Social commerce is a form of commerce mediated by social media. Social commerce utilizes social media and social networking service features to support people to participate in the marketing, selling, comparing, curating, buying, and sharing of products and services in online and offline marketplaces and communities. Social commerce has transformed e-commerce in a significant way. As a multifaceted phenomenon, social commerce can be studied from different angles and analyzed through the lens of various disciplines. This article examines website technical features to depict the transformation of e-commerce into social commerce. We first develop a conceptual framework to capture three emphases of e-commerce: transactional, relational and social. Then, we use the framework to conduct an historical analysis of the actual website screen captures for five top e-commerce companies since their websites were established. We were able to identify and classify a total of 174 emerging technical features. Our results show that: (1) all three emphases were expressed in the websites and have been reshaping their business and marketing strategies over the years; (2) there was a clear blooming of social features, as they began to be implemented in 2007; and (3) there has been a significant effort to strengthen customer and merchant ties through relational features. Our findings signal that there still is room for further exploration of the social emphasis.
To read the rest of the article, you need to access a library's database or go to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1567422313000306