Type any buyable commodity into a search engine: desk lamp, running shoes, nail polish, extension cord, rain jacket, etc. Within seconds, you have thousands of results at your fingertips—many from brands interested in selling the items in question. How is a consumer supposed to choose? What influences their decision to buy or not buy from certain retailer? Why are shoppers often willing to pay more to buy an item from one online store compared to another?
The answer to these questions lies in branding. You see, curating a highly branded ecommerce customer experience makes your store memorable, even in a saturated market. Suddenly you’re more than just a website—you’re a website with a reputation and some clout.
To put it another way, shoppers are understandably hesitant to buy from generic online stores. Branding is important for attracting first-time buyers and retaining existing customers for future purchases.
If you’re building a brand, pay special attention to these five areas so you can create a one-of-a-kind ecommerce experience for visitors to your site.
Compelling Content and Voice
Choosing your brand’s overall voice has a lot to do with your target audience and the kinds of content they consume. As one entrepreneur writes for Practical Ecommerce, content comes in many forms, “But it’s essential to hone, work, study, and otherwise figure out how to produce content that really resonates with your audience or community.”
Everything from simple posts on social media to long-form blogs, website landing pages and email newsletters are opportunities to exude your brand’s personality. A company selling rough-hewn wooden furniture is going to have a very different voice than a company selling biodegradable cleaning products. Figure out your target audience and develop a voice that fits for more impactful communications across the board.
Customer Service: A Personal Touch
Customer service is another extension of a brand’s personality. You want to be known for responsive, human-driven customer service available across platforms. Customers associate your brand with how they’re treated when they ask a question or lodge a complaint, so carefully consider how you’re going to impress them. Modern sellers have more options than ever, including AI-based live chat systems for 24/7 assistance and direct messaging on social media. Make sure you’re upholding the tenets of your brand across every contact point.
Creating Visual Recognition
Your brand talks the talk, but can it walk the walk? In other words, does your store look and feel unique to customers? Are you backing up your brand’s voice with proprietary visuals that inspire recognition from shoppers at a glance? Nowadays, entrepreneurs can create a free logo, build a website using fully customizable templates and make use of high-definition photographs and visuals to build their brand image.
Exciting Unboxing Experience
Sending out your merchandise in a plain brown box may be economical, but it’s also forgettable. There are many ways to wow buyers after the purchase goes through. Designing a memorable unboxing experience reinforces post-purchase branding and builds loyalty to earn repeat business. Branded freebies, referral cards and premium packaging all go a long way toward positively influencing customers’ perception of your online store.
Surprising Subscription Models
Few things more fun than getting a surprise in the mail. This desirable anticipation of the unknown has helped drive the popularity of subscription models in the last few years. The premise is simple: Customers get a package full of surprise goodies sent to their doorstep, alleviating them of the duties of manually picking out new items. Sending out a regular or occasional subscription box is a great way to bond with your customers over exclusive, branded materials.
As an online seller, your focus should always be on curating a highly branded ecommerce customer experience. That way, customers will remember your name, reputation and product offerings.