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Our Inadequate Use of the Internet in Etail Cause Marketing

U.S. Census figures put ecommerce at 5.1 percent of total retail sales in the second quarter of 2012, up from 4.6 percent in the second quarter of 2011. Almost everyone see etail’s percentage of total retail sales doubling and even trebling in the next three to five years.

Naturally a lot of cause marketing has migrated to etail as well.

However, rare is the etail cause marketing promotion that really makes good use of the Internet’s many powers. It’s like running a TV commercial, but without using any sound. Or, showing a blockbuster on 25 percent of the movie screen.

This campaign by Chicbuds.com, which sells earbuds and this cute little powered speaker for your mobile device for $40 called a fauvette. During October, 2012, 20 percent of the sale of each bedazzled fauvette… or $8… goes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Fauvette, in French, means a small singing bird, like a nightingale or a warbler.

These fauvettes come bedazzled with crystals in pink, black and gold, and are sized for a purse or even a clutch. My girls, neither of whom yet carries a purse, would have a nickname for their fauvette before the credit card receipt printed, they’re that cute.

When it comes to cause marketing, etailers hold a few extra cards that are especially beneficial to causes. Advantages that almost no retail channel could match.

For instance, the clerk at my nearby Jamba Juice on Saturday, October 6, was very enthusiastic as he sold me a paper icon benefiting the National Breast Cancer Foundation. But he couldn’t really tell me how the money would be used or how I could get involved beyond spending the $1 and signing my name to the icon.

By contrast, when the transaction was complete, Chicbud.com could steer me to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s tax return or programs page. It could have put up video stories that demonstrate the power of early detection or the promise of certain research pathways. It could have thanked me specifically, calling me by name.

It could have sent me to Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s Facebook page or asked me to consider participating in an event. It could have asked me a handful of questions to know where to send me first. Or it could have asked me for an email address and for the permission to contact me at a later date.

In short, with not much programming, Chicbuds.com could have helped enable me to start a deeper relationship with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Chicbuds.com, I’m sorry to say, did none of these things. But all these things and many more are very possible and even easy, if only the etailer and the cause had a better relationship.

But, as I said, if Chicbuds.com had done any one of these things, it would have been the exception among etailers doing cause marketing. My friends, it’s time that we start really using the power of the Internet when activating etail cause marketing.

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