Do you know what Rolex and Starbucks have in common? Or Mercedes Benz and Apple?
Ingenious products aside, these are some of the most renowned and globally recognized brands in the world that most people want to engage with.
Not businesses, but brands.
These brands invoke a sense of strong emotion and passion in their engagements and interactions that drives people to want to be associated with them.
This is branding – a strong intangible force that moves people. Being a brand is what has enabled these businesses to become leaders in their space and achieve immeasurable success on a global scale. You need to do the same for your eCommerce business. The key to successful sustenance and massive growth lies in being able to transform your humble eCommerce business into a powerhouse brand.
With eCommerce sales expected to hit $4.5 trillion in 2021, the ferocity of competition is only slated to increase. Amidst all this distraction and noise, building an eCommerce brand may seem like a daunting and complicated task, however, it is a fairly simple one.
We’ve chalked out a few effective ways to build your eCommerce business into a promising brand.
1. Pick A Brandable Domain Name
What’s in a domain name? Well, quite a lot. Not many entrepreneurs realize the true importance of a domain name in the brand-building process.
Your domain name is the first touchpoint for your prospects to get an idea about what to expect from your business, even before they land on your website. This is probably why marketing experts and brand specialists consider a domain name as a branding asset.
A short domain name that is meaningful, easy to type, and easy to remember makes for a memorable and brandable domain name. The idea is to choose a domain name that is clutter-free and highly recallable.
The most effective way to choose a brandable domain name is to pick an exact match brand name on a relevant new domain extension.
While most eCommerce businesses are constantly vying for web addresses on a traditional .com or .biz domain, you have far more brandable options available on contextually rich new domain extensions such as .store.
For instance, www.thewardrobe.store is much easier to build a brand with rather than www.thewardrobe-store.com or www.buywardrobesonline.com.
To put it simply, you should pick a domain name that is:
- Short, easy to type, and easy to remember
- Definitive, relevant, and meaningful
- Unique and innovative
- Clutter-free, clean, crisp, and free of any lingual or grammatical errors
- Descriptive of who you are, what you sell, and which industry you belong to
2. Offer Better Customer Service
Customers build businesses. If you have no customers, you have no business.
When building an eCommerce brand, first consider who your business is being built for. Establish an understanding of who your customers are and what they want and need. This will dictate your plans and actions as a business.
Most businesses are not sure about who their target customers are. But, if you’re one of them, then don’t fret; you’re not alone. Take the time to study who you are buyers are. You can do this by creating buyer personas and reflecting on your past customers. Look for trends and patterns on the experiences you’ve had with your customers over time and close all the gaps that resulted in a negative experience for them.
You can divide your customers into groups and cohorts:
- Top customers
- Customers at risk
- Viewed but didn’t purchase
- Repeat purchasers (Irrespective of price fluctuation)
- Top full-price buyers
- Top discount buyers
Also, deep-diving into reports from your eCommerce store’s analytics can be very helpful in understanding where your customers tend to drop out or stop interacting with you.
Furthermore, studying abandoned cart data will also provide you with insightful information. Feedback on social media often makes for a great source of first-hand information.
Understanding where your eCommerce business is lacking, and then acting on the pain points raised by customers to offer a better brand and shopping experience, is an effective way of building a strong eCommerce brand.
3. Get Active on Social Media
To put it simply, social media is about three things: active networking, building relationships, and meaningful engagement. Remember these three commandments because you can use them to drive traffic to your business and boost conversions.
Start by creating and posting content that aligns with the interests of your target market. The best way to engage with customers and get a global audience to notice you is to build your presence on Instagram. Use the right hashtags and actively post visually appealing content.
You can even use Instagram’s ‘Shoppable’ feature to sell directly from the social media app or redirect people to your online store. Also, try to get creative with Stories and upload content that gets people to appreciate your brand and your products.
Next, make social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter a means to offer customer support. Use these platforms for handling customer complaints by actively addressing and resolving their issues. Done well, there’s a very good chance for you to convert a complainant into a loyal customer. You can use Facebook’s Messenger tool to get people to directly chat with you.
An added benefit of publicly addressing customer queries is to get others to see how effective and efficient your brand is, which will shape their perception of your business. And, can you guess where people will recommend your brand? You guessed right – social media! When others see your customers praising your brand, products, or excellent service standards on offer, it will compel other people to interact with your business and build a brand image in their minds.
However, the best way to truly get people to notice you and to build an amiable brand image is to regularly post high-quality video content on all your active social media platforms.
There’s no doubt about the effectiveness of social media advertising – which is why you’re going to have to pay to play. Another great way to build social media presence, which builds your eCommerce brand, is to indulge in paid avenues. In fact, most companies invest in paid ads or sponsored posts on Facebook to get instant traction. The more you invest in ads, the more likely it’ll be that people will come across your business.
4. Get Influencers on Board
An effective and authentic way to get your audience to notice you as a promising brand is to employ the help of someone who already has their attention. In short, you need to indulge in influencer marketing.
Truth be told, this is a strategy that is being adopted by every brand – big and small. And it makes sense to invest in this strategy because:
- Only 1% of millennials trust advertisements.
- Around 40% of people claim to have purchased a product online after seeing it being used by an influencer on YouTube, Instagram, or Twitter.
- A study by Tomoson reported that influencer marketing profits a $6.50 ROI for every dollar spent.
According to HubSpot, influencer marketing is designed to tap into an existing community of engaged followers on social media. Influencers are specialists in their niches.
How do you reach these influencers? Here are a few ways to get them to promote your brand and products:
- Gifts: Give influencers your products for free in exchange for a review, shout out, or mention.
- Guest Blogging: Contribute engaging content for an influencer’s website or blog.
- Sponsored Posts: Pay for your product or brand to be featured on an influencer’s website or social media profile.
- Social Media Mentions: Create a social media marketing strategy that involves getting an influencer or leading business to mention your brand, share your posts, or talk about you.
- Giveaways: Run a contest and ask an influencer to promote your contest/giveaway event on their channel.
- Influencer Takeover: Allow an influencer to take over one or all of your social media accounts for a limited amount of time and talk about your brand and their experience with it.
- Affiliates: Provide a specific and unique code that offers influencers a percentage of each sale they drive.
- Discount Codes: Give influencers a discount or coupon code to promote and offer your product or service at a special price to their audience.
A great example of successful influencer marketing is when Fila decided to use the hashtag #OppRUNtunity with a goal to engage with their consumers. The campaign was meant to encourage users to take their first – or hundredth – step forward on their fitness journey by making simple changes in their everyday activities.
The #OppRUNtunity events were held at Kohl's Desert Ridge in Arizona, and Kohl's Coconut Creek in Florida. Shaun T is the exclusive face of FILA Training Footwear at Kohl's, so the winners of the campaign were awarded with the Shaun T FILA Training footwear for their workout.
Fila chose participants and influencers who were then told to add steps to their day by being made to park far away from the Kohl’s store entrance.
Furthermore, they were made to indulge in a one-on-one workout with fitness expert Shaun T.
The influencers were then asked to post images and videos using the hashtag #OppRUNtunity to reach their audience.
This activity resulted in the #OppRUNtunity hashtag averaging over a million impressions per location. And, the recap video created for Facebook received over 663k Views, 1.6k Likes, 31 Comments, and 129 Shares. Unsurprisingly, the Shaun T x FILA shoe at Kohl’s was widely popular.
5. Unleash the Power Of SEO
How does SEO help to create an eCommerce brand? Well, to put it simply, SEO isn’t like oregano or chili flakes which you can add to the pizza after it is served.
SEO needs to be part of the dough - it needs to be part of the framework of your eCommerce website at the time of creation. Because, contrary to popular belief, SEO isn’t all about keywords and backlinks – it’s about providing superior user experience.
Google concerns itself with your website’s speed, web design, high-quality content marketing, mobile-friendliness and so on because these are all factors that make a site valuable to users. SEO enables prospects to reach you, rather than the other way around.
As an eminent part of inbound marketing, SEO is focused on building brand awareness among your target audience by attracting them to your website via search engines. This is done by including relevant keywords throughout the content of your website.
The right keywords will enable your website to attract the right audience who will find you within the first page of search results or on social networks. Your SEO value is primarily a combination of the keywords you use for your website pages and the useful content you create on your blog overtime.
If you want to scale your SEO efforts to build strong brand recognition, you need to channel your efforts to work on content marketing, networking, and social networks.
Primarily, you need to use keywords as part of your meta title, meta description, and across the body of your content. For your blogs, be sure to target relevant long-tail keywords that will help you to rank higher on search engines.
Here’s how SEO helps:
- Optimizing content gets you more traffic and leads.
- Improving social media performance leads to higher engagement.
- Link building with authoritative websites allows you to benefit from their reputations.
In short – traffic, leads, and engagement are the ingredients of building a strong eCommerce brand.
Building a sustainable eCommerce brand is an art that pays some serious dividends in the future. Doing this is crucial for any eCommerce business to stand out from the herd and separate the best from the rest. By keeping your branding consistent throughout your entire business presence, from your domain name and social media to influencers and customer service, your business can grow into a lasting brand that many will remember for years to come.