Have you ever wondered how brands like Apple, Starbucks, and Netflix manage to achieve worldwide recognition and success? The secret lies in their global strategy.
It goes without saying that many people in the world do online shopping. Its popularity, despite the additional delivery cost and time, is still growing.
As a result, there is huge competition with the enormous number of stores. It is a challenge especially for new stores that have to break through the maze of other offers, including those known and existing for a long time.
Due to those circumstances, proper ecommerce branding, i.e. building a brand of the store, is necessary.
To help you with this endeavor, we present our complete guide to creating the perfect branding strategy for selling goods and services online.
What are ecommerce brands?
There is no simple definition of a brand, as it is not a term that encompasses something physical, like a company. It was best defined by Jeff Bezos, who said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”
In other words, a store’s brand is how people perceive the store and its product offering.
It is also the brand values, the emotions and the feelings the store evokes, as well as the emotional connection and trust you create with your customers.
It is worth noting that there are slight differences between a manufacturer’s, service provider’s and an ecommerce brand caused by the nature of the business. As a result, it requires specific and distinctive actions. This is a similar situation as between an online brand and a brick-and-mortar store’s one.
What is ecommerce branding?
Ecommerce branding is a series of activities undertaken on the basis of an established branding strategy, which are designed to revitalize the store’s brand, build brand recognition, awareness, trust and appropriate relationships with customers.
The whole process includes such branding efforts as: creating a visual identity and product brands, or telling a brand story.
Even though it may seem easy, an online business and its branding cannot be built overnight. It requires a lot of time and patience.
In this case, the trial and error method is most commonly used. The first attempt to create a brand almost never succeeds. However, there are exceptions.
Why is store’s branding important?
In the industry, there are over 7 million ecommerce brands and the number of them is still growing. Strong branding primarily helps new stores to survive on the market and evolve, despite selling similar products that others already offer.
Those entrepreneurs who start online businesses face the biggest challenge right away.
The ones who open ecommerce websites, after running brick-and-mortar stores for some time, can handle the competition better because their brands are already complete – they have a name, slogan and experience.
Nevertheless, there are several reasons why a well crafted brand is important for any online store.
1. Branding helps to build trust
We can define a strong ecommerce brand as one that has gained customer’s trust. Such a successful brand is created through proper communication, relationship with customers, and building customer loyalty.
Building new customers’ trust is especially important, as it is the key factor influencing a purchase decision. Customers buy and spend more on brands that they know more about. The brands they recognize for their comfort and status are the ones that they usually choose.
Sixty-four percent of customers indicate that brand values are the main reason for bonding with a product or service.
A brand, contrary to products, which can disappear due to technology and market changes, has a greater chance to survive through the difficult times. Good ecommerce branding, including personal branding, creates a memorable ecommerce brand.
Regardless of its products, a brand must evoke positive associations and feelings.
2. Branding guarantees a good experience
Relationships and connections with a brand are created through customer experience. Those relationships strengthen and evolve when a brand establishes a community where clients can share their experiences.
Customers are willing to pay for the experience, not only the products. Positive experiences resulting from the entire purchase and service process can transform their relationship with a brand. As a result, for clients, it is not only a regular store, but a place that people talk about and to which they are happy to return.
The brand enables you to communicate with customers, thanks to which they feel important, appreciated and perceive you as trustworthy and honest.
3. Branding shapes customer expectations
The right branding strategy shapes customer expectations. Consistency of ideas makes the brand memorable and recognizable.
When you create a plan for the online presence of the brand, you need to remember that a website alone is not enough to succeed. This is especially important for an ecommerce brand.
In order to bring positive results, your brand needs not only to shape and understand your customers’ expectations, but also meet them.
How to create the right branding strategy for an ecommerce brand?
There are countless ways to build an ecommerce brand. Let us show you how to choose the right direction.
We will start by pointing out the best, in our opinion, ways for good ecommerce business branding.
No matter what store you run, you can always rely on these few tips for building your strong brand.
1. Define your brand
Elements that customers can identify contribute to understanding of a brand. These are the building blocks of a brand identity present in every place where the brand is seen – on the entire site, advertisements, or emails.
What is necessary to define a brand?
At the beginning, you need to come up with a brand name. When looking for the perfect name, focus on using the shortest wording possible. It is not just about the number of letters, but the syllables as well – short names are easier to remember and pronounce.
Your brand can have the same name as your company, but it can also refer to the industry or products that you want to sell. Nobody stops you from coming up with something completely unrelated. Nevertheless, you need to remember that the name should be simple so that everyone can understand it and neutral for all types of customers. It also cannot cause scandal among any group.
Take a look at a few examples of the most famous brand names like Google, Nike and Pepsi – you know them all, partly because they have a short and simple name.
It is hard to imagine some well-known brands without their distinctive logos. For sure, you are not able to visualize Google without a colorful logo or Apple without a bitten apple. As you can see, the logo also needs to be memorable.
It must evoke associations with the brand and products, even if it is not accompanied by a name. The logo also needs to be as simple as the name.
In addition, you need to think about the choice of colors, as each has a different effect on the human mind.
Typography, i.e. the font used in the logo, is also very important, even if it is only one letter and not the entire brand name. You have to consider what font goes well with the name, the logo, and the brand itself.
You also should make sure that the logo looks good in different sizes, positions and on different backgrounds. It must look appropriate on devices like laptops, smartphones or tablets, as well as on product packaging, leaflets, business cards and other elements.
Probably all customers know that your brand is an ecommerce business. However, nowadays, you need something that will distinguish the company from the competition and connect emotionally with the recipients. You can achieve it through a good, catchy tagline.
The slogan does not have to be related to the type of business – a great example here is Coca-Cola and the variety of catchphrases it created.
No matter what slogan you choose, it must be timeless and unforgettable. Make sure to include your brand’s message in it. You must choose your brand name, logo, and slogan wisely so that they are connected to each other and define a cohesive brand. After all, you will not change them often, and when you do, it should be a rather subtle update.
2. Identify your target audience
Owners of an ecommerce business may think that all people with Internet access are their potential customers. However, this is not true because it all depends on what they are selling.
If you offer electronics, your target audience are people who need and like such devices. If, on the other hand, you sell interior design items, your audience will be designers or people planning to renovate their house.
Identifying your target market will allow you to create the perfect marketing strategy and develop marketing campaigns that will attract only those people who are most likely to buy your products and return to you to make another purchase.
3. Present the advantages of your brand
In the next step, you need to show your target audience why it is better to buy products from you instead of your competitors. You have to demonstrate what your customers will gain when they choose your business.
People need to see key benefits so they do not perceive your business as just another online store.
It is often necessary to offer discounts and lower prices, especially for new ecommerce brands. You can also introduce discount codes, as well as delivery or referral discounts, but you should also come up with a way to attract crowds of customers to your store – such as a recommendation from a popular influencer.
The key benefit can be indicated in the slogan or displayed in the header or footer of the website. Take it from a brand message. The more visible customer benefits, the more sales and profits the business can get.
4. Define visual aesthetics
When you build a brand, it is necessary to incorporate visual elements, that is, graphic content.
Images, animations, infographics and video content are becoming more and more common. They are more popular than written content. The reason behind this phenomenon is simple – images and sounds are faster and easier to absorb by the audience.
Such content is essential for maximum impact on customers’ minds. This is one of the best practices in ecommerce branding, as it helps to create a certain perception both of the company and the product.
For online stores, professional product images are very important because this is the only way customers can see them.
To ensure the highest quality visual content, you should consider hiring specialists who can create graphics as well as take and edit photos.
There are many tools and services that make editing photos and creating graphics easier – for example Photoshop or Canva. However, these processes are so laborious and time-consuming that hiring a specialist, who will also ensure that the visual elements will be of really high quality, is actually a cheaper option. One study found that content with professional, relevant images got over ninety percent more views than the traditional written samples! It makes a difference, right?
Pay attention to user generated content
When you run a business, it is a very good strategy to observe and share the content posted by customers on social media. Instagram is especially helpful thanks to its functionalities, namely stories and reels. It allows you to publish photos or short videos made by your clients while shopping or opening their packages. It is also a platform for them to share their opinions on your products.
Encourage your customers to tag your store in their photos, so later you can share them on your business accounts on various social media platforms – you can offer coupons or discount codes as an incentive. Content shared by people makes the product seem more authentic and real, while
5. Tell the brand’s story
Company stories bring a brand to life and shape its personality, creating a brand persona by integrating selling products strategies, customer service, and images into a cohesive layer built around a narrative.
The right story includes a clear message and a brand voice that allows you to motivate both existing and new customers to buy products at your store.
To make your brand appealing, create a narrative for your business around your customers – who you are, what you do and why you do it. Their stories also contribute to the overall brand’s identity.
Mission of the company
You must remember that your store, as an emerging ecommerce brand, will always be compared to such giants as Allegro, Amazon, or eBay.
To come up with the company mission, you need to think about the reasons why customers should buy from your store instead of the big brands.
An additional crucial factor to consider is that people tend to view stores as profit-driven rather than customer-focused enterprises. This perception is often due to the lack of connection between the appealing marketing messages and the business strategies that prioritize product sales.
To ensure that your mission statement contributes to the success of your company, it is important to align your actions with your message and brand promise. By having a clearly defined mission, you can distinguish yourself from competitors and cultivate a loyal following.
It is also essential to keep your target audience in mind and craft a mission statement that reflects their unique needs and values. You should remember that content must never be treated as mere website filler, but rather as a genuine representation of your ecommerce brand, and more importantly, its identity and purpose.
6. Leverage social media
Social media has become ubiquitous worldwide, with Facebook, followed by Instagram, being the most widely used platform. Given its vast reach, there has never been a better time to leverage social media to build your brand.
You can harness the power of advertising, events, celebrity endorsements, and influencer marketing. Digital marketing based on social media is a potent tool that can bring your brand to life.
Before you choose a platform to publish posts, it is crucial to understand your target market and end-users. Today’s consumers may prefer specific portals for specific content.
If you want to create video ads, consider using YouTube or TikTok. For photo ads or short videos, Instagram is the preferred platform. However, it is Facebook that is the most versatile site that allows you to combine different types of content.
7. Strengthen brand’s authenticity
Building trust with customers is crucial for any business to thrive. Since payment transactions are a key factor in establishing that trust, handling customer data, especially sensitive information, requires the utmost care and responsibility.
That is why creating an authentic brand identity that resonates with your clients is vital. To achieve this, start by understanding your brand persona, which represents your ideal customer in a simplified way. There are several ways to build an authentic brand.
Relationship building and consistency of actions
Establishing the right relationship with your clients is crucial for building trust. The key approach here is to maintain consistency in your marketing efforts and customer service interactions. Without this, your target audience may not feel comfortable entrusting you with their data, which is necessary for you to provide them with the products or services they need.
Transparency and commitment
Transparency and honesty are essential in any business. One of the most common issues that you and your clients may encounter is related to shipping and delivery.
While fast delivery times may be attractive to customers, not everything always goes according to plan.
There may be slowdowns, delays, or mishandling of products, which can result in damaged packaging or defective items.
In such situations, it is crucial to promptly contact the customer and respond to messages as quickly as possible.
Value proposition presentation
When you have core values that you strongly believe in, your customers, who feel aligned with such principles, will also feel proud of your business if you stay true to them. Whether it is fast delivery times, high product quality, exceptional customer service, eco-friendliness, or a combination of these values, maintaining them is crucial to define the authenticity of your brand.
Increasing brand loyalty will lead to more customers trusting and relying on your business. To achieve this, you need to ensure consistency with all the values outlined in your value statement.
8. Improve your marketing strategy
Market trends are constantly evolving. To effectively navigate these changes, start by creating a marketing plan that incorporates all the key brand elements. From there, it is easier to adjust and adapt to new trends. Fortunately, there are various approaches you can take.
Monitor communication channels
Good communication with customers across all channels is essential for ecommerce branding. Every brand can increase visibility and promote personal branding by engaging with clients and making them feel valued.
Analyzing the efficiency of communication is a critical component of successful marketing activities.
Create an appropriate content strategy
The internet is made up of various forms of content, such as words, photos, images, graphics, and videos. Having the right content marketing strategy is essential for ecommerce businesses to succeed.
Utilizing various types of communication is vital since customers have unique preferences for how they receive and consume content. While some like reading, others may be into watching or listening to information.
By linking back to your ecommerce site or incorporating a strong call-to-action (CTA), any type of content can be leveraged to drive traffic to your online store.
When developing a content strategy, it is important to keep in mind that product and category descriptions should be optimized for search engines. This helps ensure that your store and products are easy to discover by potential customers searching for relevant terms.
Incorporate good email marketing
Email marketing should align with your overall content strategy. However, you need to be aware that people are becoming increasingly less responsive to emails and may even mark them as spam. To make email marketing more effective, it is necessary to take additional steps.
These steps could include more discounts, coupons, attractive offers, and referral programs. You also should create visually appealing email templates.
It is also a good idea to send different types of emails and track the responses, as this helps guide customers through the entire shopping journey and encourages them to take advantage of beneficial solutions. This approach is essential to building a successful sales funnel.
Re-enhance brand authenticity
It is important that all advertising and marketing efforts reflect the authenticity of the brand. Customers should feel that the company is genuinely interested in serving them, rather than simply fulfilling an obligation.
Consistent ecommerce branding is appreciated by clients both within and outside of the target demographic, as it helps to build trust and authenticity.
All elements of the brand should be aligned and easily recognizable across all platforms and channels.
9. Build an app of an ecommerce store
It is recommended that every ecommerce store has a mobile application, as applications are increasingly popular due to the fact that not all customers make purchases on a computer through a browser.
Therefore, the application can be considered as one of the most essential components of ecommerce branding, as without it, half of the company’s potential customer base may be lost.
It is important to note that the application should be available on all the major smartphone operating systems, Android and iOS, be user-friendly and not cause any technical difficulties.
Technology branding empowers ecommerce businesses to build trust and credibility in the digital realm. By prioritizing cybersecurity, seamless payment gateways, and responsive customer support, brands can establish themselves as reliable and trustworthy online destinations.
Additionally, to enhance the shopping experience, you may consider providing customers with various extra features within the application – for example, those that are not available even in the client account on the ecommerce website.
10. Meet your customers
Merely having branding implemented is insufficient when it comes to operating an ecommerce site. It is crucial to have a deep understanding of the buyer persona, including their preferences, likes, and dislikes. Additionally, maintaining the appropriate brand image requires a focus on providing quality services.
You also need to prepare for various unexpected situations and have a strategy on how to react to them. For example, customers may receive faulty or unsatisfactory products. It is essential to offer them the ability to register a complaint and return the item. This is especially important if the website hosts multiple sellers, who may not always pay adequate attention to product quality.
It is imperative to remove such substandard products from the store and keep customers informed throughout the process by implementing robust return and shipping policies.
Research customer behavior
Observing consumer behavior and patterns is crucial for building a brand. It is important to understand whether customers tend to complete purchases or abandon their shopping carts. Tracking the conversion rate can provide insight into how many clients are actually buying products.
Additionally, studying the competition can be valuable. Identifying what your competitors do differently, such as having a better website, faster delivery, a simpler shopping process, or more delivery and payment options, can help you improve your own offerings.
Even small factors can make a big difference in customer retention, so you need to pay attention to details like product descriptions and photos. Your brand and the company can both benefit from defining these aspects.
Hire customer service specialists
Providing high-quality customer service is essential for the success of an ecommerce branding strategy.
This includes responding promptly to messages and inquiries, addressing returns and complaints, as well as creating simple ways for customers to leave feedback about the store and products.
Through customer opinions, businesses can gain insight into their feelings, needs, and concerns, as well as use this information to improve their operations.
It is crucial to always strive to serve customers in the best possible way, as they are vital to every thriving business.
Be flexible, but consistent in your actions
As we have already mentioned, you need to understand that unexpected setbacks can always happen. Whether it is due to a misinterpretation of an image, poorly designed rules, or delayed shipments, it is important to remain open and flexible.
In some cases, ecommerce branding strategies may require a complete overhaul, which means that your company will need to adapt and evolve accordingly.
However, you must ensure that any changes made are carefully thought-out and not rushed, so you can avoid making the same mistakes again.
11. Do not fear changes
It is worth remembering that your initial attempt at an ecommerce branding strategy may not yield the desired results. Do not become too attached to it, and be willing to make changes, especially if something is not working as intended.
Continually seek ways to improve your strategy and incorporate customer insights into your approach.
Ultimately, your own ecommerce brand is created for your clients, and their positive reception is essential to your success and profitability.
Keep a close eye on important metrics such as conversions, bounce rates, and number of visits to your online store. If you notice poor performance in these areas, or negative customer feedback, it is time to take action and make necessary improvements.
Brand building in ecommerce business – summary
In summary, to establish a strong presence in the e-commerce industry and build a successful brand online, prioritize the following steps:
- Define your target audience;
- Clearly define the mission of your brand;
- Highlight the benefits of choosing your store;
- Avoid making promises you cannot keep;
- Prioritize providing excellent customer service;
- Develop a comprehensive content strategy;
- Share your brand’s story;
- Utilize email marketing;
- Create a memorable name, slogan, and logo;
- Leverage social media platforms;
- Continuously strive to improve and refine your brand persona.
The fundamental steps outlined in this article are not exclusive to ecommerce stores, but rather used by all successful brands.
These ecommerce branding strategies form the basis of the actions employed by the biggest names in the online shopping world.
If you require assistance, Nopio provides extensive brand consulting services.
We are confident that our tips will help you in making a strong entrance into the world of online commerce, and ultimately, enable you to establish your company as one of the favorite brands among customers and successful ecommerce businesses.
Keep in mind that achieving success takes time, patience, and resources, but the rewards are well worth the effort.