Tech-savvy consumers and the continued growth of mobile devices are likely to increase the use of social commerce through social media facilitating the interaction of consumers, driving trust and intention to buy.
Social Media Becoming a Viable Commerce Platform
Social commerce is the use of user-generated content and social network(s) in the context of e-commerce transactions. This phenomenon has received considerable attention, especially with rating and reviews as a hygiene factor in ecommerce. Nevertheless, retailers and brands keep experimenting with social data available from platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. A range of trends drive this tendency:
Today’s tech-savvy consumers are accustomed to online shopping and tend to use their smartphones and tablets as an important shopping tool. For instance, around 80% of Pinterest users are female, and seeing that clothes, gifts and home decoration are three popular areas for Pinterest, marketers may benefit from women controlling household purchases related to these items.
Principles of Persuasion
Basic principles of persuasion are key drivers of social commerce, especially social validation in terms of social proof and sharing. For instance, social feedback functions as proof that other consumers are buying, and like, the same things that I like.
Social sites like Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram are becoming repositories for shopping ideas, fashion tips, and wish lists. These lists function as user-generated online catalogues that other users base their purchases on.
Online shoppers can perform price comparisons and solicit advice from friends wherever they are. Due to the continued growth of mobile devices, the importance of mobile user experience will only rise.
Hence, social media facilitate the interaction of consumers, driving trust and intention to buy (Hajli, 2013; Wang et al, 2012). According to Addshoppers, Facebook’s share of social generated e-commerce is approximately 36%.
Social Commerce in Practice
Generally, social commerce must reflect the fundamental rule of e-commerce, namely as few intermediate steps as possible before a user faces the crucial “buy” button. Amazon has championed this strategy with its social commerce partnership with Twitter, which allows users to use the hashtag #AmazonCart to purchase items.
Replying with the hashtag #AmazonCart to any Tweet containing an Amazon product link, users add the product to their shopping cart for purchase later.
Addshoppers. (2013). Social Commerce Revenue Share. Retrieved 22 September 2014 from: http://www.addshoppers.com/
Chen, Y., Fay, S. & Wang, Q. (2011) The role of marketing in social media: how online consumer reviews evolve. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 25, 2, pp. 85–94.
Hajli, M. (2013) A research framework for social commerce adoption. Information Management & Computer Security, 21, 3, pp. 144–154.
Wang, X., Yu, C. & Wei, Y. (2012) Social media peer communication and impacts on purchase intentions: a consumer socialization framework. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 26, 4, pp. 198–208.