view all news & events


Legal challenges in connection with shoppable content and social commerce

In recent years, the way we shop online has changed fundamentally. Shoppable content and social commerce are two of the latest developments that are redefining the shopping experience in the digital age. While these trends undoubtedly offer exciting opportunities for businesses, they are also accompanied by new legal challenges.

What are shoppable content and social commerce?

Before we turn to the legal issues, let's take a quick look at what shoppable content and social commerce actually mean.

Shoppable content generally refers to content in telemedia that allows consumers to buy products or services directly from the media content. This can be done, for example, via online articles, series on streaming platforms or other content in which the products are linked to by way of links, tags or QR codes that take the user directly to the product page in a web store.

As a special form of shoppable content, social commerce refers to the sale of goods or services via social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook or TikTok. Influencers and companies use their presence on social media to advertise and sell products directly. The corresponding social media platforms regularly provide new functions that enable purchases to be made as quickly as possible.

Legal challenges

Mandatory labeling and transparency: Advertising must be clearly labeled as such and always clearly separated from other content. This also applies to shoppable content and social commerce. These serve to sell goods and services and must therefore be classified as advertising.

Influencers who engage in social commerce can achieve this, for example, by prefixing hashtags such as #advertising or #advertisement.

It becomes more complicated when products are to be referred to in series or films.

According to the Interstate Media Treaty (MStV), product placements are generally permitted as long as they are not news programs, political information programs, consumer programs, regional window programs, programs with religious content or children's programs.

However, the prerequisite is that the product placement does not directly encourage a purchase and that the product is not overly emphasized. This regularly makes the placement of shoppable content difficult.

However, the following options, for example, can be considered as legally compliant solutions:

  • the products or the invitation to buy are clearly separated from the program (e.g. by using split screens)
  • the legal exception for materials accompanying the program applies (e.g. computer game for the film)
  • the presentation is editorially necessary and the streaming provider does not earn money from the product (e.g. in the show "Die Höhle der Löwen")

Consumer protection in distance selling: In particular, consumers must be provided with certain information on prices, delivery times and rights of return. This applies equally to shoppable content and social commerce, and the provision of information can pose particular difficulties due to the direct sales channel.

Data protection: The processing of personal data is strictly regulated by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Companies and influencers that collect personal data of their customers must ensure that they comply with the applicable data protection regulations and, if necessary, obtain the consent of consumers for data processing (e.g. in the case of the use of data for advertising purposes).

Copyright: Copyrights must be observed when using images, videos or music in shoppable content and social commerce. This also applies to music in the background, for example.

Competition law: Companies and influencers must ensure in particular that their advertising claims are not misleading.


Shoppable content and social commerce offer exciting new opportunities in the field of eCommerce, but are also accompanied by complex legal issues. Companies and influencers operating in this area should be well informed about the applicable laws and ensure that they comply with them. This is important not only to avoid legal problems, but also to gain consumer trust and achieve long-term success.


Johannes Schäufele

Johannes Schäufele


visit profile