Should Social Media Change How We Design Ecommerce Sites? Maybe.

4 min readMar 17, 2023
Person scrolling through phone

Today, savvy brands across CPG and fashion are rushing to incorporate features that mimic our mindless scrolling. Only this time, it’s not mindless at all, but shopping in a whole new way that feels deeply familiar. It’s already resulting in some impressive metrics, including significant increases in conversion rate, time spent on site and engagement rate. And with traffic and acquisition costing brands more than ever, we should all be hyper focused on anything that keeps people on our sites longer and results in more sales.

Here are some of my favorite examples of social style selling:

One of the most recognizable features on Instagram is the row of Stories circles right at the top. This horizontal and scrollable feature is one of the easiest elements to incorporate onto a site, especially on mobile. Whether its cirlces, like Instagram, or squares, like Alo Yoga, this design system quickly gets users where they want to go while mimicking that ‘feel good’ rush when clicking on a friend’s story. Alo Yoga uses this feature to drive users to newness, campaigns, or popular categories.

Another social media-inspired feature are video placements that look and operate like TikToks or Instagram Reels featuring brand founders or ambassadors. Specifically when it’s a founder, these videos make the experience as personal as following your favorite founder directly, encouraging to buy not just because we want the product, but because we want to support its founder too. Eat Deux, LA’s cult favorite edible cookie dough, executes this seamlessly right on their homepage. Their video pop-up welcomes you to the brand from the founder herself. It feels like a natural extension of their popular social channels, and even layers interactive questions to get the user exactly where they’re trying to go. (Try it for yourself and before you know it, you’ll have bought some cookie dough. It’s that effective.)

We all love a TikTok or Instagram post showing us how to style or use a product. It’s an incredible discovery tool for the newness inspired consumer and this helpful (and high performing) content is finally making its way to product pages. Tower28, the clean beauty company, uses this kind of social-style feature right on their Product Display Page to show how to use their popular Lip Jelly in three different ways.

Mindfully sprinkling in autoplay videos as featured product images is the less obvious way social media is influencing site design choices. Having a grid of static and dynamic assets on a Collection or Product Listing Page feels like a nod to scrolling on Instagram without being in your face about it. Maison Margiela uses dreamy videos to show their pieces well-styled and in movement, ensuring customers can see the whole look without needing to click through. It’s a combination of a slow motion reel and ethereal, moving Harry Potter paintings, done in a way that’s beautiful, on brand and encourages engagement. And while the instant-play video isn’t new for Ecom sites, having it directly alongside images and replacing a static product shot with video is.

Last but certainly not lease, some Ecommerce sites are leaning all the way into strategy. Spoiled Child, the futuristic skin and haircare brand, is bringing the influencers to you, right on their Product Display Page. The TikTok-style videos show expert breakdowns on product benefits followed by influencer and UGC videos showing real-life reviews.

What does this mean for you?

Social media will continue to have a significant impact on the design of Ecommerce sites. Brands will continue to find ways to make the journey from social app to online shopping even more seamless for users, and in turn, more efficient for marketing efforts.

There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ way to execute social media like features, it’s hugely dependent on your brand, customer and business goals. If your brand primarily interacts with its consumers on social platforms and/or finds success with influencer/UGC content, it’s worth exploring how to ensure that’s represented on your site in a way that deepens the user experience and helps you grow your business.

Written By: Shannon Fitzgerald, Creative Director @Myntr




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