Contrary to what some marketers may think, investing in your brand online is not just about spending money on the brand. It’s about building an entity that will resonate with your customers and keep them coming back — even when there’s no deal or promotion to entice them.
If you search how to build a brand online, you will see lots of results for articles which state that if you want to grow your business online, you first need to grow your brand. Speaking as if sales and brand are two mutually exclusive entities. The emphasis of most of these articles will be social media and search engine results.
These things are very important, but starting with purely social reputation building leads many retailers to find themselves in a bit of a chicken and egg situation; unable to invest more in reputation marketing without revenue from sales. With recent changes to the Facebook algorithm and rising ad prices, retailers looking to build a brand online are feeling this more than ever.
The strength of a brand’s online presence is co-dependent with its sales success.
Studies have shown that 92% of online consumers trust recommendations from others. As an entrepreneur, you can spend a huge chunk of your time running paid ads and creating compelling posts to entice people to buy. However, you won’t be able to give customers a solid reason to do business with you if you don’t showcase authentic testimonials from real users.
When you are not visible to customers, you are not only missing out on revenue, you are missing out on testimonials; the most powerful catalyst for building your brand reputation.
Marketplaces bring visibility.
E-commerce revenue is predicted to reach $2.7 trillion this year. But customers do not just go online to search and buy, they go online to research. Some of this research will be via social media, reading interactions and customer’s opinions, but most of it will be done on e-commerce platforms.
55% of online shoppers start their product searches on Amazon.
When searching for a product, most customers will first go to a store they are loyal to, whether that be Amazon or eBay or any other big retailer, and they will search there. They gather what information they can about the product there, and then they go to another large retailer to price compare or skip straight to Google.
If your brand or product is not available on marketplaces, you will be losing customers.
If you do not have your own website, you will be losing credibility as a brand.
Here are our four top points for growing your brand through e-commerce:
Uncover Your Unique Selling Proposition
What makes your brand unique?
Determining a unique selling proposition is a foundational step in any good brand strategy. The goal is to differentiate your brand from your competitors and give your customers a reason to purchase a product from you.
You could be selling soap that is unique because it’s handmade in Wales with organic sheep’s milk, or selling refurbished iPhones with a longer warranty than other sellers. Whatever your unique selling proposition is, customers should know it from your product pages, social media, and promotional emails. That unique point needs to be reaffirmed everywhere customers see you.
Own the space you sell in
Selling online is no different to selling in a physical store, in that when a customer enters your store, they should immediately know your brand name and have a feel for what you offer. Selling on a virtual marketplace is no different to selling in a physical marketplace, in that you are getting a flow of traffic loyal to shopping in that marketplace. Your challenge is to stand out and impress your brand onto them so that they can be loyal to shopping with you.
Ebay is the largest marketplace to allow a high level of personalization and branding in listings. This is something all brands should be taking advantage of. Even if eBay is not somewhere you are targeting as a major revenue channel, it is a place where millions of customers start their product searches. Over 80% of items on eBay are new, and listings are more than an opportunity to sell an individual item, they are a way to sell your brand.
Take advantage of high traffic eBay sales space with custom branding giving customer’s a brand store feel, and use embedded videos to really engage customers.
You can see from this listing that Frooition designed for Metropolis, that a full brand store experience is totally possible within eBay listings.
Personalize The Customer Experience
Have you ever ordered something online and received a product that completely blew you away? A purchase where attention and detail went into every aspect of the ordering experience, right down to the customized packaging? If you have, it probably wasn’t hard to recall.
Chances are, the store did their research by aligning themselves to ensure that they’re marketing to people who match their brand’s identity.
For instance, let’s say you’re 30-something, wear brightly dyes silk scarves, appreciate the craftsmanship and the qualities that go into making something by hand. You look online to buy a silk scarf and come across a brand that hand dyes and sews all their scarves locally, or uses fair trade. After purchasing the product, it arrives beautifully packaged, customized with a handwritten note on the inside and a screen-printed hanger tag.
That’s a personalized customer experience. They’re nailing their product branding down to the finest details, just like their physical product.
Branded postal packaging is expensive, but even buying unbranded packaging in your brand colours, adding a ribbon or using a branded sticker can give the same effect.
The Spirit of Giving Back
Brands can position themselves well in a busy online space by getting in the spirit of giving back to their customers.
No matter how many sales you have for your e-commerce store, there’s always an opportunity to share your gratitude with your customers. You’ll want to make sure that you take some time to go beyond to thank your customers for their business.
A personally written note, a small surprise gift for a customer when they make their fourth purchase, or a thank you card for eBay purchases offering 10% on your brand’s website are all simple ways to increase sales with gratitude.
Not only does this position your brand as being thankful and recognizing the support of your customers, but it’s a sure-fire way to get a customer for life.