If you haven't brought your retail business into the world of social commerce just yet, consider this your cue.

This month, both Instagram and YouTube unveiled new tools that aim to help users make sales directly on their social media platforms -- removing the need to shop at a brand's own website or retailer's online store. With the more seamless check-out options, presumably consumers will have fewer barriers to buy, and that can lead to more sales. 

On Instagram, customers can now place and track orders in direct messages, and sellers can request and receive payment in the same thread using Meta Pay. This feature aims to simplify the purchase process, especially for custom orders that might require back-and-forth communication between buyer and seller, according to Meta, the Menlo Park, California-based owner of Instagram and Facebook. Previously, businesses could sell items on Instagram through the app's shop function, but shoppers could not place orders through direct messages. Businesses must have an Instagram storefront to use the new tool. 

Through a new partnership with Shopify, YouTube creators can now directly link their products across their channels and content, including in livestream videos. U.S.-based users of the feature can enable onsite checkout, which can allow shoppers to make purchases directly on YouTube. To use the new shopping feature, YouTube creators must have more than 1,000 subscribers and must have their channel approved for monetization. "I predict that this will heavily impact my conversion rate, which will help more people give my products and my brand a chance to become part of their everyday life," Cassey Ho, founder of the Pilates brand Blogilates, said in a press release announcing the Shopify partnership.

These updates are just the latest in a growing trend towards social commerce. In November, Pinterest launched a live shopping series dubbed Pinterest TV. And last summer, TikTok unveiled in-app shopping integrations through Square and Shopify. In 2021, sales made through social media hit an estimated $492 billion -- and experts predict that number will grow to $1.2 trillion, according to a report from Accenture.

The best way to capitalize on the trend is to start now and skip the hard sell. While options will vary for different kinds of products, demographics, and social platforms, one thing remains consistent across platforms: authenticity. "It's really about making it feel organic and not trying to tell people to buy the product -- it's more about presenting the option for them to do so," Maria Wilkes, founder of the London-based brand Candid Beauté, previously told Inc. about using Shopify's integration on TikTok.