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    Ecommerce Marketing Trends: What Can Brands Learn From the Success of the 'Stanley Cup'?

    April 9, 2024
    15 minute read
    Ecommerce Marketing Trends: What Can Brands Learn From the Success of the 'Stanley Cup'?

    The Stanley Quencher H20 Flowstate Tumbler, otherwise known as the “Stanley cup” (not to be confused with the hockey trophy) has become a status symbol. 

    Consumers of all ages are drawn to the steel tumbler, deeming it their “emotional support water bottle,” a title that once belonged to brands like Contigo, Hydro Flask, and Yeti. 

    It’s unlikely that founder William Stanley Jr. predicted in 1913 that his outdoor adventure and gear company’s tumblers would elicit such a response, selling out across the digital and physical shelves. 

    But the 111-year-old brand has experienced a resurgence that most brands can only dream of.  

    Here's how brands can stay on top of ecommerce marketing trends to win the Stanley Cup (the hockey trophy, this time) of customer loyalty and success. 

    Put a Little Pep in Your Step: Reviving Old Brands 

    Legacy brands are brands that have been around the block for generations while maintaining a positive reputation. But consumers often put them on the back burner for newer brands. 

    Sometimes, though, legacy brands can launch themselves back into the spotlight with an image refresh — or pure luck. In Stanley’s case, the 111-year-old brand found itself in the limelight when its Quencher tumbler became a viral sensation. 

    Funnily, the brand introduced the Quencher in 2016 and discontinued it in 2019 due to low sales, according to media outlet CNBC, until reviewers from The Buy Guide recommended it to their followers and completely transformed how people viewed the tumbler. 

    Stanley put it back on the market and increased its revenue from $70 million to $750 million within just a few years, according to CNBC. 

    The Stanley cup craze is a perfect example of how legacy brands can channel a resurgence by participating in the conversation with consumers, keeping their content fresh and exciting, and staying on top of ecommerce marketing trends.

    Going Viral Puts Brands on the Map 

    For some brands, virality feels like the green flash before sunset — nearly impossible to see (or achieve). 

    However, with the right formula, almost any brand across any category can “go viral.” This phenomenon results from a perfect combination of social media trends, word of mouth, and luck. 

    Sometimes, it comes when brands least expect it or aren’t even trying. Re: Ocean Spray

    "Our 40oz Quencher is an internet phenomenon!" Terence Reilly, global president of the Stanley brand, told Shop TODAY in an email. "It became wildly popular initially by word of mouth, and now trends on social organically, with people posting about their favorite hydration accessory. Influencers and our affiliates certainly play a part in Quencher success as well." 

    The Stanley cup went viral (and has remained popular) for a few distinct reasons. 

    Stanley Leans Into Ecommerce Marketing Trends 

    The Stanley cup now acts as a social status symbol. What was once just a 40-oz. liquid container has become an indication of whether or not you’re in the know

    The Quencher reinforces the “clean girl aesthetic,” popularized by social media platforms like TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram. Slicked-back ponytails, minimal/natural makeup styles, neutral-toned clothing, and a Stanley cup in hand characterize this aesthetic. 

    For example, one user saved the items to their “Clean Girl Aesthetic” mood board on ShopLook, including a neutral-toned Stanley cup. 

    Products That Are Part of the Clean Girl Aesthetic

    Image SourceShopLook

    Staying on top of ecommerce marketing trends is an excellent way to keep your finger on the pulse of consumer desires and give them the experiences they want. 

    Stanley Offers High-Quality Products and Customization  

    Salsify’s “2024 Consumer Research” report, a survey of 2,700 U.S. and U.K. respondents across generation groups, notes that 73% of shoppers will be loyal to a brand if they have high-quality products. 

    In Stanley’s case, its reputation for quality precedes it. 

    The steel tumbler's handle is perfect for being on the go, stays warm/cold for long periods, and the slim bottom fits into a majority of car cup holders, which makes it easier for influencers to tote them along in their vlogs.

    Its lid features a rotating cover that offers three different drinking positions and more accessory options like different lids or travel straws. Amazon boasts a very impressive accessory offering, including an attachable snack boat with a handle. 

    Choosing a color isn’t something Stanley fans take lightly. Some even purchase more than one to ensure they get their favorite colors. In a time of economic uncertainty, that’s especially impressive, considering Salsify research says that 35% of consumers are prioritizing essentials over non-essentials. The Stanley Cup Annual CollectionImage SourceStanley

    Stanley leans into this by offering a wide array of colors titled Core, Annual, Seasonal, and Limited, with 14 oz., 20 oz., 30 oz., 40 oz., and 64 oz. options. There are even customization options — and consumers love customization

    Stanley Creates FOMO With Limited Releases and Partnerships 

    Consumers will jump at any chance they can to get their hands on the Holy Grail of metal tumblers.

    Stanley has leaned into the craze by inducing consumers' fear of missing out (FOMO) with limited edition releases and partnerships. For example, the Stanley X Target Galentine’s Day release caused so much hype around the product that it sold out in minutes.

    Picture the intensity of Black Friday shopping every time a new Stanley cup color or partnership drops.

    Video Source: ABC7 YouTube

    These tumblers sell out so quickly that desperate shoppers turn to online resale marketplaces like eBay, despite extremely marked-up prices. For true fanatical collectors, no price is too high. Stanley Tumbler eBay listing Image SourceeBay

    Brands that want to follow in Stanley’s footsteps can do so by creating limited edition releases that feed into consumers’ FOMO and by partnering with brands that will create buzz around the products. 

    Omnichannel Creates the Experiences Customers Want 

    A seamless omnichannel experience is crucial for customer satisfaction, which won’t translate if brands have “bad” product content. In other words, content that is incorrect, incomplete, inconsistent, or simply bare-boned, with limited visuals or rich media. 

    Forty-two percent of consumers have abandoned an online sale because of incomplete or poorly written product titles or descriptions, and 41% because of inconsistent product info across sites, according to Salsify research. 

    Salsify research also reports that 49% of consumers prefer a perfect mix of online and in-store shopping. Brands can cater to these customers by ensuring their product experiences are flawless across channels, like Stanley. 

    Stanley’s website has social links to its TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter profiles. Its TikTok account alone has more than 10 million likes, which proves the brand’s ability to connect with consumers.

    By joining in on the conversation on social media, brands can prove they’re hip and worthy of their desired audiences’ attention

    Take Barbie, for example. While the doll brand has been around since 1959, it recently underwent a revival. The marketing content created for the release of the 2023 eponymous film made the 65-year-old brand a very hot topic again.

    When brands focus their time and attention on improving their omnichannel experience, they’ll reap the rewards.

    How To Use Ecommerce Marketing Trends to Your Advantage 

    Despite being over a century old, Stanley does an excellent job of connecting with consumers and catering to their needs.

    Brands can fall to the wayside if they don’t keep up with ecommerce marketing trends. But, 

    if you lean into going viral and providing seamless omnichannel experiences, you may just capture that green flash.


    Featured images -  Consumer Research 20244

    2024 Consumer Research

    Download the 2024 consumer research report for consumer insights to help you achieve Stanley cup-levels of success.


    Written by: Madeline Koufogazos

    Madeline Koufogazos (she/her) is an editor and writer at Salsify, based out of Boston. She enjoys sharing her insights on consumer trends and behaviors, commerce, media, pop culture, and travel.

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