In order for sales to run smoothly, you’ll need a bit more than just quality products and a neat website. Branding and eCommerce have to stand beside each other shoulder to shoulder. And if carried out effectively, branding presents the identity of the online store and makes it stand out from the crowd.
In this post, we’ll introduce you to the branding strategies for eCommerce that are worth paying attention to. We’ll also provide you with examples of how renowned companies are doing it to back up the mentioned ideas.
1. Determine Your Target Audience
Let’s start with the basics. When thinking about your brand and how to present your online store properly, you should follow one major rule: prioritize your clients and who they are. Define and outline who your target audience is specifically. Build a customer portrait, figure out who you’re trying to sell to.
What you end up with as a result is the main thing to go off of because your recipient is the very one to determine the tone of your further communication.
For instance, whether your brand should be playful or business-serious. This will influence the rest of your points of interaction and doesn’t have anything to do with your pricing policy. Just with how you present yourself and which steps to undertake to “click” with your potential buyers, making them choose you every single time.
If you make a mistake with this step, you won’t get far with your sales. And even if you have the best product lines, website, and, say, you’ve even invested in building progressive web applications for winning over users that shop from mobile devices, this won’t save you much in case the store has sloppy branding and no clue who its clients are.
2. Visuals & Your Identity
The next side of the branding for eCommerce deal is all about perception. To a large extent this includes:
- how your online store looks like,
- the visual part (how your products are presented),
- the message that you communicate to your buyers (this regards every channel).
Put simply, visual presentation is a crucial part of branding. To say the least, you need a sense of style, consistency, keep an eye out on the trends, and translate it all across every one of the channels that you use to reach out to your audience.
Playing around with the store’s logo can be a great start. There are many types of logos out there. Luckily, dozens of handy logo creator tools that can assist you in generating an outstanding logo for your eCommerce store in a couple of clicks without the need of turning to professional designers for help.
Some of such tools include:
Sticking to a single style on every one of your touchpoints is crucial too. This is necessary for your online store to be easily recognizable. Therefore, your website, your social media channels, as well as email send-outs have to come down to one style.
You have to mind the used colors, fonts, elements, well, everything. And, ideally, you can have a designer do their magic for achieving the best palette picks, great readability, UX, and other important things that regard graphics.
To give you an example, this is how Pandora approaches their branding. Based on the screenshot below, we can easily conclude that the colors, logo, and other distinct style and theme elements are repeated on both their store website and on their Instagram account.
More so, they use the same style in advertisements and in their physical stores. Thus, the selected colors, logo, and fonts become easily associated with the brand.
What’s your unique selling proposition? What are your values and vision? Why are you better than the rest of the analogs out there? What is the idea you’re selling?
If you can narrow the answers down to just one short slogan, do it. Again, there are many tools that can help you out with slogan creation, here are some of them:
What’s for your message, even if your audience is super versatile and broad, the words you’re transmitting should be chosen carefully. They should be addressed to just one reader and they should give something the potential buyer can relate to.
Here’s an example of a Converse product description for their Chuck Taylor All Star shoe carrying a strong message. Simple in its essence, it covers all the main value points of the brand that include legacy, history, and their primary focus on the client, as well as highlight that the unisex product is customizable:
“Yeah, we could share a lot of stories, but the one that matters most isn’t ours—it’s yours. It’s how and where you take your Chucks. The legacy is long, but what comes next is up to you. We just make the shoe. You make the stories.”
3. Create Valuable Content & Pick up Your Email Marketing Game
The content that you generate is also closely related to branding in eCommerce. Share your expertise, write about things you’re a specialist in, demonstrate the advice you’re giving. Be it as it may, if you create content no one cares about, there’s no point in creating it. On the contrary, if you can regularly bring value to your customers, this is an outstanding way to strengthen your brand.
Here’s an example of one of the “Tips & Trends” sections on the Maybelline New York website. The created tutorials and guides share professional advice on how to use the sold products and achieve the best results. Because they’re helpful, they get exposure and positively influence the brand in general.
On a similar note, your strategy for email send outs also has an impact on the way your brand is presented. Your emails are a communication channel that has to be taken seriously.
Therefore, instead of just pitching mass mailers that are packed with special offers and items that are currently on sale, it’s wise to plan the messages thoroughly and to diversify the content that you’re mailing to your customers. The bare minimum that you can do here is sharing the content that brings value to your subscribers.
4. Display Feedback Vividly
Giving attention to what your customers have to say about your eCommerce store, your service, and products is another powerful brand-building strategy. This is exactly why you shouldn’t overlook customer testimonials on your store’s pages and beyond the website.
For starters, the reviews left by others can impact the purchasing decisions of others. What is more, if you take the time to reach out to your buyers by replying to their comments, you ultimately do your brand good.
Thus, the second side of feedback is your customer service. The least you can do at this point is to reply to a review or send a quick “thank you” email for sharing their point of view. This is twice as relevant if the review was negative, you absolutely mustn’t ignore the situation and should do your best to get to the bottom of the matter.
To provide you with a visual example, this is how the reviews block looks on the Timberland website product pages. As you can see, it takes up a lot of space, only verified users can leave comments, they even have the opportunity to upload their own photos. Altogether, this grows credibility to the eCommerce store and the brand on the whole.
5. Don’t Forget Your Socials
Finally, your eCommerce branding strategy won’t be complete without a proper approach to running your social media accounts. It’s actually not that challenging if you play it by the book in terms of your style, have a clear plan, and make life easier by scheduling auto-postings using specialized tools, for example:
For your social media content plan, you can:
- Cross-post your website content
- Share client testimonials
- Post user-generated content
- Or cover new arrivals
Another great thing you can do is take surveys for a spin. Luckily, it’s very easy to interact with your audience via social media surveys that can help you be on the same page, make predictions and conclusions about their needs and wants.
Not to mention the fact that you can even take advantage of the opportunity to start selling much more using Facebook Shops, Instagram Shops, or Pinterest Shops.
For instance, this is an example of the Pupa Milano Instagram account with tagged products to the post that can be bought.
First impressions matter, so does becoming recognizable and easy to remember. When your branding is done right, and it’s tailored around your target audience, customers have a clear understanding of your vision, goals, what you’re offering, and how you differ.
Importantly, this happens regardless of the touchpoint or means of communication. We hope that the strategies mentioned above can help you to build up your eCommerce store’s brand and boost your chances of forming stronger relationships with customers who can become your “loyals”.
Alex Husar, CTO at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in Magento and Salesforce consulting services. He graduated from the Czech Technical University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. Alex’s expertise includes both full-stack dev skills and a strong ability to provide project-critical guidance to the whole team.