Three iconic apples have profoundly shaped human behaviour over the centuries. It began with Eve’s fateful bite, symbolising our innate temptation for social status. Then came Newton’s apple, revealing the gravitational forces that exist between objects and people. Finally, there was Steve Jobs’ Apple, putting a powerful handheld window to the world in our palms – allowing us to seamlessly connect, purchase, and share our lifestyles like never before.

From the garden to the orchard to the Apple store, this trinity of apples has converged in the rising phenomenon of social commerce. Their symbolic undertones of status, social influence, and mobilised consumer behaviour have manifested into a meaningful shift in how we interact with brands and make purchasing decisions today.

As someone immersed in the tech world, I’ve become fascinated by the convergence of community, technology, commerce, and creativity. This intersection represents more than just intrigue – it’s a paradigm shift in how we engage, influenced by the same temptations and forces that the three legendary apples set about.

Our recent analysis of creator metrics on traffic, trust and conversion revealed social commerce’s powerful impact first-hand. Like Eve’s apple, the illustrated social status of the influencers we follow taps into our desires for mimicry and ultimately, product purchase. It delivers authenticity through the trusted voices and stories of influential creators that hold gravitational pull in our social orbits, and like Jobs’ ground-breaking devices, social commerce allows these influencers to mobilise consumer behaviour with incredible immediacy and seamless shopping experiences.

The Social Commerce Revolution

This transformation extends far beyond simply adopting new digital tools or chasing trends. It reflects a fundamental shift in how brands, creators, and consumers interact. The era of shopping as a passive, disconnected activity confined to physical stores or basic e-commerce sites is over. Social media has blossomed into vibrant digital communities and marketplaces where creators don’t just carry influence – they cultivate relationships, tell stories, and drive purchases directly through the gravity of their resonance and reach.

Consumers aren’t just buying products anymore. They’re buying into authentic narratives crafted by people they feel drawn towards. Creators have turned their social feeds into modern-day apple orchards, blending product showcases with personal storytelling to make every interaction shoppable and gratifying on a primal level.

Social commerce’s power lies in this perfect mashup of ancient tendencies and modern convenience: It delivers on our aspirational indulgences, through gravitational influences, and is seamlessly executed through engaging experiences aligned with how people prefer to make purchases today.

The Rapid Rise of Social Commerce

While the tendencies behind social commerce are rooted in humanity’s earliest eras, its recent growth has been staggering. Live-streaming commerce alone is massive, valued at around $774 billion globally. This scale underscores how adeptly social platforms can influence consumer behaviour by harnessing age-old psychological forces.

In South Africa, local brands aren’t just participating – they’re pioneering live-streaming as a way to transform passive viewers into active shoppers. By broadcasting engaging product experiences through trusted creator voices, brands are reinventing the customer journey as an immersive, instantly shoppable event. It’s that Verimark experience we used to watch on TV, with a “click to purchase” convenience right on our phone.

The opportunity extends far beyond live shopping, too. Shoppable posts that tag purchasable items directly in photos and videos are enhancing the act of scrolling our social feeds. What was once simple browsing of friend’s life experiences and enhanced photos, has become large-scale industrial level-harvesting, allowing consumers to effortlessly pick and purchase any digital apple that catches their eye.

Seizing Social Commerce’s Low-Hanging Fruit

While significant opportunities exist, the South African market has been slow to fully embrace social commerce’s potential. Many companies remain heavily invested in traditional media strategies despite digital’s proven ROIs and consumer gravitations. This adoption rate has partly been governed by internet access and online purchase comfort, but is being accelerated by competitive behaviour between marketplaces such as the recently launched Amazon.co.za, Temu and Shein.

Closing this gap requires a digital-first mindset, one focused on not just advertising alongside social content but embedding commerce capabilities directly within these authentic digital communities where consumers already cultivate relationships with brands organically.

Here’s how brands can start harvesting social commerce’s benefits:

  • Audit your digital presence and realign it with where consumers truly spend their time.
  • Partner with creator communities that resonate with your brand to amplify your narratives through voices that carry real gravity.
  • Measure your efforts not just by followers or likes, but by how effectively social interactions translate into tangible sales.

At Webfluential, we understood from the beginning that authenticity breeds influence. This philosophy has perfectly positioned us to cultivate social commerce, designing our platform to connect brands with creators who can help them grow naturally within digital communities through genuine storytelling and relationships.

Every interaction on our platform represents not just a digital touchpoint, but an opportunity for brands to blossom and bear new commercial fruit. Because in today’s world, the real temptation isn’t a single apple, but entire orchards of shoppable personal narratives waiting to be plucked.

The three legendary apples may have originated in different contexts across the centuries, but their collective impact on human behaviour has paved the way for an era where community and commerce not only harmoniously co-exist, but are becoming inseparable. For brands willing to embrace this reality, the opportunities are ripe for the picking.