You’ve decided to start an online store for your business or you’re probably starting a new one. So you think of a name, get a logo made, buy a domain and get ready to sell online. But when that’s exactly what everyone else is doing, is this enough to distinguish you from the other businesses taking the same route? Is this eCommerce branding enough to let your target market know who you are and remember it?
The answer is no.
You could decide on a name while flipping through a dictionary. You could create a logo using one of the free logo makers online. You could buy a domain and set up an online store with Shopify in minutes.
But amidst it all, you’re forgetting the branding is way more than just a name or a logo. It’s a strategy that not just tells the consumers what you’re called, but also what you stand for as business and gives them a reason to interact with you when there are so many other options open to them.
So let’s start from scratch.
What is branding for eCommerce?
Branding is a business marketing practice wherein a company creates a name, symbol or design to define its look and feel, and make it easily identifiable. But more than that, it is the process of establishing a strong and positive perception of the company amidst its target market.
So apart from the name, logo and the design elements, it also refers to defining the story of the brand, its vision and mission and ensuring the same gets delivered across all channels.
Why is branding in retail business important?
According to a discussion published on Entrepreneur, 87% of consumers mentioned that consistent branding across all online and traditional platforms played a crucial role in their decision to interact with a brand or not.
But we’ll give you a few more reasons.
1. It improves business recognition
Why is it that industry leaders have spent thousands of dollars creating a brand logo or deciding a name for themselves? That’s because it becomes the ‘face’ of their business, letting people instantly recognize it from miles away. Your branding isn’t just about giving your business an identity, but also ‘recognition’, that is similar to what you’d have as an individual.
2. It creates trust
Imagine stumbling across a business that is selling a vast range of products you have been looking for. But somehow that brand seems to have no ‘identity’ in place and you’re wondering if it’s even legitimate. Branding for eCommerce ensures your business looks trustworthy, giving customers that final nudge to make a purchase from you.
3. It supports advertising and marketing efforts
A typical internet user sees 5000 ads on an average, every day. Some are eCommerce businesses that are probably selling similar products as you. So how does a consumer remember the ad or the marketing campaign they saw from you? This is where micro branding for eCommerce or an overall eCommerce branding strategy comes into play. It ensures you’re remembered!
Be honest, how many McDonald’s ads do you remember? How soon can you recognise a campaign from them? A few microseconds, we’re sure.
4. It builds financial value
If you notice the companies that trade publicly on stock exchange, their value is not just based on hard assets. A lot of it has to do with the branding of the company as well which indicates their future success in the industry. Now whether you’re planning to go that big or are just looking at borrowing funds, raising an investment to further grow your business, your branding is what delivers the perceived value of your business.
5. It inspires your employees
Whether you have a team of people managing your online store or you’re doing it solo, you need inspiration to keep going. This is where branding for eCommerce comes in too; it’s like reminding yourself why you started something and giving yourself, your team and even your customers a reason to believe in what you’re doing.
6. It gets you more customers
When you establish your eCommerce branding right, you don’t just ensure that your existing customers remember you, but also get to tap into the power of word of mouth marketing. This is when your existing customers start to talk about your business, your products, your story or in general, their experience while shopping with you. This gets consumers similar to them interested in what you do, getting you more customers.
How do you create an eCommerce branding strategy for your business?
We know that there’s a lot that goes into creating a defined branding for your business. So here are the key steps you need to follow through to define the brand you want for your business.
1. Spend time getting to know your customers
The very first step to establishing your branding strategy is to know who you’re talking to. Right from who they are, what they do, what they’re looking for, what impacts their buying decisions, what appeals to them the most and what brands do they consider aspirational, take note of every little detail until you know who you’re talking to as an individual.
At this stage, we would also encourage creating your ideal buyer personas. Detail out even things like the brands they currently buy from, their spend power, location, words/ languages they may or may not understand. The more data you can pull in, the better you can navigate your eCommerce branding strategy in the right direction.
We found a nifty guide to help you do this:
2. Define your eCommerce brand persona
Similar to customer personas, a brand persona refers to how you want your business to be perceived as if let’s say, it was an individual. This should include what you plan on delivering to your target audience both in terms of the products you sell and the customer experience you offer.
At this stage, you should be defining your answers on what you want to sell, what you want to/ do not want to claim or promise, the tone you want to follow across all channels that your customers are on, the language, the intent of your content, the kind of images you’d like your marketing campaigns to make use of and more. It’s like creating a lookbook for your brand.
3. Identify your brand value and crystalize your promise
More than 66% of consumers believe that transparency is one of the most important values a business can offer. Be it in terms of the shopping experience you offer to these customers or the value your products bring to the consumers. Including this in your eCommerce branding strategy will help you nail your brand value proposition.
But while you’re doing so, make sure you’re not overpromising anything to your customers. You can always refine or add to your brand promise as you grow. But when you’re starting out, keep it real with your customers so that they know what they’re getting from you.
Let’s give you a few examples from brands you interact with on the regular:
4. Work on perfecting your visual assets
We’ve mentioned this a number of times already, but we’re going to say this again. An online shopper does not have the privilege to look and feel a product before making a purchase. They rely on visuals to make a purchase decision. Now this is where things go beyond the ‘quality’ of your visuals.
A brand’s visual assets should include all the front facing elements. From your Shopify store’s design, fonts and typography used, color palette, logo, effects and presets used in visuals - images and videos, to the packaging that eventually gets into the hands of the consumer. You need to define it all to be able to align all your teams and deliver a consistent experience.
5. Refine the shopping experience you offer to customers
While how we feel as a consumer varies based on multiple parameters such as the products, discounts we were able to avail or the services we requested from a business, your eCommerce branding strategy should have a plan in place to ensure this tips towards positive.
This includes the technology you make use of on your Shopify store, how you enable online shoppers to make informed purchases, and the post-purchase experience you offer to them. To give you a headstart, we have a few resources in place already:
- Time to Level Up Your Shopify Store Experience With Technology
- The Importance of an eCommerce Fulfilment Strategy for Your Shopify Store in delivering a great post-purchase experience
6. Share your vision, mission and the cause you support
Did you know that about 65% of consumers choose to interact with a brand that supports a cause they believe in? Be it something that aligns them indirectly with an NGO that the brand may be supporting or a movement that is being driven for the greater good of the environment.
This is why when you’re defining your eCommerce branding, make sure you’re finding a way to share your story. Include your vision and mission so that they know what your business stands for, why you started it out and how they’re going to find value in it as time passes.
In the same breath, make sure that you’re also including the little causes you may be contributing to. We’re not asking you to create big stories; a simple about us page does the trick!
Here’s an example from Levis’:
And here’s one from a popular Indian fashion and apparel brand by a celebrity:
Let’s give you another brand that supports sustainability and you probably already know of:
Wondering what to include? Here’s an article that will help you:
7. Remember to include how you’d like to give back
In their zeal to offer the best of discounts to their customers, most eCommerce businesses forget one crucial part of the overall customer experience they offer - giving back. This could be as simple as sending a thank you note virtually over email or including one in the packaging.
How you express gratitude needs to be a part of your branding plan. This will help you focus on strengthening your brand image from day one, and also build customer loyalty in an increasing competitive space.
- Don’t forget to read: Tackle Increasing Customer Acquisition Costs Head-on With Customer Retention!
But here’s an example of a handwritten note to inspire yours:
If you have a store on Shopify, you can even find apps that help you print thank you notes to go along with your packaging.
Take a look around.
No matter what you’re wanting to buy, you have at least ten businesses to choose from. Online shopping is getting easier by the day because more businesses are going digital with their approach.
As consumers this makes it easy for us to reach the products we need and even get competitive deals on them. But as a business, we are facing bigger competition than ever before and the only way to find a place in the consumer’s heart and mind, is to secure your branding strategy.
It’s like creating a plan to be remembered, despite the increasing distractions around the consumer.
Not sure where to begin your eCommerce branding strategy? Let us help.
Our Shopify marketing experts will work with you to identify your ideal target market and how to position your brand for maximum impact.