As most marketers know—consumers buy a brand, not a product. In 2018, more than 61% of consumers purchased a product online, a number that’s expected to grow in 2019, according to recent stats.
In the very crowded space of ecommerce, branding helps you cut through the noise to differentiate your business. As a new business owner, however, you may be wondering: where do I start? The goal is to brand your business in a way that’s unique while also driving sales. Follow these steps to build that successful brand for your ecommerce company.
Find and Develop Your Brand Identity
Your brand identity is how you present yourself to the world, and includes pieces of brand like your lour logo, branding guide and the unique selling proposition (USP) for your product or service. Here are a few tips to develop these initial parts of your brand.
- Logo: Developing a simple and effective logo can be a surprisingly daunting process. Consider working with a freelance graphic designer to create a logo, as well as other initial brand collateral.
- Branding guide: This defines the color palette, typography, and overall theme and style that you’ll use in your marketing materials, on your website and on social media. If you already have a logo that you like, you develop these other elements based on that. A designer can help you create a guide, but if you want to go the DIY route, many online tools make it easy for you to play with colors and styles without any professional experience.
- USP: Your brand identity should aim to integrate your USP. This dictates how you talk to your audience on social media and your website, along with how you present products, and how you differentiate your brand from others on the market.
Develop Your Brand Story
Your brand story is a narrative that describes the essence of your ecommerce business: your mission or goals, core values, and vision. Most importantly, it allows a customer to connect to the purpose behind your product or service.
“The most successful companies in the world have profound stories behind them (often deeply tied to their founders) that instill a sense of bigger purpose and meaning into what they do. For example, Apple, Tesla and Google are so much more than companies – they are legacy brands created by visionaries who aspire(d) to change the world,” says Celinne Da Costa, Brand Story and Life Design Coach.
To develop your brand story, you need to remember and articulate why you started your business and what it means. If you’re not sure where to start, consider the six key elements to telling a compelling brand story.
Establish a Social Media Presence on Relevant Channels
Social media platforms provide you with free access to a broad audience and a way to showcase your ecommerce brand. When it comes to establishing your brand on social media, focus on consistency between platforms, I.E. using the same logo, language and colors. This is where your brand guide comes in handy.
First, however, you need to decide where you’ll spend your time and energy—there are many social media websites, and knowing which are best for your business can be challenging. The key is finding the most relevant platforms for your target audience. Start by doing a little competitive research: where are you competitors active?
Next, consider the audience and features you’ll find on each site. For example, recent research has shown demographic shifts on Facebook: the number of baby boomers using the platform doubled, while the number of teens dropped by twenty percent. On Instagram, 80% of all Instagram users follow brand accounts. Plus, this platform provides features that allow you to direct people to your products from the post, it’s a good place to spend your time as an ecommerce business.
Personalize the Customer Experience
Customer service might not immediately come to mind when you think of branding, but offering a unique and personalized customer experience can go a long way in establishing your brand. In fact, 80 percent of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that provides personalized experiences, according to recent research.
As you develop your brand, consider how you personalize the customer experience in a way that speaks to your mission, goals and overall brand identity. Shopify recommends using branded packaging experiences to create a memorable unboxing, which not only offers a positive first impression but potentially shareable via social media. Check out the success story of an NYC bakery getting viral social buzz from their specialized packaging. While this, of course, costs more to produce, it provides a unique opportunity with your customer, not too mention the free marketing of the potential social share.
Continuously Create Content
Your brand should be creating content of all forms to stay relevant and front-of-mind for the consumer, including blog posts, graphics and videos. Once you’ve created the content, however, it’s critical that you promote it among all your channels, allowing you to build a brand known for providing value, not just selling.
Ecommerce experts at Selz explain, in their guide about how to start an online clothing store, that strong, value-add content also helps you to build connections with your audience. They give the example:
“You can help shape the brand identity and narrative of your online clothing business by sharing outfits, sourcing information, or even showcasing what your day looks like. Consider including an Ebook of fashion tips, how-to videos, advice on working with certain materials, and anything else you think your customers will find valuable and engaging.”
While content, specifically your blog, is a place to share your story and connect with your audience, it’s also a tool to drive leads. Check out 5 Effective Customer Acquisition Strategies for Your Blog to get some ideas for how you can make the most of your content.
Successfully Brand Your New Ecommerce Business
Branding an e-commerce business can feel overwhelming for new owners. Start slow and be intentional, taking the time to properly develop a focused brand strategy that drives sales and sets you apart from the competition.
Jessica Thiefels is is founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting