Social E-Commerce on the Innovative and Entrepreneurial Capabilities in the GCC
The advancement of social media has changed how individuals and companies conduct their business. The increase in use of smartphones has made it possible for more users to advertise their products on social media and provide links to their sales pages. Statistics indicate that by 2015, goods and services sold through online social networks globally attained the $30 billion mark. The research aims at evaluating the effects of social e-commerce on the innovative and entrepreneurial capabilities in the GCC. This research study indicates that social e-commerce has had a positive impact on the level of innovation and entrepreneurship in Gulf nations. It is recommended that through social e-commerce, entrepreneurs ought to lay more emphasis on engagement, which is generating relationships, communication and connections with an audience. What is more, embracing comments and conceptions from users, far and wide, is bound to increase the level of innovation through new ideas and inventions.
Introduction (Objectives and Importance of Study)
In the past decade, e-commerce has progressively grown to become prevalent in day-to-day business and individuals’ lives. In particular, e-commerce has been pertinent in the growth and development of entrepreneurship across the globe (Al-Alawi and Al-Ali, 2015). With the adoption and advancement of Web 2.0, e-commerce has gone through fruition to become social e-commerce. This has augmented consumer participation and facilitated greater economic value (Huang and Benyoucef, 2013; Laudon and Traver, 2007). In the contemporary, social e-commerce is largely employed to delineate commercial activities facilitated by social media. Increased use of social network websites, for instance, Facebook and Twitter, has influenced the world, instigating social, political, and economic changes. Social e-commerce encompasses social media advertising, user recommendation, as well as direct sales via social network websites (Qatar SME Toolkit, 2016). Hashim et al. (2016) delineate that social e-commerce is deemed an innovation of technological advancement. However, this encompasses embracing of information technology by consumers and use of such advancements (Davis, 1989).
Statistics indicate that by 2015, goods and services sold through online social networks globally hit the $30 billion mark. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) encompasses Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. In particular, these nations are amidst the top nations across the globe with high penetration in the smartphone market. Statistics indicate that by 2011, the level of penetration in these nations had reached 75%. In particular, smartphones have made major contributions to the increase in time spent on social media together with increasing level of online shopping (Qatar SME Toolkit, 2016).
Size in Sq. Km
Internet Penetration (%)
United Arab Emirates
Source: Internet World Stats.0
The main objective of this study is to determine the effects of social e-commerce on the innovative and entrepreneurial capabilities in the GCC. The study ascertains the manner in which social media has facilitated both business and individual endeavors, with respect to innovation and entrepreneurship in these Arab nations.
The research aims at evaluating the effects of social e-commerce on the innovative and entrepreneurial capabilities in the GCC. This is an empirical research as opposed to a conceptual study. While an empirical research is data-based, conceptual research is based on abstract or theoretical ideas. To meet the objectives of this study, this section addresses the techniques that will be used to collect and analyze data. The study will utilize both primary and secondary data to investigate the effect of social e-commerce on proficiencies of invention and entrepreneurship in GCC nations. The researcher collected primary data through telephone interviews with 35 top entrepreneurs that utilize social e-commerce in different market segments. The different participants in the study came from all the six nations: five from every nation, except for Saudi Arabia that had six participants. The data was collected through web-based questionnaires that were designed, piloted and distributed online to the target population. Questionnaires allowed the researcher to collect information of an unlimited number of respondents. As a result, the researcher was able to easily quantify the data and come up with significant findings (Crowther and Lancaster, 2008). Some of the information that was collected include: research data on social commerce sales, increase in entrepreneurship and level of innovation for the entrepreneurs’ business advancement through use of social commerce.
All participants in the research study were entrepreneurs. Of the 35 respondents, 54.3% were males whereas 45.7% were females. With regard to age, most respondents (15) were aged 26-30, while 10 respondents were aged 30-35. Participants aged between 40-45 years were five; three of them were aged 46-50 while those aged 20-25 years were two.
I apply social e-commerce for my business application and advancement
Sales and revenues have increased using social e-commerce
I have attained a greater consumer base and reached a wider market using social e-commerce
Social e-commerce has augmented the level of innovation in my business
Social e-commerce has encouraged more levels of entrepreneurship
According to the study results, 88% of the participants apply social e-commerce for their business operations majority of the time. The results further indicated that 79% of the participants experienced an upsurge in their sales and revenues from the time they started using social e-commerce. However, 3% of the participants reported otherwise. 64% of the respondents asserted that they attained a greater consumer base and reached a wider target market through social e-commerce. Conversely, 6% of the 35 participants reported otherwise. Over 80% of the participants strongly agreed that social e-commerce augmented the extent of entrepreneurship and the level of innovation in their business operations.
Implications for Theory and/or Practice
Results from the research study have considerable implications on both theory and practice. One of the implications in practice is to promote entrepreneurship amongst youth in the Gulf nations. As indicated, there has been an increasing number of internet users together with a rise in internet penetration in these countries. More and more individuals are using social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (Zhou et al., 2013). The research aims at evaluating the effects of social e-commerce on the innovative and entrepreneurial capabilities in the GCC. The research aims at evaluating the effects of social e-commerce on the innovative and entrepreneurial capabilities in the GCC. Taking into consideration the huge numbers of youth in these nations, social e-commerce can function as a suitable way to promote entrepreneurship amongst these individuals as a form of job creation. In addition, social e-commerce increases the level of innovation in the GCC nations. To begin with, social media acts as a gateway to consumers across the globe (Smith, 2014). Statistics indicate that almost 30 billion products and services are retailed through social media. Therefore, it becomes possible to buy products manufactured from different parts of the world. This implies that through social e-commerce, entrepreneurs can gain knowledge on new products, take advantage of cutting-edge technology and benefit from the need for greater proficiencies by prospective customers.
Conclusions and Recommendations – How the Findings Can be Implemented
In conclusion, the integration of social media and e-commerce have without doubt had an influence on the business realm. This research study indicates that social e-commerce has had a positive impact on the level of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Gulf nations. The espousal and implementation of social e-commerce has resulted in increased revenues, generation of new online products and access to a greater and wider market (Wang and Zhang, 2012; Turban et al., 2009). Entrepreneurs can experience numerous benefits and effects from marketing their products and services on social media. A typical benefit includes a rise in the number of online followers and advertisement views, leading to a proliferation in sales and return on investment. This is because social media network products and business information target consumers at a trifling fee (Hashim et al., 2016). The integration of social ecommerce into business activities can be significantly beneficial to entrepreneurs. There are recommendations given on how the findings can be implemented. Through social media, entrepreneurs ought to lay more emphasis on engagement, which is generating relationships, communication and connections with an audience. Social e-commerce can also facilitate innovation in the sense that it can enable entrepreneurial users to exchange ideas, post comments and updates, and also take part in social activities and events, in addition to sharing general interests (Hashim et al., 2016).
References Comment by babyliza: Not in alphabetical order
Al-Alawi, A. I., & Al-Ali, F. M. (2015). Factors Affecting eCommerce Adoption in SMEs in the GCC: An Empirical study of Kuwait. Research Journal of Information Technology, 7(1), 1-21. doi: 10.3923/rjit.2015.1.21
Crowther, D. & Lancaster, G. (2008) Research Methods: A Concise Introduction to Research in Management and Business Consultancy. Butterworth Heinemann
Davis, F. D. (1989). Perceived Usefulness, Perceived Ease of Use and User Acceptance of Information Technology. MIS Quarterly 13(3), 319-340.
Hashim, N. A., Nor, S. M., & Janor, H. (2016). Riding the waves of social commerce: An empirical study of Malaysian entrepreneurs. Malaysian Journal of Society and Space, 12(2): 83-94.
Huang, Z., & Benyoucef, M. (2013). From e-commerce to social commerce: A close look at design features. Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 12(4), 246-259.
Laudon, K. C., &Traver, C. G. (2007). E-commerce. New Jersey: Pearson/Addison Wesley. Comment by babyliza: No in-text citation
Qatar SME Toolkit. (2016). The Virtual Souq. Retrieved from: http://qatar.smetoolkit.org/qatar/en/content/en/55017/The-Virtual-Souq
Smith, J. (2014). How to Use Social Media to Make Sales. Forbes. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2014/01/10/how-to-use-social-media-to-make-sales-2014/#49bdff726f4c
Turban, E., Lee, J. K., King, D., Liang, T. P., & Turban, D. (2009). Electronic commerce 2010. New Jersey: Prentice Hall Press.
Wang, C., Zhang, P. (2012). The Evolution of Social Commerce: The People, Management, Technology and Information Dimensions. Communications of the Association for Information Systems 31(5), 105-127.
Zhou, L., Zhang, P., & Zimmermann, H. D. (2013). Social commerce research: An integrated view. Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 12(2), 61-68.
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