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Tracy Strauss
VP of Marketing @ Yotpo
October 28th, 2020

How eCommerce Brands Can Encourage Customers to Vote

With these strategies, brands can help get out the vote while deepening relationships with customers.

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If your brand isn’t taking a stance this election season, you could be missing out on an opportunity to connect with your community. Taking a stance doesn’t necessarily mean endorsing a candidate or policy position — it can mean encouraging people to vote, offering important resources, or finding new ways to be a part of an ongoing, important, national conversation.

The election may be just around the corner, but there’s still time for brands to promote voting and get involved — and remember, you can use these strategies to align with a cause any time of year. Here’s what you need to know before jumping in, and some strategies to consider.

Customers believe it’s important for brands to express their views

Research conducted by Sprout Social shows just how important it is for brands to express their values. Here’s what they found:

  • Two-thirds of consumers (66%) say it’s important for brands to take a public stand on social and political issues.
  • When consumers’ values align with what brands are saying, 28% will publicly praise them. When consumers disagree with the brand’s stance, 20% will publicly criticize them.
  • While 17% of respondents have joined a boycott as a result of a brand speaking out on issues, 24% have gone on to purchase a product from that brand.

Brands face risks when speaking out, but the risk is bigger in staying silent. You may lose customers by taking a stand, but you’re likely to offset that loss with even more new ones. In fact, research from Fleishman Hillard found that 61% of consumers surveyed said that even if they disagree with a company’s position on an issue, they believe it’s important for companies to express their views.

Authenticity is crucial

Consumers do want brands to take a stand, but only when it’s genuine. It’s not enough for brands to try to jump on the bandwagon; your values need to carry throughout your entire organization — from your products, to your campaigns, to how you treat your employees.

For example, Nordstrom did a great job of this with their “Make Your Voice Heard” election campaign which featured exclusive “vote” apparel, with a portion of the proceeds going to When We All Vote and the National Urban League.

But it doesn’t stop there. The company has also made election day a holiday for all of its U.S. employees, and it’s providing discounted Lyft rides to the polls for employees at its stores and centers for fulfillment, distribution, and customer service. Nordstrom also partnered with Civic Alliance to connect employees to volunteer opportunities.

Nordstrom isn’t just jumping on a cause to raise their profile; they’re donating money to that cause, encouraging people to get involved, and ensuring their employees have the resources they need to participate in the election.

Strategies to encourage voting in 2020 (and beyond)

This election season, it’s clear that brands are urging consumers to get out and vote — and they’re doing it in creative ways! Here are some ideas for how you can forge stronger relationships with your customers by encouraging them to vote.

Keep in mind, too, that these strategies don’t just apply to voting campaigns; they’re great tools to use year-round as your brand considers how it can align with a meaningful mission or cause.

Use SMS to drive voter campaigns

With an SMS platform like SMSBump, a Yotpo company, you can ask your customers to share photos of their voter registration forms or absentee ballots. Then, your brand can donate on their behalf to a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing voter turnout, like Rock the Vote or When We All Vote.

Give perks to customers who register or vote

Try asking customers to submit a selfie with their “I voted” sticker in order to receive a free gift. Even if it’s stickers or a small perk, it helps customers feel like they’re a part of your community while encouraging them to take action!

Reward shoppers for registering or voting

If you already have a loyalty program, you can easily adapt it to offer your customers rewards for registering to vote or voting. You can reward them with points or discounts for submitting proof of voting, buying election-themed apparel, donating to political causes, taking an action on social media (retweet, shares, posting with hashtags etc.), or interacting with voting content on your website. For example, women’s clothing brand Mara Hoffman is offering rewards members 50 points to vote.

Educate voters about the election or issues

Brands can take a stand by educating consumers on the issues that matter to them. This can be an information-filled hub on the brand website, posts on social media, email communications, and more. It demonstrates that you care about causes, and that you want your customer base to care, too. For example, Patagonia is known for its commitment to sustainability and environmental activism. Their election hub includes helpful information about candidates who support fighting climate change and resources for how to get involved.

Donate a percentage of sales of specific products to a non-profit

A popular and effective way to align with a cause, you can sell exclusive or limited-edition merchandise and then donate a portion of those proceeds to an organization you care about. Pet retailer Wild One is currently offering a Vote Walk Kit, with 20% of sales donated to When We All Vote. If you don’t have time to create a special-edition item, you can always choose a popular or noteworthy item in your collection to use in this way.

Meet your customers where they are

To encourage your customers to get out and vote, you can send them a quick text with helpful resources. With a platform like SMSBump, you can even help direct them to personalized local voter resources based on their location.

Highlight community members who vote or contribute

If you’re selling election-themed merchandise, create a gallery of selfies to celebrate your customers using these items. For example, if you’re selling voter-themed apparel, showcase those customers who are wearing it. Or, you could create a gallery of customers who submitted selfies wearing their “I voted” stickers. This can show potential customers that your brand cares about voting, and can help deepen your relationship with your existing community. 

Make your brand’s voice heard this election year

If your brand hasn’t already made a commitment to stand for something, make 2020 (and beyond) your year. Urging your customers to vote and to use their voice is a great way to build relationships and show them who you are.

How is your brand helping to get out the vote this election season? Tag @yotpo social and share your campaigns!

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