With social commerce, there are two user groups: sellers and buyers. These two groups use social commerce for different purposes and reasons. Social commerce is the sharing and exchanging of purchasing information by individuals. Social media is part of exchanging this information. Sellers and buyers differ in ways and types that they use social commerce.
One type, utilitarian motivations, deals with sharing information in a “rational and goal-oriented manner” (Yang et al., 2016). For sellers, with this motivation in mind, they use social commerce. Sellers’ goals are to sell their products, while buyers tend to just share the information with potential buyers, i.e. individuals. This motivations is more beneficial to sellers because can built relationships with buyers and sellers. They can also reciprocate rewards (i.e. incentives, income, etc). Buyers can also build information with other buyers by sharing products they have purchased, perhaps items of the same interest or from the same seller. Sellers share information with buyers to enhance their relationship with their buyers, as buyers use sharing of information just to exchange with others, with no gain in mind. As stated, utilitarian motives–with building relationships and receiving rewards–is more oriented with sellers.
Hedonic motivations deals with users buyers using social commerce for their own enjoyment, such as shopping for themselves. Buyers seek “online shopping as a pleasant experience” or the “emotional connection with other shoppers” (Yang et al., 2016). This involves in the enjoyment of helping others, so this motivation is oriented towards buyers than sellers. Sellers rarely seek this, in the case if they themselves seek a purchase online. But buyers can help other buyers purchase something or recommend purchasing something online. Reviews and ratings help with other buyers decide on what to buy online–this is part of the sharing of information to individual to individual with social commerce.
Social motivation deals with status–with popularity and reputation with being the two out comes of social motivations. So this motivation is oriented more towards sellers, because the more fans or followers they have, the more their popularity is reputable. To gain more followers–to keep them engaged–the interact with them and post and make quality products. Sellers also need to have a high reputation to keep their users’ interested and to gain their trust to keep shopping their site.
With these three motivations, sellers use social motivation for their own gain: to share information to sell their products by building relationships and rewards with their buyers, while also building popularity, status and reputation. Buyers use social commerce for their own fun and enjoyable experiences.
References: Yang, J., Sia, C. L., Liu, L., & Chen, H. (2016). Sellers versus buyers: Differences in user information sharing on social commerce sites. Information Technology & People, 29(2), 444-470. doi:10.1108/ITP-01-2015-0002