eCommerce Branding: The Definitive Guide in 2022
eCommerce branding is all about creating a positive perception of your business and its products. But this can be difficult in the overcrowded and competitive world of online retail.
Here’s what you need to know about crafting a brand that stands out from the crowd.
The importance of eCommerce branding
With almost 8 million online retailers competing for sales around the world, there’s no doubt that merchants have their work cut out for them. Here’s why it’s essential that they take advantage of branding for eCommerce.
It boosts visibility
If you build brand recognition, your products will stand out as consumers browse Amazon, eBay and other shopping platforms.
Plus, great eCommerce branding should lead to more consumers typing your name directly into their search box. This reduces the amount of alternative products they see and should increase conversions for your brand. As brands grow, their Google rankings usually go up too!
eCommerce branding helps you sell more
A strong brand builds trust and loyalty among consumers. This means prospects are more likely to try your products. It also means past customers will keep coming back for more.
You can charge more
Because brand names are viewed as more reliable and distinguished, many shoppers are willing to pay a premium for them. In fact, 90% of consumers say they’ll pay extra for products made by a brand they trust.
It makes your business durable
As technology evolves and trends change, demand for your products can peter out. But your business can survive as long as it has a recognisable brand name. If consumers trust your brand, it’s easy to pivot your product range and sell something new. Remember, when Nintendo started out, it produced playing cards.
How to build an eCommerce brand strategy
There’s a lot more to eCommerce branding strategies than choosing a logo. You need to build a whole personality for your brand. Here’s how you can do it in just four steps.
1. Identify your target audience
Not everyone has to like your brand. In fact, your messaging only needs to resonate with your target market. So, to get your eCommerce branding right, you should start by clearly defining who your audience is.
Update your customer personas by examining the traits and behaviours of past purchasers. You can fill out the details using data from analytic tools, surveys and other market research too.
It’s also worth sifting through past reviews and feedback to figure what past customers dislike about your business. Alternatively, if you sell products across multiple channels, you can use a Digital Shelf solution to instantly analyse all the feedback you’ve received across your entire retail network.
Be sure each persona features detailed demographics, outlooks, needs and goals. It’s also worth thinking about how your audience talks. If you can emulate the language they use, your eCommerce branding is more likely to capture their interest.
Once you’ve identified your target audience, you can start to tailor your products, messaging and marketing to suit it.
2. Differentiate your brand
With millions of online stores to choose from, shoppers have more options than ever before. So brands need to offer a USP that sets them apart from other labels and generic brands.
Zappos differentiates itself from competitors by excelling at customer service. Apple leads the pack on innovation. The Honest Company is all about sustainability and natural ingredients. And they all make their USPs clear through their websites, mission statements and every other aspect of their eCommerce branding.
Is there something your store does better than any of its competitors? If so, this can be your unique benefit. Otherwise, you may need to change some aspect of your operations.
Looking at your most popular products can help you figure out a point of differentiation. If you use a ‘Where to Buy’ tool on your website, you can also view basket level data on sites like Amazon and Walmart. This will highlight the products that visitors choose over yours, which may provide an indication of what your brand is missing.
3. Use the 4 Vs of branding
The four Vs of branding are: vision, values, voice and visuals. Defining them helps sum up what your brand represents.
When consumers shop, they aren’t just buying a product. They’re buying what a company stands for. Some people like brands that are ethical and sustainable, while others prefer brands because of the cool status their products provide. Generic brands, on the other hand, don’t stand for anything.
Having a meaningful vision and values are particularly important, as recent research suggests that 62% of shoppers no longer buy products from businesses whose beliefs don’t match their own.
Defining the four Vs also makes it easier to communicate exactly what your brand is all about – both internally and externally. So this step is central to all eCommerce branding strategies.
4. Promote your brand
Once you know your brand’s purpose, you can communicate it with your target audience. But first, you need to share it with your team.
Create a set of brand guidelines and send it to every department – from top management through to customer support. These guides often feature mission statements, lists of dos and don’ts and examples of on-brand phrases. Here are some examples from eCommerce brands Wolf Circus Jewelry, Alienware and Warby Parker.
With this at their fingertips, your team will be able to communicate and embody your brand across all your eCommerce marketing channels.
If you’re launching a completely new brand, it’s a good idea to let people know through PR and advertising campaigns too.
Top tips to enhance your eCommerce brand
Normally, each store’s branding tactics vary depending on their audience and their values. But we’ve got some simple tips that work for everyone.
Be consistent across all sales channels
Consistency builds brand Integrity and increases sales. In fact, according to Forbes, brands that are consistent across all platforms earn up to 23% more. Yet 60% of businesses say their content doesn’t always conform to brand guidelines.
To stay consistent, brands can make use of content compliance tools, design templates and email templates. You can also use a training tool like Lessonly to ensure every staff member is familiar with your brand guidelines.
Prioritise customer service
In the world of eCommerce, customer support agents are often the only people who directly interact with customers. So it’s important that they reinforce and amplify your brand message.
Educate agents on your mission, values and tone of voice. This way, customers will receive a consistent experience when they contact support. It’s also worth noting that your eCommerce branding strategies should influence your customer service policies. For example, if your brand is all about convenience, be sure to offer a hassle-free returns process.
Drive brand advocacy
Recent research suggests that consumers are four to six times more likely to purchase, protect and champion purpose-driven brands. So putting your mission and values first should nurture advocacy among your customers.
You can also set up referral programmes and social media competitions that encourage customers to spread the word about your brand. Getting more reviews will help too.
Increase brand awareness
To increase Top of Mind Awareness, brands need to expand their marketing efforts beyond their own D2C store. It’s essential that they implement SEO strategies, embrace social media and invest in advertising.
If you sell products on third-party marketplaces, make sure you benefit from all the perks they offer brands. Take advantage of an eBay Storefront and boost sales with retail media ads. If you have a registered trademark, you can also join Amazon’s Brand Registry to access A+ content, Amazon Storefronts and product bundles.
Whether you want to increase sales or future proof your business, building a brand makes sense. When done right, it can distinguish your store from competitors and bring extra value to your customers.