September 4, 2013, 4:04 PM

Giving is getting

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Other e-retailers could similarly focus on making shoppers feel like they are trendsetters influencing the brand's future, she says. One way is to create "member zones" where invited consumers can log into an e-commerce site and access special content, like sneak previews of upcoming products or the opportunity to shop an advanced sale, she says. Retailers can also invite their best customers to contribute to the brand directly, perhaps by filming testimonials or filling out surveys about merchandise, she says.

Nonprofits have long known how to reach, retain and spur donors to drive others to their causes. By understanding how nonprofits leverage the web to accomplish their goals, e-retailers can better build online audiences that are active, engaged and motivated to share—all important fuel for sales.

amy@verticalwebmedia.com

@AmyDusto

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