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Build an e-commerce brand that customers love


Want to attract loyal customers and grow your e-commerce business? Then it’s time to work on your company’s brand. You don’t need experience, big budgets or a marketing agency. You just need to get started. Building a brand can be a creative, rewarding experience, so let’s dive right in.

1. Understand what brand-building means

The word ‘brand’ often gets used to mean a company’s logo or imagery. That’s not what we’re talking about today. A brand is about more than colors and fonts - a brand is all the ways in which customers experience your company. Every time your business does something (from customer service to social media posting), it creates an impression in peoples’ minds. Collectively, these impressions are your brand.

2. Know why brands matter

Today’s online customers face an overwhelming amount of choice. This is why brand is so important. Because you want customers to choose your company, not one of your competitors. A strong brand makes it easy for customers to notice your company and shop with you.

Think about a brand you love - maybe your favorite clothing shop or TV channel. Now list all the words you associate with that company. These words describe the brand and its personality. Your job as a brand builder is to decide what kind of perceptions you want your company to create. You can then take steps to make sure your customers get a clear and consistent impression of your brand. Where do we start…with purpose.

3. Define your brand’s purpose

‘Purpose’ is about knowing why your brand exists (beyond wanting to make money). It doesn’t have to be complicated. It might just be “to bake gluten-free cakes that make people smile!”

The great thing about a purpose statement is that it becomes the foundation of your brand. Every time you make a decision, you can ask yourself “is this in line with my purpose?”. For example, if you’re the gluten-free cake company, and you’re writing a social media post, you can ask “is this message going to make our customers smile?”.

When you’re coming up with ideas for your purpose statement, here are three questions to ask yourself:

  • What inspired you to start your business? What were those first ideas that got you feeling excited about launching your own brand?
  • Can you live with your purpose for a long time? Purpose doesn’t change every week or year. It needs to be clear, simple and something you can live with.
  • Will your purpose inspire you to grow? Great purpose statements make you think about how much you can achieve over time.

4. Create your brand statement

Got your purpose nailed? Excellent! Now we’re going to work on a short brand statement. This just means a sentence that gives people a clear sense of your company story. If you’re tempted to skip this step, please don’t. It’s a really valuable exercise, not least because you can use it as the core of the ‘about us’ copy on your website.

There are four important things to include in a brand statement:

  • What you offer the world (i.e. your products and/or service)
  • Who you are here to serve (i.e. your core customer base)
  • How your company operates (i.e. the ethos, values or expertise you bring)
  • Where you’re going - what you’re striving to achieve over time (i.e. what you want to be famous for in the future)

This doesn’t have to be a time-consuming task. Imagine you’re talking to a close friend and write down the words you’d use to tell them your company story.

5. Define your brand’s personality

Think about your favorite movie star. How would you describe their personality? Funny, friendly, cool, mysterious? The chances are that you have a strong sense of who they are, even though you’ve never met them. Personality is just as important to brands as it is to celebrities. Your favorite brands are all working hard to project a consistent personality. Want to be as successful as them? Then take a moment to define your brand’s personality.

The trick here is to think about your brand from your customers’ point of view. What are they looking for from a company like yours? How can you make them feel comfortable and included? Once you’ve worked out what’s important to them, you can define two or three principles that define your brand’s personality.

For example, if you’re selling healthy food products to busy professionals, your brand personality might be sincere, smart and fast-paced. Or if you’re selling hand-made clothing you might be sophisticated, warm and gentle.

The next step is to make sure your personality comes through in all the ways your company operates - from your logo to your copywriting to your social media presence. Let your brand personality shine.

6. Build a powerful online brand

The foundation of a strong online brand is your company name and domain name. These are often the first impression that customers get of your company. If people can’t make sense of your company name, or don’t understand your website address, then you’re missing an opportunity to build a positive online presence.

What do we mean by domain name? This is simply your website’s unique address on the internet. And if you’re launching an online shop, there is no better choice than a .shop domain. The .shop domain helps online shops stand out online, telling the world that you are ready to welcome them. And if you have ambitions to grow your brand, .shop will position you for long-term expansion, because ‘Shop’ is a universally-understood word.

To learn more about getting started with a .shop domain, check out our blog post Create a Domain In Five Easy Steps. Happy brand-building!

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