Immediately after starting reading the required readings I was actually shocked from all the new information I got. I never heard of social online shopping. For me this is not too weird, I am not a fashionista nor do I make a hobby out of shopping. You would think that online shopping would be convenient for me, the practical shopper. But no, I’m the kind of shopper that needs to go into a store, pick something out, try it on and go to the register and leave. So wow, collaborative online shopping! A growing social commerce innovation where navigation as well as communication support technologies are used among multiple participants who together share one shopping experience on a website.
Not only did the Zhu and Jiang (2010) article elaborated on the criteria for good communication (collaborative work, common ground and medium availability), they also made use of empirical research to actually see whether or not the two support systems have an impact on the coordination performance and to find out what perception the consumers have of social presence.
Social commerce is not only an important, cheap, new way for businesses to market their products or services, it is also fun for the actual consumers. Marsden explained in his 2010 Social commerce: Monetizing social media article the business’ and user’s perspective on social commerce. Social commerce has only just started but will have a long path ahead of them with exploring and trying out new techniques. The consumers in the end will make or break a company or product, so it’s up to the company to try to satisfy the needs of their consumers with innovative ideas.
As for retail shopping: in the Rigby (2011) The future of shopping article an omnichannel experienced is foreseen for the future, or recommended anyways. In this omnichannel experience multiple ‘channels’ physical as well as digital media are used together with new technologies into one experience. Not only does Rigby talk about technologies combined with social media, the technologies also have to be innovative and must enhance the shopping experience to a new level. For example with a 360 degrees video mirror in the dressing room. All these new technologies cost lots of money, and even though I think this omnichannel experience is a great idea, I just wonder how many people will stick with what they know. And who exactly will be investing in these new technologies? The product maker? The store, the social media? Or as most of the times, us the consumers?
Choosing the two examples Iens2.0 and Smulweb was not too difficult, but instead rather surprising. I was thinking about all the well-known social media but I couldn’t think of any social commerce company. So I went on my mobile phone and was surprised by all the social commerce apps that were actually on it (which I hardly ever use). So I chose two mobile apps from my own phone which I thought had greater potential, but were also very handy. I also took a look on their websites, which were full of handy social commerce tools such as community recommendations.
I’m talking about www.iens.nl, the Iens 2.0 Android app and www.smulweb.nl, the Smulweb Android app. Both apps are in need of improvement if you compare it to their websites. Integration of the news and deals feeds can be integrated in the apps. But the Smulweb app is however a bit more advanced than the Iens2.0 app, looking at the lay-out and interaction abilities.
Zhu, L., Benbasat, I., and Jiang, Z. 2010. Let’s shop online together: An Empirical investigation of collaborative online shopping support. Information Systems Research 21(4) 872-891.
Marsden, P. 2010. Social commerce: Monetizing social media. Syzygy Group. White Paper. http://socialcommercetoday.com/documents/Syzygy_2010.pdf
Rigby, D. 2011. The future of shopping. Harvard Business Review 89(12) 64-75
Both images were from a screenshot from the IENS 2.0 (on the left) Smulweb app from my own phone after searching for a Dutch restaurant in Rotterdam