Social commerce is a new stream in ecommerce. Social commerce uses SNSs to establish social interaction of consumers to facilitate e-commerce. Social commerce is defined as a subset of e-commerce and relation based online business. With the growth in popularity of social networking sites and social media, more and more individuals are coming online to have social interaction. Hence, e-vendors can now draw up business plans based on social media strategies. Today, e-vendors try different strategies to improve their relationships with consumers to enable them to develop customer trust in their networks. They now use social media to build these relationships. Social interaction of consumers is likely to encourage other consumers to form beliefs concerning ability to deliver and integrity. Consumers use social commerce constructs to produce text; this information then provides value for the business. The text produced in these platforms can provide evidence that an online business has acted in an honorable fashion based on the interest of its customers.
Such information, produced through reviews or interaction in online forums and communities, can be extremely valuable. Consumers use different platforms provided by Web 2.0 technologies to develop their relationships with other peers in the network. They may rate and review a product, or participate in an online forum or community to share their knowledge and experiences about a new product. In addition, consumers may refer and recommend a product or service to other members of a network. Hence, they apply social commerce constructs, namely forums, communities, ratings, reviews, recommendations and referrals to share the information they have with others. Other consumers, who may be looking for additional information to that provided by a company, apply this feedback in their purchasing decisions. An innovative company looking to develop a new product, will set up a forum or community to attract consumers to share their experiences and information on these social platforms, thus providing an alternative source of information for new customers.
Online communities, as a main construct of social commerce, give an opportunity within a social sphere for people to share information and gain knowledge. Online communities can be used as a source of product know-how. Users interact in social commerce platforms in a collaborative online environment. It is also argued that online communication of consumers in social commerce constructs provides social support, which leads in turn to trust in the network. These types of support, which can be both informational and emotional, persuade individuals to re-use the system or try a new product again.Online communities, as a main construct of social commerce, give an opportunity within a social sphere for people to share information and gain knowledge. Online communities can be used as a source of product know-how. Users interact in social commerce platforms in a collaborative online environment. It is also argued that online communication of consumers in social commerce constructs provides social support, which leads in turn to trust in the network. These types of support, which can be both informational and emotional, persuade individuals to re-use the system or try a new product again.
Hence, these communities are valuable sources of innovation for the marketplace. In addition, communities are the main drivers of change from ecommerce to social commerce. Ratings are another form of social commerce construct, providing valuable information for other peers. A common system in use is numerical ratings, typically ranging from one to five stars, from very low (one) to very high (five). Reviews, another type of social commerce construct, have potential to reduce uncertainty and increase consumer trust. The quality of content and information provided by online reviewers can reduce or increase uncertainty. Research shows that such reviews have added value for the members of a community or for other customers. Consumers might use recommendation systems to recommend a new product to other members of a community. This again can build trust in future transactions. Social commerce constructs, therefore produce social word of mouth. Social word of mouth is the latest development of electronic word of mouth, using social media to give more opportunities to consumers for having online communication. Social media empowers consumers to generate content and share it via social platforms, provided by Web 2.0 and Web 3.0. Word of mouth has received enough attention in research and practice; however, social word of mouth is a new concept and with the increasing popularity of social media this terminology will be soon used in marketing and information systems.
Consumers’ review in an online context is informants and recommenders and is influenced by sales. However, it is limited to the individuals, known in the community. Social word of mouth, through social media and social commerce constructs such as communities, ratings, and referrals, overcomes the barriers and provides opportunities to consumers for interacting online and getting to know peers.. With the help of social commerce constructs consumers mix and match tools in order to build up trust or get familiar to products or services.
It can be concluded that online business are now applying social media strategies to interact with consumers to develop trust in their relationship with consumers. These interactions provide social word of mouth, an enhanced source of knowledge to complement the information that e-vendors provide on their websites. Consequently the level of trust will increase. Through such communication, consumers can inform a business all the way through from design, development and testing to the product support phase. It is seen that the social relationship of consumers through social media significantly influences perceived trust of consumers. Consumers use social commerce constructs to interact online, which produces trust in the network. Social commerce constructs, indirectly through familiarity and social presence, also have an influence on trust. Indeed, positive textual information produced by consumers creates a higher level of trust in a business. A good example of this is electronic word of mouth through online review, which drives trust in the network. The quantity of textual information provided by other consumers increases trust.