Social commerce, put simply, is sales on social media. By its most basic definition, it’s what enables consumers to make purchases within Facebook, Instagram and other platforms.

But as new research reveals how social media is being used more for discovery than transacting, that definition is expanding. Success in social commerce now involves a range of strategies that start with social media advertising and extend to a company’s ability to encourage sales outside of social platforms — whether it’s clicking an organic post to buy on a brand’s website or transitioning over to look at Amazon listings.

Where social commerce once referred specifically to direct sales and buy buttons, it now encompasses days or even weeks of consideration as well as multiple sales channels and omnichannel offerings.

For all that’s changed, the core of the concept is still the same. Social commerce is a chance for brands and retailers to shrink the path to purchase by connecting with consumers in ways that simply aren’t possible through other marketing and sales channels.

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