If you want to start an e-commerce business or you have an e-commerce business and want to grow, you have to think about branding. About 25% of the population is shopping online. Furthermore, e-commerce will account for 17.5% of retail sales by 2021, according to OBERLO.
More and more businesses are moving online, thus making the online space very competitive. Moreover, customers are comparing prices and brands from the myriad of companies out there. So, how do you maintain a competitive edge and without necessarily competing on price?
Branding and building a brand can help you achieve this. It differentiates you from others and positions you strategically in the competitive digital space. However, branding is not just your logo or your brand name. It is the image your customers have about your business.
A brand is a set of expectations, experiences, stories, and relationships that together account for a person’s decision to choose one product/service over another.
Branding is the process you take to build these expectations, stories, and relationships and build an image for your business.
E-commerce sites, just like any other business with a storefront, should invest in branding.
Why Should You Brand Your E-commerce Business?
The first benefit of branding your e-commerce business is to differentiate yourself from others in the market place. Since you are not the only one selling your product or service, you have to let your customers know why you are the better choice. Branding will help you discover your x-factor that will attract your ideal customer.
The second reason is to build trust. To be taken seriously, you have to invest in a professional brand. You build trust over time by offering quality products and services. Moreover, the relationships you form and nurture with your customers also builds trust.
Thirdly, branding helps you to build a community of loyal followers who love your brand and will support it throughout the years. This community gives you a platform to sell your products and services and to launch new products easily. Furthermore, they become your biggest advocates.
Another benefit of branding is to become recognizable. You want your customers to distinguish your products/services from other similar products. Also, once you have been in the market for a while, you become a widely recognized brand.
Where To Start With Branding
Branding your e-commerce business is a process, and building a brand takes time. But, you have to establish the foundations to build a successful e-commerce brand. Every brand (or every successful brand) goes through a discovery session where they figure out their reasons for being in business. This information sets the foundation for their brand. They do this by answering these questions;
- Who are we?
- Why do we exist?
- Who do we serve?
The first question helps you to define the kind of business you are. You describe your brand personality, your core values, and what makes you different from your competitors.
The second question explains why you started your company, your brand story, the problem you are solving, and why we should care. Here, you define your mission, vision, and goals.
The third question describes your ideal customer. You can classify them in terms of demographics, interests, and problems they face. Additionally, you have to define your Unique Selling Point (USP) that you will use to attract your ideal customer.
Creating Your Brand Identity Elements
Once you have set the foundations for your e-commerce brand, it is time to create your brand identity. Your brand identity elements are things that represent your brand, like your logo, packaging, and website and are used to recognize your brand.
Basics of designing your brand identity elements are:
- Your brand Colors
- Your brand Typography
- Shapes/Forms for your brand
- Brand voice and messaging
These basic are the basic principles on which you create your brand identity elements.
Your brand identity elements include;
- Logo. Your logo is the face of your brand and a principal element of your brand identity. A logo is more than a combination of shapes. Therefore, it is requisite to get a professional graphic designer to design your logo.
- Website. Your website should be appealing and attractive to your ideal audience. Most importantly, it should be in line with your brand, complete with your brand colors, typography, patterns, and tone of voice.
- Packaging. Wow! is the reaction you should aim for with your packaging. Your packaging is an opportunity for you to differentiate yourself and offer your customers an unforgettable experience. Also, like your website, your packaging should represent your brand.
- Branded assets. These include your business cards, letterheads, email banners, etc.
- Branded Merchandise. Having branded merchandise helps to build awareness for your brand. These can include t-shirts, caps, mugs, stickers, etc.
Your Brand TouchPoints
Brand touchpoints are all the places where your customers interact with your brand. You have to create a seamless experience and maintain a cohesive look and feel in all your brand touchpoints.
Maintaining a cohesive look and feel ensures that your customers have the same experience and can recognize your brand instantly.
You do this by being consistent with your brand colors, typography, shapes, brand voice, and messaging.
Your brand touchpoints include;
- Social media
- Staff and brand representatives
Customer Experience Strategies in Branding
Branding your e-commerce business is all about creating the right image in the mind of your customer. Customer experience is a fundamental component of branding, and it refers to the feelings your customer gets from interacting with your brand touchpoints. How you treat your customers and the experiences they get from interacting with your brand will determine whether they like your brand or not.
Your tone of voice, customer service, and the customer journey processes all affect the customer experience. It is necessary to define your customer experience strategy to create seamless experiences each time for every customer. Moreover, educate your staff on best customer practices and integrate your customer experience strategy in all your brand touchpoints.
Brand Awareness Strategy in Branding
You cannot have a successful e-commerce brand if no one knows about it. That is why you should create awareness for your brand and let your ideal audience know that you exist.
Some brand awareness strategies include;
- Content Marketing
- Working with Influencers
- Collaborations and partnerships
In conclusion, branding is about creating a specific image in the mind of your customer through experiences and relationships. To build a successful e-commerce brand, you should focus on your brand story, brand identity, brand touchpoints, and customer experience strategy. You can work with a branding agency to get all your branding aspects right.