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Entrepreneur

SOCIAL COMMERCE PLATFORMS AND SOLUTIONS TODAY

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Ecommerce has been around for a while ( we can safely say a matured version of it has been around since the late 90′s ) . Since the launch of the first successful Ecommerce sites like eBay , Amazon etc. the world of eCommerce has taken many shapes and sizes .

In essence Ecommerce boils down to making commerce happen electronically ( mostly via. the Internet and mobile ) . But its a known factor the way people engage and communicate over the web has changed drastically over the years and this mechanism of change also affects how Ecommerce is done . Though eCommerce is all about transacting money over the web ( mainly selling , buying etc. ) the trendy changess on the web have deep impact on Ecommerce . Since the web opens up different innovative and creative ways for people to hang around , communicate etc. Ecommerce is also tailored as per the age to easily and effectively reach people seamlessly .

In the offline world commerce is limited by various factors – but when it comes to online there are zillions of ways to reach people . The recent trends on the web paves ways to target and reach people based on interest , locality , need , time etc. which helps to push products on demand and accuracy to target audience precisely . So it clearly means the future of ecommerce is always based on the latest trend and nature by which the web changes . Taking this into account the latest trend on the web is SOCIAL – which means social commerce is the clear future of eCommerce .

Lets take a dive on how eCommerce has changed in the last 10 years :

– Direct buying : When eCommerce started of it was consumers coming directly to well known eCommerce sites and buying and selling directly on the sites .

– The email era : The late 90′s saw the raise of various email services like Hotmail , Yahoo etc. Email served as one of the best medium to reach potential customers . But the problem here was targeting .

– The search era : In the early 2000 search engines like Google , Yahoo search , Ask etc. made a huge impact on how people find and consume data over the internet . Search seemed to be the best medium to reach potential customers . Search helped in easily targeting people as they searched for their needs over the web .

– The video era : The mid of 2000 was dedicated to video services like Youtube , Google videos etc. eCommerce players found ways to use videos to reach people in an innovative manner . As people saw and shared videos over the web , it was possible for sellers to easily showcase their products as a video and get sales happening .

– The deals era : By the late 2000 creative entrepreneurs found lucrative business models to make eCommerce even more interesting by offering any product as a deal or an offer ( Eg : Groupon , Retailmenot , Livingsocial etc. ) . This concept revolutionized the entire eCommerce space by making even all the big time players shift to the daily deals model .

– The Social era : This is the current trend in which we are right now . Social has totally changed the way people interact and hang around on the web with incredible social networking sites like Facebook , Twitteretc. Doing eCommerce with a lot of dependence on Social is called social commerce . This new way of eCommerce called social commerce is hot because it opens up endless possibilities to make a product go viral and reach millions of people instantly .

So lets talk more about social commerce :

Its a known fact for ages that the best selling strategy is to make it happen over the word of mouth or by referral . Once a happy customer refers your product to his friends nearly 90% of the sale is over – and over the web social commerce helps in getting this done !

The modern day Social networking sites have intelligent features and algorithms that help eCommerce companies to easily get a person / customer refer a product . Since networks of people are loaded with all his/her friends the referral reaches all of them instantly .

Infact the trend of social commerce has gone so wild and far that online stores are now being setup inside these social bodies as such as a Facebook or twitter app .  Also entrepreneurs have bought in the best of the features from Daily deals and social commerce to give compelling offers that can be un-locked on sharing the particular deal or promotion , thus helping in getting things viral .

Where once search and email used to give huge chunks of referral traffic for eCommerce sites – now Social networking sites are giving tons of referral traffic and helping eCommerce to happen in a big way . The main advantage of social commerce is the way it helps in creating a trust factor around a provided ( since its referred to a potential buyer from his close friends )

Social commerce today

Social commerce today is still in its very early stages . Many think Social commerce is all about just sharing and Liking – but its way beyond that and has a lot more potential beyond that . The web of social is changing dynamically with the mobile coming into picture . With sites like Foursquare , Facebook locations , Google+ etc. every move of consumers can be watched and targeted on real time based on location .Social not only about friends – it has branched out to include time , date , location , events as well . With so much data on the finger tips there are various combinations that can be applied to even reach the consumer more easily and in a fun manner via. social commerce .

Developers are already fitting in social commerce features as Add On’s / plugins to the existing eCommerce platforms like Magento , Prestashop , Opencart etc.  Some of the eCommerce stores that are already successfully using the power of social commerce are Thefancy.com ,Etsy.com etc.  Also eCommerce SAAS providers are integrating social commerce inside their existing platforms .

We will keep updating this article more on the bends and heights social commerce today is going through and also the various social commerce platforms and solutions that are readily available to make the most advantage of this growing trend .

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