Jiangtao Qiu
Yinghong Li
Zhangxi Lin


Social commerce refers to the use of social media (or social network) to facilitate user participation in online businesses. The major configurations of social commerce websites fall into two classes, the social media with commercial features and the e-commerce websites with social networking capabilities. This paper is concerned with the question of whether the social networking functions can definitely help the e-commerce websites establish their social commerce. To answer this question, this study develops an analysis framework that incorporates four tasks: (1) explore the small-world and power-law properties of the friendship networks constructed by users of e-commerce websites, (2) detect homophily, (3) investigate social influence occurring among users, and (4) build a profile for the influencers in the network. Employing the framework to conduct an empirical analysis on the Yelp dataset, we gained insights into social commerce on Yelp, which reveals that the social networking functions do not work well and social commerce occurs only in a small user group. This study also shows a clear route by which Yelp can improve its social commerce, i.e., by encouraging more users to build friendships and by promoting users to use the social networking functions.

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August, 2020

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