Social Commerce, a simple term that explains the fusion of Social Media and E-commerce, both relatively self explanatory terms.Studying this topic is very interesting, as it indicates how important this phenomenon is becoming in today’s world.
According to Marsden the benefits of social media can be categorized under three headings ie. Social media monetization, e-commerce sales optimization and business model innovation.In his work, Marsden, basically outlines all the basics of social media. He mentions that to enhance the customer’s shopping experience, social media makes the product discovery, selection and referral much easier and more fun.
Whether it is a cosmetic firm such as Sephora, or a beverage company such as Coca Cola, they all incorporate social commerce in their business model. According to Darrell Rigby’s research it is suggested that offline and online experience of customers should be complementary with the purposing of fulfilling customers need for “wanting everything” there is to avail, from ease of use of purchase till physically trying on a product before getting it for yourself. This consists of both enhanced e-commerce facilities using social media (m-commerce and f-commerce) and more interactive traditional stores.
Lei Zhu, on the other mentioned a completely different insight in social commerce, focusing on social aspect of human beings and how It can have an effect on shopping. His findings indicated that people love to have social interactions when they shop. For future references, companies that are setting up online retailing services can make good use of Zhu’s research that indicates that people feel more positive when they have shared navigation while shopping from two different places and effective communication, regardless of the medium used.
Moving aside from results that could be easily predicted, I also came across a very interesting study conducted in Beihang University China. This study evaluated the effect of consumer knowledge on the social commerce intention of customers. Usually we would all assume that if we have more detailed knowledge about a certain product, it is very likely going to increase our chance of buying that product. However, the surveys from this research indicated something completely different. It states that when we as customers have a more detailed insight about the product, the website and small factors like the product location on the website, this is likely to reduce our chances of buying that product.
The searchers failed to give any qualitative valid reason to why that is the case, but it is now for us to answer.
Could it be that social media is stepping on its feet? This is because an aspect of customer knowledge of a product, is the opinions of others on that product. On one hand we talk about the various benefits of customer reviews, however it is on the same social media platform that there are negative comments and it could be that people are discouraged to buy the product, solely on the basis of this information.
The point of discussion here arises, whether this overcomes the overall benefits of social media?
On a larger scale, definitely NOT! However it definitely has a slight negative impact on the overall process and should be considered.
With the awareness and growth of social commerce, we as customers should be expecting great revolutions and technologies in shopping environments coming our way in the next 10 years.
Marsden, P. (2010). Social Commerce: Monetizing social media. Syzygy Group. White Paper.
Rigby, D. (2011). The future shopping. Harvard Business Review, 89(12) 64-75.
li , Yao et al (2011).Social commerce user purchase intention study,Beihang University of China.