What is Social Commerce? A Q&A with Fanpage Toolkit
I recently had a conversation about social commerce with Chris Richards, where else, but on Twitter (follow him at @seerichards). Last year, Chris was part of CEA's social media team and he is currently the Digital Marketing Strategist for Fanpage Toolkit, a company that helps small and medium businesses develop and benefit from their Facebook pages. I thought Chris would be the perfect person to give us some in-depth insight into the emerging industry of social commerce. I asked Chris a few questions and here is what he had to say.
1. Define "Social Commerce"
To me, social commerce can be seen as a broad trend for companies and brands to create a more "human" experience across interactions with their products online. Be it represented by a "Like" button next to a product, or by a company making itself open to customer questions on Twitter, social commerce is defined by the use of current social media technology to promote, connect, and sell.
It is strange to define more concretely, though. After all, isn't all commerce "social" in some manner? Sites like eBay and Craigslist have been connecting buyers and sellers in a very social way for many years now, yet many probably wouldn't immediately consider them examples of social commerce. The industry is broad, but that's what makes it interesting to study!
2. Does social commerce provide an opportunity for "mom & pop" shops to compete with the big guys?
One word: ABSOLUTELY. If there is one thing that we at Fanpage Toolkit believe in, it's empowering "mom and pop" shops to compete with the big guys. In so many cases, social media has proven itself as a "level ground" for conversation and engagement. In this sense, mom and pop can interact with their local customers just as easily as Samsung can interact with their fans around the world. This level playing field translates directly to business on Facebook as well because of its inexpensive barrier to entry. In fact, a few studies by social commerce providers have shown that as much as 37% of small businesses surveyed used Facebook as their only sales venue. As a free platform to set up, it's easy to see why money-tight businesses would consider it!