Social commerce is a subset of e-commerce. It involves social media, and other digital media that support social interaction and user contributions, to assist in buying and selling products and services online. Simply put, social commerce is the use of social networks for e-commerce transactions.
This term was introduced by Yahoo in November 2005 to describe a set of purchase online collaborative tools, such as shared pick lists, consumer reviews and more sharing of information and recommendations with content suggested by users.
The major players in the social commerce is consumers who enjoy sharing their purchases and give their opinions to advise the entire social community.
Social commerce gives brands the ability to attract and accommodate with advices, and make them a different experience. Social commerce can be implemented via social networks, on website or directly using POS via a web-in-store strategy.
The concept of social commerce has been developed by David Beisel to promote the use of user content for promotional purposes on commercial websites, and by Steve Rubel to include collaborative tools that allow consumers “to get the opinions of confidence people, to find products and services and buy.” Social networks spread these views and advice and have the advantage of increasing consumer confidence in a brand.
Evolution of social commerce
Today, the field of social commerce has expanded to include tools and content from social media that can be used in e-commerce, especially in the fashion industry.
To give examples of social commerce, there is the user reviews and ratings systems, recommendations, social shopping tools (or the sharing of online purchases), forums and communities, social media optimization, social applications and social advertising. Technologies such as augmented reality have also been used in a context of social commerce, allowing consumers to “try” some items and to seek the advice of their relatives through social networks.
Some researchers have attempted to distinguish the “social commerce” of “social shopping” by defining the social commerce as collaborative networks of online vendors, and social shopping as a collaboration between consumers.
The social commerce then provides real community dimension to the act of buying on the Internet and aims to oppose the notion of individuality often closely linked to Internet universe.
In terms of statistics, the revenue generated by social commerce is expected to reach over $ 30 billion by 2015.
Facebook Commerce (f-Commerce)
Terms Facebook commerce, f-commerce and f-comm, correspond to the act of selling or purchasing goods/services either directly to the social network, either by integrating Facebook options on the website of online sales, or even via Facebook Open Graph.
In March 2010, 1,5 million enterprises had Facebook pages built using Facebook Markup Language (FBML). A year later, Facebook has adopted iframes. Among other things, it allowed developers to gather more information about visitors to their pages.
The e-shops have been created in 2010 to offer brands/companies e-commerce solutions directly related to their fanpage. The e-shops have several advantages such as allowing a better ranking on Google, build traffic to the website, generate buzz, and especially broadcast the image of the brand with a very large number of users.
Twitter Commerce (t-Commerce)
For businesses, the use of Twitter in a social commerce strategy is very different from Facebook. A way to achieve this is to pass through the creation of an account on a third specific website. To sell a product or service on Twitter, simply tweet a message with the product. In return, the buyer must respond to this tweet by adding the word “buy”.
Comparing products and prices
Today there are hundreds of stores on Facebook and Twitter, offering thousands of different products and services. But how to find the product or service you like, or the store offering the best product at the lowest price? Social commerce helps to address these issues.
The “6 C’s” of social commerce
The “6 C” social technologies have been at the heart of the debate at the Bankinter Foundation for Innovation Conference in 2011 The “6 C” include “three C’s” of e-commerce, as well as three new criteria more suited to era of social networks.
- Content: Interact with customers, prospects and shareholders through quality content available on the web. The first examples were sites showcases for brands, but today, vast amounts of information are posted daily on the web. Google has been a key player in setting up the indexing of this information and make it easily accessible to all.
- Community: Consider your audience as a community in its own right in order to build lasting relationships while providing tangible value. The first designs of communities were conducted via registration (opt-in) and committed via emailing then developed in forums, chat rooms and online communities programs. Social networking is the latest incarnation of these communities and among the many social networks. Facebook is the main platform for the sharing and interaction with individuals in the community.
- Commerce: Being able to meet the needs of customers through a transactional web presence, such as retailers, online banks, insurance companies, travel agency sites that provide the most useful type services B2C. B2B sites extend online storage and hosting of supply of products and fulfillment services. Amazon, which emerged in the 1990s, began to dominate B2C trade by extending its services beyond traditional retail.
- Context: Keeping track through the connected world, of events in real time, achieved mainly via mobile devices. An online payment via Google Checkout or a check-in via Facebook or Foursquare connects a real virtual data event such as a business or a place. This is an essential element of social commerce where data are now available for organizations wishing to offer products and services to consumers.
- Connection: Redefining and archive individual relationships with social networks. These relationships can be derived from the physical world or online. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter are the three main categories of social networks: Business, Social and Informational. Relationships, the scope thereof and interactions between individuals, are the basis for the actions of social commerce.
- Conversation : To say that all markets are the purpose of the conversation, this is one of the theses of The Cluetrain Manifesto, but the trend is the opposite for social commerce. However, today, all conversations are markets. A conversation between two parties will probably highlight a need that could be done: it is a potential market for suppliers. The challenge for these vendors is to use these conversations to offer their product and services. Simple examples of these “conversations that suggest demand” people show their objects of desire on their Pinterest boards or “like” on a theme of a Facebook page.
Using the theory of “6 C”, organizations are trying to go beyond the notions of “Social Media” (defined as the paths of interaction) and move gradually towards “social commerce.” It therefore aims to leverage the original structure of the e-commerce: “Context, Connection, Conversation.”
Translated from Wikipedia