Customers want to buy from an eCommerce brand, not an ‘eCommerce company’.

Think about that for a second. When you want to buy something online, which eCommerce website do you go to and why. If you’re buying something on eBay, for instance, it’s probably because of the trust they’ve built with you as a user over time, isn’t it?

It’s the softer elements of an eCommerce website, like the degree of trust customers have, the inexplicable emotional connection users feel with the store’s persona, it’s market reputation, the visual appeal of the website and anything else intangible that contributes to making the eCommerce website successful. That’s what makes up the ‘eCommerce brand’.

In this article, you’ll learn how to make your eCommerce company into a brand your customers love. You’ll learn to weave magic into your eCommerce company, so customers ‘feel’ like transacting with you. We’ll give you the secret to building long-lasting relationships with your customers. So let’s get started!

#1: Build A Strong Community

Anyone who has been in the eCommerce business for a while appreciates the importance of having a strong community. As your eCommerce venture matures, you need to stop thinking of customers as people who are there just to buy your products and services. Start thinking of them as a tight knit community who you’re trying to serve.

Once your customers start turning into raving fans, you’ll get to know them better. Their fears, aspirations, and dreams. And this deep understanding will help you create lifelong relationships with them. Through creating and publishing content, whether it’s via blogging, vlogging, social media or podcasting, you can nurture your customers overtime.

Continue to collect email addresses from blog visitors when they subscribe to receive your content. That’s the best way to ‘expand your tribe’ and nurture relationships that last.

#2: Know Your Why & Keep Revisiting It

Do you know why you’re an eCommerce store, why you’re selling your product, and why you’re looking to connect with your identified target market?

books on a shelf

Answering these questions is vital to uncovering your deeper inner purpose. To solidify the pillars around building a strong, compelling eCommerce brand. When everything you do is born from a place of purpose, every word you use to communicate with your customers, every product you make, every colour you use on your website will reflect your brand’s persona.

According to Simon Sinek’s ‘Golden Circle’ philosophy, if you know your why, i.e. the cause, the deeper purpose that’s inspiring your action, you’ll be able to easily figure out the ‘how’ and ‘what’ of your eCommerce business. So to build a truly meaningful brand, you need to spend some time reflecting on the impact you want to have on the world.

Even if you’re a couple of years into your eCommerce business journey, it makes sense to continue to revisit your deeper purpose. You’ll learn to develop more character and depth in every word. In every message you communicate to your audience. Why? Because it emerges from a place of deep understanding and branding wisdom!

#3: Have A Point Of Difference

You need to have a unique selling proposition to develop a memorable brand. It’s the x-factor that gives customers a reason to keep you in their minds.

line of apples

There are a bunch of ways you can create this point of difference. You could:

  1. Sell your products at the lowest possible price, so your customers remember you when they’re looking to save money.
  2. Create products at the highest possible quality, so people think of you when they want a high-quality, long lasting product.
  3. Differentiate yourself by being super focused on the type of people you want to serve. You could cater to a very niche segment within the marketplace.

Think about Apple for a second. Apple’s brand is synonymous with concepts like innovation, cutting edge technology and high-quality design. The same way, you want people to remember you for something, so your eCommerce brand becomes synonymous with how you’d like people to perceive you in their hearts and minds.

Now as an established retailer, if you haven’t found your point of difference, we recommend that you continue innovating. We believe in the world of eCommerce, it’s the most innovative, customer oriented companies that survive. So to continue to be in business, you’ll need to constantly innovate, be different and serve your target market optimally.

If you think about Amazon, one of the world’s largest eCommerce brands, they’ve reached the height of their eCommerce success story by innovating on both, online and offline retail experiences. Their new ‘Amazon Go’ project shows that they’re focused on building the future of retail commerce, by enabling people to just walk into a store, pick up the products they need, and walk out without any need to pay via their card, making for a smooth, hassle free shopping experience. Quite clearly, this is the best way to stand out!

#4: Be Consistent About Your Mission & Vision

Building a powerful eCommerce brand is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to be consistent over a number of years before people start to trust you. They need to know you for who you are. A lack of consistency will confuse your customers. That’s the last thing you want if you want to be a long term eCommerce player in the market.

Tony Hsieh, the founder of the well known eCommerce shoe company, Zappos, says that “Zappos is a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes.” Their vision is “delivering happiness to customers, employees, and vendors.” And their mission statement is to “provide the best customer service possible”. They’ve proved that through their consistency in providing a standard of customer service that ‘wows’ their customers.

Being consistent in what you’re committing to your customers shows you’re serious about delivering what you promise to the marketplace. And this consistency isn’t just something that applies to your products, it’s also relevant to the words you use for your marketing. The colours you use on every marketing touchpoint with your customers, whether it’s your website, business cards, or emails. So make sure your branding team ‘audits’ your eCommerce website and it’s marketing to eliminate any inconsistencies.

#5: Create An Amazing Customer Experience

As per a famous quote by Maya Angelou, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they remember how you make them feel”. And this wisdom is especially relevant to building a brand.

customer experience stars

It doesn’t matter how great your product or service is if you can’t make your customers feel special. Building a buyer persona, and drafting out your ‘customer journey’ to know about the emotions they experience while buying your product or service is the key to unlocking the path to creating an amazing customer experience.

You need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Feel their pain points. Understand their needs. Then brainstorm creative solutions to providing an experience that makes them feel great, and puts a smile on their faces. The best way to do this is to be your own customer, and buy a few products from your own eCommerce website. Do you love the experience?

Another great way to enhance customer experience is by using an e-commerce chatbot. Spectrm offers a chatbot service for e-commerce businesses that essentially streamlines the sales process. Simplicity is key when it comes to the conversion process. Nobody wants the purchasing process to be time-consuming or difficult and chatbots take a lot of the work away for customers.

Chatbots built with Spectrm guide customers to a purchase by understanding their preferences, recommending the most relevant products, and addressing questions or concerns in real-time. By using AI and natural language processing, the chatbot is able to automatically respond to questions in a matter of seconds. A guided shopping experience such as the one provided by Spectrm makes your customer more likely to actually purchase items from your site.

No matter how many years of experience you have in the eCommerce business, you need to continue to maintain a laser like focus on creating an amazing customer experience.

#6: Brand Your Messaging

The idea that every message you convey to your audience is building your brand is the key to communicating with your customers. This is especially true while using any sort of ‘holiday themes’ during the festive season to add some colour and spice to your messaging.

For instance, if you’re sending out Christmas greeting cards to your audience, you need to ensure that the words you write in the cards you send out reflect your brand’s values, and purpose, and also matches the colors that best represent you, consistently.

Avoid being too tacky if it doesn’t suit your brand. Focus on getting your message across accurately so you don’t risk any misalignment with your brand.

Wrapping it up

Every brand has a unique persona that gives it a special place in the minds of customers. You’ll need to follow the principles in this article to arrive at your own secret sauce which makes your customers fall in love with your brand. Remembering that there’s no silver bullet to this. Tapping into your individuality is the key to building an awesome brand.

Stay true to your values, your core essence, and your work, and your words will reflect it. When your work, your words, your actions and your service reflects your brand’s purpose, your customers will trust you. When your customers trust you, you’ll be in their hearts and minds for the problem they want you to solve for them. And when your customers trust you, you have built a brand they love.

Ryan Gould

Ryan Gould

Vice President of Strategy & Marketing Services
Elevation B2B

From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. He skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively aligns sales and marketing teams within organizations.