“Life is too short to drink bad wine.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

You enjoy an occasional glass of red wine, or you just want to pair the day’s love infused dinner with an exquisite bottle of white. You go to the nearest wine shop, liquor store or supermarket only to be left alone staring at the abundance of options. Of course, you can ask the salesperson at the shop, but can he or she incorporate the knowledge of millions of wines into his recommendation? No, I didn’t think so either. It is your lucky day though, Vivino is here to help.

Finding the perfect bottle

Vivino boasts over 9 million different wines in its database covering over 3000 different wine regions for its community of 29 million wine lovers. Founded in the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, by Heini Zachariassen and Theis Søndergaard in 2010, it is world’s largest online wine marketplace. The company is spread over three continents with their offices in Copenhagen, San Fransico, Ukraine and India, and so far has secured $56.3 million in funding including a staggering $25 million from SCP Neptune, the family office investment vehicle of the Moët Hennesy CEO, Christophe Navarre. A “community-powered e-commerce platform for personalized recommendations” as Zachariassen puts it, allows users to scan the labels of the whichever bottle they are about to buy and the app recognizes the key pieces of information such as the price, producer, year and the region of production. The app also gives tasting notes and recommends food pairings to go with your precious bottle.

Here’s a 60-second video explaining how:

Wine lovers unite!

The community dimension of Vivino is what makes it a truly customer-centric platform. It allows users to rate the wines, read the comments of other users and even follow their fellow oenophiles, possibly consisting of family and friends whose reviews will be highlighted in their feeds. Since the launch of the app some seven years ago, half a billion labels have been scanned and 88 million ratings have been submitted. With such a wealth of data, the company launched Vivino Market in 2017 offering wine lovers customized recommendations depending on their past behavior on the platform. The more labels they scan and more ratings and reviews they leave on the platform, the better recommendations the users get. Vivino seems to be the perfect conjunction of social media, big data, and machine learning assisting wine lovers to never be disappointed ever again with their choice of wine.

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Vivino by the numbers

A new era for selling wines

Vivino’s value proposition does not only concern wine lovers in the pursuit of a good wine. It also benefits retail partners and sommeliers alike. Guest-to-sommelier interaction is usually an awkward one: guest trying to explain what kind of wine he or she likes and sommelier trying to pinpoint “the one” with not much to go on other than “dry”. Vivino successfully steps in at this point. The users of the platform can simply show the sommeliers wines that they previously enjoyed, making everyone’s lives a little easier. And Scott Zocolillo, Managing Partner, and Sommelier at Nectar in suburban Philadelphia’s Berwyn agrees: “Vivino, to me, shows trends and preferences. I love when a guest has their app out, [as] it helps move the conversation along and helps me do my job and get them the best wine for their experience.” It doesn’t end there, though. Through its marketplace, Vivino charges a flat commission for retailers on the orders that are bought on its website and app. With over $40 million worth of wine sold through Vivino, it provides a disruptive opportunity for wine producers to reach a vast community of users who are appreciative of wine. A win-win situation for all parties involved!

Powered by a solid community of users with its current data capabilities, the company plans to expand to emerging markets such as Hong Kong, Brazil, and Mexico through its increased partnerships. The goal is to sell $1 billion in wine by 2020 and with 2 years to go, that doesn’t seem to be an easy target. However, Zachariassen seems to believe in the potential of the online market for wines. “Wine is a $300 billion industry and if you look at the online part of wine, e-commerce, it’s still very, very small,” says Zachariassen, pointing towards a plethora of opportunities in the online wine retail business in the years to come. For now, what we can do as wine lovers is to sit back, relax and crack open that bottle of red which is guaranteed to be a pleasure.

Here is another article written about Vivino from 2014: https://consumervaluecreation.com/2014/05/18/viva-il-vino-exploring-wine-with-vivino/


Crunchbase. (2018). Vivino | Crunchbase. [online] Available at: https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/vivino#section-locked-marketplace [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018].

Freedman, B. (2017). The Launch Of Vivino Market Could Herald A New Era In Wine Buying. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianfreedman/2017/03/30/the-launch-of-vivino-market-could-herald-a-new-era-in-wine-buying/#35e56f975ed1 [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018].

Page, H. (2018). Investors Pour $20M More Into Wine Curation And Delivery App Vivino – Crunchbase News. [online] Crunchbase News. Available at: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/investors-pour-20m-wine-curation-delivery-app-vivino/ [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018].

Scott, K. (2017). Vivino: This app is designed to turn anyone into a wine expert. [online] CNNMoney. Available at: http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/01/smallbusiness/vivino-wine-app/index.html [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018].

Vivino.com. (2018). About Vivino. [online] Available at: https://www.vivino.com/about [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018].

Yeung, K. (2016). Vivino raises $25M round, led by Moet Hennessey’s CEO, for its wine discovery app. [online] VentureBeat. Available at: https://venturebeat.com/2016/01/12/vivino-raises-25m-round-led-by-moet-hennesseys-ceo-for-its-wine-discovery-app/ [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018].

Need a vacation? Send Coca-Cola a message!

Coca-Cola is an enormous brand with a value of 69.73 billion US dollars (Statista, 2018b). In the US, an average person drinks approximately 275 cans of coke per year which proves that the company has already ‘’attained’’ most of the people in the US (Stocker, 2015). Therefore, it is naturally to shift the marketing focus from short term sales towards a more long-term customer connection. Coca-Cola showed with their ‘’Share a Coke’’ campaign that loyalty among customers can be achieved by focusing on emotions.  In this campaign, the logos on the cola cans were replaced by popular names among young people (Moye, 2014). Basically, Coca-Cola was inviting buyers to take a part in a massive social marketing experience. On the long-run, this campaign turned out to be a huge success with almost 345,000 posts on Instagram with the Shareacoke hashtag. After a couple years of silence, Coca-Cola made its come back last summer.

The competition between Pepsi and Coca-Cola is an ongoing and endless battle, but the latter made an attempt to be the number one in the holy Ramadan month of 2017. Coca-Cola Egypt has studied the process of persuasion in which a very well-trained team helps employees to get the vacation they want (ThinkMarketing, 2017). The first thing was learning to build solid arguments, followed by understanding the personality of the concerning manager.  The company itself made it clear that anyone could be convinced.

The campaign went as following: the campaign encouraged individuals to contact Coca-Cola and describe the manager’s characteristics. This could be done by sending a private message and using the hashtag “#الأجيزة” with the name of the manager (Imfnd, 2017). After analyzing the characteristics of the manager, Coca-Cola’s well-trained team constructed arguments which are convincing enough for the specific manager. However, the arguments are not the only crucial part of the convincing process. The delivery of the arguments also counts. This differs per person, since every person is sensitive for different things.  After the team had constructed the solid arguments and found a way to deliver it, Coca-Cola sent the employee a video to convince the manager in giving him/her a vacation (ThinksMarketing, 2017).

The timing of the ad was perfect, since it was broadcasted two weeks before the annual vacation of Eid. Next, the team was chosen well since the members varied in both skills and appearance.  Furthermore, Coca-Cola made a smart choice by reintroducing a hashtag campaign. The main reason is because the number of social media users saw an increase between 2014 and 2017 from 1.91 billion to 2.46 billion (Statista, 2018a). However, the campaign was not a success. The ad had received approximately 1.6 million views in the 19 days it was broadcasted. This is impressive for an average brand, but certainly not for a heavy weightier as Coca-Cola. For example, Pepsi had received almost 1.9 million views in 7 days in the same period. The question remains, why was the campaign not successful?

COca cola campaign

There may be several reasons. Firstly, the campaigns served as a reaction to the losing classic soft drink battle between Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Pepsi has already managed to take over of almost 55% of the total viewership between the two and additionally 62% of the engagement (InsightHub, 2017). Thus, to fight back against the superior campaign ad of Pepsi, Coca-Cola released the discussed campaign. Coca-Cola switched from its original campaign towards the Ramadan campaign. Thus, the latter was basically a plan B. This indicates that there is a chance that due to lack of time, Coca Cola wasn’t able to prepare the campaign well.

Another reason may be because of privacy issues. Coca-Cola was only able to help if the description was detailed enough. This demands a lot of personal information from both the employee and manager. There is a good chance that employees were scared to be caught by managers and scared for the inherent consequences, like losing the job or make the relationship with the manager worse. Getting caught was a possible outcome since the whole foundation of the campaign was based on social media.

Concluding, the Ramadan 2017 campaign of Coca-Cola Egypt was not a success. Still, this was not a complete disaster. Coca-Cola, again, switched from focusing solely on acquiring as many new customers as possible, to engaging with its customers. Continuously engaging with customers is a crucial point here. Thus, even Coca-Cola has lost this battle; it still serves as a perfect example for many other companies.


Imfnd, (2017). Coke Comeback: How Coca-Cola Use “Customer Participation” in a community campaign – imfnd. [online]

InsightsHub. (2017). Soft Drinks | Ramadan Insights Hub. [online] Available at: https://ramadan.thinkmarketingmagazine.com/brands/soft-drinks-ramadan-2017-campaigns/ [Accessed 4 Mar. 2018].

Moye, J., (2014). Share a Coke: How the Groundbreaking Campaign Got Its Start ‘Down Under’. [online] The Coca-Cola Company. Available at: http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/share-a-coke-how-the-groundbreaking-campaign-got-its-start-down-under [Accessed 4 Mar. 2018].

Statista (2018a). Number of social media users worldwide 2010-2021 | Statista. [online] Statista. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/ [Accessed 4 Mar. 2018].

Statista (2018b). Topic: Coca-Cola Company. [online] http://www.statista.com. Available at: https://www.statista.com/topics/1392/coca-cola-company/ [Accessed 4 Mar. 2018].

Stocker, M. (2015). How Coca-Cola, Yoplait Use Customer Participation – Marketo. [online] Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

ThinkMarketing (2017). How to ask for a vacation? Coca Cola super convincing team got the answer! | Think Marketing. [online] Think Marketing.

New Ingredient for Your Diet: Virtual Support Communities!

Keywords: Virtual communities; Virtual support communities; Public commitment; Identity-based motivation; Social identity; Weight loss


                                               Share your progress 🙂

Dear bloggers,

Session 6 of the course Customer-centric Digital Commerce will be about community commitment and sharing economies. The required readings for this session are about why people participate in collaborative consumption and what managers should know about the sharing economy. This blog post will provide some insight into the required literature for this week by showing the effect virtual support communities could have on achieving individual goals, for example weight loss. I hope you feel inspired!

Have you ever wondered why your friends share their holidays, high wines and new clothes on Social Media that much? Do you sometimes feel desperate by watching so much bullsh#t on the day that you have to work on your blog posts? Well, then buy yourself a large Starbucks at the campus and feel energized. But.. does it actually help? I have a better suggestion: open your Instagram or SnapChat App and SHARE YOUR PROGRESS. I can promise you will feel energized as if you drank three Starbucks in a row!

Unfortunately, a new trend is coming where people actually don’t like the Social Media Bloggers since it make people feel the grass is always greener on the other side (you might recognize this). However, you can use that grass to color yours and benefit from it! But.. how?

The answer is simple: grab your mobile phone, open your Instagram and share your personal progress. And yes: this has been confirmed by a very interesting paper.

Academic Paper
Let me introduce you a very inspiring study, named ‘Weight loss Through Virtual Support Communities: A Role for Identity-based Motivation in Public Commitment’’. The authors of this study published their convincing findings in the Journal of Interactive Marketing and concluded that watching others’ success on social media can actually be effective for your own success. In this study, they observed the progress of two different weight-loss communities over a period of four years, which is quite long. They found that those who had shared their progress online had greater success in achieving their weight-loss goals than those who did not share their progress.

The two communities included in the study are ObesityHelp.com, the best website for surgical weight loss support, and WeightWatchers.com, the site for the top lifestyle-oriented weight loss program. Within these sites, individuals can access information or create content via blogs, chat rooms, or comments. They write and share blogs and are encouraged to actively share their progress through both text and pictures.

According to the authors, social identity motivates public commitment in support of goal attainment. The sharing of intimate information and photos about weight loss goals in virtual space seems to be a key factor in motivating behaviors and thus helps people attain their goals. So, actually, people can share the greenness of their grass instead of thinking that it’s always greener on the other side! GO ONLINE AND SHARE YOUR PROGRESS. It might be more effective than just drinking coffee..

Side note: there are four types of virtual support community members:

Which type of community member do you think you are? For example on Instagram?

Figure 1 | Typology of virtual support community members (Bradford et al., 2017)

Why is it relevant?
Not everyone can get the support they need from other people they interact with in person on a daily basis, for example friends and family. It might be helpful that technology can support community building and goal achievement in a digital world. Virtual Support Communities, such as online blogs, Instagram Blogs, and Facebook allow for accessibility, availability and flexibility in how users represent themselves on their achievements. These communities help participants to keep motivation and strive for progress. It decreases feelings of loneliness and makes people feel more happy and supported.

Virtual Suppo…. what’s that?
Social media can be used to build connections and relationships to have impact on the world. Jim Rawson says social media can build a virtual community in which to transform the sharing of ideas into real life endeavors. He is an academic professor at Georgia Regents University and his primary research interest is health policy, process improvement and innovative educational techniques. You should watch this video if you want a detailed explanation of what virtual support communities can do for online users today. Examples of virtual support communities are blogs on Instagram, Facebook and several webpages.

Click on the following link to watch the TedTalk of Jim Rawson on Youtube: TedTalk.

Figure 2 | Example of Virtual Support Community on Instagram (wdtv.com, 2018)

Conclusion – ”Sharing the triumphs and tribulations of your weight loss journey with other members of an online virtual support community plays an important role in achieving success, according this new study. The study examines the role of virtual communities and public commitment in setting and reaching weight loss goals.” – Bradford et al. 2017

Critical Note
Strength: the study provides a new definition of virtual support communities by developing a typology of different users. This typology is based on both beneficiary focus and the breadth of sharing.

Strength: the study contributes an explanation of how the balance between compliance and co-creation influences opportunities for public commitment in Virtual Support Communities. Prior literature called for additional research into roles for value creation in online communities. The authors of this study provide answers to this demand. 

Weakness: the authors do not explain the limitations of their study, they only discuss their contribution to prior literature. A critical note towards their own work is missing.

Weakness: the authors used two samples from the following communities: obesityhelp.com and weightwatchers.com. Both communities focus on lifestyle-oriented weight loss. The results of this study thus might be low in generalization since online communities differ in the subjects they are focusing on. It might be that sharing progress around for example career might be less positively working on others than the progress of weight loss. Losing weight is kind of health related and people would therefore feel more emotionally attached towards their ‘friends’. For sharing progress around careers, it might be that envy comes into play.

Suggestion: further research that investigate the effect of virtual support communities should incorporate several distinct online communities. Communities that both differ in user types (recruiters, learners, etc.) and are focused on different topics (career, study, health, etc.). Moreover, further research should make a critical note around their own work. This study doesn’t provide limitations, which is disadvantageous for readers’ confidence.


Are you ready to share your progress? I hope you feel inspired 🙂 



Tonya Williams Bradford, Sonya A. Grier, Geraldine Rosa Henderson, Weight Loss Through Virtual Support Communities: A Role for Identity-based Motivation in Public Commitment, Journal of Interactive Marketing, Volume 40, 2017, Pages 9-23, ISSN 1094-9968.

D. Verpalen
Erasmus University, The Netherlands