Snapchat: A Theoretical Approach to the Dynamics of Commerce in Saudi Arabia

Snapchat: A Theoretical Approach to the Dynamics of Commerce in Saudi Arabia


The increasing prevalence of social media use in recent years especially among the youths brings the impression that a lot can be accomplished through social media. As evidence of this, the uses of social media have also increased through the years. Initially, social media networks such as Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace were used mainly as platforms for interaction in social settings through sharing of personal information such as pictures and status updates. With time however, social media platforms are increasingly being used by corporate entities to advance business objectives through practices such as advertisement. The Emergence of E-commerce has made the use of social media imperative as business entities and governments market and conduct business dealings online. In Saudi Arabia, like every other country, the use of Snapchat and other social media platforms in commerce has increased significantly, especially between 2001 to the present days.

Statement of the Problem

People use the social media platforms to interact with each other and to offer online services to those who rely on them. Past studies have independently examined the implications of social media on various aspects of business operations, giving the impression that social media is indeed becoming an inescapable part of commercial operations. However, there is still need to explore the extent to which social media can be applied to influence commerce in Saudi Arabia as fewer studies have been aimed at this. The importance of Snap chat and other social media channels in commerce make it necessary to focus the present study to Saudi Arabia. Through this, it will be possible to understand commercial progress in the country and to subsequently recommend strategies for enhancing the applicability of snapchat to various contexts in the country. These are the factors that lead to the need for the present study.

Study Justification

AlGhamdi et al (2012) reported that Saudi Arabia has the fastest growing country in the ICT sector within the Arab region. The E-commerce sector has not been left behind as the ICT sector grows in Saudi Arabia. However, there are various factors that are still considered to influence the participation of various business systems in E-commerce. In particular, challenges such as limitations of online payment options and lack of clarity in legislation for online commercehave limited the application of E-commerce in the retail sector. The challenges notwithstanding, accessing clients has been made easier in various industry aspects. In fields of manufacturing, distribution as well as consumption, marketers are intensively using online forums in Saudi Arabia and beyond (Karale, 2016). This is where various social media platforms come into play.

Social media fosters distribution of information among citizens making it a crucial tool for marketing. The findings presented by Linke and Zerfass (2012) indicate that the social media is effective in enhancing corporate culture and a participative environment in the corporate world. Snapchat, like many other social media platforms has continued to be used to foster communication between clients and business personnel. In particular, E-commerce can be said to have been strengthened and enhanced through the combination of social media marketing strategies and online payment options. In spite of this growth, there have been few studies that focus on the aspect of Snapchat and other social media use in commerce within Saudi Arabia. This makes it necessary to carry out such studies in order to find out how the country has progressed, particularly in social media use in commerce and subsequently recommend how snap chat can be used to enhance business growth and profitability.

Literature Review

To create an understanding of the subject of study, a review of a few pieces of literature was conducted. The ensuing section provides an overview of six of the pieces reviewed for the study. The discussion also includes a mention of each of the articles’ significance to the study.

Abstract 1

  1. AlGhamdi, R., Nguyen, J., Nguyen, A. and Drew, S. (2012). Factors Influencing E-Commerce Adoption by Retailers in Saudi Arabia: A Quantitative Analysis. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 3(2): 83- 100.
  2. The purpose of the study – AlGhamdi, Nguyen, Nguyen and Drew (2012) carried out the study to explore the factors that influenced the decision of Saudi Arabian retailers to adopt or not to adopt online trading channels.
  3. Research questions – The researchers, while conduction their study, began from the basis of the question:
  4. Why are retailers in Saudi Arabia reluctant to adopt e-commerce as a trading channel?
  5. Hypothesis –From the introduction given by the researchers, it can be said that their hypothesis is thatthere are many factors that encourage or discourage the use of e-commerce in the retail sector in Saudi Arabia.
  6. Theoretical framework- Although the study does not clearly indicate the theoretical framework upon which the entire work is founded, it can be said that it is based on grounded theory since information collected is used to construe an expected outcome.
  7. Methods Description – The research was based on a mixed method approach. The qualitative analysis was conducted based on interviews which were carried out on 16 retailers in Saudi Arabia. The objective was to determine factors that influenced participation in E-commerce. The quantitative analysis was conducted using survey questionnaires which were distributed to some officials of retail companies in the country.
  8. Findings – research findings indicated that various factors affect the adoption of E-commerce by retailers. Some of the factors include limitations of online payment options, absence of quantitative indications of relationship strengths involved in e-commerce and lack of legislation on e-commerce in Saudi Arabia (AlGhamdi et al., 2012).
  9. Conclusion –The authors conclude that although e-commerce is on the rise across the world, retailers in Saudi Arabia are mainly hampered from successful engagement due to various factors (AlGhamdi et al., 2012).
  10. Comments/criticism – The articles uses reliable sources of information. The combination of secondary approaches to study with the mixed approach to primary research ensures that the information presented is complete and accurate. Its focus on e-commerce in Saudi Arabia makes it a reliable source of information for the present study.
  11. Ideas for further study: – The present study uses interviews, surveys and secondary methods to collect information. However, there is still an opportunity for engaging in further research on the place of various social media platforms in e-commerce.
  12. Annotation –AlGhamdi et al (2012) conducted the research to determine why many retailers in Saudi Arabia appear reluctant to engage in E-commerce. Through a mixed method approach, the researchers found out that various factors influenced the decision to engage in e-commerce. The study is relevant to the present study due to its focus on e-commerce in Saudi Arabia.

Abstract 2

  1. Baker, M. (2009). The Impacts of Social Networking Sites on Politics. The Review: A Journal of undergraduate Student Research, 10: 72- 74.
  2. The purpose of the study – the study focused on determining whether the internet, through social media platforms such as Myspace and Facebook enhanced citizen participation in the political process.
  3. Research questions – The implied research questions in the study were:
    1. Do the social media enhance political participation among the citizens?
  4. Hypothesis – The research author does not publish a research hypothesis in spite of having a clearly stated thesis.
  5. Theoretical framework- This study was founded on the theory identified as accelerated pluralism. This theory asserts that the net accelerates the process of formation of issue groups and action while leaving the political power changed yet not qualitatively transformed or revolutionized into a new democracy paradigm.
  6. Methods Description – The study was conducted in the U.S through a qualitative approached based entirely on a review of existing literature on the subject (Baker, 2009).
  7. Findings –The author found out that one of the ways through which political involvement could be enhanced is by social media communication (Baker, 2009).
  8. Conclusion – In conclusion, the author states that in spite of the fact that social media networks enable citizens to participate in politics, they do not translate into involvement. They however create a platform where political aspirants may reach out to their supporters (Baker, 2009).
  9. Comments/criticism – The article focuses on the subject of social media relevance to enhancing political participation. The findings could have been more conclusive if they were supported by findings obtained through primary methods such as interviews and surveys.
  1. Ideas for further study – The study implores the need for further research on the aspect of political participation especially based on social media networks. It could also have been based on actual country statistics to enable readers understand the implications of the study.
  2. Annotation – Baker (2009) conducted a study to determine whether social media platforms enhanced political involvement. The author, basing his study on the accelerated pluralism theory, found out that social media may enhance communication. The study poses a limitation due to the research methodology yet is still relevant to the present study due to its presentation of only desired contents.

Abstract 3

  1. Linke, A. and Zerfass, A. (2013). Social Media Governance: Regulatory Frameworks for Successful Online Communications. Journal of Communication Management, 17(3), 270- 296.
  2. The purpose of the study – The study was conducted with the objective of exploring the concept of social media governance as a way of accelerating social media establishment in communication practices within the German context.
  3. Research questions – Although the authors have no clearly stated research questions, it is evident from the study purpose that a potential question would be:
    1. What doe social media governance entail?
    2. How is social media governance applied in German organizations to enhance communication practice?
  4. Hypothesis – The study was carried out on the hypothesis that social media governance has been lightly taken in organizations.
  5. Theoretical framework- The authors based their study arguments on the structuration theory. According to the theory, actions of individual agents can only be successful if all those involved resorts to common stock of rules and regulations.
  6. Methods Description –The study was conducted within the settings of Germany through an online survey process. The data was obtained through a quantitative survey administered online to only German communication professionals (Linke and Zerfass, 2013).
  7. Findings – The research findings indicated that most of the organizations whose professionals were surveyed engaged in social media communications yet had no strategies for controlling the level of communication that goes on through social media. Most of the companies also reported management commitment and a participative corporate culture.
  8. Conclusion – The authors concluded that social media governance is a crucial part of social media communication. Subsequently, the presence of these structures leads to positive effects on the levels of skills, enhanced levels of activity and effective strategy development (Linke & Zerfass, 2013).
  9. Comments/criticism – The article emphasizes how social media communication coupled with effective social media governance can result in positive outcomes in participation and skill building. Because of this, the article is relevant to the present study since the same strategies could be applied for commerce in Saudi Arabia.
  10. Ideas for further study –While the research focuses on the positive aspects of social media communication, it could even be better to engage in a discourse on how social media governance could be applied to innovate new social media communication strategies.
  11. Annotation –Linke and Zerfass (2013) based their study on the objective of determining how social media governance could be used to accelerate social media communication practices in Germany. According to the study, social media governance is defined as the practices and policies that lead to the optimization of social media outcomes in any organizational setup. The study findings showed that although most corporate bodies engaged in social media communication, they did not apply social media governance yet achieved great outcomes in participation and skill building. As such, the same could be applied in commerce to achieve similarly exceptional results.

Abstract 4

  1. Karale, S. (2016). Emerging Trends in Digital Marketing. Review of Research, 5(7).
  2. The purpose of the study – The study was conducted with an aim of highlighting the trends in digital marketing from the past through to the future. In doing this, the author purposes to mention some of the challenges in digital marketing and to give recommendations on how to overcome them.
  3. Research questions – The study aims at answering the question:
    1. What is digital marketing and what are its key features?
  4. Hypothesis –To successfully answer the research question, the researcher based his study on the hypothesis that digital marketing entails the combination of marketing and other technologies triggered by the internet.
  5. Theoretical framework- The study, like the previously discussed research was based on a grounded theory in which the researcher based his arguments on existing information with an objective of exploring an issue.
  6. Methods Description –While carrying out the study, the author focused on the application of secondary procedures. All the information presented in the paper was obtained from books, journal articles, internet sources and newspaper articles.
  7. Findings – Karale found out that availability and presentation of marketing content are what influence the success of online marketing strategies. Through the years, it was confirmed that digital marketing could be used to promote even flawed products albeit only once.
  8. Conclusion – The author concluded that long term and short term strategies should be used to market products through online media.
  9. Comments/criticism – Despite providing reliable information obtained from divergent sources, the paper appears shallow and does not focus on the described objective of the paper. It is therefore suitable for gaining general information on digital marketing.
  10. Ideas for further study – While conducting similar studies, it is recommended that diverse sources and approaches to study should be adopted. This can be helpful in gaining greater depth.
  11. Annotation –Karale (2016) emphasizes the mode of digital marketing. The author focuses on the trends in digital marketing and on the challenges it poses. The author concludes that short term and long term goals should be laid down while conducting a study. It is suitable for the present study since it concerns online marketing, which is driven by social media.

Abstract 5

  1. Oxera LLP (2015). Benefits of Online Platforms. Prepared for Google.
  2. The purpose of the study – Oxera LLP was contracted to conduct a study on behalf of Google. The objective of the study was to analyze the role played by online platforms in aspects of transparency, competition and business use.
  3. Research questions – To achieve the objectives of the study, the author focused on the following research questions.
    1. How are online platforms defined?
    2. What is the value of online platforms to European businesses?
  4. Hypothesis – The author does not clearly indicate what their hypothesis is. However, it can be deduced that the author portrays online platforms as various networks that bring people together and are varied in nature.
  5. Theoretical framework- The study was based on a taxonomic approach to discussing online platforms. The approach involves outlining specific roles played by the platforms in communication and in business.
  6. Methods Description –The study author accomplished his objective by conducting surveys through the participation of consumers from countries such as Germany, Poland and Singapore. The survey questionnaires were administered online. The results were combined with secondary approaches to study.
  7. Findings – The researchers found out that the definition of social platforms vary from person to person. At the same time, such platforms encourage information sharing, as well as commercial exchange of services, goods and information (Oxera LLP, 2015).
  8. Conclusion –The author concludes by arguing that online platforms reduce geographic barriers, provision of new business types and changing business structures.
  9. Comments/criticism – From the study outline, the author did an impressive work through organization and clarity. The study clearly outlines its objectives and moves progressively to the end of the report.
  10. Ideas for further study – Although the study focuses on the key aspects of online platforms, there is still need to concentrate on particular aspects of e-commerce and social networking.
  11. Annotation –Oxera LLP (2015) aimed at determining what online platforms entail and how they impact businesses. The outcome indicates that although many people do not have matching definitions of online platforms, they recognize their impacts on e-commerce. Snapchat and other social media platforms play crucial roles in businesses as outlined. The research is therefore relevant to the present study due to its focus on online platforms and on commerce.

Abstract 6

  1. Said, S., Al-Tawil, K. and Hussain, S.A. (2004). E-commerce in Saudi Arabia: Adoption and Perspectives. Arab Journal of Information Sciences, 12(1): 54- 73.
  2. The purpose of the study – The objective of the study was to determine the educational, social and business implications of social media.
  3. Research questions – to achieve the study objective, the authors focused on the following research questions.
  1. What are the behavioral responses to and infrastructural support for the adoption of e-commerce in social media?
  1. Hypothesis – The paper was authored under the hypothesis that e-commerce is growing in Saudi Arabia due to the strong internet connectivity.
  2. Theoretical framework-The authors applied the theory of planned behavior as the foundation of the study. In addition to this, Roger’s theory of Diffusion of Innovations was also used to bolster the arguments presented by the authors.
  3. Methods Description – the study was conducted using a combination of secondary approach with primary procedures such as interviews and surveys. These methods were founded on the models of theory that have been previously mentioned.
  4. Findings –From the study, it was determined that e-commerce can be enhanced in Saudi Arabia through coaching and encouragement of more people to be engaged in the process. Due to the availability of internet connections, e-commerce has a strong opportunity for growth in Saudi Arabia (Said et al., 2004).
  5. Conclusion – The opportunities provided by the internet and technological advancements in Saudi Arabia. A central certification authority could be set up to enhance awareness regarding the capacity for e-commerce, through social media and other online platforms to encourage business promotion and growth (Said et al., 2004).
  6. Comments/criticism – The paper is detailed enough and provides conclusive information. The recommendations provided are also viable.
  7. Ideas for further study – In the future, more studies should be conducted on the exact manner in which social media contributes to effective business conduct.
  8. Annotation –Said et al (2004) emphasized on the importance of e-commerce in Saudi Arabia. The authors mention various factors which are necessary for the improvement of e-commerce in the country. The paper is relevant to the present study due to its focus on e-commerce.


AlGhamdi, R., Nguyen, J., Nguyen, A. & Drew, S. (2012). Factors Influencing E-Commerce Adoption by Retailers in Saudi Arabia: A Quantitative Analysis. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 3(2): 83- 100.

Baker, M. (2009). The Impacts of Social Networking Sites on Politics. The Review: A Journal of undergraduate Student Research, 10: 72- 74.

Karale, S. (2016). Emerging Trends in Digital Marketing. Review of Research, 5(7).

Linke, A. & Zerfass, A. (2013). Social Media Governance: Regulatory Frameworks for Successful Online Communications. Journal of Communication Management, 17(3), 270- 296.

Oxera LLP (2015). Benefits of Online Platforms. Prepared for Google.

Said, S., Al-Tawil, K. & Hussain, S.A. (2004). E-commerce in Saudi Arabia: Adoption and Perspectives. Arab Journal of Information Sciences, 12(1): 54- 73.