Breaking Down Social Commerce

November 18th, 2010 by Matthew Rosenhaft Leave a reply »

If you read Jeremiah Owyang from the Altimeter Group’s post with their report on social commerce, you will know that they do a great job (as always) breaking down the “what” of social commerce. They outline clear stages and shows best in class examples. A great read if you haven’t already.

Most of the time, most companies need help in working through the process of “how” does it apply to us and how do we build a social business strategy that makes sense. Social commerce is a large component, but usally part of a larger business strategy.

To that end, I thought I would throw in our 2 cents worth (no pun there) on developing a social commerce plan for your organization piggy-backing on Jeremiah’s post:

1. Identify the Buyer Behaviors and Motivation for Purchase – not just talking about household members or even consumers, but even in complex B-to-B sales, we are seeing the need to understand the psychographic segmentation, the unique buying motivation, and catalysts for purchase. We have built (and continually refining) our buyer type model to help us identify the differences in buyer behavior and buying process. Still a fusion of qualatative and quantatative as there isn’t a tool with a one-click, poof you have a clear understanding of why they want to buy. However, we are using this to help us to identify the language they are using, the process of how they shop online, and see differences in behaviors based upon different buying motivation. I see this as early in development, but it parallels a lot of the work that the behavioral scientists, analytics gurus, etc are doing. As early as we are, any edge could translate into major dollars for the major brands.

2. Understand the Collaborative Buying Process – every market research audit that we have done in the last year has shown that buyers are leveraging social media for at least one stage of the buying process; whether research, validation, ideation, process, etc. If you don’t understand the differences in buyers and the nuances in their buying process, it is hard to interact with them appropriately in the social space. I don’t mean that you can’t get millions of Facebook fans, but if you really want to interact with them and influence their buying behavior; you have to understand how they are interacting with their peer networks and to what extent are they leveraging the collaboration to assist in purchasing. What was once a linear buying process has gone non-linear. What was done one-to-one is now done publically. Once again, we are seeing influencers in both B-to-C and B-to-B (influencer may be within the organization versus external). If you are looking at it the right way, you are looking at how to enhance the collaborative buying process to make a better customer experience. Simply, add value to get transactions.

3. Solve Problems with Creativity - We work with agencies and internal marketing groups at every one of our clients. Which is good for them as I am creativily challenged and color-blind. The key that I have found in driving high performance from creative teams is to first define the box. Give them the goals, define the boundaries, define the measurement, and get out of their way. This works with creative designers in every medium, but especially web. Focus the energies on solving a set of problems and you will harness that energy in the right direction. Don’t and you will get a really cool “app” that has no real function other than it is really cool…

If your team doesn’t understand the real problems of the customers, the differences in their buying behavior, and the socially enabled collaborative buying processes; then you will find it is harder to align the customer experience to the business objectives that you have defined in your social commerce plan.

Maybe 3 cents worth…

Matthew Rosenhaft

Matthew is a Social Marketing Executive and is co-founder of Social Gastronomy, LLC and the Social Executive Council. Prior to founding Social Gastronomy, Matthew has over 18 years’ experience as an executive in marketing, product management, and sales. Matthew has an extensive background in the SaaS Software, Social Media, Mobile, IT Services, and Telecom industries. He has prior entrepreneurial experience as a founder and executive in several early-stage venture-backed technology companies, as well as, holds several US patents for a mobile marketing technology. Matthew is a prominent blogger and regular industry speaker on social marketing and strategy topics. Matthew’s blog can be found at For more information on Matthew, you can check out his LinkedIn profile at or contact him directly at