The Rise of Social Commerce
The phrase social commerce is of quite recent coinage. Some place the first use of the phrase as being by Yahoo! in 2005. That may well be the case. Note, however, that what we are talking about here is the origin of the phrase, not the origin of the phenomenon of social commerce. As with many things on the internet, especially things connected with marketing, what has happened here is that the internet has provided a medium for introducing something that has been happening in the real world for a long time.
Enlightened marketers have always known that the days when the focus of marketing was on sales have long since ended. The idea that customers are there to be sold to, however poor the quality of the goods or services, is anathema to enlightened marketers. That’s not to say that questionable practices do not still exist because they do. Today, though, professional marketers know that the emphasis has to be on building relationships with customers.
If customers are happy with the goods and services that a company provides they are more likely to deal with that company again. If customers are happy with a company they are much more likely to recommend that company to others. And that very much is an important part of social commerce.
What Social Commerce Is Not
Anyone who has had any involvement with any type of social commerce platform will know that there is a great deal of misunderstanding about what precisely social commerce is. At a very naïve level, social commerce is seen as buying something through Facebook. From what has been said already, you’ll appreciate that it’s much more than this.
Social commerce extends into the virtual world what marketers have been doing for decades in the real world: building lasting relationships with customers. What the internet does is to provide a goldmine of opportunities for online store owners to allow customers to engage with their brand. This engagement is fostered by such means as: share pick lists, forums, consumer ratings and consumer recommendations.
Social Commerce is here to Stay
On this point there is no doubt. The very fact that social commerce is replicating in the online world what marketers have been doing in the physical world for so long means that it is highly improbable that social commerce is going anywhere. Indeed the reverse is true. The emphasis on customer engagement and relationship building are going to become increasingly significant for online sellers.
Remember too that the internet is still less than twenty years old. We are still learning about what the internet can do for us. And all the while we are learning the internet is evolving at a rapid place. Think back to how the internet landscape lay just ten years ago, or five years ago. Take social media, for example, which is integral to social commerce. It has revolutionised the way we communicate and gather information.
Look out for …
…these new social commerce platforms. This just emphasises the changing face of e-commerce and social commerce. Just Bought It is new. It is a peer-to-peer recommendation platform. It lets you get rewarded for sharing your purchases on Facebook and Twitter when your friends buy something from the retailer you shared with them.
One of the challenges for online retailers is how they can replicate the bricks and mortar shopping experience. Motilo is a site that offers one part of the solution. On Motilo, you can post questions about your fashion challenges and get answers from experts and other Motilo users.
The Last Word
Put a reminder in your diary for one year’s time telling you to check out what’s happening in the social commerce world. I guarantee that social commerce will be even more important than it is now and the channels through which it takes place are likely to have multiplied significantly.