Agreed that e-commerce is convenient. But is there anything to beat the experience of spending time at the mall with friends? Taking this into account, major e-commerce sites are providing a social touch to online shopping. Social e-commerce uses technology to provide online what one experiences while shopping in malls.

Social e-commerce denotes a wide range of selling, shopping and recommending behaviors.Facebook, Pinterest and their likes can drive good amount of sales, but some studies have shown that conversion from email and search on the web far exceed those of social media. Interactive features in e-commerce websites provide brick-and-mortar like shopping experience to online shoppers. This is more direct and found to be more result oriented.

Enhanced shopping experience

Among the first to adopt this method were eBay and Amazon who embedded directly into their websites social e-commerce tools to enhance shopping experience. Other big names such as Nike, Sears and Sephora followed. However, many small units find it difficult to follow the examples of the likes of eBay as they don’t have the manpower to build social e-commerce experiences.

Social e-commerce allows chat facilities. Shoppers can send chat requests to other shoppers or visit social network sites and invite their friends to shop together. It is almost a real life experience carried out in virtual space.

No more depending on discount sales only

The popular “steal deal” may not be so popular after all. Once social e-commerce is firmly entrenched, only discount sales will be a thing of the past. Of course, discounts will remain an important feature, but will come with the added plus of recommendations.

With the entry of Bluecarat social engagement between shoppers is activated directly on the retailer’s websites. With this facility users can now not only connect with friends but also share photos, share advice on shopping and view trending products on the retailer’s website in real time.

Still early days of social e-commerce

These are still early days of social e-commerce. We will see much better times and soon e-shopping will not only be convenient but also credible and something which one can fully trust. Major social networks like Facebook and Twitter are presently only directing paid media to bring customer to their online platforms. Peer-to-peer and group based interactions are also in early and experimental stage. Friends’ recommendations can play a major role in purchase. As per a Gartner report, 74% of the consumers rely on friends’ recommendations to make a purchase.

Social e-commerce can be categorized into the following:

  1. Peer-to-peer sales platforms: These are community-based marketplaces which offer individuals to communicate and sell to other individuals directly. Examples are eBay, Amazon
  2. Social network-driven sales: These sales take place due to referrals from major social networks. Such sales can take place on these networks also. Examples are Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter.
  3. Group buying: If buyers buy in groups then products and services are offered at a reduced rate. Examples are Groupon,
  4. Peer recommendations: These sites aggregate products or service reviews and their recommendations are based on others’ purchasing history.These sites also reward individuals
  5. User-curated shopping experience: Shopping-focused sites where users create and share lists of products and services for others to shop from.

A common concept that is seen often in the Bible is that loans are accompanied by servitude and debt

The Bible’s Take on Money Lending

The Bible constantly instructs people to be generous. Many stories cite examples of persons who were generous while they themselves had very little. It also preaches us to fight the temptation to hoard or overspend money.

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” 1 Timothy 6:10a

More and more to come

One thing is for sure. In the days to come we will see more and more social features integrated into e-commerce websites. And all for the better.