In the past few years, we’ve seen a large number of companies moving their business online to cater to the purchasing habits of a modern shopper.
It’s no longer just the giants like Amazon, e-Bay and Alibaba, the marketplace has become pretty crowded.
In this competitive atmosphere, having a quality product that delivers on its promised features and offering it at a competitive price is essential – but is it enough? With dozens, if not hundreds of companies selling the same product as you do, what is going to compel them to purchase from you and not from anyone else?
The answer lies in going beyond having great products and a beautiful website with a well-optimized checkout process, and transforming your business into a recognizable brand.
Let’s see how exactly branding can benefit your e-commerce business and why you should start considering developing a brand strategy right away:
Branding promotes recognition
Whether we’re talking about products sold in e-commerce shops or the shops themselves, branded sells better.
It is only natural that people will feel more attracted to business they are familiar with and that they will feel more inclined to purchase from them.
The reason behind this is that branded products and brands themselves have a clearly defined and distinguished visual identity and other branding elements that make them easily recognizable.
Consistent use of these elements makes people feel more at ease during the purchase process and helps generate repeat business.
Branding sets you apart from competition
If you are not a brand, you are merely a commodity. In other words, you can be replaced by any other business out there that sells the same products as you do.
And we’re not talking about local competition here. We’re talking about thousands of e-commerce stores from every corner of the world.
Since most stores are available in English now and affordable shipping options make it easier than ever to deliver products to interested customers worldwide, competition has become global.
The only way to stand out from your competitors is by being unique in some way – and therefore irreplaceable.
This is what branding helps you achieve. It leads you through the process of finding your unique selling proposition, your distinguishing characteristic in the market.
Whether it’s a particular product feature, the excellence of your customer service, the ease of purchase, or your return policy, as long as shoppers can’t find it anywhere else, they’ll keep coming back to you.
Branding helps you connect with shoppers on a deeper level
To some businesses this might come as a surprise, but research has shown that at least half of all purchase decisions (and often much more) are not based primarily on product packaging, quality, price or some other factor, but on shoppers’ emotions.
For this reason, it’s vital for every e-commerce business aim to connect with shoppers on the emotional level.
Branding is a great way to do that as it helps you refine the message and values you’re communicating to customers, and allows you create a certain feel around your business that will evoke desired emotions in shoppers.
Without establishing this deeper connection with shoppers, it is difficult to imagine customer loyalty.
Savvy Internet shoppers can easily find other opportunities online and be swayed into purchasing from a competitor who seems to be offering a better value proposition.
Branding helps you generate referrals
Getting referrals is one of the key marketing goals for many businesses. The reason behind that is very simple: word of mouth referrals generate the highest return for the lowest investment.
Most referrals happen as a result of satisfaction with a particular product or service and a natural desire to share positive experiences with others.
But referrals from customers who have purchased from you are not the only type of referrals your business can get.
Branding allows you to generate referrals from non-customers as well by helping your business establish positive reputation among the public.
Once your business gets on prospects’ radar, they will be likely to spread the word about it, especially if they’re regularly coming in contact with it through digital channels.
With ever increasing competition, changes in consumer purchase behavior, and constant innovations in online store technologies, it might be challenging for a business to find its place in the e-commerce market.
Hopefully, the points we’ve outlined in this article have given you a better idea how you can use branding to your advantage and secure your business’s market share.
Remember, all the most successful e-commerce businesses have one thing in common – they managed to build a strong brand and used it as a tool to establish themselves as market leaders.