• social media presence
Social commerce is considered a new form that assists organizations in marketing their product and services. Organizations are increasingly depending on the social commerce to promote for their brands. Social media networks help customers to make the buying decision through information, knowledge and experience sharing. Online sellers can attract potential customers through their promotional campaigns and sales offers. Trust is considered a very important factor that influences customers to take a risk of shopping online. Consumer trust in the online context is measured by the trustworthiness of the seller, which is built through customer experiences and how the social network groups' members influence the collective behavior of the group. Most of the consumers collect information from social communities before taking the decision of buying from the company. Trust increases the engagement rate and influences the consumers to be sure of the quality of the information provided by the seller (Shi & Chow, 2015).
Starbucks is a global company that is considered as a leader in the digital business, as it could successfully develop its presence in the social media network. It could also, enhance its website, develop mobile applications to facilitate the process of providing services to customers and build a strong relationship with the. Starbucks digital presence could be followed by other companies.
This report discusses the social media presence, social media audience, social media marketing, ethics, privacy and security in the online context and social media technologies.
Social media presence
Starbucks has started its business in 1971, as a food retailer and its business continued to grow worldwide to become one of the most globally recognized brands. Nowadays, about 94% of Facebook users are directly or indirectly connected to Facebook Starbucks. Nearly 7 Mn. Users use the mobile payment services and about 100 Thousand users download its mobile application weekly in 2012. Starbucks is considered a leading business in engaging users through social networks. The rise of Starbucks as a digital leader was planned after it had experienced declining in its sales in 2008 and a dramatic decrease of its share prices down to the half for two years. At that time, Starbucks was not caring about social marketing, but it started to consider its importance and several strategic actions were made to engage customers through social media tools (Welch & Buvat, 2013).
Researches on the features of social commerce presence assessed the Facebook Starbucks. It was found that the Facebook page of Starbucks not only represents advertisements, but also, presented information about the company's products, news, services and new announcements to its customers and Facebook visitors. Utilizing the social media channels enabled Starbucks to expand its reach, increase its sales and spread its brand. Starbucks uses social media as a marketing tool to increase the customer trust and loyalty for its brand, also, it is used as a promotional tool. There are some social media tools that could be added to the website to increase its sociability, including, product recommendations, sales, customization and mobile commerce. It is important to the organization to understand its needs of social media tools to be added to its website, as social, communities, marketing, connections, applications and shopping (Huang & Benyoucef, 2015).
According to Constantinides et al., as cited in Huang & Benyoucef (2015), it is important for organizations also to focus on the content, collaboration and commerce features as follows:
- Content: focuses on the information disseminated to the customers, its richness and good presentation.
- Collaboration: through enhancing the user engagement with the social media applications.
- Social commerce features: the website should be user friendly and trusted.
Social media audience
The social media audiences are usually members of many online social groups. The group members usually act in a collective way as they influence the decisions and behavior of the each other. The collective behavior reflects the shared opinion of the group members not a specific person's intention. Group member's intention is then different from individual intention. Organizations that have a social media presence should focus on users who are members of friendship groups to influence the group as a whole by attracting the group behavior. It is also, important to focus on the social value as it affects the users' shopping behaviors (Sun, Kee, Fan, Lu, & Gupta, 2016).
The social commerce is considered as mixture of shopping and social networking experience, as it enhances the social interaction when buying and selling products and services in the online context. To enhance the user and group participation, there are specific functions that should be included to engage users to the web site, such as, reviews, ratings and referral mechanisms to influence the group buying behavior. The technical features of social networks and applications lead the users to discover new experience of collecting product information and take the shopping decision. The success of social influence leads to the success of the social commerce (Wang & Yu, 2017).
Starbucks digital presence succeeded in attracting millions of fans, accordingly, the company encourages its customers to introduce their creative ideas through the 'My Starbucks Idea site'. The aim of this website is to collect ideas from the customers to develop its products and enhance its services. It allows social interaction about the proposed ideas, as other users can vote for the submitted idea, and when they vote for the idea, they are allowed to propose the best way of implementing the idea. The company employees contact the author of the idea when it takes place in the stores to let him know that the idea takes place in the store (Welch & Buvat, 2013).
Not only reaching the individuals through the blogs, Starbucks expands its connection with its customers in the digital context to get out of the in store experience to the social networks. The company offers its customers a free Wi-Fi connection, free access to reputed online journals and news websites. Also, customers are allowed to browse local content (Welch & Buvat, 2013).
Social media marketing
People use the internet to get the information they need, the social networks enable them to share their information, knowledge and expertise with other people among their networks in the online context. The social media marketing started to take place within the social networks. Sellers can influence the buyer behavior towards buying their products by using different marketing tools, including, promotions. In fact, the seller influences groups of people not only an individual user, as the collective behavior of the group directs the individual shopping behavior. Users are empowered as a result of the social media, the social networks succeeded in transferring the power to the buyer rather than the seller.
The social media assists in facilitating the social support creation to influence users towards taking the right decisions in their shopping activities. The social commerce constructs as forums, reviews and ratings support the consumer to take the right decision. These constructs support the current and potential customers. Also, there are the online communities that provide recommendations to the consumers through the online interaction. Positive reviews from customers cause direct increases in sales. Recommendations from peers on the social network affect the user decision to buy (Hajli N. , 2015).
There are different trends in social commerce, as the vendors could add commercial features to their pages on the social media, or they can add social media features to the organization official website. The social networks provide organizations with the opportunity to build good relationships with their customers to achieve their targets of fulfilling marketing objectives. Organizations can use the social media marketing as a business strategy to manage their business objectives. Accordingly, there are numerous activities that can be done to help the customers in collecting and sharing information, evaluation, making the shopping decision and sharing their experiences with others (Lin, Li, & Wang, 2017).
Starbucks excessively uses the social media in marketing its products and services. Starbucks has more than 20 Mn. followers to its page on Facebook, about 1.5 Mn followers to its account on Twitter. Starbucks uses these social networks to announce promotional offers and discounts on a regular basis. Starbucks does not use social media for hard marketing, it creates an open platform for discussion. Starbucks also, uses YouTube in an excellent way, by encouraging people to upload videos about different topics not must to be related to the company (Patnaik, 2011).
Ethics, privacy and security
There are different ethical issues related to the social commerce, for example the consumer trust in the social commerce is a factor of his own ethics, social and local ethics. The consumer perception of the seller positively affects their sales from the same seller. Global companies should realize the effect of culture on the attitude of the consumer through providing e-seller ethics to ensure that their marketing strategy will succeed (Gajendra & Wang, 2014).
There are several dimensions of security to offer the trust to the social network users. The relationship between the seller and buyer in the in line context could be broken due to low security actions from the seller. Also, the reaction of the seller towards the in security action does matter in keeping the relationship between the buyer and the seller or losing it (Choi & Nazareth, 2014).
Customers have to be sure that there is no opportunistic behavior from the seller side in the online context. The trust could be classified into two types, the trusting intentions and the trusting beliefs, both of the two types exist in the social commerce marketplace from the buyer perspective (Lu, Fan, & Zhou, 2016).
Trust is built through securing customers' personal information and shopping transactions. The service quality is also important to measure the customer loyalty and increase the perceived value. Social commerce websites have to consider the fulfillment, efficiency, privacy and availability by ensuring continues presence and error free website (Huang & Benyoucef, 2015).
The advancement in information communication technology is used by organizations to increase the users' trust in the online context and at the same time decrease their expected risk. By lowering the customers' perceived risk, they will be encouraged to engage in more buying activities and will share his knowledge and experience with peers in the social communities, forums and groups (Hajli M. , 2013).
Also, the perceived risk increases the switching costs and decreases the customer loyalty. The perceived risk is sourced from the uncertainty feeling of the customer towards the online transactions and activities. It is related to the way the buying decision affects their goals. In general, insecurity negatively affects the way people use technology (Yen, 2010).
Starbucks succeeded in aligning its customers with its social media marketing efforts, which means it could manage the ethical issues in different world countries. Starbucks is an example of a global company that receives both of thankful comments and critiques from activists who classify the company as a symbol of capitalism and consumerism. Customers' activities on the social media are secured by the company and the third-party service provider as, Facebook and Twitter (Gallaugher & Ransbotham, 2010).
Social media technologies
The emergence of social media networks affected the daily life of people worldwide. Developing new technologies affected also the relationship between the buyers and sellers. The development of web 2.0 platform transferred the e-commerce to be customer oriented context. The electronic word of mouth was developed and affected the users' behaviors. The development of web 2.0 is an attitude which leads to the emergence of the web based communities. Users are enabled to utilize the social knowledge to filter their preferences, on the other side, it provides the business with the consumer choices, attitudes and behaviors (Jim, Shen, & Chang, 2015).
Starbucks made major changes to be ready for the digital transformation. The company witnessed the foundation of the digital venture unit, this unit was separated from the marketing and the information technology, but they collaborate to make joint work activities to lead innovation within the company. Starbucks mobile application enabled the company to reduce its operating costs (Welch & Buvat, 2013).
Starbucks could benefit from its conventional information systems to integrate with the social media, by developing the technology used to be compatible with the new requirements of the social media and web 2.0 (Gallaugher & Ransbotham, 2010).
Starbucks also developed its mobile application for Android and Apple for the iPhone to market for its products. Starbucks uses the 'Quick Respond' or the QR code to scan the smartphone to connect the product information to the digital networks. QR code directly links the web pages and videos to the product (Licciardi, 2013).
The rise of Starbucks as a digital leader was planned after it had experienced declining in its sales in 2008 and a dramatic decrease of its share prices down to the half for two years. At that time, Starbucks was not caring about social marketing, but it started to consider its importance and several strategic actions were made to engage customers through social media tools. It is important for organizations also to focus on the content, collaboration and commerce features. The social media audiences are usually members of many online social groups.
The group members usually act in a collective way as they influence the decisions and behavior of the each other. The social commerce is considered as mixture of shopping and social networking experience, as it enhances the social interaction when buying and selling products and services in the online context. The social networks enable them to share their information, knowledge and expertise with other people among their networks in the online context. Starbucks excessively uses the social media in marketing its products and services.
Starbucks has more than 20 Mn. followers to its page on Facebook, about 1.5 Mn followers to its account on Twitter. Starbucks succeeded in aligning its customers with its social media marketing efforts, which means it could manage the ethical issues in different world countries. Starbucks made major changes to be ready for the digital transformation. Starbucks also developed its mobile application for Android and Apple for the iPhone to market for its products
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