The internet—particularly social media—has rapidly and significantly changed the face of marketing. With new sites, ad platforms, and social strategies always emerging, it can be difficult to keep up.
Some brands, however, do this nearly flawlessly; they adapt as social media progresses and they embrace the online communities they’ve cultivated. If you need some inspiration, take a look at these five digitally native vertical brands, or v-commerce brands for short.
Alo Yoga is a vertical commerce brand that has mastered native advertising largely by creating a thriving online community around their brand. A great example of this is their feed of user generated content (UGC), which is displayed in multiple locations on the site. They even have UGC feeds on product pages to show “style inspiration” from fans. This positive portrayal shows other users that the brand cares what fans are saying; which in turn makes its fans care a lot more about them.
The brand also understands the importance of building a strong social following to both engage its community and receive UGC. The company has an enormous Pinterest following, which can help drive sales. It also has a stunning Instagram that regularly encourages users to submit their own content.
If you’re wondering how you want to develop or strengthen your brand, just take a look at Limecrime Makeup; it has some of the most distinctive branding out there. More importantly, everything on its site matches this branding, including its eclectic blog and their “Let’s Be BFFs” CTA on its email sign-up.
This brand puts customers first; it’s a central part of its retail strategy. It has a customer service chat box that pops up on the site; users don’t have to go looking for it. It also regularly features UGC from users that tag it, especially when it matches its branding. This customer-first attitude has helped the brand to cultivate strong brand loyalty.
Bonobos, like our other digital natives, focuses on real people as an essential part of its branding marketing. Its blog is a fantastic example of this; it shows real people—not models—wearing Bonobos clothes and telling their personal stories. This humanizes the brand.
The company utilizes employee generated content (EGC) to further humanize their brand and make it more relatable. It then promotes this content on its social media channels.
Bonobos’ email marketing strategy is also extremely effective because of its focus on actual customers. They use an algorithm that’s able to determine who will buy what to, so they can deliver the right emails to the right people. This algorithm segments users based on factors like colors of items purchased and how recently they purchased. More accurate targeting means an improved shopping experience– and more sales.
Warby Parker makes its marketing fun and engaging to appeal to customers. The brand uses engaging storytelling to tell the lifestyle story and social mission of its business, which resonates with the press and customers.
In addition to storytelling, this brand has found other ways to make its content fun. It created, for example, a standalone April Fool’s site called Warby Barker. This site received 2.5x more traffic than the actual site did. And when it couldn’t afford to get into NY’s Fashion Week in 2011, it invited editors to a “secret event” to generate buzz. To top it off, Warby Parker actively participates on social media; its incredible response rate to Tweets proves why this is important.
A big chunk of Glossier’s marketing strategy relies on having conversations with customers instead of talking at them; it knew this was a strategy that would create strong relationships with their customers, and incredible brand loyalty.
Like other businesses on this list, this company is fully driven by UGC to aid in brand storytelling. Its customer base and site traffic skyrocketed thanks to their blog Into The Gloss, which interviews real and diverse women. This was important to the CEO and founder, who felt like most beauty brands only had marketing that talked “at” her.
Her instinct was right; at one point, Glossier has had more than 10,000 people on a waiting list for—wait for it—two of her lipsticks.
These 5 digitally native brands are great examples for vertical commerce brands to follow. They’ve embraced internet and social marketing developments with agility and enthusiasm, and have seen tremendous results. While their strategies are all a little different, there are a few key factors they have in common: they focus on understanding their customers, utilizing user-generated content, and have both clearly defined brands and a strong social presence.