Woot.com redefined deals on the web and created a huge social presence along the way. The Woot blueprint is a great example of how to not only move merchandise but also how to breed raving fans across a variety of mediums.
In case you have been living under a rock and haven’t heard of Woot, they brought the “deal a day” model to its current height of popularity. Not only does Woot sell one item at a low price each day, but they also engage their customers with creative copywriting, blogging, contests and social network updates as well as any other site today. Here is a breakdown of some of the fresh social ideas and creative implementations that Woot has been involved in.
Special content for Twitter followers
Woot has always had a large following on Twitter and has also branched out into using Twitter for customer service as well. One of the newest features that Woot has offered their followers, is a mini “deal-a-thon” called a “Woot Happy Hour.” The only way customers can find out when one of these special sales is by spotting a tweet – it isn’t announced anywhere else. Also, when the Woot Happy Hour is underway Woot feeds in tweets with the #woot hashtag for customer interaction.
Enhanced community forum
One of the smartest things that Woot has implemented in its sales process – is the unfiltered comments and recommendations from their “community” forum. For each product that is sold, a post is placed onto their forums, and users regularly comment on the deal. However, it doesn’t stop here. Woot staffers select the best or most helpful comments and pull them through to the homepage to help educate users with more than just the cookie-cutter item description. They highlight the most helpful reviews, even if they are negative:
These mini-reviews are by the community for the community and many times keep users on the site instead of hopping off to an additional review sites where they could make a purchase elsewhere.
Customer centric blog
Woot has a blog that features the daily deals, and also features fun, games, contests and industry news that stimulates the community and creates Woot fanatics. The content on the blog is actually really interesting, including silly awards, contests, laughs and gags, tech news, web games and more. The purpose of the blog isn’t to cram product down the throats of readers, rather to retain customers… something uncommon on most e-commerce sites.
A reason to talk
Unlike most companies, Woot isn’t afraid to lose some money in the short term to make buckets of money in the long term. By actually bending over backwards for customers (something I called for as a 2010 resolution for companies) they make news by giving people reasons to talk about them in a positive light. A few examples:
- When customers said that a price drop on a product a month later was unfair, they parodied Apple and then issued a refund.
- When Nintendo Wii’s were the must have holiday item, Woot sent a customer that ordered a $5 “Bag of Crap” (Woot’s version of a grab bag) a Wii.
- April Fools jokes that created buzz and exposure.
- The product copy is unique and engaging, many people simply visit the site for the descriptions.
- Another customer ordered a $3 “Bag of Crap” and received a 61″ TV.
- A shirt was “stolen” by USPS – Woot replaced it free of charge.
- Even their paid search campaign became industry conversation.
Overall, Woot is a great example of social media success by simply paying attention to customers, giving them a reason to follow and participate and creating their own PR/publicity by doing exceptional things for customers and creating exceptional content as well.