Social Commerce: A Framework for Fashion SMEs in Pakistan




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


Pakistan is one of the developing countries where the adoption and diffusion of e-commerce remains a challenge for consumers and fashion businesses because of the significant barriers facing the economy. This has led the small businesses to a new online business model "Social Commerce" which has stemmed from the integration of social media into e-commerce. Research suggests that Social Commerce is evolving and proliferating across many emerging markets. Yet the implications of this new form of e-commerce in Pakistan is still largely unknown. Hence, this research contributes to knowledge by exploring the potential of using the Social Commerce business model as an alternative to e-commerce amongst the small fashion businesses in Pakistan. The research adopted a mixed-methods, pragmatic philosophical perspective using a convergent research design. The primary data was gathered through mixed-mode surveys from consumers groups, and interviews and social media content from six fashion case businesses. The data obtained was analysed using descriptive statistics and qualitative content analysis, respectively. The findings revealed that the integration of the social aspect in the social commerce business model can help in overcoming the limitations of e-commerce whilst also enhancing the benefits that were not truly accomplished by e-commerce. It was recognised that the growing acceptance of this evolving phenomenon amongst consumers was because of its ease of use and social interactivity. The study provides a contribution to theory by proposing a model that enables theoretical understanding of Social Commerce and its value potential for consumers and Fashion SMEs. This was later conceptualised and presented in the form of an empirically grounded framework that explained the use of this business model within Pakistan's context, thus advancing Social Commerce research in this underexplored region. Lastly, a simplified version of the framework was designed for the practitioners entailing seven key principles that can help to achieve effective and efficient use of Social Commerce. In terms of the research impact on the industry, the practitioners will greatly benefit from the use of this framework as a guideline for building and improving the Social Commerce presence. Finally, due to the lack of guidelines on the use of the Social Commerce business model in Pakistan this framework has the potential of becoming a leading influence in the area as affirmed by the industry experts.





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