One thing is already clear: e-commerce is now normal. When e-commerce was first established, many were sceptical about the uptake, mainly due to factors of trust and security. But now, e-ecommerce is universally accepted and rather normal, the next frontier for e-commerce is being explored. I think, a powerful new wave of e-commerce will be based on story-telling, to motivate people and increase the probability of buying things.

The emerging trend for e-commerce or selling things online is now social e-commerce, meaning the leveraging of social networks to sell things. The theory is obvious, if your friend buys or expresses interest in something, the chances of you doing the same is increased. That is why there are now a plethora of social apps like Pinterest and Svpply, that aim to get people to pin, tag, follow then eventually buy things.

Another emerging trend extends the social commerce model and dives deeper into the story behind the product. Of course, this doesn’t and can’t apply to all types of products. I mean, who really wants to know the story of how a tissue box or a hard drive came to exist?  However the types of products, story-telling works for are things which have been designed and created by creative people, or businesses with a social cause. I know corporate social responsibility has been around for a long time already, but I think that stories are becoming increasingly intertwined with online sales.

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Jason Lim

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.