Friday, January 30, 2015

Delivering Customer Delight on Valentine’s Day

By: Fiona Swerdlow

The new consumer online shopping outlook for Valentine’s Day is in — and it spells good news for retailers. According to the latest consumer survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics for NRF, one-quarter of Valentine’s Day shoppers this year plan to make some portion of their purchases online. Another positive sign: Prosper’s Consumer Snapshot found that consumer confidence has risen for the third consecutive month. With these results in mind, shoppers planning to buy Valentine’s Day gifts online anticipate:
  • Spending an average of $199, up 13 percent from last year, and a good 40 percent more than the average across all Valentine’s Day shoppers.
  • Treating family and friends — the lion’s share of spending will go to significant others and spouses, but other family members, friends, co-workers and even pets will feel the love. 
  • Shopping for tried and true Valentine’s Day categories — retailers selling candy, greeting cards, flowers and jewelry will be among the most popular with Valentine’s Day shoppers, who plan to shop both online and in stores.
  • Tapping mobile devices to find, research and buy gifts — smartphone owners shopping for the occasion expect to use their devices to buy products, redeem coupons and more. Additionally, almost one in 10 expect to use it to pay for their purchases at checkout.

Retailers need to make sure they are on top of their game to delight and inspire customers in the coming weeks:

Coordinate fulfillment strategies and tactics to meet last-minute customer demand. Two years ago, Adobe found that Valentine’s Day spending on jewelry and gifts leapt the week before Valentine’s Day, but really spiked the week of and the days leading up to the holiday. With Valentine’s Day fortuitously falling on a Saturday this year, retailers may see shopping right through the big day. Promoting last-minute fulfillment capabilities via in-store pick up or same-day delivery services will resonate with time-starved customers. Just as with the big holiday season, retailers should coordinate well in advance with shipping partners to review volume forecasts and back-up plans to avoid delays — especially since winter weather can be unpredictable in many areas.

Tie together touchpoints. With consumers fluidly shopping across a retailer’s many touchpoints, Victoria’s Secret’s “digitally enabled” catalog allows smartphone users to download its app, get fit advice via a quiz and access product information to encourage purchases. Gap and Talbots both provide a “Reserve in Store” service that allows customers to shop online, then visit the store to try on items that have been set aside for them to try on before deciding to buy.

Make gift guides and gift suggestions pop online and in-store. Marketed and merchandised well, gift guides can inspire ideas for every customer. A far cry from the static image collage of yesteryear, Luxury Daily exhorts brands to “tell stories [and] spark emotion.” Tiffany & Co.’s Valentine’s Day gift guide features the witty “Concierge of Love” in a video series to help the gift giver with five different situations — like “unlock her heart” and “the most brilliant proposal” — each with a “shop the video” link to explore products, save for later review and buy on the spot.

Tune marketing strategies to assist customers but don’t give away the surprise. As for all seasonal shopping occasions, retailers are honing their digital marketing strategies to make sure they’re front and center when the customer is ready to find, research and buy. As Mobile Marketer points out, however, retargeting ads can be trickier in situations where people share devices and could potentially spoil the surprise, so paying attention to context in retargeting may help alleviate this situation.

Get a head start on your Valentine’s Day marketing and merchandising plans by checking out the full consumer survey details on

To view the original article visit:

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The 10 Runway Trends You'll Be Wearing This Spring

by Kate Schweitzer
Now officially in the New Year, we're starting to think seriously about next season's biggest fashion trends. What does that mean for you? Well, we worked overtime to make sure you know what you'll be wearing come Spring 2015 right now.

What we found were subtle — and not so subtle — nods to the 1970s, sporty touches that don't require a gym membership, shoulder-baring silhouettes, new uses for tiered skirts, and gingham prints that are so not your grandmother's. Keep reading to identify all the key looks, or jump right to the trending look you've have to see first.

From Left to Right: Oscar de la Renta Spring 2015, Karen Walker Spring 2015, Diane von Furstenberg Spring 2015

From Left to Right: Sonia Rykiel Spring 2015, Derek Lam Spring 2015, Gucci Spring 2015

From Left to Right: Gyunel Spring 2015, Valentino Spring 2015, Saint Laurent Spring 2015

From Left to Right: Victoria Beckham Spring 2015, Yigal Azrouƫl Spring 2015, Balenciaga Spring 2015

From Left to Right: Tommy Hilfiger Spring 2015, Chanel Spring 2015, Alberta Ferretti Spring 2015

 From Left to Right: Prabal Gurung Spring 2015, Jenny Packham Spring 2015, Versus Versace Spring 2015

From Left to Right: Tome Spring 2015, DKNY Spring 2015, Peter Som Spring 2015

From Left to Right: Victoria Beckham Spring 2015, Balmain Spring 2015, Giambattista Valli Spring 2015

From Left to Right: Ralph Lauren Spring 2015, Ferragamo Spring 2015, Jason Wu Spring 2015

From Left to Right: Alexander McQueen Spring 2015, Louis Vuitton Spring 2015, Christian Dior Spring 2015
Source: IMAXTREE, Getty

Which one is your favorite trend??

Todays Millennial Consumers May be Picky, But They're Loyal, Too

Millennials may be down, but they're not out. See how this key demographic spends its Benjamins.
By Vicky Castro
Image: Getty Images
It’s well known that Millennials were among the hardest hit by the economic downturn these last few years. And while it’s taken a toll on their financial strength, young people remain a key consumer base--and how they spend their cash should be top of mind for any customer-facing business.
That’s the focus of a new survey from Elite Daily, an online publication known as "The Voice of Generation Y," and Generation Y researcher Millennial Branding. On the whole, young people are eager to spend on technology like smartphones and cars versus, say, shelling out for a mortgage. As far as shelter goes, they would prefer to rent, according to the survey, which polled more than 1,300 Millennials in October 2014.
For this group of consumers, not only is brand loyalty important, but it is earned through product quality, a good customer experience, and the brand’s support for society. While 60 percent of respondents said they are often or always loyal to brands that they currently purchase, nearly half said the quality of the product is the most important attribute in a purchasing decision--more than twice that of price. And despite growing fears that all Millennials are all selfie-taking narcissists, 75 percent reported that it is either fairly important or very important that a company gives back to society instead of just making a profit.
A good customer experience and a “quality product” are the two most cited reasons for what influences Millennials to share information about a brand online. Sixty-two percent say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. Forty-three percent say Facebook is the social network with the most influence on their spending habits, followed by Instagram at 22 percent.
“If you want to connect with Millennials, then you’re going to have to rethink the way you advertise and market your product to them,” says Dan Schwabel, founder of Millennial branding. “Instead of traditional advertising, which they ignore, brands have to publish authentic content as a way of building trust and loyalty with this extremely important and influential demographic.”

Monday, January 26, 2015

4 ways to incorporate the Super Bowl into your marketing strategy

Posted on by
4 ways to incorporate the Super Bowl into your marketing strategy
The Super Bowl is known for its outrageously priced and highly valued commercial slots that the world's biggest companies invest in. With 30-second spots selling for several million dollars, a game time advertisement may not be in your marketing budget.

However, Intuit explained how small businesses have their own advantage during the big game where these billion dollar enterprises don't. Local stores can run more personal marketing campaigns that appeal directly to their patrons.

If you want to create store promotions based on the Super Bowl, Outmarket warned against using the official name for advertising. It's a trademarked title, so it's best to say "The Big Game" or another vague moniker.

As football season comes to a close, check out these four Super Bowl-themed sale ideas.

1. Use promotional products

Since plenty of people host parties during the big game, it's a good time to hand out branded promotional products that fit the theme. They can be a worthy investment because they build brand recognition as customers see your logo consistently.

Place an order for plastic stadium cups or drink koozies that have your store's name on them and put them on a few display fixtures. You can use the promotional products to your advantage in a handful of ways. Consider offering a set of cups or koozies to people who sign up for your mailing list at check-out. You could also distribute the items to customers who spend above a certain dollar amount.

2. Hold an anti-Super Bowl promotion

For certain industries, it might seem ineffective to incorporate the Super Bowl into your marketing strategy because the game isn't important to your customers. However, you can still take advantage of the seasonal event with an anti-Super Bowl sales promotion. Give shoppers a steep discount or coupon for their next visit if they make a purchase during the game.

3. Base a sale on the home team

If your state or region's favorite team doesn't make it into the Super Bowl this year, you can honor them in your own way. Let your customers know via social media that they will receive a discount if they come into the store on Super Bowl weekend wearing team colors or apparel.

4. Turn the final score into a deal

You may want to skip the pre-game hubbub and craft a promotion for the following week instead. Outmarket suggested using the final score of the big game to determine a discount based on percentage, such as the difference between the points. For example, if the score ends up as 21 to 7, you would offer a 14 percent price reduction on the merchandise.

To view the original article visit: 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Brick-and-mortar meets mobile: How the retail world is changing, and what it means for shoppers

Holiday Shopping-Black Friday
According to a recent study by consulting firm A.T. Kearney, 90 percent of all retail sales still occur in-store. But retailers need to up their game if they want to stay relevant. (AP Photo/Sun Herald, John Fitzhugh)
Anna Marum | The Oregonian/OregonLive By Anna Marum | The Oregonian/OregonLive The Oregonian
Email the author | Follow on Twitter                   
NEW YORK -- Though e-commerce sales are on the rise, they only made up 6.6 percent of total retail sales in last year's third quarter, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
And according to a recent survey of 2,500 shoppers by consulting firm A.T. Kearney, 90 percent of all sales still occur in physical stores.

The analysis went on to highlight the importance of brick-and-mortar stores in the future. At the National Retail Federation's annual conference here this week, speakers also touted the relevancy of physical stores and gave retailers advice on leveraging their stores in a world where shoppers make purchases on their phones, tablets and computers in addition to stores.
If retailers follow that advice, here are a few things shoppers can expect to see in coming years:

Seamless ordering

Say you visit your favorite store looking for a new pair of jeans, but they don't have your size. So the salesperson orders you the correct size. The company automatically calculates the fastest way to deliver the jeans, and they show up on your doorstep two days later, shipped from a nearby store (rather than a distribution center). Though some retailers already operate this way, it will become
more commonplace.

Better customer service

As consumers have more ways to shop, many retailers are using their brick-and-mortar stores to offer shoppers an experience, rather than just focusing on sales. This means a bigger emphasis on customer service to ensure that customers' experiences are always good ones.
Responsive innovations
Retailers do well to listen to their customers. A company that notices shoppers tweaking or changing their products can capitalize on that. For instance, when Levi's noticed its customers customizing their jeans, they started offering their own customization service: Levi's Lot No. 1.

Better in-store searchability

One of the downfalls of in-store shopping is that it can be really hard to find what you're looking for. So retailers are starting to realize they need to bring the search tools of online shopping to stores. This means customers would be able to find items on their list more easily, perhaps with an app that tells them which aisle each item is on or provides them with a personalized shopping route through the store. And while the technology to bring online-like searchability to stores already exists, few retailers offer it now.
The bottom line
At the NRF conference, James Wright, a senior partner at consulting firm Lippincott, left retailers with this: "If you decide you're not going to invest (in new technologies), you're going to have a very bad time."
-- Anna Marum

View the original article here:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

6 Mistakes that Can Get Your Emails Marked as Spam (Even if You’re Not a Spammer)

6 Mistakes that Can Get Your Emails Marked as Spam (Even if You’re Not a Spammer)
You’re not a spammer.

You value customer relationships and work hard to build trust with your customer base.

But even with all the work that you’re doing, you’re still seeing a handful of spam complaints when you send out your email marketing campaigns.

What are you doing wrong?

Because spam reports are often a matter of opinion — someone receives your email, decides it is unwanted, and clicks to “report as spam” — it can be difficult to figure out what you’re doing wrong.

While there’s no foolproof system for avoiding spam reports completely, there are certain warning signs you can watch out for as you prepare to send your next email campaign.

Let’s take a look at 6 common mistakes that you’ll want to avoid:

1. Not asking for permission

People open email from people they know, and they delete or mark as spam email from people they don’t recognize. It’s really that simple.

Permission-based email marketing is the best route to developing long-lasting email marketing relationships. When you ask permission, you’re able to build a list of people who are interested in your business and are excited to hear from you. They’re more likely to open your email, less likely to mark it as spam, and will stay with you longer than contacts that are added without consent.

Asking permission also keeps you in compliance with legislation such the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-Spam) and the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL).

2. Hiding your identity

Even if you ask for permission, if people can’t recognize that your emails are coming from you, they could still mark your emails as spam.

An easy fix to this problem is to use a familiar from name and from email address. If you have an email address that includes your business’s website, choose that address over one from a personal account.

Another easy fix is to add your branding to the emails you send out. Include your logo in a prominent location at the top of your email and choose colors that represent your business.

3. Sending irrelevant content

Your email content doesn’t have to be bad or offensive to be marked as spam. Often, the worst offense you can commit is to include content that simply isn’t interesting or relevant to the people you’re trying to reach.

Even if people aren’t marking your emails as spam, if they aren’t interested in what you’re sending it’s likely that they will send your emails to trash without giving you a second thought.

Pay attention to what’s working with your audience. Look at your email reports to see which content is getting the highest number of clicks. If you’re still not sure what people are interested in, ask them! You can use an online survey to collect feedback from your audience or update your sign-up form to include options for people to choose when signing up.

4. Breaking promises

When someone signs up to receive your email communications, they do so with the expectation of receiving something of value. If you don’t communicate clearly what that value is — or if they are signing up for one thing and receiving something different — you could be putting yourself at risk.

Give subscribers clear expectations before they share their email address. Let them know how often they’ll be hearing from you, what type of information they’ll receive, and why it’s a good idea to sign up.

Then, set up a welcome email to re-affirm their decision and remind them about what they’re going to receive.

5. Overwhelming your audience

Selling your products or services is an important part of email marketing, but if you’re sending too much promotional material you could be driving some people away.

This is why it’s so important to find a balance in the type of content you send out. As a standard, we recommend 80 percent helpful/informative content and 20 percent promotional.

When you are including promotional content, make sure it’s timely and relevant to the person you’re trying to reach. People are much more receptive to promotions if it helps them solve a problem they are faced with at that time.

Finally, keep an eye on your overall sending frequency. Even emails that are jam-packed with helpful content can be viewed as spam if you’re sending too frequently.

6. Making it difficult to opt-out

Often, people will mark email as spam because they simply want to get off a list.

While it can be difficult to let go, if you have people who aren’t interested in receiving your emails, it’s better to give them the option to opt out than to try to keep them on your email list.

If you’re a Constant Contact customer, there will be an unsubscribe link in every email you send out. Also, make sure to monitor the inbox for the address you are using to send your email campaigns, as many people will reply to your email and ask to be taken off your list.

If you’re focused on providing value to your email audience and are taking the right steps to obtain permission, you’re already on the right track to avoiding spam complaints.

Hopefully these tips help you solve your spam setbacks.

To view the original article please visit:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

One Step at CES 2015

The Consumer Electronic Show or CES wrapped up last week in Las Vegas and One Step Retail Solutions had a front row seat exploring and testing some of the newest inventions! Below are some of our favorites that we came across:


“Pajamas for Your Ears” That’s what their slogan is and that’s very much how they function. While at CES, we got to see how comfortable and soothing these were as opposed to trying to fall asleep with buds in your ears. If you’re a fan of falling asleep to music or calming sounds, this product is definitely worth checking out!


If you enjoy their SleepPhones® make sure to check out their RunningPhones® for when you’re getting your sweat on!

SleepPhones® retails at $39.95
Check it out here!

Satechi Portable Humidifier

As a company, Satechi is consistently creating products that allows their consumers to live efficient and enjoyable lives. Their latest product, the Portable Humidifier, continues their mission by being applicable anywhere by use of just a USB.  

Satechi Portable Humidifier retails at $29.99
Check it out here!
Naztech Power Hub Pro
Naztech has anything and everything that you can dream of for your phone. In this case, the Power Hub allows you to charge up to seven devices at once. This is something always great to keep in the backroom or at your house to keep all the outlets open!
Sadly the 7x version of Power Hub Pro is not up on their website yet, but check out this version with 5 ports. Naztech Power Hub Pro 5x retails at $79.99
Lazy Hands
Lazy Hands is exactly what it sounds like- people do not want to hold things. All great innovations come from a need to make our lives easier and that is where Lazy Hands come in. It’s very much like the Velcro Ball and Catch Game from the 90s, but now it’s for your electronics! On the run at work all the time? This product might be for you!

Lazy Hands for your IPad retails at $15.99 and for your phone retails at $10.99.
Check it out here!
AIR² Levitating Bluetooth Speaker
 This new speaker will levitate and spin as your music plays- how amazing is that?! Like most gadgets at CES, this is not a necessity, but it’s a great talking piece if electronic devices are your thing.

Coby Levitating Bluetooth Speaker retails at $150.




Monday, January 19, 2015

5 Brand Strategies to Uniquely Position Your Ecommerce Business Above the Competition


You need something to help a runny nose, so you ask someone to pass you the Kleenex.  Why?
Because of an extremely effective brand strategy.
And yes, that’s actually the brand name and not the name of the product they sell.
With brand loyalty on the decline for the third straight year, building a strong customer base is more important than ever before.
The Internet has turned people into savvy online shoppers, and the power has shifted from business to consumer.  Often, shoppers bypass the idea of brand loyalty if the product is available at a lower price somewhere else.
So how can you combat that?
In this post, we’ll take a look at ways to build a powerful brand strategy for your ecommerce store.
We’ll go over actionable ideas you can implement straight away, and take a look at some phenomenal examples.
Let's get into it.

What is a Brand Strategy?

Simply put, your brand strategy will help define how your customers see your business and product. It’s figuring out your positioning or “winning-difference”. Most importantly it’s what helps you stand out from the competition and avoiding having to compete on price.
Building a brand strategy for your ecommerce store is also a powerful marketing, customer retention, and loyalty technique and is necessary for any new or established ecommerce business.
It’s important to determine your brand strategy and positioning before branching out into any other aspects of business.  Otherwise, you might find yourself working backwards to try and get your business to resonate with customers.

Bonus Guide:
 "How to Choose the Perfect Domain Name" - a free, comprehensive guide that shows you how to find and choose the right domain to build you brand on. Get the Guide.

The Basics for Ecommerce Branding

Before we dig into some examples of successful brand strategies, it’s good to get a better understanding of your own business.  You can start by doing a mini brainstorming exercise to uncover what makes your brand remarkable:
  • Does your ecommerce business have a mission?
  • Is there a problem your product solves?
  • What do your current customers think of your business?
  • What do potential customers think of your business?
  • What standards do you want customers to associate with your business?
Ideally, you want to be able to answer these questions without too much thought.  It’s even better if you’re able to promote these messages on your store.  For example, a philosophy page to show your brand’s message, or a customer reviews page to show what customers think of your product.

Next, you’ll want to do a bit of market research.  Try to to get inside of your customer’s heads to know what they think about your business.  You can do this by emailing a quick survey to your current customers, or, implement a survey functionality within your store.

Bonus Tips for Immediate Better Branding:
  • Get a great, recognizable logo designed by someone with branding experience
  • Integrate your brand into every social media outlet you use, by using the same profile picture on all platforms
  • Be consistent with your tone and style across all platforms

1. Uncover Your Unique Selling Proposition

Determining a unique selling proposition is a foundational step in any good brand strategy.  The goal is to differentiate your brand from your competitors, and give your customers a reason to purchase a product from you.

It should highlight a story, philosophy unique aspect or goal of your business and product.

What makes your ecommerce store or product unique?

Mast Brothers Chocolate

The Mast brothers hand make chocolate in New York City, and their shop is one of the few shops where bean-bar chocolate is produced in house.

Not only is their chocolate delicious, but the way they make it is very unique – especially in a mass-produced world.  They use that to leverage their unique selling proposition.

Rather than using the industrial methods of larger companies like Nestle or Hershey, the Mast Brothers produce all their chocolate bars by hand using old school techniques like a stone grinder.
If you’re producing a handmade product, much like the brothers are, consider using this story as an initial way to uniquely position your brand.  A recent study by HBR showed that nostalgic, artisanal and disrupted technology goods are making a comeback.

Not only has there been a big comeback in buying handmade, artisanal goods, but there’s quite a few benefits from customers buying handmade products that they might not even consider.
Try highlighting these following points to leverage the handmade product you’re selling:
  • They’re helping by contributing to a new economic buying model
  • The creators enjoy making their wares by hand, and aren’t mass produced
  • Often, craftspeople are using recycled material
  • Handmade is often made with love

2. Distinguish Your Brand on Product Quality

Using your brand’s product quality as a marketing tool is an extremely effective way to build brand loyalty.

Nowadays, if the product you’re selling is not built or designed with quality in mind, you won’t see returning customers.  Or, even worse, you’ll start to see customers express their dissatisfaction across the many social media platforms available to them.

If you’re consistently able to over deliver on the quality of product, no doubt you’ll have lifetime customers.  Even better, if your product is known as a “buy it for life” product - you’re set.


Casper has nailed this brand positioning strategy.  They make their product quality and features the most important part of their product page by listing it right under the title.  It’s immediately visible to a potential customer.

The Casper promise is a fantastic way to promote the quality of their product.  They offer a 100 day money back guarantee, which is their way of saying “Our product rocks.  You’ll love it.  We’ll bet on it”. This is a risk removal tactic, which helps build consumer trust.

A study by Quick Sprout showed that when stores added a money back guarantee to their products, a 21% increase in sales was seen.  Of that increase in sales, only 12% of customers asked for their money back.

Another outstanding way for Casper to use quality to position their brand, is by including Instagram pictures right on their product page.  The pictures are from happy customers who have given the mattress an outstanding review.

You can implement that sort of functionality through embedded services like Instagrammy.
Here’s a Google Trend that shows how important product quality is to consumers these days.  This is a search for the term “buy it for life”.

Here are some examples of qualities you can highlight on your store to position your brand appropriately:
  • Where was your product made?
  • Does it meet any specific regulations?
  • What material is it made out of?
  • Where is the material sourced?
  • If it’s a food product, is it organic?
Note: One common mistake that you’ll want to avoid is confusing quality with luxury.  Just because something has a high price, doesn’t necessarily represent its quality.  Only brand your product from a quality angle if your product is actually high quality, or you might have a hard time dealing with upset customers.

3. Change the Branding Rules

A daring, but potentially explosive brand strategy is to change the rules of the branding game.  Taking risks can sometimes bring new attention to your ecommerce store.

If your product is quirky or unique, why not position your marketing efforts around that?

By finding a custom that exists in your consumers and completely shattering it, you might just see a loyal customer base start to develop.

The goal here is to make space for your brand in an unconventional way to get people talking.
Without a doubt, the “party game for horrible people” - Cards Against Humanity has done this.

Cards Against Humanity is not only a ridiculously fun game, but part of the reason they’ve gained so much attention is through their brand positioning.

Cards Against Humanity is a party game for horrible people. Unlike most of the party games you've played before, Cards Against Humanity is as despicable and awkward as you and your friends.
It’s not often that we’ll see a brand insult its customers.

Cards Against Humanity is notorious for having fun with their customers.  In fact, this past Black Friday they sent 30,000 customers cow poop.  Yes, 30,000 people are so loyal to Cards Against Humanity that they bought poop at $6 a piece.

This wasn’t their first stunt, as in previous years their Black Friday sales included things like increasing the cost of the game by $5.

It’s important to mention Cards Against Humanity when looking at brand strategies, because its so vastly different than what most of us think to do.  They’re going against the grain by doing something so unique and unheard of, and it has only worked in their favor.

Here’s a Google Trend for the term “Cards Against Humanity”.  It shows how a unique, popular product and a unique brand vision has helped maximize their growth.

4. Personalize the Customer Experience

Have you ever ordered something online and received a product that completely blew you away? Beautiful craftsmanship and detail went into every aspect of the ordering experience, right down to the customized packaging.

Chances are, the store has done their research by aligning themselves to ensure that they’re marketing to people who match their brand’s identity.

For instance, let’s say you’re 30-something, wear plaid shirts, appreciate craftsmanship and the qualities that go into making something by hand.  You look online to buy a plaid shirt and come across a brand that hand sews all of their shirts locally.  After purchasing the product, it arrives beautifully packaged, customized with a handwritten note on the inside and a screen printed hanger tag.

That’s a personalized customer experience.  They’re nailing their product branding down to the finest details, just like their physical product.

A great example of a company that does this with user experience in mind, is Loot Crate - a monthly subscription box for gamers.

Not only are they using custom packaging, but they include a fun little activity for their customers to do that actually promotes their brand.
Loot Crate’s corrugated shipping box is a direct reflection on our brand. It shows our attention to detail; it’s really cool and sleek-looking (black exterior and bright orange interior), and is a key part of what we do" 
If you’re thinking about going this route, be sure to take a look at some of these resources to get some custom shipping boxes made.

5. The Spirit of Giving Back

Brands are able to position themselves well in a busy online space by getting in the spirit of giving back to their customers.

No matter how many sales you have for your ecommerce store, there’s always an opportunity to share your gratitude with your customers.  You’ll want to make sure that you take some time to go above and beyond to thank your customers for their business.

Not only does this position your brand as being thankful and recognizing the support of your customers, but it’s a surefire way to get a customer for life.

Helpscout’s 25 Ways to Thank Your Customers provides some fascinating ideas on this topic.

Here’s a few other ideas that would be easy to implement:


Now that you’ve developed a strong foundation for your ecommerce brand, it’s time to get selling.
Let us know in the comments if there’s any other phenomenal examples of branding strategies that you’ve seen!

View the original article here:

Friday, January 16, 2015

Here Is Everything We Know About The 2015 Super Bowl Ads

Super Bowl XLIX is fast approaching, and already some of the world's biggest brands are teasing details about the ads they will be running during the big game.

Click here to skip straight to the ads>>

The commercial breaks are once again set to be a flashy affair, and it's little surprise: Super Bowl 2015 broadcaster NBC is seeking $4.4 million to $4.5 million per 30-second spot, up on the $4 million price tag FOX set last year. Ninety-five percent of the in-game TV ad space has been sold so far.

We're compiling everything you need to know about the commercial side of this year's big game, and we'll keep updating this post right up until Feb. 1, when you can follow our live coverage.
All the brands in this slideshow are organized in alphabetical order for ease of navigation.



The brewer Anheuser-Busch is going all out once again, this time airing three minutes, 30 seconds of ads during the event.

It has two ads planned for Bud Light, each created by a different agency, and another for Bud, as Adweek details.
  • "Lost Dog," has been created by Anomaly and will show how "only your best buds are the ones who always have your back." It acts as the sequel to last year's much-loved "Puppy Love" spot and features a cute canine and the famous Clydesdale horses.
  • Another Bud Light spot created by EnergyBBDO is called "Coin" and tells the story of a drinker who plays a life-size Pac Man game. The brand released a teaser, so we know what to expect, on January 16.
  • The final spot is for Bud, which is another Anomaly effort. This ad focuses on how the beer is brewed.
The brewer plans to release each ad online in the week before the game.

Avocados from Mexico

Avocados from Mexico announced in January it would run a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl, but it will keep its TV ad creative under wraps until the game.

The brand will also be creating other marketing opportunities around the football season. That will include social-media activity featuring American TV host Mario Lopez and in-store ads.

In a press release, Avocados from Mexico explained the reasoning behind advertising a warm-weather fruit during the middle of winter: During the month of last year’s Super Bowl, 70 million avocados were sold in the US.



BMW is returning to the Super Bowl after a four-year hiatus, with a 60-second spot to promote its i3 electric car.

BMW's North American vice president of marketing Trudy Hardy says the company will use the Super Bowl as a platform to "educate" viewers about the benefits of electric cars.
KBS is the agency behind the spot, but we don't have any more details yet about its creative direction.

Carnival Corp.

Carnival Corp

The travel and leisure company — which owns brands including Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, and P&O Cruises — announced in December that this year it would air its first Super Bowl commercial.

The 60-second spot will be created by BBDO and directed by Hollywood director Wally Pfister, who has worked on blockbusters such as "Inception" and "The Dark Knight" trilogy.

Carnival is sourcing the commercial from its "World's Leading Cruise Lines Marketing Challenge," which gave North American consumers the chance to "join" the company's marketing team and vote on their favorite creative concepts. The challenge is down to its final four ads (the image on the right is taken from the "Getaway" spot.)


Coca-Cola has confirmed to both AdAge and Adweek that it is running a 60-second commercial during the Super Bowl, but little else is known yet.
Last year the drinks brand ran two 60-second commercials, "Going All The Way" and "America The Beautiful." The latter commercial — which featured the singing of "America The Beautiful" in English and languages like Hindi, Arabic, and Tagalog — was polarizing. It aimed to highlight the multicultural makeup of the US and also featured a gay couple, and Twitter blew up with reaction from people who hated (and people who loved) it.
Here's the "America The Beautiful" ad:


PepsiCo's Doritos is once again running its "Crash the Super Bowl" contest, asking people to send in their own submissions for the chance to win that coveted ad spot and a $1 million prize.
Doritos received nearly 4,900 submissions for this year's spot and has whittled those down to 10 finalists. Fans are invited to vote on their favorites. The most popular fan ad will air during the big game as well as another spot chosen by Doritos.

All of the entrants have opted for humor, as has this surreal spot from British freelance director James Bedford. You can view the full final 10 here.

Dove Men+Care

Dove Men + Care is returning to Super Bowl advertising after a five-year hiatus.

The brand's marketing director Jennifer Bremner told Adweek the ad would build on the 2010 spot's theme of celebrating "the multidimensional aspects of masculinity that define what it means to be a man today."

Dove Men + Care also plans a raft of social-media activity for the Super Bowl push, which will include a mix of planned and real-time marketing. 



The Super Bowl-commercial stalwart GoDaddy is set to make its 11th appearance.
The web-hosting company has been holding a competition to name the star of its 2015 campaign: a cute golden retriever puppy.

The votes were counted, and "Buddy" is the star of the ad. GoDaddy announced on Jan. 14 it had also hired Buddy as its CCO, or chief companion officer. In that same press release, GoDaddy revealed Buddy's role in the Super Bowl ad included "trotting in a ravine, walking a narrow wooden bridge and riding out a (fake) lightning storm."

As AdAge details, the puppy will be featuring alongside Nascar star Danica Patrick in a spot called "Journey Home," created by Barton F. Graf 9000. It's quite a departure from GoDaddy’s silly ads in 2014


Jurassic World

A leaked memo from Toys R Us (of all places) obtained by revealed that a trailer for the fourth "Jurassic Park" movie will run during this year's Super Bowl.

The film will be released in theaters June 12.

Here's the full-length trailer Universal released on YouTube in November.


On Jan. 14, the carmaker became the first brand this year to reveal its full Super Bowl ad creative.
Lexus is airing a 30-second commercial during the first half of the game.

Created by independent ad agency Walton Isaacson, the spot shows Lexus' NX model being put through its paces in what appears to be a glamorous indoor parking lot, while dancers writhe and splash in between the frames of driving. The spot isn't set to a traditional musical soundtrack but instead features the tuneful noises of the car as doors slam and tires squeal.

Here's the ad:


The glue maker is betting big on the Super Bowl this year, dedicating nearly its entire annual ad budget to its spot.

The brand told AdAge the Fallon Minneapolis-created ad would act as the latest installment of its #WinAtGlue campaign. View the video Here


McDonald's, which has recently undergone a huge marketing refresh in a bid to turn around flagging sales, is understood to be prepping a 60-second Super Bowl spot, according to The Wall Street Journal's CMO Today.

Leo Burnett will create the ad, which is thought to be appearing pregame.
Earlier this month McDonald's revamped its "I'm lovin' it" tagline in a new ad, featuring the phrase "Choose Lovin,'" which features animated stars like Mario and his archenemy Bowser.

Here's that "Archenemies" spot that was first published at the start of January


The automaker has a Super Bowl ad in the works, according to The New York Times, but we don't know much more than that.

Mercedes' agency is Merkley+Partners.

The car brand was last at The Super Bowl in 2013, with an ad starring Willem Dafoe and Kate Upton. View Here



Mophie is another Super Bowl newbie, announcing in October it was joining the big-game pack.

Daniel Huang, CEO of Mophie, told USA Today the company was using the Super Bowl to tell its story to a "much broader audience." Mophie specializes in mobile battery packs and smartphone cases.

Deutsch LA is behind the spot, but we don't yet know anything else about the creative.
Alongside the ad, Mophie plans to give away $1 million worth of product on its website if the game goes into overtime.


The insurance brand confirmed in December it was returning to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2007.

In a press release, the brand — which is also the official insurance sponsor of the NFL — said it would reveal more details about the campaign on Twitter and Facebook closer to the event.

It's unclear whether its lead agency McKinney — or Ogilvy & Mather, which created the brand's recent campaign starring Peyton Manning — will be behind the Super Bowl spot. Our guess would be the latter.

Here's that Peyton Manning ad, which aired in September.


Nissan is returning to the Super Bowl after an 18-year break, with a 60-second ad, as USA Today reported last month.

Again, no details yet on creative, but Nissan North America's senior vice president for sales and marketing Fred Diaz hinted: "We're about bold innovation for all." Well, OK, not much of a hint, but it's all we have to go on so far.

There's a chance it could feature "The Voice" star and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, who signed up as Nissan's brand ambassador last year.
Here's Levine doing some work in his spokes model role.


Pepsi has confirmed it is sponsoring the halftime show, in which Katy Perry will be performing. On Jan. 10 the NFL announced that Lenny Kravitz would be joining her on stage.
It's also running a 30-second ad that will lead into the half-time extravaganza the brand confirmed to USA Today. We don't know any more about the creative yet. Stay tuned.

 Katy Perry announcing her half-time appearance on Pepsi's YouTube channel: Here


Skittles is making its Super Bowl debut this year.

No details yet about the actual ad, which will be created by DDB Chicago, but the brand celebrated its Super Bowl spot announcement on Jan. 6 by seeding out a video across its social channels starring former Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner.

The fun ad sees the former quarterback kicking back during a Skittles-themed tailgate party. A Skittles spokesman confirmed Warner would not be appearing in the Super Bowl TV ad, however.

View the clip Here


Snickers — not M&Ms — is the Mars brand appearing in the 2015 Super Bowl.
Brand director Allison Miazga-Bedrick told AdAge the 30-second spot would continue Snickers'

"You're Not You When You're Hungry" campaign. BBDO New York has created the work.
No more details are out there yet, but Snickers has confirmed it will feature at least one celebrity.

Mars has been building up to the big game with an on-pack competition across its Snickers, Mars, and M&Ms brands, which enters consumers into a sweepstake with a chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl.

View the original article from Business Insider here: