Branding is possibly the single most important thing that you can do for your online business. Apart from price and availability of product there is little else to distinguish you from any other online merchant but strong branding make the difference between getting the sale or not. Service only comes into play once the buyer has made a purchase, and until that point the only way to set yourself apart from other sellers is with a strong brand.
Your own brand tells customers that they are looking at one of your eBay auctions or your online shop. A memorable brand and colour scheme sets you apart from your competitors. Your brand will help customers remember the great service they received from you in the past and give them the confidence to shop again.
If you look at many experienced eBay sellers shops you’ll see that they tend to have very individual colour schemes, undoubtedly they’ll have a logo, but importantly the same colour scheme or “branding” carries through from their eBay auctions to their shop home page, their About Me page, their custom shop pages and even on their email marketing and end of auction emails.
Branding shouldn’t stop at your eBay shop though, if you have a website or sell on venues other than eBay your branding should carry across so that buyers who have made one purchase from you recognise you wherever they find your products for sale. Your branding should carry across all the sites you trade on as well as your flyers, packing slips, thank you notes, business cards, invoices.
“A professional logo not only tells your customers that you’re serious about your business, but also acts as the basis for all your other branding”
The easiest place to start your branding is when you create your logo. A professional logo not only tells your customers that you’re serious about your business, but also acts as the basis for all your other branding. Whilst it’s easy to create your own logo either in a graphics program or using software such as http://www.aaa-logo.com/, it’s worth investing the money to get a professional designer to create it for you. There are many companies on eBay who will design you a logo, or a company such as Frooition will design your logo in conjunction with branding your eBay listings, eBay shop or your own website.
Once you have a logo choose your eBay shop or website colours to complement it. On eBay this is fairly easy as in the shop designer you can customise the colours to match your logo – you don’t even need to know any HTML to do so. Choose colours, logos and symbols that reflect what you sell to make your eBay shop unique and create your own brand.
Unless you’re an HTML expert you’ll probably want someone to create and brand your website for you. Most ecommerce packages will allow you a certain amount of customisation, but this is normally restricted to selecting a set theme from a restricted set of options. Almost all ecommerce packages can be fully customised using HTML Style Sheets by a professional designer and if you want strong branding it’s worth investing in your business.
Your branding needn’t stop at your eBay listings, shop or website, it’s possible to extend your branding into eBay search results and even onto Google Product Search and other shopping comparison sites by branding your images. Consider putting a border on your eBay gallery pictures using your brands colours, or if your logo can be reduced in size include your logo in each image and it’ll appear on the thumbnails that eBay display in search. Equally on product comparison sites your branded images will let buyers know that it’s your product that they’re looking at.
When considering branding think about large companies such as Nike or Vodafone. As soon as you see the Nike slash you instantly know it’s a Nike product or website even if you don’t see their name. Vodafone is equally recognisable from their red quotation mark logo in a circle. If you can create an icon from your logo which is as instantly recognisable you’re well on your way to creating your brand.
Once you or your designer has created your brand you can build a consistent appearance across all the channels you sell on. Your brand will become more important over time in building customer confidence and help with faster customer acquisition and retention. Branding delivers customer awareness and loyalty and plays a vital role in the speed that a company grows. Once you have built your brand make sure that it’s used in every contact with a customer, whether it be on eBay and your website or in any email or mail communications that you send.