E-commerce and DTC startups will die a fast death, if they don’t adapt to live social commerce.


Social media platforms are becoming marketplaces for selling products. Business accounts on social media are collaborating with micro influencers to promote their products. And social platforms are enabling such brands with more features and visibility.

Features like Instagram’s in-app checkout and shopping space, YouTube’s Merchandise Shelves and Super Chat, and more are helping creators and brands sell products while engaging their communities.

What is social commerce?

It is a way of selling products to customers on social media platforms, without having them to leave the platform. It is a faster and more personalized sales funnel.

Imagine an online digital mall, that sells exactly what you prefer to buy, matching your taste. And the heart of it’s functioning is short, live video content. Apps like TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest are at the center of this new wave, bringing a new wave in ecommerce.

New social commerce platforms are rising too, empowering brands, startups, and solo creators to sell directly to their customers.

Social Commerce is the future of online retail.

To make it work, you need 4 parts:

  1. Audience building though your unique content
  2. Influencer and brand partnerships to boost your visibility
  3. A buying experience that is as easy as liking a picture or sharing a post with your friend
  4. Live stream shopping events

Social commerce for startups: Why Do It NOW?

The wave is new. If you’re an ecommerce or DTC startup, you need a customer base that keeps coming back to you — recurring revenue. Conventionally, it’s very difficult to crack a product-market fit which ensures a set amount of retained customers who’d bring you that recurring revenue. You’d fail a lot in the beginning, which is natural, given the noise out there.

With social commerce as a growth machine for your ecommerce startup, the following things become super easy:

  • A/B testing - because sellers can get instant feedback on the products, while live streaming
  • R&D - the audience that tunes into your live streams like your brand, they’d be more willing to answers your research-oriented questions faster with more authenticity.
  • Marketing - Generating high-quality leads through live streamed content is a huge bonus for any startup. Since buyers are getting their needs met right there, marketing can be used in the post-sales experience and engagement to upsell products.
  • ROI-driven Moment Marketing - If you’re a startup that looks for events and occurrences to create your brand’s noise and get audience, social commerce is a step further in that.

1 of the Social Commerce formulae to use:

Curated and original content put out daily which customers find useful [Instagram or YouTube, or TikTok]. + A good base of online partners who increase the reach of your posts + Regularly held live video shopping sessions where customers get exclusive deals, products and discounts.

Which startups can use social commerce?

  • Startups and Farmers selling farm to table and fresh produce products — vegetables, exotic fruits, meat and dairy
  • Clothing brands, textile producers — there are huge opportunities for Indian startups who have an audience on social media, and are regularly making entertaining content
The Indian Ethnic Co.
  • Beauty and healthcare brands
  • Luxury brands like Gucci are also beginning to use social + live commerce.
  • Handmade products
  • Food as lifestyle brands

  • Education startups - those putting out highly actionable tutorials for their niche audiences

All the above categories are exploding with content. And short-video and live shopping experiences are becoming easy to create.

a16z.com’s article shows how China is leveraging live video and social commerce for selling products. → The Video-First Future of Ecommerce

Social Commerce Platforms to watch out for

  • Meesho - a reseller platform that lets you start your business from home.
  • Baaz - a live video shopping platform that lets retailers make online stores and sell

  • BrightCove - A video first platform for retail and eCommerce