With so many stores on the web, your branding is what will set your e-commerce site apart. You'll need to achieve these seven things to have a brand your target customers love.
With buyers having dozens of options in any given niche, your company's branding is the one thing that compels customers to choose you over your competition. This is why branding is now more important than it ever was.
Not so long ago, branding was known as just a business's name, logo, design, packaging and messaging, which helped consumers distinguish it from its competition. You probably still think the same, but it's much more complicated now, especially when you put e-commerce into the equation. Platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce have made it so almost anyone with basic operating skills can start their own online stores.
As a result, more people are jumping on the e-commerce bandwagon. If you are considering starting an online store or already have one, this is something you should really take into consideration, simply because any niche you are in is bound to get saturated over time.
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So what can you do to stand out? The answer is simple: Build a brand with a message so powerful that no one can touch you. Branding gives consumers perception of a company and its products when they simply hear the name. These companies have built their brand in such a way that when you think of these product types, the first thing that comes to mind is that company.
What should a brand do?
A common mistake is thinking that branding allows a company to stand out from its competition. That's true to some extent, but the essence of branding is making your consumers think that you are the sole provider of the solution to their problem in that specific category.
This is even more pronounced in e-commerce. Because you sell everything online, you need a solid audience base that knows and trusts your brand and keeps coming back to your business.
According to Cube, 48 percent of consumers expect brands to know them and help them discover services and products that fit their needs. So what does this mean for you? It means 1 out of every 2 customers you get is likely to be a repeat buyer from your brand.
Knowing this, these are the objectives of a successful e-commerce brand.
1. A clear message of what the company represents across all platforms
With e-commerce being such a competitive industry, you need to have an immediately recognizable brand message that is clearly communicated to your customers in the blink of an eye – a marketing message that hits them between the eyes, builds excitement and desire, and helps you convey exactly what kind of business you are right out of the gate.
This goes far beyond a simple logo and tagline. It needs to permeate every single touch you have with your market. Make sure that your message is clear and consistent across the board and you'll boost conversions overnight.
2. Credibility in the marketplace (ideally, good reviews)
Today's consumer is overloaded with opportunities to purchase anything and everything they might be interested in, commoditizing industries that never would have thought they could be reduced to this kind of competition.
Credibility is king when you're looking to convince total strangers to give you their hard-earned money. Customer reviews are a fantastic example of credibility and social proof, two cornerstones of branding that will boost your bottom line.
3. An emotional connection to the core audience with the services or products
Customers need to rationalize their purchases. They won't gear up to buy something unless you can generate a desire for whatever it is you offer at your online shop.
You need to play up positive emotions with your branding, conveying that you are the kind of business these customers want to work with. Walmart and Neiman Marcus may sell similar things and are both department stores, but they generate completely different emotions in the people who shop there.
4. Aligned product offerings
The fastest way to build out your profits is to sell more things to customers you've already done business with, and that's only going to be possible when you have a variety of different products built to work with one another.
This kind of vertical product construction makes upselling, cross-selling, downselling and partner selling a lot easier. You'll be able to dramatically improve the lifetime customer value of each and every transaction, padding your profits without jacking up your marketing and advertising expenses along the way.
5. A loyal fan base that will stick with the brand no matter what
In today's ultracompetitive and fractured marketplace, the most valuable business asset you'll ever create is a loyal fan base that is dedicated to your brand through thick and thin.
Think about the kinds of customers companies like Apple, Microsoft, Harley-Davidson and professional sports teams have. These are the kinds of customers who go out and tattoo branding logos on their bodies and wouldn't dream of jumping ship on "their" company to shop with competitors.
6. A large social media following
It wasn't so long ago that social media was considered nothing more than a time-waster for the millennial generation, but today we understand it to be one of the most powerful forms of word-of-mouth advertising and a key part of any savvy marketing campaign.
One of my favorite brands that really showcases how it should be done is Velvet Caviar. Just take a look at its Instagram and you will get an idea of how to fully utilize a large social media following. In today's world, a large social media following alone won't cut it. You need to connect with your audience and make them feel like they are part of something special by regularly showcasing loyal fans on your Instagram.
The more social media followers you have across all major platforms, the more opportunities you have to market your e-commerce products. Work on developing real rapport with your market and showcasing your brand personality through your social media efforts and you'll find that converting strangers into customers becomes a whole lot easier.
7. Top-of-the-line customer support
Customer service and support used to be a bit of an afterthought, something that companies had to do but didn't devote a ton of resources to. Today, nothing could be further from the truth. Top-notch customer support earns a mountain of goodwill on social media and in reviews, and that's always going to win more business. Customers on the fence about doing business with you feel a lot more comfortable making that first purchase when they know you are in their corner and have their best interests at heart.
Branding and customers
All things considered, it's incredibly important to find the perfect way to blend your business's brand and your marketplace. Pull this off successfully and you will enjoy the kind of financial future that most other e-commerce shops never make a reality.
At the end of the day, your customers can make or break your brand. So the first thing you need to do when creating a brand is understand the needs and wants of your prospects. Once you have a clear understanding of this, you can make a connection with your target audience on an emotional level that will help your company thrive.