Social Commerce versus Ecommerce

Social Commerce versus Ecommerce

Social commerce and ecommerce are both online methods of buying and selling goods and services. However, they have distinct differences that set them apart.

Here are the main differences between social commerce and ecommerce:


Ecommerce refers to the sale of goods and services through dedicated online storefronts, websites, or apps. These platforms are specifically designed for buying and selling products. Examples include Amazon, eBay, and Shopify.

Social commerce, on the other hand, takes place on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok. These platforms are not exclusively designed for commerce but have integrated shopping features to facilitate transactions.

Customer engagement and interaction

Ecommerce platforms generally focus on providing detailed product information and a straightforward buying process. Interaction between buyers and sellers, or among buyers, is often limited.

In social commerce, customer engagement and interaction are key elements. Social media platforms allow users to share, like, comment, and engage with products and sellers. This creates a more dynamic and interactive shopping experience, as users can rely on recommendations, reviews, and feedback from their social networks.

Marketing and advertising

Ecommerce platforms primarily rely on search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, and online advertising to drive traffic and sales.

Social commerce leverages the power of social media networks to create organic reach and viral marketing. This is done through user-generated content, influencer marketing, and targeted advertising within the social media platform. In social commerce, users often discover products through their social feeds or via recommendations from friends and influencers.

Buying experience

Ecommerce offers a more transactional and straightforward buying process. Users search for products, read descriptions, and complete purchases with minimal social interaction.

Social commerce offers a more immersive and social shopping experience. Users can discover products through their social networks, engage with sellers and other buyers, and make purchases within the social media platform itself. This creates a more interactive and personalized shopping experience.

Business models

Ecommerce platforms generally follow a traditional retail model, where customers buy products at fixed prices.

Social commerce can encompass a variety of business models, including group buying, flash sales, and affiliate marketing. Some social commerce platforms may also incorporate elements of gamification or loyalty programs to engage users and incentivize purchases.

Trust and social proof

Ecommerce platforms often rely on product reviews, ratings, and seller reputations to build trust with potential customers. While these features can be helpful, they are not as personal or influential as recommendations from friends, family, or social connections.

In social commerce, trust is built through social proof from one's own social network. Users can see which products their friends or influencers have liked, shared, or purchased, making them more likely to trust and buy those products. This social validation can heavily influence purchasing decisions.

Content creation

In ecommerce, content creation is typically the responsibility of the seller, who must create product listings, descriptions, and images to showcase their products.

Social commerce encourages user-generated content, which can include product reviews, unboxing videos, or lifestyle posts featuring products. This user-generated content can create a more authentic and relatable shopping experience, as potential buyers can see how products look and perform in real-life situations.

Customer retention and loyalty

Ecommerce platforms often rely on loyalty programs, email marketing, and retargeting campaigns to encourage repeat purchases from customers.

Social commerce platforms have the advantage of constant social media exposure, allowing businesses to maintain ongoing relationships with their customers through engaging content and interactions. This can lead to higher customer retention and loyalty.


While ecommerce platforms can offer personalized product recommendations based on browsing and purchase history, social commerce platforms can take personalization a step further. By leveraging data from social media profiles and user interactions, social commerce platforms can provide highly targeted and relevant product recommendations based on users' interests, preferences, and social connections.

Ease of setup and entry

Ecommerce platforms often require sellers to create and manage their own online storefronts, which can be time-consuming and require technical expertise.

With social commerce, sellers can easily set up shop within existing social media platforms, reducing the barriers to entry and simplifying the process of getting started. This makes social commerce more accessible to small businesses and individual entrepreneurs.

Social commerce and ecommerce both facilitate online buying and selling but differ in terms of platform, customer engagement, marketing, buying experience, and business models. Social commerce focuses on leveraging social media networks and user interactions, while ecommerce relies on dedicated online storefronts and a more transactional approach.

These two methods have unique characteristics that cater to different needs and preferences of businesses and consumers. The choice between the two will depend on factors such as the target audience, marketing strategy, and desired customer experience you wish for your business.


Martin Dejnicki
Martin Dejnicki

Martin is a digital product innovator and pioneer who built and optimized his first website back in 1996 when he was 16 years old. Since then, he has helped many companies win in the digital space, including Walmart, IBM, Rogers, Canada Post, TMX Group and TD Securities. Recently, he worked with the Deploi team to build an elegant publishing platform for creative writers and a novel algorithmic trading platform.