Looking for great examples of eCommerce marketing is a lot like looking at animals in the zoo. In its element, each animal is majestic. Similarly in ecommerce marketing, each use case needs to be appreciated in its own light.
Below is a list of 7 different ecommerce businesses with inspired marketing accompanied with information on what they excel at and how they did it. We hope this serves as inspiration.
1) Given Goods Company – Incentivizing for Customer Retention
Given Goods gives each of its customers a personal dashboard (yes, really) to let them know how much good karma they’ve accumulated. It’s one of the smartest ideas for incentivizing customers to keep coming back.
They have two interesting features.
Below is the Impact Graph, a Google Map populated with data showing purchases the individual customer has made.
The other feature is called the Impact Profile. Customers see a chronological timeline of when they last made social impact through another area of the dashboard.
The “feel good” realization of buying on Given Goods is instant. It makes the site incredibly sticky. These dashboards work because they attach emotional value to the purchase.
Although the maps and presentation of social impact is unique to Given Goods, there are lessons to be here for any ecommerce site. How did the purchase of a product translate into a greater impact worth celebrating?
– Could AutoParts perhaps benefit from showing how much more mileage people got out of their cars since buying something?
– Could a retailer that sells iPad accessories give people a “bucketlist” of all the things they should accomplish with their iPads and provide accompanying products to help them fulfill the list? For example, “reading ghost stories from your iPad around a campfire” might be a way to drive consumers to buy an external battery pack.
2) BetaBrand – Compelling Copy in Product Descriptions
Betabrand’s copywriters could sell a cage to a lion. Look at how engaging their copy is for Courdoroy Pants:
“Betabrand has fabricated corduroy … lowering drag coefficient by an amazing 16.4%!”
The witty and irreverent style that Betabrand uses is unforgettably funny. The humor also has strategic implications. The product descriptions that Betabrand writes arms the owners of its products to become brand evangelists. It helps people explain why the pants they just bought are so cool. Betabrand understands that it’s appealing to a niche customer with its humor.
Serving the needs of a niche customer segment is often the case for most ecommerce dropshippers anyways. If it is, then it probably makes sense to invest heavily in ways to appeal to that niche. There’s a marketing implication here too. You need to recruit your customers to create a “mythology” around your brand. Can you capture the imagination of your niche’s most passionate users and arm them with the ability to talk about your brand?
3) Bonobos – Gamification of eCommerce
Bonobos really stepped the standard for social media engagement and promotions when it started doing online easter egg hunts. Bonobos struck up a collaboration with NOTCOT.org and Notcouture to create a scavenger hunt where customers would have to “keep an eye out for the special little guy in paisley pants.” The first 50 people to find the image everyday would receive a $25 Bonobo’s Credit. It’s a really interesting example of gamification in ecommerce.
What’s gamification? It’s a process where you provide incentives to your customers through points, completion triggers or achievements that help them accomplish a business objective you have in mind. It doesn’t always have to be measure in terms of raw revenue though – in fact, Richard Mumby, VP of Marketing at Bonobos stated that:
“The key to making gaming work within our ecommerce experience is focusing on making it social, not making it commercial (in terms of focusing solely focusing on sales.”
Here’s another example of what Bonobos did with gamification:
Why are these things so powerful?
Richard Mumby, Vice President of Marketing, at Bonobos, described its value best, “Your fans and follows are looking to interact with you, not to passively take in your content. Provide engaging posts and tweets that solicit a response. Allowing them to take action and become involved in something is the key to a very loyal and evangelical customer base.” In other words, gamification incentives your customers to actively seek out your advertisements.
(P.S Mark Hayes wrote an incredible how-to on the Shopify Blog with several ideas about how to create gamification within ecommerce.)
4) Lands’ End – Content Before the Catalogue
Similar to gamification, Lands’ End’s Apostrophe is making advertisements desirable. Take a look at this page – is this from a catalogue or a magazine?
By adding a little extra value – in the form of artistic landscape photographs, quotes and articles – to its catalogue, it transformed into something that’s significantly more readable. This is a good example of content marketing working with native advertising. If the mouse cursor hovers over a product, a subtle link appears that could take the viewer back to the product page.
Lands’ End used Google Catalog to publish this catalog – err, magazine. Unfortunately, as of August 2013, that app has been discontinued. That’s ok. There are other alternatives… Home Depot is using Flipboard to curate a magazine on outdoor gardening.
LL Bean’s Pinterest page has 26 boards on Pinterest but at least 8 of them have nothing to do with LL Bean merchandise. The “Woodland Creatures” board has 4.5 million followers. The Pinterest Board is more like a trade publication for the outdoorsy lifestyle than it is a product catalogue.
The virtue here is the “golden rule” of marketing – give before you get.
Don’t demand attention to be drawn to the product pages, lure people in by giving them something of value.
P.S . This is an excellent article about how to increases sales by using Pinterest for eCommerce.
5) Nasty Gal – Fan Photos of Products
Many retailers create great branding on social media but struggle to relate the buzz back to their business. Nasty Gal uses a service called Olapic to consolidate the photos fans post on Instagram into their product pages.
Nasty Gal also posts the Instagram photos on a separate site, The Click, where Instagram photos with the #nastygal tag are aggregated. Each photo on this site links back to the product page.
The ability to show social proof helps Nasty Gal’s convince new customers to trust the product. Being able to see real customers wear Nasty Gal merchandise makes it much easier for one to visualize wearing it herself.
It also lets Nasty Gal give their loyal fanbase an entirely new kind of experience – where else can you buy a product and have a chance to be featured on the product page? There is an element of gamification which can come into play here. For example, visitors may feel incentivized to buy something which doesn’t currently have a customer submitted photo just so they can have the satisfaction of being featured on the site. Nasty Gal could mobilize customers to become more active on social media and reward them by featuring their photo.
6) National Builder Supply – Well Articulated Value Propositions
Compared to the other ecommerce sites featured in this list, this one may come a surprise. National Builder Supply sells goods that have the exact same SKUs as Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon and other dropshippers have. The commodity products they sell aren’t exceptionally difficult to find either.
How on earth do they remain in business?
Below are two screenshots from the landing page of their website. Pay attention to the copywriting:
What stands out? Notice how specific they are about the anticipating who their customers are and customizing the value proposition to each right away? For contractors – it’s the ability to get discounts and a dedicated account manager. The same thing is articulated for the DIYers but the language changed appropriately.
If you go further down, National Builder Supply makes it clear that they’re able to offer assistance from product experts. There’s a good reason they included faces of their specialists as well – it increases conversion rates.
The word “help” pops up an incredible 8 times in the landing page. The well articulated value proposition of good customer service is the differentiator that let this ecommerce business compete.
7) Dodocase – Reducing Site Abandonment
Dodocase uses a tool called BounceExchange that interrupts site visitors with a HUGE call-to-action overlay with just as they’re about to exit the website. Here’s what it looks like:
It’s a pattern interrupt designed to make the customer slow down.
The overlay could be used to collect email addresses, direct traffic to specific pages on the site or push campaigns to encourage visitors complete their shopping cart. According to a case study on Bounce Exchange’s impact for BabyAge.com, it resulted in an 8% email capture on the website and a 60% increase in monthly email revenue.
Serendipitous coupons that come in just when a cart is about to be abandoned or a prompt asking for an email address right before a visitor leaves is as close to a real-life “hail mary” as we can get on ecommerce. There are other tools other than BounceExchange which can help create pattern interrupts such as Granify and Olark,
These are just a handful of interesting ecommerce businesses which are doing things right. The tools and tactics used by each business is unique to the needs but we felt that this would serve as a good source of inspiration. Definitely share other interesting tools or insights with us. As always, if you have any questions about HubLogix, drop a line below!
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