In the summer of 2011, two people with noteworthy social media background, Aaron Chavez and Dale Partridge, decided to start a business where they can blend profit and purpose together, by putting people before profit. They came up with a life changing business idea titled Sevenly, which not only represents the number 7, but also the word “heavenly.” In an interview with Mashable, CEO Partridge said, they chose the number seven because Biblically, it represents completeness. Completeness, according to Dale Partridge, means “world without need.” Surprisingly, the name of the company itself explains its business model, which was inspired by social good companies like TOMS Shoes and Warby Parker. However, their aim was to create an original business plan. Hence, they chose the number 7 as the base of their ultimate simple business model.
With a slogan of “People Matter,” Sevenly donates $7.00 from each transaction to different causes of charities weekly. Every week, Sevenly announces the causes, it will be donating to, in its website. Sevenly believes their business model is co-profit, thus sustainable. To clarify this model, the team of Sevenly stated, $7.00 per transaction is almost 30% of their income and that is exceptionally high for a for-profit company. They also claimed that their donation rate is so high that the Internal Revenue Service could not place it in the for-profit tax category with the other retail companies. Therefore, their business model is defined as co-profit, where a fixed percentage of their company’s profit goes directly to the nonprofit causes.
As we know, Sevenly is an e-retailer, all the activities of this company are being operated online. It has built some fascinating online cause-marketing strategies that helped the company to grow within a very short span of time. This weekly cause activation platform was first launched on Facebook. In an article of Facebook titled, “How Sevenly Uses Facebook to Profit for Good”, the CEO of Sevenly mentioned that they used Facebook initially to build an audience and grow awareness. He also said that, for a time Facebook generated almost 97% of their site traffic. Now that they are in the growth stage of product life cycle, they use Facebook mainly to drive traffic to their site. Although these days they are introducing new online strategies frequently to expand their market, they are still using Facebook primarily to build awareness and engage with their customers.
However, to take advantage of the power of online and digital platforms fully, Sevenly has been using other online platforms as well, i.e. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+. The team of Sevenly build and update the contents of these online platforms regularly, based on their weekly chosen causes. According to Stephanie Czupryk, Director of Marketing at Sevenly, “Telling both our cause and design story on platforms like these helps us continue to engage and inspire our audience throughout our weekly campaigns. When you run 52 different campaigns a year, it is important to maintain a fresh perspective in your storytelling of each charity and the designs we develop for them.” Thus, the team of Sevenly is using the feel good principle, the science of storytelling, as a weapon for their business.
In addition to using all the mentioned social networks, Sevenly also uses the most popular online platform YouTube. To increase the word of mouth, the team of Sevenly has been using the YouTube Stars as a consumer engagement strategy for the last three years. In an interview with I AM THE TREND, the CEO of Sevenly revealed, as soon as they learned that YouTube stars have a higher engagement rate than Facebook and Twitter, they made friends with these celebrities and signed them up to be their spoke person.
However, Sevenly’s marketing team is always testing new channels that may be a good fit for its brand. As part of their channel exploration, they used the Television media to run a reality show regarding a campaign of Sevenly in 2013. They were also featured in prime time on German Television along with some other national presses. Thus, Sevenly keeps testing and re-testing multichannel to reach its audience.
As an e-retailer, Sevenly has successfully created a very structured way to capture data about their customers. In an interview with I AM THE TREND, CEO Partridge mentioned that, they have a very high repeat buyer percentage. They maintain a complete different database for the repeat buyers. Once a customer signs up for a Sevenly account and buys products from the website, the information automatically goes to their customer database. Customers who tend to purchase more than once are considered as repeat buyers. Sevenly is very strict about collecting and protecting the personal data of their customers. It uses the latest industry-standard SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption to protect personal data of the users. Sevenly also utilizes SEO and SEM to drive traffic to their website. If you search for “shop for charity” on Google search engine, Sevenly’s website appears on the first page. Thus, Sevenly is making the most effective use of digital marketing tools to achieve its goals.