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  • The use of Buy button by social

    2018-11-12

    The use of “Buy” button by social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter primarily echoes social media׳s vital role for organizations in online environment. Though social commerce has been around in India for past few years, but recently, it MLN4924 has been catching up fast with Indian e-commerce titans Flipkart and Myntra introducing social commerce features within their respective applications (Singh, 2015). Social media is growing with a rapid pace in India, and it is expected that by 2017 the number of social media users will be around 197 million, up from 86.7 million in 2013 (Statista, n.d.). One of the significant factor in the increase in these numbers is the growth of smartphone market in India. The smartphone market of India is the second largest in the world and it is expected that it will hit the 520-million mark by 2020 (Ericsson, n.d.). This huge increase in internet users in combination with social media users provides an opportunity for Indian organizations to explore new business models using social commerce websites and increases their customer base. This is reflected in current Indian market that comprises many independent e-commerce websites having social commerce as the core of their business model such as Voonik, Ownnow, Limeroad, Wooplr, Klip, Stylecracker, Allmemoirs, Roposo, etc.
    Objective Though social commerce is growing in India, but still there are concerns over using the social media platform for doing online business. Social commerce environment is a combination of various characteristics of social as well as commerce components where issues related to trust, information sharing, online payments are considered vital by individuals and have a huge impact on an individual׳s intention to use social commerce websites (Ba, 2001; Gefen, Karahanna & Straub, 2003b; Lu, Zhao & Wang, 2010; Wu & Tsang, 2008). Since the success of social commerce depends on its usage by individuals thus it is important for organizations to understand what factors influence an individual׳s intention to use these websites. The review of literature provides evidence of studies conducted to understand these factors (e.g., Hajli, 2012, 2013; Hajli, 2015; Huang & Benyoucef, 2015; Kim & Park, 2012) but none of them have studied the social commerce environment in Indian context. Therefore, this study aims to investigate factors that influence an individual׳s intention to use social commerce website in Indian context.
    Social commerce Introduction of Web 2.0 technologies and massive adoption of social networking websites has created new opportunities for online commerce. Social commerce is a new advancement in e-commerce that utilizes Web 2.0 technologies that help interactions among customers and let them be an active content creator (i.e. reviews, recommendations, experience, etc.) that can help others in making decisions regarding the acquisition of products or services (Hajli, 2015, Liang & Turban, 2011). Social commerce differs from e-commerce primarily in two ways, first Suppressor (extragenic) is built on the social technology platform and second it encourages social media supported commercial activities as opposed to e-commerce that depends on online system characteristics related to user interface, shopping cart, search engine or preference-based recommender systems that are used to influence online purchase behaviour (Chen & Shen, 2015). In case of social commerce, organizations leverage social media technologies for designing customer oriented business via creating online communities and encouraging customers to share their experience, opinions regarding their products or services (Füller, Bartl, Ernst, & Mühlbacher, 2006; Hajli, 2015). On the other hand, organizations may also choose to join popular social networking websites such as Facebook or Twitter and encourage customers to share their experiences regarding their products or services through organizational Facebook pages or Twitter handles. The growth of social commerce has gained attention of researchers recently, which is visible in a number of studies conducted in understanding various aspects of social commerce both from organization as well as from customers’ point of view. The review of the literature provides evidence of studies conducted to understand the relationship between social commerce and customer purchase intention (e.g., Chen & Shen, 2015; Hajli, 2012, 2013; Hajli, 2015; Kim & Park, 2012; Ng, 2013; Zhang, Lu, Gupta & Zhao, 2014). Erdoğmuş and Tatar (2015) studied the impact of social commerce stimuli on consumer׳s cognition, affection and activation engagement with a brand on its social media account, which may result in trust in brand as well as intention to purchase. While Zhang, Benyoucef, and Zhao (2016) explored the role of social commerce in building brand loyalty. These studies have been conducted in different geographies such as UK (Hajli, 2015), China (Bai, Yao, & Dou, 2015; Chen & Shen, 2015), Taiwan & USA (Ng, 2013). In social commerce, however, there has been hardly any research that studied the factors influencing an individual׳s intention to use social commerce website for purchasing products and services in Indian context. Thus, this study tries to bridge the gap in knowledge and provide Indian customers’ perspective of social commerce website adoption.