I decided to look at some direct evidence for social media and its positive effects with eCommerce online businesses both for “Business to Consumer” (B2C) companies as well as “Business to Business” (B2B) companies.
Also I came across these rather diverse examples where social media was very evident in producing results.
Case Study One: Zappos (Online Shoe Store)
Why is Zappos so successful at Social Media? What is their strategic approach? It comes down to two things. Service and Culture and they believe they are one and the same thing and because their culture is unique and offers the company a competitive advantage, they use Social media to project that culture out into the world.
So what are some of the elements of this approach?
- They have a Twitter account dedicated to Service Issues
- To uncover service opportunities
- Initiate response
- Amplify praise
- Reinforce Service reputation
- The company’s 400 employees all have Twitter accounts
- Who they hire is consistent with this culture of service
- Most of their social media initiatives are about exposing the people at Zappos, who through their actions reinforce the company’s competitive advantage. It makes the company real.
- The CEO leads by example he communicates about his passions. He is personally invested in Social Media
- They do measure social media but don’t calculate it’s ROI on Sales as they don’t consider it a traditional marketing channel
The primary purpose of their blogs and twitter is so that outsiders can get a glimpse of their company’s culture.
Case Study Two: Dell
They are very strong on Social Media. They have a “Conversations and Communities” team of 40 and they have several blogs, including a direct to consumer blog and several special interest blogs and engage in almost every major social media channel
Some other Highlights:
- Over 65 corporate twitter accounts
- More than 400,000 followers
- They do promote on Twitter, e.g. “15% off any Dell Outlet Inspiron 15 – 1545 laptop. Enter code at checkout: S2?70S6LK1VWVS – only at http://bit.ly/SM28A– exp 8/315:05 AM Aug 28th from CoTweet”
- Have sold Over $3 Million in Sales via Twitter
Case Study Three: WetSeal
They are an online E-Commerce store that sells Teen Clothing For Girls
They launched a community section of their site where fans can design their own ensembles and publish them to the community for reviews. What does this achieve?
- It leverages wisdom and creativity of the crowds
- It provides social validation of fashion choices to enhance selling
- It is user generated merchandising
Result: Immediately After Using Social Media: 10% increase of sales as well as a 10% increase in the average dollar value of the sale (Net benefit. 21% increase in revenue)
Case Study 4: Build-A-Bear Workshop
Challenge this one …..as it is an “Experience Retailer” (How Do You Create an In Store Experience and create it Online?) and ..How do you take your brand online, without losing your experience and commoditizing your product.
Well…They created a kids’ virtual world where
- Kids could interact and chat
- Play games
- Earn virtual currency
- Spend virtual currency on items in the virtual world, like clothes or furniture for your condo
- What the game did was create fundamental changes to the buying experience and value proposition that
- Extended the instore experience to online
- Increased frequency from occasional to daily or weekly
- Influenced 10% of sales
Result: Since being initiated last year sales of “60,000 units” in virtual goods and nearly “half a million dollars in real revenue”.
Case Study Five: Hubspot
(Business: Online services to businesses for generating inbound leads. Permission Marketing)
This is what Mike Volpe The VP of Marketing revealed about some of the elements and successes of Hubspots Inbound marketing strategies
- “With our com tool, we marketed it through social networks and it brought us 450,000 leads,” says Marketing VP Mike Volpe at HubSpot
- “Those leads are one of the most important channels for us as far as sales; 2 to 4 percent of the qualified leads convert to HubSpot customers.”
- Volpe’s firm hired an intern to post its software tutorial videos on YouTube, one of hundreds of content-sharing sites. After uploading a video, YouTube provides a code that anyone can use to add it to their blog or Webpage. “We didn’t promote them at all, and we started to get over 10,000 views a month of those videos up on YouTube,” Volpe says. “We’ve since discovered that in-bound marketing–a combination of social media, search-engine optimization and blogging–is by far the highest ROI of any marketing out there.” Those views turned into leads that generated sales
- In summary he said “a combination of social media, search-engine optimization and blogging–is by far the highest ROI of any marketing out there.
- A Hubspot Report mentioned in their Blog post reveals a $84 cost per lead versus $220 for traditional marketing
So is your eCommerce site using the social media to connect and promote? Look forward to hearing your story.