ITS 380: Global E-commerce Systems

John Bergstrom


1.      Find a site on the Web that offers classified ads for horses. Compare this site to in terms of the services offered (the customer value proposition). What does The Exchange offer that other sites do not?

I decided to compare the with a site that also advertise horses for sale called At a first glance looks much more professional and user-friendly than the does. However, when you start to browse for horses on it is a much more complex search system, which can be good if the buyer knows exactly what he wants. But at the the choice is easier when browsing for horses as they already have some listed on the sidebar and they also have typical horse specifications that potential buyers can click on to get what they want. Another great advantage with is that they offer videoclips on the horses edited by them and not the sellers, which is a neat service that they offer. However, both and offers an integrated view of the seller’s social media platforms as well as their email address and contact information. Lastly, the offers an additional array of services that include selling barns, showing calendar for horses, and horses that have been sold in the past. This is where they have their value proposition compared to their competitors.


2.      In what ways were social media effective in promoting The Exchange brand? Which media led to the highest increase in sales and inquiries? Why?

The Exchange started experimenting and using social media as a company before it was as big as it is today. Aslin started with a Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram in the early ages of social media and had a little advantage when social media really took off. Although The Exchange are fairly successful on all of their social media platforms with 60,000 views on Youtube, 2,000 followers on Twitter, 5,000 followers on Instagram, and 16,000 friends/likes on Facebook. During the time this book was written, Facebook was also the most important social media platform for The Exchange, and they even spent money on advertising their service on Facebook. On Facebook, The Exchange promotes content and boosts posts every month, and they have found that it has become increasingly important to maintain and gain more social media attraction and interaction. The Exchange uses Google Analytics to track exactly how many people are on their website in real and how they got there. As well as a short URL service, bit.y to create unique URLs associated with Facebook.

3.      Make a list of all the ways The Exchange attempts to personalize its services to both buyers and sellers.

·         The Exchange has a personal e-mail response to buyer inquiries where an actual person responds, i.e. the email is not automatically generated

·         Buyers can fill out pre-generated forms if they have an interest in a horse and receive a pro forma budget based on the expenses that comes with the purchase

·         Like many other e-commerce sites The Exchange makes recommendations to potential buyers based on what horses they have looked at historically, and by doing this The Exchange Searches for suitable horses for potential buyers of horses automatically

·         For every horse that gets put up on their website, The Exchange develops a personal selling strategy for each horse which customizes the whole selling experience, making their platform a less of a C2C business and more of a C2C + consulting e-commerce entity.

·         Lastly, The Exchange works with individual sellers and trainers in the sales & operations planning side to create effective ads that includes video edited clips of the horse and photos and history of the horse.

Project Questions

1.      Visit your Facebook page and examine the ads shown in the right margin. What is being advertised and how do you believe it is relevant to your interests or online behavior? Make a list of ads appearing in your news feed. Are these ads appropriately targeted to you in terms of your demographics, interests, and past purchases? Go to at least two websites, and like it or like a product. In the next 24 hours, do see marketing messages on Facebook related to your likes?

I have a surprisingly small pool of ads that Facebook chooses to display for me. This time it consists of a hockey gear advertisement, and another ad for a music concert in Minneapolis. Now the hockey advertisement is probably based on my likes on Facebook as I have liked a lot of pages and articles with hockey related information. So Facebook probably uses my like history to display these ads for me through their algorithm. However, the music concert add for Layla Barnett a music artist I have never heard of is probably generated through my spotify account that is linked to Facebook. Linking my Spotify account to facebook enables Facebook to see how much I listen to music and what kind of music I listen to. Thus, I think that this ad was displayed for me based on my streams on Spotify, and she probably plays the same genre of music in which I usually listen to.

For the like of a page I decided to like Dick’s sporting goods, and I didn’t even have to wait 24 hours until I started seeing online ads on Facebook from Dick’s. This isn’t very surprising since I think a lot of the ads Facebook displays for me are based on my likes. Which further supports my theory of why the two ads mentioned above are displayed for me.


2.      Identify two Pinterest brand pages. Identify how they use Pinterest marketing tools described in this chapter. Are there some tools they are not using? What recommendations can you make for these sites to improve their Pinterest marketing campaigns?

I decided to look up Fjallraven and Levis on Pinterest to see how their brand pages are. Fjallraven is a Swedish outdoor clothing company, and they pretty much just had pictures of models wearing their clothes in the nature to display them. They also provided a link below the picture to their online website with a price for the items. It is basically a virtual showroom for their clothes and products. I think that they could engage with their fans a lot more than they do and provide at least a caption with the picture and maybe a deal or coupon to incentivize people to buy their clothes. However I think they are so successful so that they don’t have to do this, so they simply just display their pictures online in order to sell them.

Levis was another store, much Like Fjallraven they also displayed pictures of models wearing their clothes, but they also had “outfit” of the day advice, and some DIY articles on how to style or repair your jeans. And by interacting with their followers more in this way, I think that Levi’s gains so much more exposure than Fjallraven to new potential customers as people who have never heard of them are just searching for “How to repair my jeans”. This is a smart strategy by Levi’s, and they also provide a link to their online store, most often with special deals or sales as well.