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E-commerce Branding: The Ultimate Guide for 2020-2021

Learn eCommerce branding

Having wonderful products on sale that are loved by customers paired with a fair pricing policy is just one side to the success of an online retail store. With the competition getting higher and higher, many other things have to be taken into consideration to stay afloat. As such, no eCommerce store will go far without a well-performing glitch-free website that will be fast and intuitive to use from any device (this is exactly why many store owners are currently investing in eCommerce progressive web apps, by the way). The same applies to the lack of a strong presence online, as well as having no clear and distinguishable brand.

On this page, we’d like to bring up various important strategies for your eCom branding, give tips and recommendations, as well as provide examples to support the covered ideas. Let’s dive in!

Step 1: Do You Know Who You’re Selling To?

a) Study your target audience

It must all begin here when you start working on your branding. If you have trouble understanding who your audience is, turn back to this point and give it some additional research and thought.

No matter how versatile your buyers could be, there’s a huge chance that there are some things that unite them. Be it their geographic location, age, or some other preferences and tastes, you must know who these people are in order to present your eCommerce store and products properly. The same will regard your further effective communication with buyers across all channels.

b) Find your brand ambassadors

This influences your choice of brand ambassadors too. A topic you’ll have to give a lot of time and consideration. This doesn’t always necessarily have to be a celebrity, instead, an expert and opinion leader whose point of view is authoritative for your target audience is the key here. 

There may be cases when you don’t need anyone to present your product or your brand (at least not right off the start). But if you’re thinking about having an influencer to assist you in promoting your eCommerce store, think twice before signing someone.

c) Choose your tone, style & messages

When you’ll have a clear vision of who your audience is, you can determine the tone of your messages and the style that the brand should have. Importantly, it is crucial to then stick to this tone and style on all your channels (i.e. not only your online store but also your socials, emails, and any other possible touchpoints).

To provide you with an example that deals with a proper message, here’s a product description fragment of running shoes from the official Adidas website. This text is just one of the points of communication yet personalizing the message that’ll not only highlight the product benefits but also find an echo in what the audience cares about is a point worth noting. In this case, the branding imperceptibly emphasizes that Adidas knows what runners care about and that their Ultraboost 20 shoe design is tailored to fit all these needs.

Screenshot taken on the official Adidas website

Step 2: Make Your Brand Recognizable

Brand recognizability lies not only in visuals, the basics regard your logo, style, slogans, and the wording that you choose for your messages throughout.

a) Design a neat logo

Visuals do matter most here. Therefore, let’s start with the logo. An example of a modern yet simple logo that I personally like is the one used on the official Ofra Cosmetics website. The logo changes with the triangles moving from the center to the sides. Plus it has two central text variations.

Screenshot taken on the official Ofra Cosmetics website

If you don’t have a designer by your side, luckily there are dozens of free tools that you can turn to for assistance. One of such easy-to-use logo builders is provided by Wix. Turn on your creativity and enjoy the results! Test around several options if you aren’t sure which one is best.

b) Come up with a cool slogan

Slogans also matter. It needs to be catchy and easy to remember, importantly the words need to portray the values of the brand or the main unique selling point of the business.

For instance, the aforementioned Puma slogan reads “Forever Faster”, another example of a nice one is the official slogan of Converse “Shoes are Boring. Wear Sneakers”. Making up a slogan can be tricky, thus, you may turn to tools here as well, such as Getsocio.

c) Be consistent in style

Now moving on to style. Here the main thing to note is that you must be consistent. Do your best to use the same fonts, color palettes, and anything else that can become associated with your specific store. To explain this as an example, take a look at the screenshots from the official Pupa Milano website and Instagram account. As you can see, the logo and colors appear throughout the channels, making the brand stand out among others.

Screenshot credit: Pupa Milano official

Step 3: Give Your Content & Email Strategy Some Thought

a) Create content that matters

Apart from common FAQs and tips sections, your eCommerce store’s content has to be valuable. Before you invest time in anything, ask yourself what’s the point of this content? How does it help your brand and your buyers?

An example of content that can be helpful and of interest to your users is the “More Than a Wish” page on the official Bulgari website. Timed to the upcoming holiday season, the page introduces the B.zero1 collection and several others, singling out those products that can become very special gifts for loved ones. Keeping in mind that gift hunting is usually a headache for people, such content can assist both the brand and eCommerce sales. What’s good about this page is that it isn’t overcrowded with text, it provides previews of possible options, and even offers a simple questionnaire that functions as a gift finder assistant.

Screenshot taken on the official Bulgari website

b) Build effective email campaigns

This also applies to your email campaigns. These do require much detail and must have all your branding in place (logos, fonts, colors, text styles). Make sure your email marketing messages are cherry-picked and taken seriously and that the content you share and the products you pitch are relevant.

It’s well-known that most emails hit the trash folder way too soon, often without even being opened. So, your brand’s emails must be to the point. You shouldn’t send emails too often either, thus, plan your drip campaigns carefully. You can use many email creator tools with templates for that, MailChimp is a popular one you may check out.

Step 4: Use Social Media For Your Brand & Sales

As it was mentioned before shortly, your eCommerce store’s social media accounts must be branded too. No matter which platforms are part of your social media strategy, your brand identity must appear throughout.

Why is this so important? As apart from sharing news, new arrivals, and introducing various contests and special offers, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest allow eCommerce stores to link up their product catalogs with the social accounts and thus sell items. This means that your social media accounts aren’t just a way to communicate and reach out to your customers, these are your additional grounds for selling more

Have a quick look at the screenshots taken from the official Fendi Pinterest and Instagram accounts. The sections that are visible are the “Shop” tabs that present products that users can buy from the comfort of their favorite social media platforms. As you can see, although the platforms are different, the style and brand are the same, clear, and recognizable in both cases.

Screenshot credit: Fendi official

Step 5: Take Care Of Your “Unseen” Brand Identity

Last but not least, not all branding is always in plain sight and in the public eye. Some of it is unseen. Your customer service is another side of your brand that’s behind the scenes. Therefore, the customer feedback about your brand, products, and services is a point to give extra consideration.

Make sure that your eCommerce store is fitted with a convenient and rich reviews section. If you have the opportunity, it’s considered good practice to reply to your customer’s reviews as this shows that you treat your clients with care and that their opinion matters. This is a good “move” showcasing your brand in the needed favorable light.

This is how the customer reviews are organized on the official Calvin Klein website. The section has an overview of all the opinions and ratings, this is required for assisting users in making quicker conclusions about the sold product. The reviews themselves have info about the contributor, as well as whether they’d recommend the item or not. Finally, a good idea to note is the “Was this review helpful to you?” vote block. This inevident element also tells much about your brand as one who cares about its shoppers.

Screenshot taken on the official Calvin Klein website

Summing Up: E-commerce Branding Strategies

There are so many things that make up an eCommerce store’s brand. But the major takeaways are that you should start with the target audience and what they expect from you. Once that’s clear, you can move on to creating a recognizable brand identity, working on your logos, colors, messages, content, emails, and product presentation. Then continue with finding a brand ambassador if you need one and give all your clients and channels the needed attention, especially this concerns your socials that can become grounds that bring you extra sales. 

Hope you’ve found these tips and examples handy and will make use of the points covered in the article for building or strengthening your own eCommerce store’s brand!

Alex Husar
Alex Husar

Alex Husar is the Chief Technology Officer at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in PWA development, Magento migration, and Salesforce development. He graduated from the Czech Technical University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. Alex’s expertise includes both full-stack dev skills and a strong ability to provide project-critical guidance to the whole team.