The paper "Use of Social Media by e-Commerce Businesses to Enhance Business Model" is an outstanding example of marketing coursework. The internet has created new opportunities for gathering and sharing information as a result changing simple communication acts into critical elements of businesses. Essentially, the internet has changed dramatically from having a narrow set of services to complex services based on connectivity (Almeida et al. 2013). This has resulted in the emergence of social networks, or sub-communities. These networks have spearheaded the processes by which businesses can meet their communication and marketing needs.
The term social media denotes a set of technologies and tools that enable individuals or organisations to create social networks and sustain relationships (Kim 2012). Social media has five sub-categories, namely podcasts and blogs, social networks, virtual worlds, content aggregators and communities. Social networks include; Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Google Plus, YouTube and Twitter (Almeida et al. 2013; Khalid & Khna 2012). The social media has created more business opportunities and drove changes towards new business models (Baghdadi 2013). This paper critically evaluates the ways by which e-commerce companies use social media to enhance their business model. Application of social media to enhance the business model Customer engagement and brand loyalty Social-based comment systems, such as the Facebook Comments, consist of robust social networking tools that provide experiences of commenting on products and conversing with other users (Junco et al.
2010; Sitel n. d.). The tool is engaging and credible for social verification of an e-commerce website. More critically, the tool can be leveraged to engage customers online and to promote brand loyalty. This is since online shoppers tend to are essentially dependent on web information to make their purchase decision.
Indeed, a study by PwC found that 23 percent of online shoppers globally prefer social media to learn about products. Hence, e-commerce businesses should actively use social media to engage customers. According to PwC more online shoppers globally are engaging with brands online, with 44 Percent in Hong Kong, 40 percent in China and 32 percent in the U. S (Figure 1). Figure 1: Percentage of online shoppers who engage with brands E-commerce businesses can, therefore, use the tool to engage their customers resulting in higher sales (Zailskaite-Jakste & Kuvykaite 2012).
This idea has been tried by an online lighting design company called Cree LED. The company gets customers to share ideas on lighting designs or their experience with the purchases. The company has integrated several social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, which are further incorporate into its marketing strategy with the view of engaging its online customers in day-to-day conversations on lighting designs. In this way, the Cree LED ensures that its Facebook profile is highly engaging. Shared ownership of products A mostly used feature that e-commerce businesses use to share products includes social sharing buttons or plugins that they embed on their sites.
Most online retailers use Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus because sharing products on such social networking sites relates to the interests of the users. To promote interaction on their sites, e-commerce businesses can integrate social media plugins into their webpage that contain product listing. This idea is extensively used by FreePeople, an online clothing retailer, to build a community of fashion lovers using Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and Pinterest.
Right from FreePeople website, online consumers select items to form their own ‘ style collection’ that can afterwards be shared to the social networking sites for viewing and voting by other visitors (See Figure 2).
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