Social Commerce

Reviewed by Annapoorna | Updated on Aug 27, 2020

What is Social Commerce?

Social commerce is the use of networking platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as tools for product and service advertising and sales. The degree to which customers engage with the company’s marketing by retweets, comments, and shares is determined by the effectiveness of a social media campaign.

Social commerce is a growing and evolving field of online marketing that works in tandem with social media and online shopping growth. Blogs related to fashion and shopping use social networks and media to entice shoppers to purchase associated pieces online.

Social Commerce Explained

Professionals in social commerce develop and post messages and interactive services supporting online purchases and other e-commerce initiatives. Many of the social media marketing strategies employed include:

  • Inviting users to vote on product design or preferences
  • Offering custom purchase options
  • Applying large and striking graphics to attract clicks of viewers
  • Using images to display the product in action and from several different angles
  • Encouraging images, reviews, and suggestions provided by users
  • Using celebrity product line endorsements
  • Directly connecting to check-out or shopping cart
  • Providing promotions or presentations to users who post the product on their feeds

Social commerce promotes the use of social shopping platforms, such as forums and blogs where buyers and sellers share and exchange review about their online shopping experiences.

Origin of Social Commerce

In November 2005, Yao Zhong said the idea of online digital marketing advertisements first appeared on the internet in Yahoo! The site advertised their “Shoposphere pick lists,” which highlighted the most popular items. It was quoted in an article called “Social Commerce: A New Electronic Commerce”.

The notion of social commerce has further grown with efforts to engage online shoppers by giving online experts credible advice and assistance about their purchases.

Marketing blogger, Jeff Bullas, identifies the following four brands as being among the best in the business:

  1. Nordstrom pinned a “Popular on Pinterest” mark on popular online store products.

  2. Coca-Cola modified their bottle labels in stores and then encouraged users of social media to upload images of their branded soda with the #ShareACoke hashtag.

  3. Lolly Wolly Doodle, a fashion company, let followers design and order their clothes right on their Facebook page.

  4. Starbucks gave bonus points to customers accessing Foursquare’s Significant badges.

Social commerce is distinct from social shopping. Although social shopping is an online shopper networking collaboration, social commerce is an online vendor collaboration. The popularity of social networks, such as Facebook and Instagram helps vendors to showcase their products and react quickly to trends and fads led by the buyers.