Developing a Typology of Social Commerce Websites: An Exploratory Study

Maryam Almahdi, Christopher Archer-Brown

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Social commerce is a growing phenomenon, which is forecast to represent a $30 billion sector worldwide in 2015 (Booz & Company, 2011 as cited in Anderson, Sims, Price, & Brusa, 2011). Social commerce “involves the use of Internet-based media that allow people to participate in the marketing, selling, comparing, curating, buying, and sharing of products and services in both online and offline marketplaces, and in communities” (Zhou, Zhang, & Zimmermann, 2013, p. 61). Social commerce is expected to become “one of the most challenging research arenas in the coming decade” (Liang & Turban, 2011, p. 5), but is it still in need of more research effort to understand it and define it, and eventually facilitate this knowledge in developing the theory and practice of digital marketing. In this paper we conduct an exploratory content analysis and create a preliminary typology of social commerce Websites (using interactivity and social transparency theories) with the aim of bridging a key gap currently existing in the literature. Our research gap relates to the ambiguity in identifying and delineating the different types of social commerce in prior research. Indeed, the lack of agreement of what social commerce refers to or its different types can lead to confusion and the possibility of inconsistent research findings.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


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