Having an identifiable brand makes customers feel comfortable shopping with you. It makes you look professional and trustworthy. And the great thing about branding for an online store is that it is very easy to do.
Even if you are a one-person operation, you can very easily make your eCommerce store look like a large operation with a staff of personnel just waiting to take care of customers.
What’s in a brand?
What exactly is a brand? What does it mean to have a store that is branded?
In order to understand branding, it’s probably best to think of a few large companies and how they approach the subject.
What thoughts enter your mind when you think of the company Nike? Is it shoes? The Nike Swoosh? Or maybe it’s the slogan “just do it.”
How about Amazon? When you think of this company maybe you think of “the everything store” or their boxes with Amazon written on them with an arrow going from the A to the Z.
What about McDonald’s? Is it the golden arches? Ronald McDonald? Or perhaps it’s the unique way they combine yellow and red in their color scheme.
Although all of these things are part of their company’s brands, they are each just one component of a larger brand.
A company’s brand is much more than a name, logo, or slogan. A brand is essentially anything that customers use to identify with a particular company. A company’s brand is something that is very carefully crafted over a period of time to evoke certain thoughts and emotions about the company and its products.
Creating your eCommerce brand
Even if your company isn’t as big as the companies just mentioned, this doesn’t mean you can’t create an identifiable brand for your eCommerce empire. You can very easily develop a brand that connects with customers and instills confidence in your products and services through visual merchandising and design.
Visual merchandising in eCommerce involves implementing design elements to your online store to give you a unique identity that is separate from the competition. The purpose is to make you look professional, to make the shopping experience easy, and to motivate customers to make purchases.
The good news with visual merchandising for eCommerce businesses is that it isn’t difficult to do at all. There are several simple branding strategies you can implement that will make your business look like a million bucks in customers’ eyes. These elements include your logo, color scheme, trust factors, and product reviews and ratings.
The company logo on your website is one of the first things that customers see when they visit your homepage. Because of this, you want to have a logo that looks professional with imagery that reflects the niche you are in. In addition to including your company name, your logo can also include a tagline beneath it, something that is memorable or pithy.
Obtaining a high-quality logo for your company is easier than you may think. There are many freelance designers who can design one for you. And if you like the idea of having many options to choose from, 99 Designs is a website where designers compete against each other to win you over. Just input some general information on what you are looking for in a logo, and in just a few days you will have many great options to choose from.
We wrote about how we created our logo a little while ago. You can have a read here.
The color scheme
Color is a very important part of your website’s branding, and it’s something that many of your competitors don’t spend much time thinking about. McDonald’s, for example, has used red and yellow in its restaurants and logo for years. Those two colors used together are a powerful visual representation of the company’s brand.
When choosing a color scheme for your website, you want to limit it to two colors, a primary color and a secondary color. The two colors you select must compliment each other. If you are unsure of what colors look good together, consult a color wheel.
When customers shop on your website, they will be more inclined to buy from you if they trust your company. They want to be assured that their credit card information is safe, that the website is encrypted to protect it from hackers, and that their personal information will remain private. You can assure customers that their information is safe by displaying trust factors on your website.
A trust factor that you should definitely not be without these days is an SSL certificate for your website. An SSL certificate (secure sockets layer) encrypts all data that is transmitted from your website to your customers’ browsers. It’s necessary to prevent hackers from stealing private information. Obtaining and installing an SSL certificate is very easy, and your hosting company should be able to assist you with it.
Another trust factor to display on your website is clear contact information. Customers need to be assured that they can easily contact you if there’s a problem. Displaying an email address and/or phone number right on the homepage will go a long way in building trust.
Another powerful trust factor you can display is anything that shows you have been recognized for outstanding work. This could include testimonials, awards, industry certifications, and press coverage. Don’t be shy about strutting your stuff!
Product reviews and ratings
Yet another powerful way to differentiate yourself from the competition and build your brand is to allow customers who have bought your products to leave ratings and product reviews. This is a powerful psychological factor because it shows that you have confidence in your products. And even if a product does receive the occasional negative review, that still works in your favor because it makes the rating and review system look legitimate and unbiased.
The aesthetic design
The overall aesthetic design of your eCommerce store is something you definitely want to pay attention to. You want your website to be simple, without overwhelming customers with too much information or too many products.
It’s also important to keep your homepage uncluttered with just a few large images instead of many smaller ones. Also, make sure links to your legal pages (disclaimers, term and conditions, etc.) are placed at the bottom of the page. Although these pages are necessary, you don’t want them to be the center of attention on your homepage.
Finally, be sure to keep your navigation simple with only a few menu choices. Too many options on a website may confuse customers and make them consider shopping elsewhere.
Building your brand
In eCommerce trends, building a brand that is identifiable and instills confidence and trust with customers is critical in a world of “me too” competitors. Thankfully, branding strategies are not difficult to understand and implement.
With a little attention to detail, your eCommerce store can be the business that first comes to mind whenever customers think of products in your niche. And that equals money in the bank.