Launching an online store seems pretty straight-forward these days, especially if you use the services of fulfillment partners. Within a bunch of clicks, you get yourself a product, a store, and a brand. Why won’t everyone earn money like this?
Unless you have something that people are excited to have, simply launching yet another online store won’t bring in the results you want to see.
Every serious business owner has to commit to the craft of building a strong brand, and that’s challenging. You must figure out how to grab and hold people’s attention.
One way you can do this is through eCommerce branding. Your eCommerce brand isn't just your brand name, logo, and mission statement—it’s how people perceive your business and its identity.
To get started with this towering subject, let’s talk about the importance of branding and the techniques that can boost your marketing game.
Why is Ecommerce Branding Important?
Define your brand identity, and you'll have a clear idea of what elements of your brand are unchangeable (e.g. brand voice, brand mission, color palette), and what elements you can play with (e.g. packaging, presets)–allowing your brand to strengthen.
As soon as you have a tangible concept of what your brand is, your path to marketing and branding gets illuminated. But that’s just the start of your journey.
The ever-changing culture and innovations shift the way we choose the brands we buy from. We used to lean a lot more towards broadcast campaigns and polished corporate identities. Nowadays, as we’re becoming more savvy—we know that personable, relatable brands that can develop with the culture are where it’s at.
Businesses who can’t keep up with the changing attitudes risk being left behind.
Think of your favorite ecommerce brand. Why did you pick this one among the thousands of options? Was it because of the aesthetic, a friend’s suggestion, the brand’s values, or maybe their products were enough to sway you?
Unless the attention is captured by something that seems worth exploring further, most people don’t want to spend their time rummaging around unknown sites. The importance of branding can’t be overstated with the growing number of small ecommerce businesses.
Your goal, as a business owner, should be to build a recognizable ecommerce brand identity and stay relevant to your target market.
In the next chapter, we’ll look at some strong, modern branding options for your ecommerce business.
Contemporary Ways of Strong Branding
The modern, quality brands are animated, humanized, and personalized. They give us more than products—they offer us brand storytelling with the aim to:
- Build connection with the audience
- Offer value that’s more than product or service
- Motivate the viewer to step into experience
- Increase their own perceived value
- Invite us to become a part of a collective movement
A brand, above all, is a relationship which involves emotional connection and loyalty.
Your customers don’t want to be in a relationship with a corporation, but become members of a community that shares their values.
Values are key to building that connection. They can be both functional and emotional by nature. Let’s start off with branding elements that add both.
Packaging is the first physical representation of your brand. And, as you might know, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Your customized package is going to appeal to your audience if it represents something that they enjoy.
If being environmentally friendly is one of your brand values, choose packaging made from eco-friendly materials.
Or if your brand’s identity includes bright colors and bold designs (e.g. you sell graphic t-shirts), use a similar design on your custom mailer boxes. Custom packaging shows the brand’s attention to detail and creates a memorable product experience.
Promotional Materials and Packaging Inserts
Use packaging inserts (pack-ins) as powerful tools to create a memorable brand experience and increase brand loyalty. I still keep one from a purchase made years ago. The beautiful design that had my name on it created a joyful experience. It made the long-awaited product that much more special.
People love seeing thank-you messages. These little notes affirm the feeling that the brand appreciates its customers.
If you pack and ship your own products, you can print out your own custom inserts and design them using a software of your choice, or scan in a handwritten note.
If you’re working with a fulfillment partner, check if they offer adding pack-ins with customer purchases. For example, Printful offers to personalize each order with flyers, coupons, postcards, business cards, stickers, and hand-written thank-you notes.
Regardless if you ship the products yourself, or do it through a service provider, think about what reflects your brand. What is the message you want to get across? What feeling can you evoke? Jot down the ideas and sketch out what the ideal order would look like, and what elements it would contain.
Custom Packaging Stickers
Brand stickers are not just fun pack-ins, they also do wonders for both online and offline marketing. Because of their playful promotional nature, you can encourage customers to use your brand stickers with social media. This will increase your advertising reach and promote your brand image. Besides that, stickers:
- Have a practical purpose which makes them more interesting than business cards
- Make you visible at community events
- Are great for user-generated content, such as an Instagram post, a tweet, or a vlog. This type of content builds brand trust better than content that’s created by the brand itself.
Create promotional campaigns and let people share photos with their stickers. In return, you can offer coupons, prizes, shout-outs, or whatever else you wish to give back.
Make sure the design is enticing enough to increase your chance of getting laptop real estate. Custom stickers will serve as reminders for people the next time they shop.
You can create a design and order stickers from Printful or Arka.
The aesthetic you create for your online store will help the visitor decide if your brand speaks to them.
From the font and colors to specific design features, your brand aesthetic comprises elements that show your brand identity. It should create a recognizable pattern which shouts your brand name without your customer seeing it in writing.
One way you can shape your brand’s visual identity is through product photography that features the best of your designs and helps them stand out from your competitors.
You can create product photography by yourself with a good camera, lighting and a nice background, or hire a photographer to do it for you.
Another budget-friendly way is to create product mockups using mockup generators available online.
To find inspiration for product photography, look around and take notes on the brands that you like. Pin down what describes their overall appearance and feel, then write adjectives, like expensive, organic, rustic, mysterious, etc. See if any commonalities appear with what you want to portray.
You should continuously work on your brand’s identity and polish it so it shines through in its authentic colors.
Stay Unique and Stand Out!
It’s getting increasingly difficult to get noticed in the hyper competitive ecommerce space, so don’t underestimate the importance of branding and how it can help you grow a loyal customer base.
Your personality, appearance, and experience differentiate you from other people. It’s the same for your business. So, before you immerse yourself in the ecommerce branding process, define your brand identity. Ask “how do I want my customer to perceive my business?” Then be consistent in communicating and connecting with your audience.
Now implement your favorite branding option and share your values!