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Successful Digital Marketing Strategies for E-commerce

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Ivanna Shepetyuk
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E-commerce is one of the most competitive industries on the Internet. Regardless of whether you sell sports equipment, cars or jewelry, competitors will fight with you for every client, every click, like and repost. In order to win this war for the attention of customers, you need to constantly study successful digital marketing strategies for e-commerce and use them in your business. In the article you will find the ten best cases of digital marketing that will inspire you to launch your own, no less effective campaigns.

# 1. Zappos: quality is the best advertisement

Zappos Digital Marketing Strategies for E-commerce

Product Card on Zappos

Zappos is a leader in online shoe trading that has set the gold standard for customer service in e-commerce. Moreover, frankly, they did not try very hard to achieve this. All they did was install a 365-day money back guarantee, as well as free shipping on both sides if the client wants to return or exchange the goods purchased from them.

Customers liked these conditions so much that they began to sing the praises of Zappos and recommended their site to all friends and subscribers. Of course, along with this, the company spent a lot of money on advertising and marketing influence on social networks. But they did not rely on making people need their goods, but on what the client wants and needs.

  • Hint: if you have a quality product, confirm this with guarantees and use them to promote. This can reduce the profitability of an individual purchase, but you will win on sales and win the trust of customers.

# 2. American Express: free content

American Express Digital Marketing Strategies for E-commerce
Open Forum launched by American Express for its customers
Many companies often talk about the value of “online communities and conversations” with current and potential customers, but only a few actually create any community of value. Open Forum American Express is one of the few successful examples of such an online community where users can learn a lot of useful things and a company can sell their services.

The main feature of the Open Forum is that the content on the site is not created by American Express employees (or freelancers), but by invited experts, that is, the users themselves who share their knowledge and experience. Thanks to this approach, American Express turned out to be a mega site filled with useful content that is liked by both users and search engines.

  • Hint: it’s not you who is the creator of the content for your site. Find industry leaders who have the proper experience and knowledge, and ask them to write a couple of articles. So they can advertise themselves and their business, and you get high-quality content and free traffic for the site.

# 3. Mint: expensive high quality content

Mint Digital Marketing Strategies for E-commerce
A Dude’s Guide to Not Going Broke during Wedding Season infographic on MintLife Blog
Another example of a successful online community based marketing strategy is the MintLife Blog. Mint is a startup (online wallet) that once burst into a crowded niche in personal finance and was then sold to Intuit for $ 170 million.

The basis of Mint’s marketing strategy is their blog, on the content for which the company spends about $ 30,000 per month, and at the same time gives it out for free (without subscriptions and registrations). Mint publishes everything on the blog that can help make or save users ’money: from high-quality informational posts to eye-catching infographics (such as «A Dude’s Guide to Not Going Broke during Wedding Season»). And since the content is high-quality, the blog is popular and trusted by users, which contributes to the promotion of services and the Mint wallet.

  • Hint: investing in content marketing is expensive, but your strategy for producing high-quality content can attract market attention in a relatively short period of time.

# 4. Dollar Shave Club: funny marketing

First video of DollarShaveClub Youtube Preview' > " rel="nofollow">Our Blades Are F***ing Great, with 27 million views
“What could be more boring than shaving?” - many think so, but not the Dollar Shave Club (DSC). These guys decided to shake the market and added some fun to it, creating funny and cute videos, each of which is gaining millions of views on YouTube. In addition, these guys were also not afraid to write articles such as «Do I really need to wash my hands after I pee?» and «Is it bad to pluck the hair in my nose with my fingers?».

Thanks to the “fun” approach, DSC, launched in 2012 company, has grown from zero to four billion dollars in four years. For this amount, DSC bought Unilever in 2016 (Gillette's capitalization is $ 40 billion). A great result for a great digital marketing strategy for e-commerce.

  • Hint: don't be afraid to have fun! DSC does not take itself too seriously (or even a little seriously). Everything from marketing to packaging, these guys do fun, carefree and even mocking. And customers love them for it (and therefore buy Dollar Shave Club razors).

# 5. Wirecutter: collaborating marketing

Wirecutter Digital Marketing Strategies for E-commerce
Wirecutter website with custom product and service reviews
Previously, websites that earned on e-commerce affiliate programs hired copywriters who wrote biased reviews, comments and ratings for money with links to the purchase of a monitored product or service. But Wirecutter has changed this with a new, unusually successful marketing strategy that relies on honesty and accuracy.

In fact, Wirecutter is a magazine with professional reviews of various products, some of which come with a purchase link. Wirecutter posts are written according to strict journalistic standards based on testers' reports, interviews with specialized journalists and scientists. In addition, the Wirecutter team of writers retains editorial independence: when reviewing, they don’t know which product will go along with the affiliate link and what commission there will be (percentage).

This approach is credible for users, and therefore they willingly believe the recommendations of Wirecutter and use their affiliate links, thanks to which the company managed to earn over $ 150 million in partnership transactions in 2015, after which the New York Times was acquired for $ 30 million.

  • Hint: if you give recommendations, do it as honestly and impartially as possible. Modern consumers are wary of advertising and quite well recognize native (hidden) advertising. Wirecutter understands this, and therefore their marketing is to write honest, first-class reviews, and users will take care of the rest (likes, reposts and recommendations).

# 6. BeardBrand: personalized look

BeardBrand Digital Marketing Strategies for E-commerce
BeardBrand Blog About “Urban Bearsman”
BeardBrand is an American company offering men's care products, mainly for beard care. They started in 2014, when there were already many similar companies on the market, and therefore BeardBrand began to look for a way to stand out. And they succeeded: they focused on content marketing, promoting stories about " Urban Bearsman ", through which they talked about the company and products.

BeardBrand’s marketing strategy included videos, blog articles, pr-releases, and search and social media ads. The company's approach appealed to bearded men, as well as the Men's Journal, New York Times and Shark Tank, which have repeatedly responded well to BeardBrand. Now the brand has over 300 thousand subscribers on all platforms and their number continues to grow.

  • Hint: if you need to stand out among competitors, then one of the options is to create a personalized artistic image of the client and tell various stories on his behalf (and at the same time promote the product or service). If everything is done correctly, people will subconsciously identify with this image, and therefore they will want to use what he uses (for example, a razor). To understand how it works, study the operation of mirror neurons.

# 7. Overstock: soft touch points

Overstock commercial
Overstock is an online store of high-quality, but not very expensive furniture and accessories that focuses on women aged 18 to 44 years. They chose an unusual marketing strategy, according to which you need to promote not your product, social pages or blog, but third-party publications where the product or brand is displayed in a favorable light.

To implement the plan, Overstock divided the strategy into 2 stages:

  1. The first is the creation of informational occasions for the media.
  2. The second - targeted advertising in search engines and social networks of articles that say that Overstock furniture is high-quality, stylish and inexpensive.
Some articles on third-party services are custom-made, and there are polls in them that can help you determine the attitude to the brand. This so-called “feedback loop”, which showed that 60% of people who read the article, became more interested in shopping with Overstock.
  • Hint: advertising through the promotion of third-party content, where your brand is displayed in a positive way, is a soft touch point, perceived not as advertising, but as an objective recommendation.

# 8. JetBlue: focus on customer requests

JetBlue Digital Marketing Strategies for E-commerce
Most Twitter JetBlue feed is answers on customer questions
One of the most common mistakes most digital marketing campaigns make is the desire to publish or promote only self-promotion materials. This is a minus, since no one wants to talk with a person (monitor the company), who cannot stop talking about himself.

The British low-cost airline JetBlue understands this very well, and therefore a significant part of the effort is spent not on self-promotion, but on information useful to customers: from educational articles to answering specific questions of people on Twitter.

  • Hint: in your blogs and social networks (places of constant contact with customers), keep a balance between self-advertising materials and information that your subscribers can use. Answer user questions when they turn to your brand online.

# 9. Blue Apron: emotions that sell

https://vimeo.com/347636594
Emotional advertising Blue Apron in Vimeo
Blue Apron delivers food and organic products from farms. The company broke into the market with an excellent marketing strategy called “What Can Cooking Do”. It is based on a weekly series of videos where the camera’s focus is not on cooking or food, but on the emotions of people who cook, eat and tell their stories.
  • Hint: companies such as Blue Apron, Coca-Cola or Milka sell not so much their product as the emotions that surround them (thanks to advertising), and it works great.

# 10. Mastercard: exciting events

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Chicago Cubs triumphant Mastercard ad
Mastercard financial services leader is well placed to create exciting events that excite and keep their customers, for example, as in the case of a dispute between fans of MLB teams during the World Series about who is louder.

The bottom line is, when in 2016 the Chicago Cubs were confidently moving towards breaking the 108-year-old series of setbacks in the World Series, Mastercard decided to play it to become part of the story. They set themselves two goals:

  • use the experiences of fans of Chicago Cubs;
  • join the conversation of the media and fans of Chicago Cubs about the success of their beloved team and the World Series as a whole.

After that, Mastercard recovered in search of the perfect strategy and after some time stumbled upon the perfect excuse: a rival team player accused Chicago Cubs fans of not having passion for his team: “Wrigley wasn't that loud” (Wrigley Field is a baseball stadium located in Chicago home to Chicago Cubs). This comment has caused strong protest from Cubs fans.

Mastercard decided to use this reason, checking the approval of rival Chicago Cubs. Employees at Mastercard deployed a device for measuring the volume of fans on the Wrigley Field around the perimeter of the stadium. By measuring the sound power, the company found out how loud the fans were: more than 100 decibels. «Sound of Priceless» video about it has become viral.

  • Hint: when you try to create viral content, look for something that will be supported not only by you, but also by other people or brands, such as Chicago Cubs fans and the media, looking for information about the World Series. In addition, note that Mastercard patiently waited for the last, decisive match to maximize coverage.


Successful Digital Marketing Strategies for E-commerce key takeaways:

#1. # 1. Zappos: quality is the best advertisement
#2. # 2. American Express: free content
#3. # 3. Mint: expensive high quality content
#4. # 4. Dollar Shave Club: funny marketing
#5. # 5. Wirecutter: collaborating marketing
#6. # 6. BeardBrand: personalized look
#7. # 7. Overstock: soft touch points
#8. # 8. JetBlue: focus on customer requests
#9. # 9. Blue Apron: emotions that sell
#10. # 10. Mastercard: exciting events

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Ivanna Shepetyuk
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Merehead is a leading marketing agency. Talk to our experts.

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