CLUSE, for example, uses its Instagram page as a digital storefront window. Each post advertises a specific product or collection with a description of promoted items. CLUSE also uses user-generated content (UGC) to showcase previous customers using their products.

Ruggable leverages its Verified Merchant status on Pinterest to utilize their Shop. The Pinterest Verified Merchant program allows a product catalog to dynamically populate into the Shop tab on Pinterest, providing a seamless experience for those in the market for a new rug.

Menswear brand HERA utilizes Instagram stories to advertise new products and encourages followers to like and comment on its promotional content.

How Do Brands Use Social Storefronts?

Social storefronts are still a relatively new phenomenon, with retailers using different techniques to target customers on social platforms. These techniques include sharing details about inventory, offering giveaways, and launching new products on specific services. (Advertising a product for teenagers on TikTok, for example.)

Shoppable content serves various purposes. It can educate an audience about a retailer's products, maintain brand loyalty, and drive conversions. Social storefronts also offer an advantage over other digital marketing methods like SEO and email in that customers can interact directly with retailers. A consumer can ask a company what sizes are available or how long it will take to receive a product.

Turn Your Social Into a Shop

Retailers use primary shoppable social channels to attract new audiences, improve customer experiences, and direct consumers to their online stores. Although a recent phenomenon, social storefronts can influence purchasing decisions and turn prospects into bonafide customers, one post at a time.

Are you interested in learning more about social commerce? Fifth and Cor can turn your social media pages into a unique shopping experience.

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