Companies often underestimate the activity of people around their brands. A loyal community will passionately defend a favorite brand during hard times and promote it to friends when things are going well. The community is about people who share the brand’s values and are willing to defend them. They get to know each other, find common topics, and continue communication even without your participation. But most importantly, the community often launches the word of mouth, as its members advertise and promote you among friends and acquaintances.
For a brand, a community is not just social media accounts or topics on forums. It’s good feedback, support, and a perfect platform for nurturing brand advocates. The community demonstrates brand loyalty at its best because users are interested in the product: they want to buy it, share it with friends and family, and follow it on social media. You can ask them how to improve the app or product, share blog posts, and collect feedback on a regular basis. For the consumer, the community is the most reliable source of information, where they can get answers to their questions from specialists.
Here are some examples of such effective communities of worldwide brands:
- Lego finds ideas for new constructors. The members of the LEGO Ideas community from all over the world can offer their own constructor idea. If an idea gets more than 10 thousand votes of buyers, experts consider it. The best ideas according to the experts turn into a real constructor set that LEGO makes for sale. Over the entire existence of the community, the brand has launched hundreds of constructors according to the ideas of buyers – mainly based on films, cartoons, TV shows, and even songs. For community members, the brand also organizes contests: it offers to share a photo of the assembled constructor on a given topic. The best works get rewards, such as discounts, rare examples of constructors, and even travel.
- Red Bull supports the interests of the audience. The Red Bull audience leads an active lifestyle – they are athletes, dancers, and musicians. Red Bull regularly hosts competitions in various disciplines, including surfing, motorsport, skiing, skateboarding, BMX, basketball, base jumping, and even golf and lacrosse. Participating athletes become brand ambassadors – their biographies and achievements are collected in a special section on the website.
- The North Face inspires clients to win sports. The North Face not only supplies athletes with clothing and equipment, but also organizes training, hiking, and festivals. At brand events, shoppers can express themselves and appreciate the outfit in action.
In this article, we are going to focus on eCommerce apps and the benefits of building an in-app community for this type of apps.
Most eCommerce mobile apps have social media accounts, e.g. Facebook pages, and build their communities there. However, a branded in-app community is a more powerful tool than social media. Companies that own a community get 100% reach to their users while for social media platforms, the organic reach is only up to 5.2%. As a result, brands have to pay for ads to reach their own users. Therefore, to save costs and get more organic traffic, we recommend building a branded in-app community.
A brand can implement a community functionality in its app by using activity feeds. These are in-app forums where a brand and its customer/users can post comments and track actual content. Activity feeds have a number of benefits that can boost the app’s engagement rates. Specifically, an activity feed:
- gives you access to first-hand feedback to improve your app further,
- makes customer support easier,
- makes it possible to personalize recommendations and publish announcements,
- makes it easy to track user reactions,
- helps users interact with each other and thus build communities.
It is possible to successfully integrate feeds in many different app categories, including eCommerce apps.
Benefits of a Branded Community for ECommerce Apps
Consumers unite in communities to share useful information and their impressions of the brand. People who are part of the brand community live according to a certain lifestyle – this is the main reason why brands need to create it – so they can broadcast their values to the world. Community members will independently promote the brand, and even more effectively than advertising on TV or on the Internet. For their friends and followers on Instagram, they are reference persons whose opinion is much more important than what the advertising banner says.
What tasks can an eCommerce brand solve with the help of a community?
- Communication with the audience. A community is a convenient and quick way of two-sided communication with customers. In communities, 72% of retailers collect customer feedback and 67% are looking for ideas for new products and services.
- Conveying values. Shared values unite people with each other and with the eCommerce brand. For example, Nike builds a community around sports and a healthy lifestyle, while H&M builds a community around environmental and social care. According to Forbes, 64% of shoppers say shared values bring them closer to the brand.
- Attracting new customers. Often, eCommerce app community members promote brands to their friends and subscribers for free because they really like a particular brand. 78% of satisfied customers recommend a brand to their friends and acquaintances.
- Increasing customer trust. Customers trust regular shoppers more than brands or bloggers themselves. As per Nielsen report, when choosing a product, 55% of millennials consult with their family, and 54% turn to friends or read reviews on the Internet. And according to Hootsuite, recommendations from other customers work best when it comes to clothing, shoes, cosmetics, food, and drinks.
- Driving sales. Brand loyalty of community members is driven by emotion, not discount. Customers are even willing to spend more on products from their favorite store.
Examples of ECommerce Apps with a Branded Community
We have collected several examples of eCommerce apps that have successfully built communities around their brands.
The community of a cosmetic brand E.L.F. Cosmetics is united by the Beauty Squad loyalty program. e.l.f. Cosmetics lives by squad rules: it supports clients, reposts photos of their makeup to their accounts, organizes master classes and beauty parties, and gives gifts.
Ambassadors of E.L.F. Cosmetics are not celebrities, but micro-influencers, including regular clients. The retailer found the ambassadors by organizing a contest on social media: clients were offered to publish photos of the make-up made by the brand’s cosmetics. Fifty winners were invited to a “beauty weekend,” where they tested new products, attended master classes of makeup artists, and got to know each other and the team. Collaboration with influencers has expanded the brand’s community: the number of subscribers has increased by 25%.
This yoga and jogging clothing brand organizes workouts for clients – every week, they take place in different parts of the United States. The brand has already hosted over 4,200 sporting events, including festivals and retreats.
Ambassadors play an important role in the Lululemon community called “Sweat Collective”. They are instructors in yoga, pilates, running, etc. as well as personal trainers and studio owners. Brand ambassadors help the company promote its products, services, and events. In exchange, they get perks and commission on what people purchase through your posts.
The brand supports its ambassadors by educating, providing a platform for development, and sending products for a test drive. The athletes not only motivate customers to go in for sports but also collect feedback, thereby helping the retailer meet the audience’s expectations and grow professionally.
This beauty and skincare brand has integrated GetSocial’s Community feature, which is a part of Activity Feeds. This integration has provided the users with a platform to express and share their thoughts, giving the brand an insight into what their customers think and a direct channel to interact with them. As a result, MyGlamm created a shoppable feed experience and got an opportunity to communicate with their users with 100% reach. Users who participate in community engagement have a conversion rate of around 18%, which is 3 times higher than that of regular users.
Community members can interact with each other, ask and answer the various beauty-related questions, and post videos with various looks by using MyGlamm products. The brand, in its turn, uses the Community feature to post announcements, challenges, tips, and other helpful content. Additionally, the community allows the users to become influencers inside the app, building mini-communities in their profiles.
Unlike other brands, MyGlamm now creates a social buzz directly inside the app. The users do not have to visit separate social media websites or apps – they can communicate in the activity feed and get the most up-to-date information right at their fingertips.
This skincare brand has a blog called Into the Gloss with articles dedicated to beauty routines, helpful tips, and interviews with the founders of fashion brands. Community members can comment on those posts and initiate multi-threaded discussions like this one. The blog also contains a clearly visible link to the shop, and it is possible to view the number of items in the shopping cart also from the blog.
ModaCruz is an online marketplace of pre-owned luxury fashion items. Located in Istanbul, ModaCruz is the first company of its kind in Turkey. It describes its service as a social experience: customers can attend “parties” where users share their items themed by a specific brand, category, or season. ModaCruz now has over a million clients.
The most remarkable feature that puts ModaCruz ahead of the competition is a personalized activity feed that the users can filter according to their interests. They can like and comment on each other’s posts, significantly contributing to the app’s user experience and thus increasing the retention rate.
The Bottom Line
Examples of the world’s leading brands, such as Lego, Red Bull, Nike, etc. clearly show us that people are the most important resource for a brand. Advertisements are no longer the most powerful user engagement tool for the new generation of consumers – they prefer brands that are more “human” and speak the same language as they do. This is especially true for eCommerce brands and their apps, where reviews by real people are extremely important for customers who are going to make their first purchase.
Dedicated in-app communities help eCommerce brands to communicate with the audience, convey their values, attract new customers, build trust, and drive sales. It is possible to build a branded community around your app with the help of activity feeds, which can be quickly and easily implemented with the help of GetSocial.