E Commerce Case Study Report

I decided to look at some direct evidence for social media and its positive effects with eCommerce online businesses both for “Business to Consumer” (B2C) companies as well as “Business to Business” (B2B) companies.

Also I came across these rather diverse examples where social media was very evidentitent in producing results.

Case Study One: Zappos (Online Shoe Store)

Why is Zappos so successful at Social Media? .. What is their strategic approach? ..It comes down to two things..Service and Culture and they believe they are one and the same thing and because their culture is unique and offers the company a competitive advantage, they use Social media to project that culture out into the world..

So what are some of the elements of this approach

  • Service
    • They have a Twitter account dedicated to Service Issues
    • To uncover service opportunities
    • Initiate response
    • Amplify praise
    • Reinforce Service reputation
  • Culture
    • The companies 400 employees all have Twitter accounts
    • Who they hire is consistent with this culture of service
    • Most of their social media initiatives are about exposing the people at Zappos, who through their actions reinforce the companys competitive advantage.. It makes the company real.
    • The CEO leads by example he communicates about his passions.. he is personally invested in Social Media
    • They do measure social media but don’t calculate it’s ROI on Sales as they don’t consider it a traditional marketing channel

The primary purpose of their blogs and twitter is so that outsiders can get a glimpse of their company’s culture

“Quote from Twitter while I am typing here from a Zappos Employee…… “Good morning Zappos Fans! My name is Danika, and I am here to answer any questions you have about Zappos/Canada! “

Case Study Two: Dell 

They are very strong on Social Media .. they have a “Conversations and Communities” team of 40 and they have several blogs, including a direct to consumer blog and several special interest blogs and engage in almost every major social media channel

Some other Highlights

  • Over 65 corporate twitter accounts
  • More than 400,000 followers
  • They do promote on Twitter eg “15% off any Dell Outlet Inspiron 15 – 1545 laptop. Enter code at checkout: S2?70S6LK1VWVS – only at http://bit.ly/SM28A – exp 8/315:05 AM Aug 28th from CoTweet”
  • Have sold Over $3 Million in Sales via Twitter

Case Study Three: WetSeal

They are an online E-Commerce store that sells Teen Clothing For Girls

They launched a community section of their site where fans can design their own ensembles and publish them to the community for reviews.What does this achieve?

  • It leverages wisdom and creativity of the crowds
  • It provides social validation of fashion choices to enhance selling
  • It is user generated merchandising

Result: Immediately After Using Social Media : 10% increase of sales as well as a 10% increase in the average dollar value of the sale (Net benefit.. 21% increase in revenue)   

Case Study 4: Build-A-Bear Workshop

Challenge this one …..as it is an “Experience Retailer” (How Do You Create an In Store Experience and create it Online?) and ..How do you take your brand  online, without losing your experience and commoditizing your product.

Well…They created a kids virtual world where

  • Kids could interact and chat
  • Play games
  • Earn virtual currency
  • Spend virtual currency on items in the virtual world, like clothes or furniture for your condo

What the game did was create fundamental changes to the buying experience and value proposition that

  • Extended the instore experience to online
  • Increased frequency from occasional to daily or weekly
  • Influenced 10% of sales

Result: Since being initiated last year sales of “60,000 units” in virtual goods and nearly “half a million dollars in real revenue”.

Case Study Five: Hubspot 

(Business: Online services to businesses for generating inbound leads.. Permission Marketing)..

This is what Mike Volpe The VP of Marketing revealed about some of the elements and successes of  Hubspots Inbound marketing strategies

  1. “With our WebsiteGrader.com tool, we marketed it through social networks and it brought us 450,000 leads,” says Marketing VP Mike Volpe at HubSpot
  2. “Those leads are one of the most important channels for us as far as sales; 2 to 4 percent of the qualified leads convert to HubSpot customers.”
  3. Volpe’s firm hired an intern to post its software tutorial videos on YouTube, one of hundreds of content-sharing sites. After uploading a video, YouTube provides a code that anyone can use to add it to their blog or Webpage. “We didn’t promote them at all, and we started to get over 10,000 views a month of those videos up on YouTube,” Volpe says. “We’ve since discovered that in-bound marketing–a combination of social media, search-engine optimization and blogging–is by far the highest ROI of any marketing out there.” Those views turned into leads that generated sales
  4. In  summary he said “a combination of social media, search-engine optimization and blogging–is by far the highest ROI of any marketing out there.
  5. A Hubspot  Report  mentioned in their Blog post reveals a $84 cost per lead versus $220 for traditional marketing

So is your eCommerce site using the social media to connect and promote? Look forward to hearing your story

10.11 Case Study Sources

Small companies will not have the resources to implement all the technologies described here, but can prosper in their own market sector by progressively making small and necessary improvements.


CDC Software. Some 50 CRM case studies: details on registering.

Concentrix. CRM case studies: thirteen listed, each linked to a detailed study.

CRM Daily. News, reports and resources for customer resource management.

CRM Today. Some 100 case studies listed, each linked to a detailed study.

SearchCRM. Some nine case studies, free on registering.

Toolbox: Ask a Question. Case study: Walt Disney World Resorts and crm strategy.

UPS. Some 35 success stories under four categories.

Walmart. Mohan Chandran's extended study of Wal-mart's operation and 25 largest retail companies.

WhatIs.com Research Library. CRM case studies: over 70 listed: details free on registering.

YourTechTV. Some 33 video case studies.

Supply Chain Management

About.com. Six Supply Chain case studies.

Aspin. Field sales, ecommerce and warehouse case studies of clients.

CAPS. Detailed purchasing and supply chain management studies: free if you register.

CSCMP. Supply Chain Management case studies: 20 for academics and 16 for practitioners.

Establish. Articles, briefs and case studies from management consultants specializing in the Supply Chain.

IdealWare. Managing constituent relationships: four case studies.

Microsoft Dynamics. Over 200 case studies listed, each linked to a detailed study.

PPRC. Supply Chain Management for environmental improvement: 38 case studies, and links to another 8.

SupplyChainDigest. Some 40 case studies listed, with link through to details.

SupplyChainStandard.com. Some 22 studies dating from 2007-8 period.


Amazon Upgrade. Providing immediate online access to the text of a purchased book at additional fee.

AuthorHouse. Self publishing case studies: 9 listed, with links to full story.

Bakersfield Californian. Successfully taking a traditional local newspaper on line.

Book Locker. Case studies of self publishers who landed traditional publishing contracts: some 20 showcased.

Cheapskate Monthly. New website created using Imagine IT's LiveWeb application suite: eBusiness.

Chown Hardware. Chown door hardware and plumbing fixtures usedLANSA for the Web to develop an online product catalog.

eContent Magazine. Articles grouped under epublishing concerns.

LA Observed. Making the jump from one-man blog to community website.

Social Text. Becoming Agile and Innovative Grows Revenues: Meredith Corporation case study.


1to1Media. Free registration to access articles, podcast, white papers and newsletter.

Accessible e-commerce sites. Importance of disabled market and some brief success stories.

BitPipe. Some 400 case studies: free if you register.

Business Case Studies. Internet marketing and Ecommerce case studies: generally €6.5/study.

Business Week Online. Many brief case studies, including SMEs.

CaseForest. Large selection, free on registering. Also MBA term papers, research papers and related matters.

Caseplace. Hundreds of free case studies that cover social impact management on business management.

Case Studies and Management Resources. Some 50 studies, each at Indian Rupees 200-700.

CaseStudiesInc. Some 30 studies at $5/study.

CNN Money. Short but useful list of ecommerce case studies.

eCommerce Guide. News, reviews and practical solutions for online business.

Ecommerce-Partners. Webbuild company with case studies of successful partnerships in a wide range of market sectors.

Financial Partners Credit Union. New website to strengthen CU's source of financial information and products.

Global Lens. Some 300 individual case studies, searchable by database: US$6/copyright.

Internet Business Models. Good listing of case studies and academic papers.

Internet.com. Excellent source of larger company case histories: use the search box.

Internet Retailer. News, articles and reports/statistics.

Off shore Ecommerce Case Studies. Brief detail on six projects.

Marketing Profs. Articles and free newsletter: also premium account for back issues, etc.

Market Research. Over 24,000 detailed case studies available, generally over $1000 each.

Media Post Publications. News and article: several subscription schemes.

Merlot University. Articles and courses on ecommerce and business management.

Multimedia Victoria. Successful IT company projects in the Australian State of Victoria.

Red Technology. Success stories of clients: free downloadable booklets but rather brief.

Secrets to their Success. SME ecommerce case studies. $80/year.

The Times 100. Free case studies on real companies for business students and lecturers.

Wilsonweb. Articles in Research Room: more for SMEs.

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