The 8 C’s of Social Commerce

March 30, 2017

Social Commerce

Four years ago, VWM published a blog on the 6 C’s of Social Commerce. Back then, it was a more relevant topic to write about because there were fewer aspects of e-commerce for marketers to be concerned with. The rise of Social Media has greatly impacted this. In the last four years, e-commerce, social media, and technology have evolved into something so monumental that there’s always something new to learn or latest trend to be aware of.

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Wait…so what is Social commerce!?

Social Commerce is a subsection of electronic commerce that uses social and online media to support interaction and user contribution. This facilitates the buying and selling of products and services online.

In other words: Social commerce is the use of social networks within the context of e-commerce transactions.


In case you’re a recent reader, below is a refresher of the original 6 C’s of social commerce VWM highlighted in 2013:

Content: As in: “Content is King.” Consistently putting out valuable content on your site is key. It keeps you relevant and establishes your site as having frequent and more credible materials over your competitors.

Community: There’s a reason they’re called social networks! Building and keeping relationships with the people you’re trying to convert into customers is so important. Social allows customers to actively engage with your brand. Likes, comments and, retweets are all examples of ways you can get real-time feedback from your audience.

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Commerce: You need to be able to fulfill customer needs via a transactional web presence whether it be B2C or B2B. Make Sure your sales funnel isn’t requiring several clicks or on-page searches before a customer gets to the actual purchasing part.

Context: Social networks make it easier than ever to gain insight into the context of where your customers are coming from. Brands can provide specific resources to customers based on location, interest, psychographics etc. Tracking things like check-ins, tweets or activity on social networks provides actionable insight.

Connection: Any connection made with a possible customer is a relationship worth having. Whether it is professional, social, or casual, social networks allow you that initial connection with other people and provide opportunities to develop and keep a relationship.

Conversation: The challenge is to tap into the conversations happening online in regards to what you’re selling. Smart marketers seek out the people who want to buy their products or services – social media features such as a “Like” button is a great way to start.

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These are all still important, but it’s 2017 now. Marketers have a better understanding of just how influential social media and technology are when it comes to keeping an e-commerce strategy updated and successful.

Two New Additions for Marketers in 2017

ChatBots: The future really is now. With the creation of online chatbots, businesses can use AI and machine learning to create the feeling of a human interaction from anywhere in the world and at any given time. These bots can be expertly developed in any field and provide conversational answers to consumers presenting a much smoother interaction. This is beneficial both ways, you get a better idea of the kind of questions customers consistently have and they get a reply no matter when they ask.

Commitment: This is a big one (isn’t it always?) Having a social presence that will attract customers to buying whatever it is your selling is not a one time thing. Keeping up a strategy, establishing meaningful relationships, and consistently growing with your audience is essential to continuous success.

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So, there you have it, our newly updated 8 C’s of social commerce. If you’re feeling a little lost after reading all that- don’t worry, we’ve got your back!

This is an updated post on the 6 C’s of Social Commerce.  


PPC: Mobile Ads Driving Traffic

July 30, 2013

Smartphones used to be owned by only businesspeople and maybe 10% of the average population. Now, about 80% of the people in the U.S. have a smartphone. This device, with online data and every social media network imaginable, is now in the palm of everyone’s hand. This means that advertisers can now market their audience anywhere on the go. What’s great about this is not only the unlimited location for advertising, but also the ability to really track and personalize ads for your audience.

Each individual person’s smartphone can show a person’s locale as well as keep track of their interests based on what they post on social media and what they look up on their phones. This makes it much easier for advertisers to target their audience. You can target them based on interest of topic or convenience of locale. By doing so, the effectiveness and click-through rate of ads is exponentially higher than advertising to the people with different interests as a whole. Google Think Insights studies show that 88% of mobile ad clicks led to organic clicks, leading to a minimal loss of traffic. This proves that targeted mobile ads are the turn of the century for advertisers.

Google Think Insights Analytics

The ability to track and target customers is the most effective marketing method and mobile advertising through smartphones allows this to happen. The 80% incremental click-through rate of mobile ads is incredible. Moving your marketing towards mobile is the best thing you can do for your brand and if you don’t get on it, your competition will so just do it. Invest in mobile because if you don’t, someone else will.

The 6 Cs of Social Commerce

July 22, 2013

Social commerce is making a boom in this industry. First, there were the three Cs of e-commerce. Then, social media made its way into the e-commerce system and an additional three Cs were added to the mix. Here is the updated list of e-commerce:

Content – The material you have on your site needs to be of value. There are so many sites and pages on the web that you need to make yours of more valuable to the people so that they choose you over others.

Community – By building relationships with the people is important. Social networks have made it easier to do this through Facebook pages with likes and comments. Through this, customers can engage with your brand by giving feedback so you know what you need to change and what you can continue doing.

Commerce – You need to have a transactional web presence to fulfill your customer’s needs such as an online retailer or banking service for B2C services. For B2B transactions, online storage, hosting to product sourcing and fulfillment services are used.

Context – The online world is able to track real-life events through things like online bill payments and check-ins at a physical location on social media networks. This allows brands to provide the right resources to specific customers based on location and interest.

Connection – Professional, social and casual relationships through networks including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are basis of this.

Conversation – All markets are conversations and the challenge is for suppliers to tap into those conversations on the web. Marketeers must seek the people who desire their products. Using social media features like a “Things I Want” board on Pinterest or the “liking” of a specific item on Facebook are key for this.

Read our updated post on the 8 Cs of Social Commerce!


About the Author: Travis Melvin is a web and marketing professional working for VWM in New York City. His current focus is on website audits and reviews, content and search ranking.

Stay Up to Date with Gay-Support Design

June 28, 2013

What grabs people’s attention more than the current news? Design that responds to what is happening in the world awes people. It makes people think “They know what’s up.” and see your creativity as you incorporate that into your designs.

Gay pride has been everywhere recently as the Supreme Court bolstered gay marriage by advocating DOMA and Proposition 8. With this in mind, many brands have designed their ads in honor of this historic week. Grey Poupon, Absolut Vodka and many other brands showed their support in this movement. Check them out!


June is National Pride Month and what could be better than supporting the gays and their success. By advocating these supportive ads, these brands are making their stand to show that they care as well. This also opens up opportunity to get leads in the LGBT community! If you love the people, they will love you back and that is exactly what these brands are trying to enforce by designing these ads.

Using Profanity to Build Your Brand

June 17, 2013

Some people see profanity in media as a negative aspect but then again, what can make an ad more real than adding language that relates to people at one point or another. Marketeers saw the “realness” in having profanity in ads, but for a family-based audience, the allusion worked just as well. Many brands such as Jell-O and K-Mart followed this route to an entertaining and memorable campaign.

Jell-O made a twist on the popular acronym FML by changing the phrase to “Fun My Life.” Through this campaign came the tagline: “We’re on a mission to fun things up one #FML tweet at a time.” This idea makes for an ad that’s both familiar to the people and quirky. For those who use profane language, it’s hilarious, and for those who don’t, it’s a cute new saying. This works for both groups of people, making it the best kind of ad because it’s appealing to everyone. With the #FML hashtag, the ad is also easily spreadable through all social media aspects.


Similar to Jell-O’s “FML” campaign, K-Mart also alluded to profanity to grab the attention of audiences with their “Ship your pants” commercial. This phrase that sounds similar to the common crude saying, but is actually informative and makes sense to the brand. The fact that it implies profanity, yet is relatable is what makes this commercial hilarious.


Click here to watch the “Ship My Pants” commercial!

Having an ad that makes people laugh is one easy way to get it to click with an audience. It’s what makes it memorable and most likely shared with others. Although profanity isn’t usually something advertisers want to place in their ads, the allusion of it makes for great marketing material. The relativity to the crude language is what makes it seem more “real” to audiences. It’s what can make the ad seem like one with the audience rather than just some informative brand that seems to be on a higher level than the people. Sometimes, brands need to have that feel for the people to want to partake in using that product or service and profanity seems to be one of the great ways for these large brands to make a statement in the advertising industry.

Holiday Inn Express: Bringing the Extraordinary Out of the Ordinary

April 10, 2013

What captures the attention of people is the impact an advertisement has on its audience.  Whether it affects people physically or emotionally, people need to want what the brand has to offer. By bringing a desirable and positive outlook on an average person’s life, Holiday Inn Express rose to the top of the charts with its “Stay Smart” campaign. These new ads follow a formula, where ordinary people are endowed with remarkable talents after a well-rested and life-changing stay at a Holiday Inn Express.

Watch the “Stay Smart: Acupuncture” Ad

This first ad features a delivery man who turns out to be a talented acupuncturist. The patient, unaware that a delivery man is performing the service for her, is surprisingly calm and much more relaxed. When the actual acupuncturist comes back from his lunch break, the patient is surprised yet confused about how the delivery man was able to relieve her stress.

Watch the “Stay Smart: Equation” Ad

This next ad shows a visiting parent of a dance major who becomes a secret genius mathematician. He solves an impossible (and in reality, non-existant) math problem and is praised by the math professor at the institution. Although the professor is confused as to how the parent was able to solve the equation once informed that he was a visiting parent, the fact that staying at a Holiday Inn Express seemed like the explanation for the miracle.

By giving these extraordinary skills to ordinary people, audiences feel like they can have a life-changing experience from staying at a Holiday Inn Express. These quirky, yet charming ads give people the experience of hope and excitement in their daily lives, emotions that give advertisers the upper hand with its audience. The mystery and wonder of what’s to come give a myriad of possibilities that are left to the audience’s imagination. The cliff-hangers in these ads that are only explained by “a stay at a Holiday Inn Express” give endless possibilities, making it the most successful as they are left to interpretation. By giving the power to the people, the brand gains unlimited power in the advertising world.

Humanitarian Branding: Capturing the Hearts of Your Audience

April 8, 2013

westinIn advertising, audiences are used to the constant sales pitches convincing them to give in and purchase a product or service. However, when the intentions of a brand or company make a turn and present themselves as people “just like you”, audiences are reminded why they love the company and start to see compassion in the brand rather than a large advertising corporation. Westin Hotels is now offering two free nights to over 200 New York nurses who cared for those in need from Hurricane Sandy to promote its new weekend services.

“Our research shows consumers are craving more leisure time but taking less vacation, so we are trying to offer weekend breaks that are seamless and stress free,” said Brian Povinelli, Westin’s global brand leader.

Through this campaign, Westin is encouraging business travelers to book rooms on weekends to recharge with later checkout times and extended breakfast hours as part of the “Make Monday Better” program. As this program keeps in mind the needs of the people, both physically and mentally,  Westin is able to win over dedicated workers including nurses, teachers and volunteer firefighters.

“These dedicated working people are seen as inspirational and deserving figures by the executives and professionals who are loyal to our brand,” said Bob Jacobs, Westin’s VP of brand management.”A free weekend stay reinforces our campaign message that everyone deserves a chance to relax and rejuvenate.”

It’s important for large corporations to present their new ideas based on the emotional and sentimental needs of their audience. When the hearts of an audience is captured, it is easier for consumers to connect to the brand. Through this tactic, both parties are mutually intrigued and willing to participate with each other.

The New Black: A Color, A Brand, A Symbol, An Idea.

March 4, 2013

Black. What does that word evoke in you? Is it just a color or does it have more meaning than that? Colors are a sense of language that exceeds any other. They are universally known yet each color can evoke different emotions and reactions from an audience. The color black is the most used in the world and is the most versatile as well. It can stand for both absence of light in science or a mixture of all colors in art. This project shows that an idea or brand can be conveyed through anything including a color.

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The “New Black” Video

Nick Black, 22, a Mason Gross of the Arts graphic design student at Rutgers University New Brunswick developed a collaborative project based on the usage of art and design. Through this “New Black” campaign, the color will be conveyed through the combination of what it means to everyone. It transforms “black” into a crowd-sourced custom color, giving everyone an opportunity to present their ideas and messages to this color campaign. As the color black is involved in every area including science, art, and history everyone has a stance on what this color means for them.

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This campaign represents how design impacts audiences and how messages can be conveyed through art. The design and development of this campaign takes a simple idea that resonates through audiences all over and creates something special for everyone to hold dear as they participate in this collaboration. The “New Black” campaign is a great way to bring others together, create art and help those who underestimate the power of design to understand how it can define everything around us.

Help turn this idea into something even bigger.

Ray Ban: Ambermatic Instagram

February 27, 2013

Filters are common throughout smartphone photo applications but Ray Ban has used this to their advantage. By using the Ray Ban app, people can send their images to the “ambermatic machine” and will be sent back a version of their image seen through the lense of the new Ray Ban Ambermatic sunglasses.

Ray Ban Ambermatic Instagram

Ray Ban Ambermatic Instagram Video

Ray Ban is using the marketing technique of letting consumers try out their product for free before purchasing the actual sunglasses. This camera filter method is creative and useful as it transforms the camera lens into the sunglass lens by understanding the similarities of this experience.

This concept is also useful for brand awareness and advertising as it makes consumers download the Ray Ban app and become involved with the Ray Ban community before they are even a buyer, giving more of an opportunity as a customer. The “hype” of this app also allows spreading this new feature and the new sunglasses themselves through “word-of-mouth” and physical view, especially if these Ambermatic images are shared through social media.

Brand Marketing Through Storytelling

February 6, 2013

Regardless of age, storytelling captures the hearts and minds of an audience. Whether it’s real or fictional, the concept of brand marketing through storytelling creates room for opportunities. This approach correlates to the booming growth of social media over the past few years. Storytelling is a method that has been used for years in the marketing field but what makes the difference is the art of “writing” it. Creating a story is challenging but here are some key points to help you along the way.

Be truthful about your product. Although the storyline may be fictional, what your business can accomplish must play out the way it does in reality as it did in the story. Many marketeers use the “opportunity” approach in this method to avoid this problem while telling a creative story. They show how a consumer may use their product but don’t necessarily expect them to use it in such a manner. However, what’s expected of the business should stay consistent so consumers can expect to be pleased with the product or service offered. No one should be confused about what you have to offer.

Integrate personality into your story. Brand stories are not meant to be written as advertisements or sales pitches. They should be written in a sense that can relate to customers through experience, emotion or, in the best cases, both. A certain persona should be presented to narrate the story. If customers can’t relate to the story, it will appear boring. By incorporating a character in the story that people can root for and relate to, people will place themselves in the character’s shoes and experience what you have to offer vicariously.

Leave some mystery to the audience. By using the method of perpetual marketing, each piece of the story will feed off its previous part, leaving the audience wanting more to come. Leaving call to action at the end of the stories will instigate customers to go to the website or social media network, leading them to landing pages that may produce more sales.

Brand stories create new experiences for your consumers. It gives them a chance to participate through observation and hopefully, leave them wanting more so they purchase what you have to offer. Several stories gives consumers different ways to experience your product or service. By surrounding yourself with customers, you create several paths for them to come in contact and acknowledge your business.