ECOMMERCE BLOGS: 75+ Community Sites of the Top Online Retailers
Many retailers are starting to use blogs to interact with and market to shoppers. In fact, 15% of the Top 500 Online Retailers have ecommerce blogs. Some are fresh out of the gate, while others have thousands of posts and comments. We rounded them all up and have listed 75+ ecommerce blogs for your retail inspiration. Alright, let's check out who's blogging now...
|Blog Name||Online Since||Blog Type|
|Alibris Book Blog||Apr '06||Subdomain|
|Amazon Book Blog||Mar '07||Subfolder|
|Omnivoracious (Amazon - books)||Oct '07||Separate Domain|
|Aldente Blog (Amazon - food/kitchen)||Jul '07||Separate Domain|
|Carlust Blog (Amazon - cars)||Aug '07||Separate Domain|
|American Muscle||Feb '07||Subdomain|
|Apple||Nov '04||Separate Domain|
|Apple Students Blog||Nov '04||Subfolder of Subdomain|
|The Avenue (United Retail Group, Inc.)||May '07||Subdomain|
|Auntie’s Beads Inc.||Dec '06||Free Xanga Blog|
|Bidz.com Inc.||Feb '07||Subdomain|
|Boot Barn Inc. (AM-PAT Inc.)||Mar '05||Subfolder|
|Brooks Brothers||June '07||Subdomain|
|BuyOnlineNow.com||June '07||Separate Domain|
|CafePress||May '06||Free Typepad Blog|
|Clutter Control Freak||Jan '08||Subfolder|
|Communications.com (Perfume.com)||Sep '05||Subdomain|
|Crutchfield Corp.||Apr '07||Subfolder of Subdomain|
|CSN Stores Inc.||June '07||Free Blogspot Blog|
|Dell Inc.||Jul '06||Separate Domain|
|Design Within Reach||Oct '06||Subdomain|
|Discovery Store Blog||Dec '06||Free Typepad Blog|
|DrJays (DJ Networks)||Feb '07||Subdomain|
|DVD Empire||Mar '06||Free Blogspot Blog|
|Ecampus.com (A Book Co.)||Feb '07||Subfolder|
|Figleaves.com Inc.||Oct '06||Subdomain|
|Geardirect.com (Specialty Sports Ventures)||Feb '05||Free Blogspot Blog|
|GREENCulture Inc.||Jul '07||Subdomain|
|HobbyTron RC Blog||May '07||Subfolder|
|HobbyTron Product News||June '05||Free Blogspot Blog|
|Home Décor Products Inc.||Sep '06||Separate Domain|
|Hewlett Packard||Jan '07||Subfolder|
|Ask.com (IAC/Interactive Corp.)||Feb '05||Subdomain|
|Just Ask Leslie (Ice.com)||Mar '05||Separate Domain|
|Sparkle Like the Stars (Ice.com)||Mar '05||Separate Domain|
|iGourmet LLC||Feb '07||Subfolder|
|Jewelry Television||Nov '06||Free Typepad Blog|
|Junonia Ltd.||May '06||Subfolder|
|K & L Wines||Oct '05||Subdomain|
|MLB Advanced Media||June '06||Subdomain|
|MooseJaw Daily Madness||Apr '07||Free Blogspot Blog|
|Mountain Equipment Co-Op||Jun '07||Subdomain|
|Musicnotes Inc.||Oct '06||Subdomain|
|National Hockey League||Subfolder|
|Nieman Marcus||August '07||Subdomain|
|Nike Inc.||Feb '06||Subdomain|
|Online Stores Inc.||June '07||Subfolder|
|OpticsPlanet Inc.||Apr '07||Subdomain|
|Organize.com Inc.||Jan '06||Subfolder|
|Panasonic Corporate Blog||Nov '06||Subdomain|
|Mr. Paper’s Blog (Paper.com)||Feb '05||Subfolder|
|Paper News (Paper.com)||Feb '05||Subfolder|
|PetSmart Charities Blogs||Separate Domain|
|Powell’s Books||Nov '05||Subfolder|
|RealPlayer Music Store (RealNetworks Inc.)||May '07||Subfolder|
|Replacements Ltd. (Ebay Blog)||June '06||Subdomain|
|Rockler Woodworking and Hardware||Mar '06||Subfolder|
|Roots Canada Ltd.||Aug '06||Subfolder|
|Rugs Direct (Winchester Carpet & Rugs)||Apr '07||Separate Domain|
|Rugs USA||May '07||Subfolder|
|Scentiments.com||June '06||Free Blogspot Blog|
|Sephora USA Inc.||May '07||Subdomain|
|Sierra Trading Post Inc.||Jul '07||Subdomain|
|TigerGPS.com Ltd.||Mar '06||Subdomain|
|ToolBarn.com Inc.||Dec '05||Subdomain|
|Urban Outfitters||Apr '07||Subdomain|
|Vintage Tub and Bath||June '05||Subfolder|
|Vitacost.com||Jul '06||Free Typepad Blog|
|Life at WalMart||Mar '06||Subfolder of Separate Domain|
|Walmart Checkout||Nov '07||Separate Domain|
|Wlliams Sonoma||Nov '06||Separate Domain|
|Your Electronics Warehouse||Apr '03||Subfolder|
|Zazzle Tech Blog||Feb '07||Subdomain|
Blog Type Stats
13% Separate Domain
11% Free Blog Hosting
Why does this matter?
Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz has an excellent explanation on why subfolders are preferred over other options for search engine optimization purposoes, all else equal. But for branding purposes it may make sense for you to use an entirely separate domain.
A Few Blogs of Note:
DrJays.com's urban clothing blog does a great job at understanding their customer. Those that identify themselves with the hip-hop culture are heavily influenced by popular rap artists' style, and the blog is a way to mix merchandising with news (like the announcement of "Nas' signature "Disciple" shoe by 310 Motoring).
Gaging by the average number of comments each post receives, DrJays' mix of sounds, sports, society and style are achieving reader involvement. Short and snappy posts that ask questions like Who are the worst rappers of all time? may draw almost 100 comments so far).
A year ago Dell was battling a slew of online consumer complaints, cleverly dubbed "Dell Hell." Thus Direct2Dell's tagline "one 2 one communications with Dell" aptly reflects its purpose. The blog is proving to be an excellent platform to address customer concerns and complaints, with posts like XPS M1330: What's Going On? drawing over 200 comments. Dell can not only perform damage control quickly, but also gather user feedback to make their products better.
A few details on this blog stand out: the bloggers' signatures includes their job title, for example "Matt Domsch, Linux Technology Strategist" and "Glenn Keels, Sr. Manager—Commercial Server Team." For any corporate blog, it's nice to know the background of the poster, it builds trust. I also appreciate that top management or key team members are accessible via comments.
Design-wise, the collapsible right hand menu allows the blog to offer several different navigation options without looking too cluttered. The "Most Viewed" and "Most Comments" are extra goodies. The "power button" icons are a nice touch. The subscribe box could be de-cluttered by replacing the bookmark buttons with a single AddThis button, and would also show some love to readers using other bookmarking services.
What I love about the Avenista is its practical fashion advice. It brings back that good old-fashioned store window merchandising. For example, showing how to take simple gray trowsers from day to night. Sold!
The high quality images compliment the clean design. The blog is easy to scan and easy to navigate. The posts are friendly, fun and the advice speaks to the question marks that can loom over a shopper's head such as what goes with ballet flats?
Although integrating the blog as a subdomain of the estore is convenient and consistent branding, you can't search blog content. My search for "ballet flats" takes me to the product page, not the blog post.
One thing this clothier should be careful of is coming across too fabricated:
"Before I go, I have one piece of advice. Great coats like great men do not come around as often as we would like. So, don't waste another second of your life without this trench. Buy it now!"
All in all, a nice approach to an apparel etailer blog.
Sephora's Beauty and the Blog's content is target-market appropriate, updated frequently and offers a great mix of educational videos and articles to complement their product line. It also gets a nod as the only blog to feature mobile RSS prominently.
It makes sense for this blog's image that the less-glamorous Feedburner icon is tucked away, but still easy to find for those who prefer (0r have even heard of) traditional RSS. Perhaps fashion-forward females favor fashion feeds on a flashy phone?
Databazaar's frequent posting of deals and coupons is a great sales tool. Regarding RSS subscription, at the end of each post, Databazaar subtly "asks for the sale."
"About Databazaar Deals
Entrepreneur Sid Lance once quipped, "The safe way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket." To hold onto more of your hard-earned cash, look for Databazaar Deals—limited-time discounts on popular printer supplies. Yet another good reason to subscribe to this blog."
A lot of blogs never encourage users to subscribe. The subscription box is very nicely designed, and covers a number of popular bookmark service options without littering the page with chicklet icons:
The blog is seamlessly integrated with the estore, but again, its search engine only works for products. My search for "air conditioner" found in this post took me to a product that happens to come with two air filters.
I'm also not crazy about the "Library" with the dropdown menu of categories. It would be nice to have a conventional browseable category list broken down into product type, manufacturer and other categories, since it would make sense for a user looking for deals on Konica Minolta toner to filter results by tag or category. Even though the blog does a great job with tagging, the dropdown menu is jumbled. If space is a concern, pull a Dell and use expandable and collapsible menus.
Warning: Just because these companies are top in sales doesn't mean they've got top-notch blogs. Many haven't made it past the first few posts. We gathered this list to give you inspiration for your own ecommerce blogging efforts. We want your opinion on these blogs: which do you think are the best and worst? Or drop your ecommerce blog URL in the comments, and you might make our upcoming list of Get Elastic reader's blogs.
Did we miss any Top 500 Online Retailer ecommerce blogs? Let us know in the comments.