First came e-commerce, followed by m-commerce, and now social commerce (aka s-commerce) has hit the scene…big time. Retailers of all sizes as well as resellers are figuring out how to increase sales by selling directly through social media to consumers; for example, at any given time Pinterest has 60 million buyable pins. To get an idea of how large social commerce has become, look at the increase in consumers using Facebook’s Marketplace since the platform launched last year: in August 2017 there were over 550 million users; in February 2018 that jumped to 700 million; and the latest numbers from May 2018 report 800 million consumers are shopping on Facebook Marketplace.

Recently, Instagram introduced a frictionless sales tool built directly within its app. This tool provides a seamless transaction platform where the consumer only needs a couple clicks to complete a purchase while never leaving the app; making the sale quick and easy. Here’s how it works: you’re scrolling through Instagram and in between pictures of cute dogs and the latest meme, you see an ad for a product that catches your eye, like sunglasses, watches, wallets, suitcases, you get the drill. If you tap one of these ads, you’ll see options to purchase. BOOM. Suddenly you made an impulse purchase while scrolling Instagram. You are now a social commerce consumer!

For now, it’s mostly early adapters, such as start ups and smaller known niche brands that are selling through social commerce, but it probably won’t be long before the major players start jumping on the bandwagon. Look for this trend to further increase as more and more social platforms provide easier tools to quickly implement this new trend of selling product online.

And don’t forget, as online sales increase, so do returns. It’s important to have a recovery program in place to handle returned and overstock items.