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What’s the Difference between eCommerce and Social Commerce?

In a rapidly changing world where competition is fierce, and online commerce dominates, a new term has emerged “Social Commerce”, what does it mean? How could you use it to improve your business? And the main question of our today’s article, what is the difference between eCommerce and social commerce? Keep reading to find all the answers.


Difference between eCommerce and Social Commerce


We could say that both eCommerce and social commerce are two sides of the same coin, two different ways to sell products or services via the internet. But what makes each one differ from the other? And which is better for your business? That’s the question.


What is eCommerce?


eCommerce is the process of selling and buying goods and services online, and this process is conducted through a website, where you can put your products with prices, photos and description.


Pros of eCommerce websites:


  •  Actual purchases and transactions could be done faster on eCommerce websites, thanks to partnership with online payment gateways that make it easier for customers to pay for their purchase easily and smoothly.
  • Although many people trust social media platforms, or at least there are some trusted brands or online pages on these social channels, customers still trust eCommerce sites more. 
  • When you have a website for your eCommerce business, this makes it look more official and formal, which makes your customers trust you.


Cons of eCommerce websites:


  • It’s a lengthy process to make your eCommerce site visible and recognized. It takes time to improve your website performance based on SEO rules to be ranked on Google first page, even with other paid methods like PPC which refers to pay per click.
  • Unlike social media, it’s a little bit hard to target customers personally through eCommerce websites.


What is Social Commerce?


Social commerce is a subset of eCommerce, it’s an eCommerce process where you can sell and buy products directly on social media. Customers have their entire shopping experience via social media platforms, they see products, pick their favorites and pay for it without navigating to any other page.


Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and Snapchat marketplaces enable brands to create a special shopping experience for their customers by sharing shopping posts on their official pages on these channels. That’s why many brands right now are getting their heads around social commerce to generate leads, and build strong relationships with their customers.


It’s estimated that the value of social commerce will be about 3 trillion dollars by 2026, which means all business owners should start thinking of considering social commerce a significant part of their whole eCommerce business.


Pros of Social Commerce:


  • Increase brand loyalty with customers
  • Create a seamless shopping experience for customers from browsing products to the checkout step.
  • Build a strong and direct relationship with customers which helps you provide them with personalized options and messages that encourage them to buy your products.
  • Better understand your customers, their preferences, their lifestyle, how they think and what needs and demands they search for, which means better targeting and more sales.
  • Turning user-generated content (images - videos -recommendations - reviews) into more customer engagement and conversions. 


Cons of Social Commerce


  • Tipping the market share on social media in your brand’s favor couldn’t be done in an ads dominated world! You can’t rely on organic reach to get high sales.
  • Although social media platforms provide sellers with many options to engage better with their consumers, the mission is not easy! It’s not enough to just create your shop on one of the social media platforms, it takes time to build a brand identity and brand positioning. 
  • Social commerce may be perfect for shoppers, but not for sellers who lose the website traffic on the other hand.
  • Customers’ negative feedback and reviews may go viral on social media which threaten the brand reputation. 


Social Commerce Vs eCommerce


Both eCommerce and social commerce could be effective sales tools and work together for the sake of one main target, driving sales and reaching a wider market. 


Online business owners have the chance to mix between the two ways to stay ahead of the curve, make use of each way’s pros and try to avoid their cons, but this should be in the light of a well-studied marketing plan which guides you to the best for your brand.

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