Social commerce; a need to survive?

Nowadays most of the people are using social media every day, and because of that, social commerce will be a part of their lives as well. This blog will summarize my main founding’s from the literature about the future of social commerce, and the possible shortcomings of it. The blog will start with a general explanation of social commerce and how to implement it. Next, I will discuss the disadvantages of using social commerce. Finally, I will provide you with some examples of future social commerce.


Social commerce is a subset of electronic commerce that involves social media, online media that supports social interaction and user contributions to assist online buying and selling of products and services (Wikipedia, 2015).

So where do you start when you want to implement a social commerce strategy? According to Marsden, one should start by listening. Search for examples from bigger companies and watch how they use social media. After this comes the experiment part. When you have results, you can start applying the strategy and keep on developing.

Darrell Rigby discusses how retailers should catch up on social commerce. Rigby states that retailers should follow tree steps to catch up with social commerce. 1. Retailers should face reality. 2. Retailers should think like they are starting over. 3. Retailers should use social networking. (Rigby, 2011)

Rhonda Abrons states a few things that are inconsistent with the statements of Rigby. Social commerce is time intensive. This raises the question whether a sole proprietorship can afford to spend so much time on social media and whether the advantages out weight the disadvantages. She also states that the costs of social advertising are high and therefore not every company can afford it.

One of the reasons that people still like to shop physically is because people like to shop together and interact. It’s not just the buying part but also the experience and social aspect that makes shopping together a nice alternative for online shopping. In the future, many companies using social commerce are providing customers with ways to shop online together.

As a result of this development in online shopping Zhu, Benbasat and Jiang conducted a research about shopping online together focusing on navigation support and communication support. Results showed that shared navigation decreased the amount of decoupling (the loss of coordination with one’s shopping partner.

One interesting development is the introduction of the buy button on many social platforms. For customers it will be easier to buy, and social platforms and third parties will get more profits.

Another interesting development in social commerce is Snapcash, a brand name of Snapchat. Snapcash has a totally different goal than Snapchat, namely: transferring money. With the use of Snapcash you can send money to another person just by typing in their name and the amount of money you want to send.

‘’If you bought something offline which you weren’t able to buy online, we are probably working on that right now’’

Marsden, P. 2010. Social commerce: Monetizing social media. Syzygy Group. White Paper

Rigby, D. 2011. The future of shopping. Harvard Business Review 89(12) 64-75.

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.


One thought on “Social commerce; a need to survive?

  1. Great post! I am curious to know what you think of small-scale retailers and/or sole proprietorships advertising their products on social media. I agree that since building a social network site for a company is very time-intensive, but I am not sure where the line is to be drawn for small businesses. How big should a company be before it starts putting a large focus on social networking and online ordering? I think that pretty much all businesses should have some sort of website or Facebook page. When I think about myself shopping in small boutiques, I am definitely happy to like those stores on Facebook if they have a page. In fact, I would love to share that I am a fan of that store, if I had a good experience! However, I have never considered buying something online from a small boutique because I enjoy the in-store shopping experience so much. Oftentimes, these stores have very small stock, and I think the costs of having to keep items in stock for online ordering would outweigh the costs of not having online ordering.

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