Case In Brief: eBags Ups its Likeability

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The online retailer has embarked on a cross-channel marketing campaign and uses Facebook to increase customer engagement.

Customers are using multiple channels to connect and interact with their favorite brands. But whether reading an email, liking a brand on Facebook, or checking out a smartphone app, customers are interacting with the same brand and expect a seamless and consistent experience between the various channels they're using.

Today's multichannel customer is making it essential for organizations to leverage each touchpoint in their marketing campaigns. Several organizations are investing in a robust cross-channel marketing strategy that allows them to connect with customers across multiple channels and on different devices.

Online retailer eBags is one company that has recognized the importance of leveraging a cross-channel strategy to interact with its customers. Earlier this year the company decided to invest in strategies and technology to help integrate social media into its back-to-school advertising campaign. According to Blake Area, eBags' senior manager for customer retention marketing, back-to-school represents an important shopping season for eBags, comparable to the holidays.

To ensure it's reaching the right customers during this critical shopping season, eBags begins its preparations in advance. In summer, eBags started collaboration with ExactTarget to design its fall marketing campaign. "We wanted to generate likes and social buzz on Facebook," Area notes. He explains that while eBags had been building its social channels, this was the first time that the company launched a concerted effort around social.

However, business leaders didn't want to sideline email marketing and also wanted to use the campaign to generate email registrations. "We wanted an exciting program running during a critical shopping season," Area says. In order to entice customers to engage with the brand on Facebook and share contact details, eBags launched a "Bag an iPad" campaign that gave customers a chance to win a tablet simply by "liking" the company on Facebook and completing an online registration. The promotion kicked off in the second week of July with advertisements posted on eBags' Facebook page, on the company website, and Pandora. The company also invested in display ads on a number of websites and sent emails to its existing customers.

Results

Within less than two months, eBags' campaign generated almost 50,000 likes on Facebook and close to 30,000 email registrations-the company's two main goals when starting the promotion. Area says not only did the campaign increase customer engagement, but it also helped generate sales during an important season.

Area notes that during the back-to-school period, the online retailer saw a 15 to 20 percent increase in sales. While eBags didn't isolate sales emanating from the fall campaign, the company still views it as instrumental in helping it increase overall revenue.

The company plans to continue leveraging Facebook as part of its multichannel campaign. "Social is becoming ingrained in our marketing strategy," Area notes. In fact, eBags is joining forces with vendors to reach out to its customers, including its "Handbag-A-Day" giveaway that ran throughout October and a partnership with Samsonite for its "Home for the Holidays" sweepstakes, both encouraging customers to interact with the brand on Facebook for a chance to win a prize.

Lessons Learned

Invest in social: Customers are using social media to interact with brands giving organizations another channel to engage with their clients.

Give added value: Savvy business leaders are making relevant offers to their customers.

Embark on a multichannel campaign: Customers are using different channels to interact with brands, making it essential for organizations to have a sound cross-channel marketing campaign.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION