Ecommerce has been steadily growing over the past few years. Statista predicts that the total value of online sales will rise from 1.3 trillion in 2014 to 3.9 trillion in 2020. Moreover, ecommerce sales are expected to account for 16.1% of global retail sales in 2020. Given these stats, it’s not surprising that, by 2040, more than 95% of global purchases will be made online.
Businesses are starting to see the true value of ecommerce. And, the fact that there are now between 12M and 24M ecommerce businesses worldwide backs me up on that. So, to survive in such a competitive ecommerce ecosystem, you need to stand out. Apart from quality products, you need to level up your digital marketing tactics to establish authority and build a recognizable brand.
Here are a few steps to take.
Choose a Brandable Name for your Store
For any online retailer, a website is the heart of their business. All digital marketing tactics you use, from SEO to email marketing, serve to point leads to your site. When someone is searching for you, your website will be the first thing they see in the SERPs.
So, how is this related to your brand name?
For ecommerce businesses, a brand name and a domain name are the same. And, to build trust with your audiences and get them to remember your brand name, you need to choose your brand/domain name strategically.
First, make it short, simple, and memorable. Choose an easy-to-spell and pronounce name. You want people to find you effortlessly and memorize your name immediately. Avoid any symbols or characters, especially numbers and hyphens, which may confuse your audiences and point them to the wrong website. You should also stay away from intentional misspellings and complex names that will make it harder for your customers to find you.
Second, don’t spam your domain name with keywords. Your domain name reflects your ecommerce business’ brand name. As keywords in a domain name are a minor ranking factor, you should ignore them and focus on choosing a brandable name that stands out.
Third, pick the right domain extension. A while ago, Google confirmed that they rank all TLDs the same. Therefore, it’s all up to you. There are many alternatives to the popular .com TLD, but always ensure the ultimate domain name security. For starters, avoid spammy domain extensions that may harm your site’s reputation. Also, as an ecommerce business that uses and collects sensitive customers’ data, you should also some additional steps to protect your domain. For example, Registry Lock prevents online hackers to steal your domain name by locking it at the registry level, while DNS security extensions that prevent DNS attacks.
Tell your Story
Sharing your brand’s story and values is a powerful branding weapon. Your story should show the human side of your brand and help you emotionally connect with your prospective customers.
I wrote in the introduction that there are millions of online businesses. So, use that as your starting point. What is it that separates you from them? Why do you even exist? People want to know why they should choose you over someone else. Always explain who you are and why you launched your online store. Say what you care about, what issues you stand for, and what your unique traits and values are.
Make your brand’s story visible on your website. Create a dedicated “About” page, where people can familiarize themselves with your business. You should also promote your story on social networks and even tighten up your PR efforts. For example, you could connect with bloggers or journalists in your industry and pitch your story for greater media coverage.
Stand for a Cause
So, what does your brand stand for? A research study by Clutch says that 75% of customers choose to buy from companies that support social issues relevant to them. They believe that companies should give back to the community.
Share your visions and make sure they resonate with your audiences. Revisit the problem your market faces and show how your product will help.
For example, Fortress of Inca’s website has an amazing “What We Believe” page that emphasizes multiple benefits of their products. First, they use natural materials, meaning that their shoes are good for your health. Second, they invest in sustainable production. Third, the shoes are handmade, meaning that you will get high-quality products. They even have an entire section called “Handmade In Peru,” where you can find information about their workers in Peru and fair wages policy.
This will not only inspire their brand’s prospective customers to buy, but also encourage them to come back. Above all, such practices increase brand awareness, elicit emotions, and build a solid following of brand advocates dedicated to your visions. Your brand will soon become synonymous with social consciousness and the efforts of hope.
Establish a Memorable Brand Identity
Your business is initially a tabula rasa. A blank page you design according to your audiences’ preferences and the needs of the current market. By giving it a voice, looks, opinions, values, and missions, you create a unique brand that stands out.
Observe your brand as a human being. First, you will need to give it some human interests and traits that will further form its tone of voice. So, based on your products, customers, and the target market, ask yourself what your brand is about. Should it be loud and rebellious or assertive? Adventurous or stable? Innocent or seductive? Playful or formal?
These insights will guide you when establishing your tone of voice, as well as visual brand assets, such as your logos, color palettes, typography, multimedia content, and so forth.
Look at the most popular world’s brands. Would McDonald’s logo feel the same if it were black and white? If Disney chose the Helvetica font, would their logo still reflect imagination, friendliness, and warmth? Each brand element has a pivotal role in your brand identity, so choose them wisely.
Invest in Brand Consistency
Just establishing a brand identity is not enough. You need to make sure your brand assets are used consistently across all online channels, be it your product pages, blog, social networks, or email. That’s why need to write a detailed brand style guide. It will dictate the use of:
- Your logo and its variations across digital channels
- The placement and size of a logo on different platforms
- Typography, font variations, and their use across digital channels
- Font sizes for headings, subheadings, and text, according to the platform
- Main colors and your color palette
- Photography, video, and animations – styles, formats, sizes, filters,
- The tone of voice across digital channels (also discuss the use of memes, emojis, GIFs, etc.)
- Brand slogans
Building an online store is not that difficult. However, building a solid brand around it may be challenging. Remember that just because you have a logo doesn’t mean you’ve built a brand. Branding your online retail business means paying attention to every element, from your name to visuals and missions, in order to stand out. And, I hope these tips will serve as a solid starting point for your future branding efforts.