The effects of social media networks on e-commerce; with special reference to consumer buying behavior and demand patterns.
Over the recent past, the world has changed in its application of the online environment. Gone are the days when social media was a tool for making social contacts only (Zarrella, 2010). Today, it is the pursuit of every respectable brand to maintain a social media account for business growth and marketing. The transformation of social media into fragmented online stores has changed the users into consumers. Consequently, the improved role of social media in e-commerce has shifted the dynamics of consumer-marketer communication. Consumer buying decisions are largely affected by the emergence of new modes of conducting business on social media. According to Singh & Diamond (2015), the platform of social media provides an important channel for the acquisition of product information through peer reviews and referrals.
The use of social media in e-commerce is largely attributed to the emergence of the internet and the proliferation of mobile devices. Today, social media has the potential of influencing demand patterns of specific products as well as determining consumer decisions. Through the use of social media, consumers have the capacity to influence the choice of other potential consumers by reviewing purchased products. In this regard, social media acts as an encyclopedia where consumers can get information regarding specific products without having to make contact with the sellers (Bodnar & Cohen, 2012). Still, social media presents companies with a chance to market their products to a large customer base. Such characteristics as company’s presence on social media as well as its presentation have been found to influence consumer behavior. It is the delight of the companies to, therefore, increase their presence on the social media (Evans, 2012).
The e-commerce market is transforming into a more robust realm following developments in online payment systems. Today, most of the traditional companies, including the most conservative, are realigning their operations to suit the e-commerce market (Anderson, 2010). The e-commerce market is slowly gaining momentum over the physical market in its contribution to the world’s economy. Partly responsible for the increase in e-commerce trade is the efficiency and effectiveness with which sales and purchase are made. In addition, the popularity of social media has attracted both consumers and sellers in equal measures. The power of social media in influencing consumer decision is pivotal in the realization of a company’s success in the field (Tuten & Solomon, 2014). Marketers must, therefore, ensure customers satisfaction is guaranteed because of the potential of social media ruining the prospects of a company making a sale. One negative review could spell doom for a company as buyers depend on the opinion of others to make purchases.
Research Questions, Objectives and Aims
The aim of the research is to appraise the role of social media in the concept of e-commerce. In particular, the research aims to identify the influence of social media on consumer buying behavior as well as demand patterns. Essentially, it aims to ascertain whether social media has an influence on the purchases that consumers make in online stores.
The research addresses the following questions:
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