6 eCommerce Stores with Exceptional Marketing StrategiesJuly 18, 2017 - Josh
As an eCommerce store owner, you have the opportunity to pursue a huge range of marketing channels. However, you are limited by the amount of time and resources you have to commit to each channel.
Dollar Shave Club aside, most marketing efforts are rarely an overnight success. Your marketing has to be an ongoing process of implementation, measurement and iteration. So how do you know what you should be focusing on? The obvious answer is to look at how successful stores have chosen to focus their marketing efforts.
So this week, I’ve collected a list of eCommerce stores with exceptional marketing. This list features stores from a range of industries, who use different approaches to marketing. The execution may vary, but their success is due to the one thing they all have in common: authentic storytelling.
But first, have a look at this list and see if you can apply any of these marketing strategies to your own eCommerce store.
The Reluctant Trading Co. is a fantastic example of story-driven marketing. The company sells spices direct from the best source, primarily pepper from India and sea-salt from Iceland. While the product might speak for itself, Scott takes the time to personally source each product and document the journey along the way. From this, he has created galleries of photos from each trip, as well as mini-documentaries which have seen success on sites like Reddit.
Source: Reluctant Trading
This penchant for quality resonates down both to The Reluctant Co.’s product packaging and to their blog. Their unique content and recipes have drawn the attention of several restaurants and food critics, who continue to be a reliable source of traffic.
All of this stems from creating media that reflects authenticity and quality. The Reluctant Trading Co. is a great example of how you can use content marketing to create a story around your brand. Just check out some of the reviews for The Reluctant Trading Co’s products to see the impact this can have on customer satisfaction.
Source: Reluctant Trading
While some companies adopt a cause to promote their product, Thankyou did just the opposite. The company started by donating 100% of the profits of their bottled water to help provide clean drinking water to those in need. They have since spread to a range of products all sold with the aim of bringing the one billion people who live in poverty up to a better standard of living.
As the company has expanded, so too has their approach to marketing. Thankyou utilizes their social cause to differentiate themselves from competitors and craft a story around their products.
At every stage, the customer is reminded of the change they have helped create through Thankyou’s products. From their packaging that highlights the number of “Food Days” they’ve funded, right through to the company name itself! Even post-purchase, the user can continue to interact with the brand by typing in their barcode to see what project their purchase has contributed towards. They further capitalize on this social-good across their social media channels. For example, customers can use the hashtag #ichoosethankyou to spread awareness of both the cause and the product.
Thankyou is an example of how you can create a community around your products through social media. The company has also successfully used product packaging to introduce new products without diluting their brand.
Seven years ago, Surfstich was a running out of a backyard garage in its founders’ North Sydney home. Now it is Australia’s largest online retailer and the world’s largest online action sports and youth apparel retailer. But Surfstitch certainly isn’t the only surf-lifestyle company to come from Australia -so how did they grow so quickly?
Surfstitch realized that existing surf-lifestyle retailers were too focused on retail stores. By focusing solely online, they could create marketing strategies that helped them outpace their competitors and quickly spread worldwide.
To get initial customers, the brand offers a generous $20 discount on new orders for signing up to their newsletter. However, once signed up, users aren’t just bombarded with sales and discounts. Surfstitch regularly showcases using unique product photography while also providing high, quality content from The Lens – their lifestyle and culture blog.
Source: The Lens
Surfstitch is an example of how online retailers can differentiate themselves from brick and mortar stores by
- investing in content and culture in place of in-store promotions and
- using email as a communication channel with great product photography.
ASOS has grown to become a powerhouse in online fashion. The company has a flurry of marketing initiatives, driven by a relentless approach to understanding both how their customers are interacting with their site and the different sub-cultures influencing fashion trends. For example, employees have access to desktop widgets that show how people are browsing and the best way to interact with them. They use data extensively to understand the behavior and motives of their customers.
This translates into some very effective marketing. While you might not expect such a data-driven company to publish a magazine, ASOS has 486,000 readers and 820,000 online subscribers. The publication is available offline and also has an interactive online version that links back to the products within each article.
Compared to new forms of media, a magazine might be considered restrictive in the type of content you can publish. However, ASOS have proven that it is still an effective way to reach customers.
For newer marketing channels, ASOS aims to be platform neutral, meaning videos can be shared across social media channels. They know their customers are spread across various channels and want to be able to reach them all in an equal, boundless way.
ASOS is a great case study for how you can use data to understand how your customers interact with your brand and create content that scales with your business.
Tortuga is a company born from two friends on a backpacking trip who became frustrated at the quality and design of the backpacks available at the time. So, obviously, they decided to start their own company. Now they sell not only backpacks but also a range of travel accessories designed for the urban backpacker.
Being a fully remote company themselves, Tortuga know first hand the importance of having good travel gear. This ethos is reflected in both the products and marketing of the brand.
For Tortuga, content has always been the biggest source of growth. Their investment in content really started to pay off when they introduced their Packsmith blog. Here, they help people decide on the best items to pack when they are limited on space. They also provide travel tips on making the most of your travels and places to see.
There are two benefits to this approach:
First, it organically attracts people who are soon to be traveling and are searching for tips on how to pack (Tortuga’s ideal customer).
Source: Tortuga Packsmith Blog
Second, it helps establish you as an authority in your field, which makes people more inclined to buy your products. Fred Perrotta, the President of Tortuga, explained:
By helping travelers, we became known as trusted experts in the field. Then people were willing to check out our products. Expertise is far more valuable than SEO when it comes to content. – Tortuga
Tortuga’s Packsmith blog is an example of how you can identify a common pain point for your customer and provide content to help resolve it. This form of marketing can be both cheaper and more effective than paid advertising.
Bringing the customer into the journey of how your product is made is an easy and effective way to create fantastic marketing content. Grovemade is a great example of how to do this right. They create desk and other accessories using wood and leather and share the process with their customers every step of the way. This quote illustrates the company philosophy that makes this possible:
“Rather than the traditional separations between design, manufacturing, and administration, we blend all departments together. Our marketing, photography, writing, and customer service are all done mere feet away from our woodshop” – Grovemade
This interconnectivity allows them to create content from varying perspectives. For example, their Instagram features a mix of photos showcasing
- the products being built and designed,
- the finished products themselves, and
- inspiration shots from nature that reflect the materials and design of their products.
They use this variety of photos to connect with their consumers and highlight their skill. For example, some posts feature a gallery of different versions of the product and ask their community which they prefer. Others will showcase the product in a particular setting where the eye is immediately drawn to the product being showcased. Understanding the use of different product photography is key to having such a diverse impact.
Each of these stores has one thing in common: their marketing tells a story that compliments their brand. Everything they do – from content to packaging – helps craft the image of their brand. Why is that important? There are very few barriers to entry to starting an eCommerce store, so your story, told through marketing, is the best way for you to stand out.
How can you create marketing that reflects your journey? Maybe start with a weekly newsletter about people who use your product, or make some changes to your product packaging. Whatever marketing strategies you use, tell your own story.