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      3 min read

      Social Commerce: The Evolution of e-commerce

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       Last Monday was my first day back in school after a well-deserved winter break.

      As I was going through my first week ritual of printing out schedules, purchasing school supplies, and taking syllabus quizzes, I realized it was time to start reading some assigned material.

      Just before I went out to buy my required books from the local bookstore, I was messaging a friend on Facebook when I saw this advertisement pop up onto my newsfeed:


      Chegg resized 600

      Others criticized him when he rented so many textbooks.

      Now who’s laughing? 

      No one. Penguins don’t laugh.

      Rent books!

      Save money!

      Build a Cheggloo!


      I decided to explore the comically cute page mainly due to its obvious relevance and partially due to my love for penguins. Upon arrival, my eye was instantly drawn to the title “Chegg saves students time, money and helps them get smarter.” What else could a college student want?

      I personally wanted some credibility. Fun pictures and accurately directed titles are fine and dandy, but I needed some reassurance. So I scrolled down the page and discovered countless positive ratings and reviews from previously and currently satisfied customers.

      As you can guess, instead of going out and spending my hard earned cash on gas and overpriced textbooks I decided to stay at home, make a few clicks, and save both time and money.

      I found myself beyond satisfied with the tremendously beneficial experience. Not only was I impressed with the money saving aspect of the online transaction, but the general ease and convenience of the entire situation hooked me as a customer and a possible promoter for future semesters.

      Out with the old and in with the new

      For years, the world has been able to engage in the buying and selling of products and services over the internet. These online transactions are enabled by e-commerce, which is concentrated on speed and precision. This focus on immediate gratification is what helped turn Amazon into one of the strongest retail juggernauts in the world.

      But e-commerce, just like everything else over time has to adapt to its surroundings in order to survive.  This new evolutionary version of e-commerce is what we know as social commerce and it was unleashed by Yahoo! in November of 2005.

      The original concept behind the development of social commerce was to enable online shoppers to obtain reliable advice and support from online experts, or in my case other satisfied college students, in regards to their transactions.

      While e-commerce was the collaboration of online vendors, social-commerce is the actual networking of online shoppers.

      This network is directed towards inspiring product discovery among its users. Sites like Pinterest offer users the essence of a virtual mall where they can browse through digital catalogs while discussing the brands and products they are interested in with their social network of online friends.

      Companies today are in hot pursuit of transforming that shared interest into shared sales. They are able to capitalize and add value at different stages of the sales process by building social networks around e-commerce platforms.

      The Chegglo ad was a great example of utilizing social media to improve gains. Companies should focus on utilizing similar media. Industry reports show 93% of customers identify word-of-mouth as the most reliable source of ideas and information on products and services. 

      By using an e-commerce platform alone, businesses are limiting themselves to the online sale of products and services. When social commerce is implemented, a company then gains the ability to continuously attract and grow interest which is then transformed into the sale of products and services. Don’t build a value chain with missing links.

      Convert social participation into significant revenue through social sharing and start reaping the benefits of social commerce today!


      Adam Parson