How can my e-commerce store be profitable while also having a positive social impact? It’s a question that a lot of businesses are consistently facing and finding that the solution is both sustainable and beneficial not only from a promotional perspective, but also for driving change.
International Women’s Day, and by extension Women’s History Month, marks an important occasion in a business owner’s calendar, as it allows them to explore these two themes more directly. Celebrated every year on March 8th, it is a culturally and historically significant holiday that aims to highlight the many contributions women have made to society at large, and to encourage everyone to take a step back and consider how the push for gender equality and, particularly in business, more inclusive workspaces can continue to direct decision making.
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As an e-commerce store owner, you can absolutely have a significant role in shaping the conversation, both through your promotional strategies and through your company policies, and incorporating International Women’s Day in your messaging means you are already on your way!
Here, we’ll take a look at some ideas on how your business can celebrate the holiday with a focus on specific marketing campaigns you can implement for the occasion. Let’s get started!
#1 Spotlight staff members
Running a successful e-commerce store is a collective effort, with employees consistently working behind-the-scenes to keep operations running smoothly. If applicable, International Women’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to introduce your customers to some of the women involved in the different aspects of your business. It’s also a way for customers to put faces to the brand they support, and learn more about your staff’s stories!
#2 Partner with a cause
There are many organizations that are working to combat gender inequality and promote sustainable change. As an e-commerce business, you already have a platform to not only highlight these organizations and educate your audience on their impact, but also to concretely contribute to their work through redirecting a percentage of your profit to them. Consider donating a portion of your proceeds for the month of March towards a non-profit you feel is making a difference for women’s rights, and remember to give a little background on their mission when you’re announcing your partnership to your followers! As an alternative, you can also single out a specific product or collection, and donate the proceeds from their sales. To increase your impact, you can dedicate sales from the entire week of International Women’s Day to your partner non-profit, or from the entire month, given that March is Women’s International History month.
#3 Host an industry event or workshop
Creating and running a successful online store is an ongoing process, and involves picking up many skills along the way. One way to create value for your community while also increasing brand awareness is to host an event relevant to your store’s niche, or entrepreneurship in general, and tailor it towards either experienced professionals, or just followers that may be interested in e-commerce, but haven’t yet fully explored their options. If there is a gender gap in your field of work, use your event to explore how to address it and what specific challenges women may face in your industry. These are big questions, definitely, but tackling them also starts through discussion. Not quite sure yet what topic to focus on? Ask your followers! Their input can be incredibly useful in guiding the direction of your workshops, and also ensures that any events you do host are better addressing demand. This is also an opportunity to branch out and collaborate with other industry professionals and establish a network of invested experts to guide participants in the right direction.
#4 Encourage participation
In addition to your other promotional strategies, International Women’s Day can also be a time to start a dialogue. What does the day mean for your subscribers? What significance do they assign it? You can use social media to encourage responses, and even ask followers to use a specific hashtag so that you can better identify their answers. To keep the conversation going, share their messages on your Instagram and Facebook stories, and send out an email newsletter to your subscribers asking them to join in on social media as well. For more ideas, Internationalwomensday.com also has social media templates to help jumpstart your campaign!
#5 Launch a video campaign
This strategy is more focused on format, rather than theme, but running a video campaign featuring either your staff members or subscribers can be an especially engaging way to promote International Women’s Day to your audience. Combining prompts from other promotional methods and asking users to submit their answers by video can mean more direct interaction with your followers, and in many cases more freedom to better express their responses to your questions.
#6 Keep your subscribers in the know
Using your e-commerce store’s communication channels to update visitors on your promotions is definitely one strategy to pursue, they can also be an educational tool for those interested in some more information about International Women’s Day. Is there a gender gap in your industry? Who are some impactful women in your sector? Send out an email newsletter, design an infographic or write up a blog post exploring themes related to International Women’s Day. Remember, March is Women’s History Month, so these resources don’t have to be limited to just one day!
#7 Nominate a loved one giveaway
Your subscribers certainly have women in their lives that they look up to, and one of the best ways to celebrate International Women’s Day is to provide a way for them to give back to their loved ones through your online store. By hosting a giveaway and asking followers to nominate women they know, you’re creating a space for them to share the reasons they are selecting these potential recipients, and a way for winners to receive some great perks in the meantime. Many enjoy expressing why the people in their lives are important to them, and while from a marketing perspective a giveaway can be effective, it’s also a more personalized way to connect with your subscribers.
#8 Message from the founder
Particularly relevant for companies founded by women, sending out a more personalized message to your newsletter subscribers is a useful way to mark the occasion, and can help followers better connect with your brand. This message can also be used as an opportunity to go over any updates about your business in general. Have you recently partnered with a non-profit? Are there particular changes you’re making to your e-commerce store? How is your company promoting gender equality in the workspace (and beyond) and adopting inclusive policies for its staff? Address it in your newsletter blast! Sending a more personalized note is useful not only to celebrate the day, but also to catch your subscribers up to speed on all the things your business has in store.
#9 Shout-out noteworthy businesses
There is no shortage of businesses that are working to have a positive social impact, adopting inclusive company policies, and promoting diverse voices in their respective industries. As an e-commerce store with a growing follower base, consider dedicating International Women’s Day (and the month of March as a whole) to highlighting these businesses and founders across your social media accounts and in your newsletter, both to concretely support their work, and to encourage your subscribers to learn more about what these companies are doing. By shouting out companies you think are making a difference in their fields, you are also supporting their overall mission. To take it a step further, consider reaching out the businesses you are highlighting to host a joint giveaway/workshop!
#10 Buy 1 get 1 free sale
International Women’s Day can be a time to reflect and learn more about women who have made an impact, as well as double down on our appreciation for the women in our lives. As consumers, it can also be a time to treat loved ones to something special - with a buy 1 get 1 free sale, you can make gift giving more budget-friendly, while promoting both your e-commerce store and International Women’s Day. 2 wins with 1 idea!
#11 Personalized product recommendations
As consumers may not only be looking for gifts, but also for ways to support causes with their purchases, your e-commerce store can help guide them in the right direction with personalized product recommendations. If you are donating a portion of your proceeds from a product to a specific non-profit, your newsletter is the place to highlight it! For a twist on product recommendations, and a more personalized approach, consider featuring your staff members’ or founder’s favorite picks from your store. This strategy not only provides more social proof for your inventory, but also helps users connect more with your brand and its products.
For a pop-up builder that helps you collect leads and syncs with your email marketing provider to send out personalized product recommendations, check out Socital. Aside from email addresses, it allows subscribers to sign up with their social media accounts, providing e-commerce business owners with richer profiles on their followers, and the ability to create more individually tailored newsletters based on audience segments.
#12 Explore alternative messaging
Have an e-commerce business whose audience and target customers are primarily men? You can still participate in International Women’s Day (in fact, we recommend it)! Your primary demographic does not have to be women for your online store to celebrate International Women’s Day. Many businesses are finding inventive ways to mark the occasion, regardless of their niche, so don’t discount the contribution you can make. Through a combination of previously mentioned strategies, you can tailor your messaging to draw attention to the day, while also staying relevant to your followers. Take Bonobos, for example. They focus on men’s apparel, and for International Women’s Day, they partnered with Promundo, a non-profit dedicated to engaging men and boys in promoting gender equality. Whether you’re educating your audience on specific issues related to women’s rights, highlighting a specific cause, or even launching a new collection, International Women’s Day can be, and is, relevant for your business.