British businesses which sell goods online and make use of UK couriers to deliver items to their customers are likely to experience a sea-change in the way ecommerce works through the medium of social media, according to business expert and successful entrepreneur Alex Pratt.
Mr Pratt argued that social media is changing the way consumers purchase items in a fundamental way by introducing an element of peer involvement into the process.
"What people do now is go and find out what other people think on the internet and they'll search online," suggested the expert.
Social networks like Twitter and Facebook look likely to play an increasingly important role in this paradigm of ecommerce sales, whereby recommendations from friends and other people have an impact on what people purchase or where they buy items from.
This type of online trading, branded f-commerce, is "seriously changing the whole shopping experience", according to Mr Pratt.
He added that it is now crucial for companies to present an interesting, engaging attitude to consumers rather than simply focus on presenting a product in a traditional style.
A website, rather than merely listing potential products to a prospective customer, should "be a place that answers the questions that people who might want to buy your products are going to have in their mind".
Bearing this in mind, companies should consider how they can "add value to a customer" when thinking about how to market their site, Mr Pratt argued.
Ecommerce solutions provider Advansys recently suggested that there has never been a more exciting time for people to be involved with online selling, with a number of changing factors in the industry coming to a head in 2012.
This is reflected in the increasing growth of multichannel retailing as a concept, with smartphone usage meaning customers have access to a number of different purchase options through m-commerce and f-commerce platforms.
Author: Gillian Walters