Here’s why killer branding is vital for eCommerce success in 2021

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Patrick Cumming

Back in August, I published an article highlighting how COVID-19 lockdowns across the globe led to an irreversible shift in consumer online shopping behaviour.

Long story short, many of those who’d previously avoided shopping online were faced with no other option but to try it out.

Now they’ve created the habit of shopping online, their buying behaviour is unlikely to change. Even once COVID-19 in-store shopping restrictions are lifted.

This brings both good and bad news for eCommerce businesses.

The good news is more people than ever are now comfortable shopping online. In theory, this should have a positive impact on your bottom line.

BUT…

The bad news is it also means savvy entrepreneurs and business owners have no other option than to venture into eCommerce. Competition in the market will be fiercer than ever. And it’s already ferocious.

If you want that positive impact on your bottom line I mentioned above, it ain’t gonna come easy!

Want more eCommerce sales? Then you better start thinking about branding

Think of the most successful eCommerce brands – household names like Amazon, eBay, ASOS and Etsy.

Their success is rooted in years of budget investment and ongoing development in their brand.

If you’re looking to achieve similar success or even just a fraction of their success, you too will need to put the work in to develop your own brand.

While there’s a near unlimited number of factors that contribute to eCommerce success, your goal first and foremost is to attract and retain customers. You do that with a killer brand.

Now, I could write a whole separate article (or 20) explaining exactly what makes a brand. Our designer Iona did a great job here. But, in essence, it’s how your business makes people feel.

If your brand triggers the right emotions in people, they’re more likely to choose your business over a competitor.

What makes a good eCommerce brand?

They understand their audience

More specifically, the most successful eCommerce brands start by targeting a specific niche audience, with specific niche needs. Once they’ve done this they scale.

This is true even for the biggest brands.

Amazon? Started out targeting avid readers exclusively before achieving world domination.

Gymshark? Started targeting bodybuilders before scaling into a go-to brand for all fitness enthusiasts.

Asos? Started out targeting fashionistas before scaling into an all-purpose clothing store.

The story’s the same for all.

Getting this step right means truly understanding your audience.

It means understanding their demographics, the daily problems they face, what they like and dislike, how they talk, how they communicate.

Have a brand identity that fits their buyer personas

Once you understand your audience you then use this information to build up buyer personas based on your research.

These personas are used to craft a brand identity that resonates with the target audience.

The logo, the brand colours, the tone-of-voice used in marketing. It all needs to be created to make your brand as appealing as possible to your target audience.

In eCommerce, it’s VITAL to get this step right.

Most eCommerce stores drive the majority of their revenue through online advertising channels such as Google and Facebook.

It’s not easy to capture attention on these platforms.

But, if you have a thorough understanding of your audience thanks to your buyer persona work, you should be able to create a brand that’s visually bold and engaging enough to do it.

Asos, for example, put a huge emphasis on running “get the look” campaigns when they first started. This strategy was ideal for capturing the attention of their target audience – people looking for the latest fashion trends.

They focus on more than just how they look

There’s more to a brand than the logo, colours and messaging.

Sure, these have to be right to attract attention. But we’re looking to retain attention.

To do that we need to focus on other aspects of the brand such as company culture, service, price point, ease-of-use, and much more.

You could have the best logo in the world, with a stunning colour palette and an unrivalled way with words. But, if all the stuff up above is wrong? Well, you can say goodbye to a slice of that eCommerce pie.

Let’s go back to Amazon. Their primary focus has been making online shopping as easy as possible for their customers.

The first to implement next-day delivery. The first to implement the 1-click purchase button. The first to use algorithms to recommend products you’ll like.

While you wouldn’t traditionally think of these elements as part of the brand – they 100% are. Amazon’s brand is literally “online shopping made easy”.

You could argue that getting this step right is the most important of all. Without it, you’ll only ever be able to attract attention, which just isn’t enough to stay above ground in eCommerce.

Wrap-up

As I’ve already mentioned, the eCommerce world has rapidly changed – and, indefinitely at that – thanks to COVID-19.

With more new businesses taking to online advertising, it’s going to become harder than ever to stand out in the noise and reach and convert customers.

Whether you’re looking to try your hand at eCommerce for the first time, or if you’re a seasoned eCommerce veteran looking for a way to boost sales and scale your business, your first port of call should be to thoroughly assess your brand.

Ideally, you’ll want to bring a branding expert on board to help research your target audience, craft your brand identity and create a brand strategy.

This requires some budget. And, while it’s worth it in the long run, if you simply don’t have it, you can go a long way with a thorough understanding of your audience and a heavy focus on service and product quality.

If you’d like more information on branding, make sure to check out our blog here. We regularly update with insightful content about all things branding and marketing.

Alternatively, if you’re in the market for a branding expert to help you craft a brand that can help you reach and convert more customers, head here to view examples of our past success or here to get in touch.

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