Building Brands Through Social E-commerce


Social e-commerce is a new, expanding strategy for e-commerce sites. However, it is important to be able to differentiate the two kinds of social e-commerce: One occurs on the e-commerce site itself, usually on a platform managed by the company. Whereas the other, offsite social e-commerce, occurs on social media sites and blogs, often outside of the control of the e-commerce company concerned.

Either place has its own ways of engagement, but their advantages are quite similar:

  • Community – The ability to correctly gauge your target audience’s social mood and expectations of your product due to them being in one collective group.
  • Social proof – The evidence to show that people like your product through their own social channels.
  • Authority and engagement – Which indicates if your product resonates and engages your target audience in both quality and customer satisfaction.

Firms Making Business Through It

Facebook, for example, is enabling businesses to “chat” with consumers through its Messenger platform. The idea is that users can chat with organizations to get information, answer questions and transact through Messenger.

For example, imagine a scenario in which two friends are chatting on Messenger about meeting up for dinner at a favorite restaurant. Without leaving Messenger, they reach out to the restaurant’s bot to use chat to book the table. If the settings allow, the restaurant’s bot could even reach out directly to the users, having spotted the restaurant mentioned in a conversation, and confirm their reservation.

Shopping functionalities in the social realm (i.e. Facebook’s and Twitter’s “buy” buttons and Curalate’s Like2Buy platform for Instagram) tell us that social is going to get a whole lot more shoppable in 2017. Retailers that have already started participating in the trend include Nordstrom and Target, which are using the Like2Buy platform on Instagram, and Home Depot, (RED), and Burberry, which are testing Twitter’s buy button.

Another example would be of brands are coming up with-Buy one and donate one. A campaign was run by TOMS Shoes Inc. wherein you can buy a pair of shoe and donate one pair to needy ones. It was called as Buy One, Give one. It not only spread the brand’s name but also shared its social mission with customers.

India Not Far Behind

Following the trend, Indian fashion discovery platforms Wooplr and Roposo have added commerce in addition to branding/advertising as a source of revenue. With the expansion of in-app shopping, social e-commerce is bound to leapfrog in 2017.

In 2016, it is estimated that sales worth around $50 billion were generated using social networks, an increase of $20 billion from the previous year. No wonder leading social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have introduced ‘shop now’ features.

Wooplr even claims to have positive unit economics on every transaction and charges upward of 20% as commission from brands. It does fashion campaigns with brands. “We worked with brands like Zara and Levi’s to launch their new collection and also did a campaign with Forever21 and helped them create the 2016 calendar with 12 influencers,” says Wooplr’s CEO Arjun Zacharia.

On the revenue front, Roposo has tie-ups with marketplaces and works as an affiliate marketer to e-commerce players like Jabong. Recently, it also started monetizing through its ‘chat and buy’ feature.

“Brands are approaching us for influencer marketing. To leverage this we recently launched Bizdrum to connect brands with influencers for their social reach.This will work as another revenue stream for us,” says Mayank Bhangadia, co-founder and CEO, Roposo.

Some Great Benefits Of Social E-commerce

  • One can use it as a metric for measuring the effectiveness of your e-commerce marketing. You can measure the return on investment for your partners or backers through the effects your efforts make on social e-commerce through social media.
  • More often than not, it will drive sales by a considerable degree, allowing you to accurately predict growth and future demand.
  • With most reviews now found through social media sites, listening to reviews and comments on your brand on social media allows for a much more responsive brand engagement process, while providing a future opportunity to build customer relations.
  • Strong social e-commerce-driven business can drastically widen its reach through social media channels, especially if the strategy incorporates organic and viral growth.

“Perhaps the key aspect of conversational commerce, however, is that it allows users to converse in their platform of choice, and therefore takes channel transparency to the next level,” says Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner.

Things To Be Taken Care Of

  • As with any channel to market, conversational commerce solutions will need to fit with the other physical and digital channels already in place.
  • It’s also important to remember that customers see messaging platforms as a peer-to-peer communication tool, so care should be taken that customers don’t see this new channel of communication as an intrusion on their personal conversations.


Social e-commerce allows for organic marketing and a stronger brand presence in brand engagements. Ultimately, natural-language interactions will become the norm in terms of how people expect to interact with technology. Forecasts predict that 2017 is the year for social e-commerce and it’s only going to get bigger from here.