Introduction to the Special Issue: Social Commerce: A Research Framework for Social Commerce

Ting-Peng Liang and Efraim Turban
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 16 Number 2, Winter 2011-12, pp. 5-13.

Abstract: The increased popularity of social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, has opened opportunities for new business models for electronic commerce, often referred to as social commerce. Social commerce involves using Web 2.0 social media technologies and infrastructure to support online interactions and user contributions to assist in the acquisition of products and services. Social media technologies not only provide a new platform for entrepreneurs to innovate but also raise a variety of new issues for e‚Äźcommerce researchers that require the development of new theories. This could become one of the most challenging research arenas in the coming decade. The purpose of this introduction is to present a framework that integrates several elements in social commerce research and to summarize the papers included in this special issue. The framework includes six key elements for classifying social commerce research: research theme, social media, commercial activities, underlying theories, outcomes, and research methods. The proposed framework is valuable in defining the scope and identifying potential research issues in social commerce. We also explain how the papers included in this special issue fit into the proposed research framework.

Key Words and Phrases: Research frameworks, social commerce, social media, social networking.