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Why Social Shopping Works


Social shopping uses a customer’s social media network to recommend and influence their purchases. It involves sharing the shopping experience with the customer’s friends, family, and other online contacts.  

Social shopping makes the experience of online shopping, well, social. It encourages a user to share their purchases with their friends. After all, the more people they get to enter a giveaway, the higher chances someone they know will win.  

For example, on Instagram businesses often generate activity on their page by using the ‘tagging’ function. A post could read, tag three friends for the chance to win a prize! 

When an individual is tagged, Instagram sends them an alert. When they click on the notification, it opens the post they were tagged in. This hugely increases the exposure the post could receive. If an account has 1,000 followers, more than 3,000 people might engage with the post depending on if the tagged start tagging others.  

Group coupons also serve a similar function. Some companies offer discounts for group orders of five items and over, encouraging friends to make a big purchase together. Other online retail stores offer a discount for when a customer posts their products on their personal story. The customer then has an incentive to show off their purchase to their friends and followers, who may choose to check out the business themselves.  

The idea is to offer a reward for a customer to create more customers through their own social network. This can be their personal followers on Instagram, a shared promoted tweet on Twitter, or their shopping group on Facebook.  

Benefits of Social Shopping 

There are many reasons a company would want to encourage social shopping. 

Social media is a great way for companies to create a loyal audience in a short amount of time. Funny brand interactions with users, viral giveaways, and rewards systems foster brand loyalty. Social shopping can turn one potential customer into ten.  

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Bambi Boutique’s social media statistics before and after their giveaway

Loyalty programs are also highly effective. Encouraging users to share brand posts on their Instagram stories for a discount is an easy way for customers to help a brand extend their reach.  

For instance, if a customer buys a hoodie from a brand and then posts a picture of themselves wearing it, there are several key benefits. The customer can receive a discount on their next purchase, encouraging them to shop with the brand again. The customer’s friends associate the product with someone they know and trust. Other users get to see the product worn and in use. If they like what they see, they can check out the brand themselves. If they choose to buy something, they may also choose to make a post for the discount, and then the product is spread to their circles and so on.  

Social shopping benefits both the customer and the business. It’s an effective and easy way for smaller businesses to extend their reach without having to pay for massive advertising. Anyone can participate in it, and any company can run campaigns similar to the ones above. From increasing brand exposure to doubling or even quadrupling potential customers there are plenty of reasons to give social shopping a shot.  

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