What Is Social Commerce Anyway?

So what exactly is “social commerce”? In short, social commerce is selling with social media, online media that supports user contributions and social interaction. It’s selling with the current “Big Five”.

The Big Five Include:

1. Facebook
2. Youtube
3. Twitter
4. LinkedIn
5. Pinterest

And some other social media platforms like Google+, Instagram and Qoura.

In 17th century, the French playwright Moliere used the term “Social Commerce”.

Here, social commerce termed “social transactions” in which reputations and public “social” images were exchanged instead of money. Sports brand Nike has recently revived this idea with an innovative custom Facebook application that allows people to bid for and buy Nike sneakers with their reputation rather than money-in the form of points earned through Nike+ applications.

Social commerce is about using social media as “transactional media” to complete sales transactions, but in some of the most innovative cases of social commerce, no money changes hands.

Industry thought-leader Steve Rubel from the PR firm Edelman sums up the umbrella term of social commerce nicely: social commerce is about “creating places where people can collaborate online, find goods and services, get advice from trusted individuals and then purchase them.”

Social Applications for E-Commerce Sites that enable vendors to collect and share user feedback-ratings, reviews, and recommendations-on their site and through their customers’ social networks, and personalize the e-commerce experience. These apps range from simple social sharing plug-ins that add sharing buttons such as the Pinterest “Pin” button to product pages, to social plug-ins that add Amazon-style ratings and reviews features to an e-commerce site. These apps not only accelerate and amplify the word of mouth, but can also allow vendors to predict demand and offer personalized recommendations based on similarities between shopper profiles.

E-Commerce Applications for Social Sites that help vendors sell directly in social media such as from their blog, YouTube channel, or Facebook Page. These range from simple storefront plug-ins that republish an external e-commerce site on a social media page to standalone e-commerce applications for social media.

E-commerce apps for social media sites have been particularly popular with small and medium-size businesses, providing a cost-effective and simple alternative to maintaining a traditional e-commerce site. Market leader Payvment currently has over 150,000 businesses using its social media e-commerce application.

Mobile Applications for In-store Social Shopping that help people shop smarter by shopping together via mobile handsets. These range from mobile apps for “group-buying,” which allow people to get store discounts by clubbing together and buying in bulk, to mobile apps that help store visitors get instant feedback from their friends on whether or what to buy. Mobile apps for in-store social shopping also include so-called “check-in” apps such as foursquare, which reward people for sharing where they are shopping, as well as a new generation of mobile “ACT” apps (Assistive Consumer Technology), which add a social “augmented reality” layer to the store experience, displaying shared reviews, ratings, and recommendations when the handset is pointed at particular products.

Web Applications for Social Shopping that support vendors to promote and sell their products on sites where share, shoppers congregate, exchange, and buy. These range from shopping club sites such as Fab and Gilt that run regular retail events for to community-based vendors, marketplaces such as Shoply and Etsy which allow vendors to cultivate one-to-one relationships with their customers. Web apps for social shopping also contain platforms such as The Fancy, Pinterest and Svpply which offer gathered and curated product selections-as well as sites such as Made.com, which allow designers to submit product designs, which if popular, go into production.