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The competition in ecommerce is fierce—learn how to use ecommerce branding to set your business apart.
Are you effectively branding your ecommerce business? For some people, the concept of ecommerce branding—or just “branding” in general—can be difficult to grasp. If you have a favorite store, think about what you associate with it when you hear its name. For example, what does the Apple brand make you think of? What about Amazon?
Your brand—and the experience you create across all your sales channels—forms the backbone for your business. Even in the face of ongoing uncertainties, supply chain disruption, and shifting consumer preferences, your brand can help you connect with customers and drive growth for your business.
In this article, we discuss the importance of ecommerce branding and share tried-and-true tactics for creating a recognizable brand
In today’s increasingly crowded marketplace, good ecommerce branding helps your business stand out from the competition and make it memorable for customers.
Think of bulk warehouse stores like Costco or Sam’s Club, and you’ll likely think of the phrase “bulk shopping at wholesale prices”. What you see is what you get when you visit these stores—from the large quantities of the items to the warehouse-like atmosphere. On the other hand, a store like The House Of Bijan Boutique (dubbed “the most expensive store in the world”) that contains pricey goods available for perusal by exclusive appointment only, conjures up some very different images and associations in the minds of the average consumer.
Both types of stores sell and promote products online with effective offline and ecommerce branding strategies. The strongest ecommerce businesses understand that their offerings are a byproduct of their brand—their ability to communicate values, personality, culture, and a lifestyle around their products or services gives them a clear advantage over similar businesses and allows them to create lasting emotional bonds with their customers. A brand strengthens a customer’s perception of your business, leading to greater chances of becoming lifelong repeat buyers.
Ecommerce branding also helps to provide a direction for your digital marketing strategy, from the product lines you sell to the initiatives you develop to promote your business. Strong ecommerce branding also unites your team and ensures everyone is on the same page with bringing the business in the right direction and enabling it to grow.
Regardless of the size of your business, developing a strong ecommerce branding strategy is crucial to your long-term success in the ecommerce space. A strong brand consists of three components: a memorable name, a clear identity, and compelling messaging. These three components allow you to command attention, tell your target customers who you are and make it clear to them what to expect when they come into contact with you.
Is your company perceived as friendly and outgoing, sleek and fashionable, elegant and luxurious, or reserved and austere? No matter which personality you choose for your brand, your attitude towards customer service plays a big part in this perception. A unique, social personality that engages directly with customers will generate a more receptive customer base than a bland, inaccessible personality.
Your ecommerce branding should convey loyalty to your customers, while also encouraging their loyalty to you at the same time. A strong brand identity leads to brand recognition, and reinforces the purchasing choices that a consumer makes.
Is your product or service relevant? Your ecommerce branding should reinforce the idea that it is very relevant to the lives of your target customers. Identifying your target demographic is one of the best ways to market the products in your ecommerce store effectively, while building brand recognition at the same time.
Good ecommerce branding also communicates values, vision, and goals. This allows your business to connect with like-minded customers and create a sense of unity within your business as it grows.
Do your customers trust you? Do the attitudes of your company convey trust? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” it is time to re-evaluate your ecommerce branding strategies. In the ecommerce industry where shoppers don’t have the ability to try out products by hand, consumer trust is crucial. You’ll need to craft a strong brand that inspires emotion and instills trust and confidence with potential customers that are looking for what you have to offer.
The first step in building a compelling brand is crafting one core message that will guide your efforts, both online and offline. Once you determine your core message, you can leverage every advantage to strengthen your ecommerce branding and pull shoppers away from the other options. Creativity goes a long way when marketing online, and you’ll need to be creative in marketing your business and delivering messaging from every angle. Here are some tips for creating a memorable ecommerce brand:
Today’s shoppers appreciate real, authentic brands. To show customers that you care about your values and the people you serve, start by sharing your origin story. Your origin story communicates the greater reason why you started your company and how you plan to improve your customers’ lives.
Once you have your origin story dialed in, you’ll want to share it with your customers. Be creative in all aspects of your marketing, like leveraging user-generated content to showcase your community to creating memorable social-media content that sparks attention and drives sales. Communicate a clear style that reflects the focus of your business and have it infused in every aspect of your ecommerce branding and online identity, from the colors and photos on your site to your messaging and mood on social media.
The unique value of your products is the best way to differentiate your ecommerce branding—it serves as the ultimate foundation for standing out in a sea of similar offerings. Having a well-defined, memorable product value proposition enables you to maintain the integrity of your offerings and compete with sellers who might be undermining product value with discounts and price cuts.
Communicate how you address customer pain points. Although there may be many similar offerings on the market, you can still highlight how you address customer needs in a way that your competitors do not. Also, think about the ways your product can bring additional value to your customers’ lives and find a way to communicate those in your unique selling proposition.
Customer loyalty is the key to lasting ecommerce success. One fundamental way to build loyalty is by getting up close and personal with your audience. Modern shoppers aren’t satisfied with being treated with a one-size fits all approach. Sellers who can acknowledge the needs of each customer will be able to form meaningful connections and build a strong base of fans, ambassadors, and influencers.
To form a meaningful relationship with your customers, you’ll want to create hyper-relevant content. Conduct research into the current questions, pain points, and needs of your target audience and produce blogs, guides, videos, and other media that appeal to each customer type. By providing them with this value, your ecommerce branding builds customers’ trust in your name.
Your website is the face of your ecommerce business. It shapes your customer’s first impressions, guides a customer’s journey with your brand, and influences whether or not shoppers engage with your brand.
As ecommerce becomes more saturated, you’ll need more than a functional, bare-bones ecommerce site and basic ecommerce branding to succeed. Your online store must deliver a top-notch experience from merchandising and site design to the checkout process and overall customer experience. A strong website and unique ecommerce branding helps to sharpen your competitive edge and feed into the story that you are telling.
Today’s customers are more likely to spend their money on purpose-driven brands that are committed to justice, equality, sustainability, and doing good. In an age when companies cannot expect customers to automatically return to their business, focusing your ecommerce branding around a cause or purpose can help businesses to stand out and appeal to customers. Brands that make an effort to align their values with the values that can gain a crucial advantage over their competitors.
While a brand is foundational to your success, it’s important to think of it as just one piece of the puzzle. Strong ecommerce branding should also be supported by a great online experience, effective email marketing, and engaging social media interaction along with customer support teams that provide personalized service. All these elements combine to either delight or frustrate customers—a strong brand can help you guide these elements into one unified, consistent, and compelling ecommerce experience.
“Impactful customer engagement goes beyond formulaic interactions...retailers who aptly use a mix of social, email, SMS, and website content to speak to potential (and existing) customers in their preferred medium, in their preferred tone, and then continue that dialogue throughout and after their buying journey will find success in a commoditized, convenience-driven online world.”
- Megan Stillerman, SVP of Customer Experience, Miva
Your business should prioritize your brand as much as you prioritize your website. While a strong ecommerce brand won’t directly impact how your customers navigate your site, add products, or perform any other action, it will influence how a customer chooses to interact with your business. If a customer does experience a problem on your site and becomes frustrated, a strong brand can instill consumer confidence that the problem will be resolved, prevent them from clicking away to your competitors, and inspire them to continue engaging with you.
By maintaining consistent ecommerce branding across all aspects of your business from your domain name and social media presence to influencers and customer service, your business will develop a long-lasting relationship with customers and help them remember you for the years to come.
Once you have established a brand, you’ll need to promote it with an effective marketing strategy. Some of the most successful businesses use marketing to become leading brands in their industry.
This blog was originally published on April 21, 2011 and updated on November 5, 2021.
Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.