New Generation of Ecommerce Sites – building communities and promoting social/political agendason Jun 01, 2011
There is enormous competition online for your buying $, finding better ways of reaching users is a top priority for online shop owners. Using social media is an absolute must, but how do you effectively incorporate it - how do you get users interested and excited about your ecommerce site to want to regularly visit and chat about it to their social networks? A popular trend has been to create an online shop that's a community or mini social network in itself. One such example is handmade crafts site Etsy, www.etsy.com. On Etsy, instead of selling the crafts work of one artist and having the challenges of promoting awareness of a single seller or store, this site is a platform for an infinite amount of artisans to sell their wares. This way, every seller on the site becomes a site promoter. The power in numbers is undeniable and gives Etsy an edge over other crafts selling sites. Aswell, within the site, users connect with eachother in 'circles' that allow them to network for personal and professional purposes within the site which strengthens the use and community feel.
Another very successful site using a similar model is Threadless: www.threadless.com This site has developed a strong, cool community of designers for one product: t-shirts. The site is extremely well stuctured and designed for optimal user expereince. They offer fun ways for designers and buyers to connect with eachother and participate in the social discourse and there are nice cash and prize incentives for top work. The site has plently of social media elements, video, and methods for users to promote the site through 'sharing'. Threadless runs strong social media campaigns that draw in even more traffic. This website is a great example of how it all comes together.
A slightly different approach to a new generation of ecommerce site is The Hemporer's Club: www.thehemperorsclub.com This relatively new site is selling high quality products with a message, lifestyle and social/political agenda. Although you may not agree with their views, the site owners are selling thier hemp street wear to raise awareness and promote the legalization of marijuana. The controversy of the site's agenda creates buzz that promotes the site on the social networks. Aswell, The Hemporer's Clib activly participates at related events and festivals, bringing their products directly to their audience, building strong relationsips. Wether thier customers want to activtely be a part of the movement or just want to buy into the lifestyle, customer loyalty is crucial. Word of mouth, the social networks and social media campaigns are key components to this kind of business.
All of these sites sell quality products, but what makes them different from traditional ecommerce sites is the way they embrace social media either in their platform or as an important component to their marketing strategies. These sites have created interesting ways to engage their audiences which encourages users to come back for more. Things to keep in mind for when running an online business.
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