Lately, at Luminos, we’ve been investigating digitally native vertical brands and what has made them so successful. In my most recent post, I explored the effective digital commerce strategies that these brands have been using to drive business. Allbirds, a digitally native vertical brand known for its distinctive wool material shoe, recently executed an interesting play with mobile e-commerce: a new, limited-edition sneaker that is only available for purchase on Instagram.
Mobile e-commerce: meeting your customers where they are
The big sale already went down on March 1st, Allbirds’ second birthday and the guests in attendance (on Instagram) were ready to celebrate. Allbirds’ reasoning behind this strategy was that they had been actively building a substantial audience on social media, and on Instagram specifically.
The company considers this channel to be one of the leading ways it interacts with its target audience, and so they wanted to promote this new product directly to their biggest fans. In today’s market, it’s unwise to be out of touch with your customer communities. Allbirds knew that selling through this platform would serve well to meet its customers where they were, instead of relying on their customers to come to them. Customers were able to buy by swiping up on the company’s Instagram story, which is a step up from having to just rely on the link in the bio.
While Allbirds’ is not the very first company to sell products through Instagram, it is one of the first smaller, start-up brands to pull it off. Other companies like J. Crew have used social media to introduce new products and collect pre-orders before, but established brands face other challenges on the platform. Allbirds has over 115,000 followers on Instagram. Sound like a lot? Not really; retail competitors like Nike and New Balance each have 76 million and 2.6 million Instagram followers, respectively.
While Allbirds’ audience pales in comparison, they are long on agility and willingness to try new things. Their customers and products are also far more focused. Nike may have a profoundly more significant audience size, but they face a considerable challenge that Allbirds does not: highly diverse products and segments. In some cases, it may be better to cater to a much smaller, but more specific, target audience to guarantee the most profit.
Building a vibrant mobile e-commerce community
Yes, all of this selling online can be intimidating, but there are more advantages to using this model than just making a profit. Selling products through Instagram isn’t super rare anymore, but there are still a ton of businesses who haven’t yet caught up with the trend, making it an attractive medium-term differentiator, in addition to a line of additional revenue. A lot of companies just don’t seem to see the value in cultivating a robust online community. While their focus might be on driving profits, what these companies are failing to see is the opportunity to create a passionate community centered around their brand and its products. Don’t just use e-commerce to sell shoes, use it to sell the brand.
Three consumer benefits of being a part of a vibrant mobile e-commerce community:
- A sense that you are truly valued as a customer.
- A way to directly communicate with other customers and compare experiences with the brand.
- Always having something to look forward to, and actually be excited about.
That third point is vital. In addition to selling with a mobile e-commerce strategy, it is a smart way to improve customer retention. If you welcome your customers into an online community where they feel valued and talk with each other about the brand and its products, then you’ll likely foster an environment where customers see their preferences reflected in the newest line of products and feel a deeper connection to the brand.
This “customer feedback to product development” relationship can help a company retain its customers, and moreover gives them something to look forward to. When this aspect is implemented correctly, your campaign stops being just the new line of shoes coming out, and it starts becoming their new line of shoes.
Finding a guide to the best digital strategy
Digital commerce is an excellent way to sell and communicate with our community of customers. At Luminos Labs, we are always keeping up to date on the latest digital commerce trends and practices, and as such we have become experts in digital strategy overall. Whether you’re trying to sell your products through Instagram, or just trying to get a closer ear to your customer’s needs, we’d love to hear from you.
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