By Lexie Slavin
Do you know what social commerce is? I didn’t up until a week ago. I hadn’t heard those two words put together before and knew by past experience that these two words together probably mean more than the simple sum of their parts. Social commerce is an unfamiliar term to most people and it requires defining. On first hearing it, it’s tough to wrap your head around what it means. And if you don’t know what it is, you don’t know what it can do for you. I’m hoping to change that right now, at least for a few readers.
What is social commerce?
After attempting to guess the term’s meaning I decided to go with the tried and true method of looking it up. The definition of social, according to Google, is “of or relating to society or its organization”. My own definition of social in this new age of social media is the interaction of people, organizations, and corporations. The term “commerce” is defined by Google as “the activity of buying and selling, especially on a large scale.” My understanding of the term is similar. Now, combining those two words, you get the term “social commerce” which is, by definition, “a type of electronic commerce that employs social media to promote online transactions,” according to Investopedia. This means that social commerce combines the buying and selling of goods (and services) with social media. Social media is used in order to promote and analyze the buying and selling of goods and services. Essentially, it creates an open conversation between a company and its customers.
How does this benefit you?
On the consumer side, it allows you to have a voice which speaks directly to a company. Your opinion becomes extremely important. The review you write on a product, your comment on a company’s Facebook post, your re-Tweet of a company’s promotional link all become key factors in the success a company achieves. You have power. Your actions are magnified and you now have the power to impact other customers, the company’s revenue and/or profits, and the direction a company takes. Consumers have significantly increased power within their own commercial marketplace due to producers and sellers being forced to pay attention to social media.
For companies, social commerce is the opportunity to connect with consumers and make their experience the best it can possibly be. Companies can easily solicit honest opinions directly from the consumer and alter their actions accordingly. It is the chance to create a connection through open conversation and to form brand loyalty with customers. Using social commerce, companies have the opportunity to analyze trends among their customers in order to be current and relevant to their target markets. It provides a way to figure out what techniques are working and what adjustments are needed. It helps them to be responsive to their customers’ needs and fit better into their lives.
Social commerce connects companies and consumers, creating a real two-way conversation. The relationship between the company and consumer can now become one in which both sides are respected and better understood. I think this is a good thing. So, now that you’ve heard of it and, hopefully understand it, let’s spread the word about social commerce. I’m sure many of our futures will depend on it.
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