Social Commerce – The Evolution
Social commerce is different from traditional e-commerce, or more of an extension of e-commerce. Social commerce basically makes use of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The method that is employed in this type of commerce is rather simple in its essence. Business owners or people who are related to sales use these sites to interact with the potential and existing customers. They make use of several techniques to encourage online selling of their product or service. To simplify the concept, one can say that when e-commerce is conducted using social media sites, it is termed as social commerce. But what differentiates social commerce from e-commerce is commerce through social media evolves from a relationship basis where e-commerce is more transactional.
Social Commerce = Opportunity
There is a growing trend among businesses to use social media for commerce to increase their sales. This is without doubt a great opportunity for businesses. The system of social commerce is based upon interaction. This gives a business much better chance of increasing sales because through these sites they are actually able to convey their message and motto to their customers.
The question that now arises is what is the point of social e-commerce? Using these sites a business can create a platform where potential customers can get advice from other people. There are many products and services that are for sale today and this very large variety can be a source of confusion for the customer who can’t decide whether to go for the product or not. Using social media, the business creates an environment where the existing customers serve as an important tool in convincing the potential customers to buy the product there and then.
Relationships Matter in Social Commerce
This is done through a series of product recommendation and building relationships though customer interaction, after all social media drives relationships which breeds trust which enable social commerce. Using sites like Facebook and Twitter the business sets up its product or service for reviews or ratings. Through this system it is able to generate feedback about its products and this in turn serves as ‘trusted’ advice to the new client. When the client sees that other people are making use of product/service and are benefiting from it, they are encouraged to buy the product. Since commerce through social media is an extension of e-commerce, the product can be bought online.
When it comes to Facebook commerce or commerce through other sites, the product is sold using these sites. There is the facility of shopping carts available that allows the customer to buy the product there and then from the site without having to visit any other site. Facebook for instance uses Facebook Open Graph that allows the trade of goods to be carried on using Facebook. To help businesses, the site has also introduced tools such as I frames that allow businesses to learn more about their clients. Although the idea of social commerce is relatively new, there are many businesses that are currently making use of this service, and are benefiting from it. There are more firms that are taking up this concept and from the looks of it social commerce is going to get more developed as firms come to realize the fact that it has a lot of scope and potential.
Duncan Lauder is strategic marketing executive with 20 years of experience in promotional strategy, direct marketing and online initiatives.
He is the president and CEO of Marketing Practicality, LLC; a consultancy specializing in marketing strategy, internet marketing, social media, Facebook commerce and search engine optimization (SEO).