What is Social Commerce and What Does It Mean?

What is Social Commerce

As new terms arise thanks to fast paced and innovative technologies are created every day we have to fully define what these terms mean. I believe Social commerce is one of these new terms that people starting to use more often in correlation with eCommerce stores beginning to utilize social media to promote products more often. I've also noticed it being used in ways I would define as incorrectly or confusing so the reader does not know what it truly means. Lets change that right here and right now and break it down.

The History of Social Commerce.

Social Commerce is not a new term, according to Wikipedia, the term was used in 2005 by Yahoo!. This term was used to describe two products they just released, the Shoposphere and Pick Lists. Both products/tools were meant to help create a community between product and shoppers by providing advice and developing user generated descriptions. In this sense Social Commerce is defined by the connection between products and a community of shoppers interacting with one another through content.

Social Commerce's Growth In Use.

The rapidly increasing use of it recently in addition to the recent jolt in social media has sparked a new massive use of the term. Google trends shows the rise in the search term. As you can plainly see, Yahoo’s use of the term had zero effect on the term since searches for it hadn't begun until 2007.A look at the term from the United States Perspective shows that the term was not being searched for in sizable quantities until 2010.

What Social Commerce Means Now.

The new growth of the term has sparked a definition for the terms as well, one not too different from that intended by Yahoo in 2005. According to Wikipedia Social Commerce is: "a subset of electronic commerce that involves using social media, online media that supports social interaction, and user contributions to assist in the online buying and selling of products and services." This definition is the one that I agree with the most however it does remain slightly vague.

To summarize: Social Commerce is a social contribution/interaction that aids in the selling of a product(s). So what does that mean?!

Lets define it by breaking down what I believe to be the more complex part, since we all know what a social network is: "User Contributions". When I think of user contributions in today's sense relating to social media I think of 'likes', 'shares', 'comments', 'pins' but I also think of people suggesting products in their status or even taking photos/videos with showing off a product.

So which one of these is correct for defining what "User Contributions" means: I'd say all of them. Any instance where a product, brand or business is recommended by someone on a social network has aided that brand/business in it's selling/marketing process.

How would you define/describe social commerce? (leave comment)

Written by: Mitchell Abdullah