It isn’t too long ago when e-commerce was the topic of dialogue everywhere on the internet. E-commerce was a hot topic because it broke the bounds of traditional offline commerce. Web 1.0 began with that. In a short few years, Web 2.0 dawned on us with more users online interacting with each other. Videos and high-speed broadband made syndication possible and with that the sharing of content began as well. Blogging has now become the way of life. Forum participation caught on fire. YouTube became a house-hold term for everyone on the net.
Web 2.0 took another giant leap forward. Traditional blogging is paving the way to micro-blogging as the preferred route. Twitter led the way and still to-date continues to dominate. It has become very easy for anyone to share their thoughts, news, opinions, reviews, opinions and agreements to other people’s thoughts and views, and to share links of what they like and what they do not like, all in a 140 character snippet. “Viral” marketing truly caught on fire. Social began to take new shape with the coming together of social networks. Facebook has made it possible for users to interact with people they want to associate with and know/trust, with ease and in style. Social Media Marketing and Social Networking have become synonymous with Facebook. Facebook, with its 600 plus million user community, has taken the world by storm, sufficient to say that Facebook would be one of the top most populous places, if it were a country. Facebook could well be a country on its own and a bank too with its social currency! Today, people live, sleep and wake-up with Facebook and social has become the new standard.
The world of internet commerce is on the path towards transformation again, and for the good. The wonderful world of e-commerce and the awesomely addictive world of social networking are coming together. E-commerce and Social Networking are joining forces and the result is fascinating. Welcome to Social Commerce!
Wikipedia calls Social Commerce as the “Use of social media via social interaction and user contributions to assist in the online buying and selling of products and services”. What exactly is the meaning of this and how can this be useful? Simply put, people trust other people than products, brands or companies. When people hear good or bad things about anything, whether a product or a service, and the more they hear about it in a particular direction (good or bad), they naturally incline to the decision that the product or service is as-such, without having to try the same themselves. This does make perfect sense and is applicable for our everyday life. References, feedback and reviews are worth gold, obviously. In the space of electronic commerce, with its difficulties around buying or selling products or services remotely, where one cannot touch and feel the offering prior to buy, will particularly benefit from social interactions and user contributions in a manner that is beyond words. Rather than simply purely depending on what the vendor claims, we can finally actually see what the users of the product or service feel, prior to committing ourselves to buy.
Social Commerce is equally applicable to services as it does to products. Social Shopping is fast becoming the way to buy products today. With services, Social Marketplace is gaining traction as the way to seek and fulfill services. Just in the first quarter of 2011, nearly $2 billion has been invested by Venture Capital firms across the varied facets of Social Commerce, whether in group-buy, social shopping or in social marketplaces. Business has found its new ways. Social Commerce is the way forward.
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