Five Creative E-commerce Branding Tactics
Customer and brand loyalty is basically dead. Because of the staggering amount of product choices available on the internet, people don’t shop brands, they shop deals. There are still, however, many brands that have such a distinct story that customers are drawn to them. How well you pull customers to your brand depends almost entirely on branding your business. Marketing is all about communicating a clear narrative.
How you differentiate your brand matters to customers. These creative e-commerce branding tactics will eventually help your brand stand out from the pack. If you want to be memorable, you have to do things that customers will remember. We’ve laid out a structure below that we hope will inspire you to explore your branding strategy in new, exciting ways.
Brand Loyalty is Still Happening
The hipster clothing line Madewell has seen consistent increases in their sales year after year. This isn’t just because of their quality. Their online story is succinct and consistent. If you take a cursory look at the site, it’s clear that they know their customer. Frequent shoppers of the brand will tell you that the homepage is dynamic. The company gives its customers a reason to check in frequently to see what’s new.
Another classic example of brand loyalty is, of course, Apple. People love their iPhones and MacBooks. The company has been so successful with its brand story over the years, they’ve done little to change it. The site is still designed as a destination, with flagship stores complementing the company’s online presence. All of their messaging ties back to the single concept of quality and style above all else. Replicating Apple’s success is almost impossible, but there are some great takeaways that still work today.
Your Five Branding Tips
1. Tell Your Story
Branding your business likely starts with you. Your story is something that your competition can’t own. It’s also something that no one can take away from you. Your story is personal and unique. Try this exercise: spend 10 or 15 minutes writing down what inspired you to start your company. If you’re not a writer, tell the story to a colleague, record it, and write it down later. For example, Steve Jobs became as iconic as his computers, so much so that mentioning his name in a piece about marketing borders on cliche.
You don’t have to be as famous as Steve Jobs to tell a compelling personal story. Blake Mycoskie probably didn’t think he’d ever be a household name. He had a simple idea after traveling through Argentina in 2006: he wanted to find a way to give needy children the world over a pair of shoes. It’s why, as the founder of TOMS, he continues to use “Chief Shoe Giver” as his corporate title. When he founded his shoe company, he continually tied everything back to his core principle of giving. Today he runs a global brand whose humble origins started with his inspirations.
2. Define Your USPs
Your unique selling points are the core of your brand story. Everyone in the company, whether that means two or two thousand employees, needs to know them intimately. Keep the list down to no more than 10 items. They should be as specific as possible. Your USPs aren’t aspirational: they are your company’s essence. Even if your product isn’t unique, your company is.
The cloud project management software company, Basecamp, uses its USPs brilliantly. Basecamp’s e-commerce branding features language that appeals almost exclusively to small businesses. As a company, they are signaling to a potential client that they are the go-to for entrepreneurs and startups, which helps them target everything from social media marketing to online ad targeting.
3. Think Unconventionally
About 10 years ago in Los Angeles, a young chef needed a way to promote his new catering food truck that would create buzz without a big budget. He’d invented a new sort of street food (a taco filled with perfectly grilled Korean barbecue) and needed a creative way to promote it. He used a then fairly new communication platform called Twitter to tell his burgeoning foodie fans where he was parked every night throughout Los Angeles. His daily tweets were both practical (telling everyone how to find them) and exciting (his early inventory sold out quickly, creating a sense of urgency for his early customers).
That chef was Roy Choi and his Kogi trucks kick-started the food truck revolution, all because he figured out a creative way to turn eating street food into an event. How can you use event marketing for your business? How do your products connect to your customers in real-time and how can you exploit that in fun, unusual and original ways? Remember, Choi wasn’t trying to start a revolution. He was just trying to sell tacos.
4. Show your Gratitude
Every time you ship an order, do one thoughtful thing for your customer. Use creative, inspirational packaging. If you have an environmental message, for example, highlight that your boxes are made from recycled content, or show how your protective materials can be reused. Send handwritten notes when you can; you can do this more than you realize when your volume is still low.
Go beyond discounts. All customers expect a 20% discount code and an expiration date along with it. What can you easily give away to every customer on his or her birthday? What can you do for the first 500 people who follow you on social media platforms on their social media anniversary (the day they started following you)? Give away things that are useful and special and that relate back to your brand story and your USPs. Have fun with it and your customers will have fun with you.
5. Be Consistent
The average page visit lasts under a minute. You don’t have long to grab and hold people’s attention. Every single element of your site needs to be as professional as possible. Use pros to take photos, and use a skilled, experienced designer to create your graphics. Consult user experience experts to advise you on your site layout and navigation. Your brand is an ecosystem of message and quality. If a new customer seeks you out, make sure that what they see on the site and the overall experience is as good as the message that brought them there.
Branding your business isn’t as simple as throwing up a tagline and making a few ad buys a month. It’s a holistic process that requires passion, sincerity and vision. The quality of all of your content plays into this as much as your logo and your product research.
Please contact CrewMachine today and find out more about how our experienced product team and extensive team of writers and editors can help you create the content that helps you tell your brand story.