August 1, 2014

E-tailers Jumping on Blog Bandwagon

Posted by: of Blogging Systems Group on 08/6/05

A recent NY Times article reports that online retailers are beginning to drink the Kool-aid and jump on the blogging bandwagon. They cite specifically Ice.com, eHobbies.com, and Bluefly.com.

Two
of the retailers express some concern over the effect their blogs will
have on the bottom-line. Since the blogs include links off to other
sites, their marketing gurus feel it will lead readers away rather than
driving traffic to their ecommerce sites. That’s a valid point, since
the primary purpose of the blogs is marketing and driving sales.

One retailer questioned the appropriateness of putting product links
inside the blog posts. A quick review of all three blogs showed they
each did, with Ice primarily using hyperlinked images of its products
to draw visitors in.

Another retailer not mentioned in the article, Stone Creek Coffee, has also just added a blog. From what I can tell, the blog is part of their home page.

Bluefly asserts that their blog
has had a positive effect on sales, even stating that visitors who
click to the blog “have been more likely to make a purchase than those
who visit Bluefly directly.� I think they call that “qualified
traffic,� which is certainly one thing a blog can do for you.

Here are some random thoughts…

  • Blogging
    as a marketing channel will vastly increase in popularity over the next
    few months. I congratulate retailers such as these who are willing to
    lead the way.
  • Yes, definately include links to products in the blog posts. That’s why you have the darn thing anyway!
  • Rather
    than giving readers a sales pitch, tell a story. Talk about the
    experience of using the product. Refer to other related articles found
    on the web and work a product link in. Do what eHobbies does in showing
    photos of their employees having fun playing with products.
  • If
    blogs are going to prove themselves as viable marketing tools, then
    it’s imperative there be some system in place to track their
    effectiveness. That should be a given and not something difficult to
    do. After all, blogs are just a website and you can track statistics
    about site visits, referers and page views, have unique URLs for each
    product which can be tracked through to the ecommerce site and on
    through to purchase, and track movement from the blog to the main site
    as well.

I contend that, though blogs are not for the faint of heart,
they will prove themselves to have viability for retail marketing. In
an ideal scenario the benefits they provide will occur in sequence:

  1. They’re
    niche-driven attracting readers who are interested in the topic at
    hand. That’s qualified traffic. It makes sense that those will be some
    of the best customers.
  2. If the blogs are routinely updated visitors will come back again and again, many of those being existing customers.
  3. Trust and brand loyalty will result.
  4. Many
    of these customers will become evangelists for you and talk about you
    via their own consumer-generated media outlets (blogs, IM, chat rooms,
    email, etc.).
  5. Your blog will become a center of influence around which a community of interested customers/shoppers develop.

What’s not to like about that!

Here are links to each of the blogs mentioned: Ice.com, eHobbies.com, Bluefly.com, and Stone Creek Coffee.

[Special thanks to Rich Ottum for stimulating my thinking about this issue in two blog posts he did.]

2 comments for E-tailers Jumping on Blog Bandwagon »

  1. Paul,

    Great points. As business blogs become more mainstream, more e-tailers are going to be attracted to them as Web marketing tools.

    At this point of business blog evolution, I wonder how heavy-handed one can be with a blog? If I were selling a product, I might blog “around” the product, as opposed to “on” it.

    Since blogs can pull in great search engine rankings, I’d consider what problems my products solve, and what benefits customers might get out of it, rather than just posting a blog on the product. However, I’d give my products great product placement!

    That should drive qualified traffic to the site where visitors can see the products being used, as you described with eHobbies.

    Rich

    Comment by Rich Brooks — August 8, 2005 @ 2:07 pm


  2. I just started a blog for the same reasons. I didn’t even know what a blog exactly was 1 month ago, but after seeing it on the evening news every night for the past year I thought I better look into it and jump on the bandwagon. I think it’s going to take over many forms of current marketing and if you do it right and follow the advice of a few blogging guru’s they can explain pretty well on how to get them working for you and not the other guy so much :) Basically a Blog is a little like team effort from what I’m seeing and that’s what marketing has always been about.

    John Denton
    MyConnection2Wealth
    ebusiness Center

    Comment by John Denton — August 13, 2005 @ 8:44 pm


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