What Is Social Commerce?

Social commerce will use social media, such as post on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook to promote online sales or e-commerce. Social commerce thrives when consumers interact with the company's marketing through retweets, likes, and shares. Some of the marketing tactics social commerce employs include:

  • Consumer voting on product style or choices
  • Personalized buyer options which all customization of product color, size, and styles
  • Applying large and striking graphics to attract viewer clicks
  • Using videos to show the product in use and from multiple angles
  • Allowing user-submitted photos, commentary, and feedback
  • Celebrity promotion of the product line
  • Links which lead the consumer directly to the checkout or shopping cart
  • Promotions or giveaways to users who share the product on their social feeds

Social commerce encourages the use of social shopping tools, such as forums and communities which allow buyers and sellers to discuss their online shopping experiences and compare transactional information.

A Closer Look at Social Commerce

According to Yao Zhong in his article, Social Commerce: A New Electronic Commerce, the concept of this type of consumer promotion marketing began in November 2005 with Yahoo! The site promoted their "Shoposphere pick lists" which highlighted the most popular products. The notion of social commerce developed to allow online shoppers to get reliable advice and support from online experts regarding their purchases.

Social commerce is different from social shopping. While social shopping is a collaboration of online shoppers networking together, social commerce is a collaboration of online vendors. The increase of social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and others allow vendors to showcase their products and quickly respond to follow buyer-led trends and fads.

Social Commerce in the Real World

Social commerce is a growing and changing field of online marketing which works in conjunction with social media and the growth in online shopping opportunities. Fashion and shopping-related blogs use social commerce and media to entice shoppers to purchase linked items online. For example, many popular fashion blogs have Instagram accounts allowing followers to like, share, and comment on the offered product. The tagged article frequently links directly to the store's shopping cart or check out desk.