Online retail is a rapidly growing industry that gives almost everybody an opportunity to get the business off the ground and running. All it takes is a laptop and some strategic thinking to launch your own eCommerce brand and start generating revenue.
This is exactly why eCommerce is booming, with online sales expected to account for almost 14% of retail sales worldwide in 2019. But what is it that makes digital retail so powerful and influential? How can you design a unique eCommerce brand?
Keep reading our post as we are about to show you the pros and cons of online retail and explain five tips to start your own eCommerce brand successfully in no time.
Pros and Cons of Online Retail
Understanding the pros and cons of online retail is very important because it gives you valuable insights into the functioning of the industry, which can help you to adjust and improve the branding strategy. Without further ado, let’s see the advantages of eCommerce:
- Low investment costs: You don’t need tons of money to launch an eCommerce business.
- Availability: Online shopping platforms are very simple and almost everyone can use them.
- No inventory: You can build an eCommerce empire without ever getting in touch with products.
- Works 24/7: A good thing about online shopping is its 24/7 availability.
- Sell internationally: You can sell and ship products almost everywhere in the world.
- Personalization: Modern eCommerce tools allow you to personalize offers and reach out to each prospect individually.
The pros of eCommerce are much stronger than the cons, but we must also mention a few downsides of this industry:
- Competition: Due to its global availability, eCommerce is extremely competitive.
- No way to try before buy: Customers don’t test the product before purchasing, which is why a lot of people still prefer traditional shopping.
- Shipping: Another thing that bothers shoppers is the fact that they have to wait for the goods to be delivered. This is also a major technical issue for online stores.
How to Build a Powerful eCommerce Brand in 5 Steps
The introduction is done and now we can concentrate on the basic part of our post. There are so many ways to build an eCommerce brand, but we selected five tactics that are indeed most relevant for online retailers. Here they are:
Identify a buyer persona
Before you even start thinking about the brand itself, you must define a buyer persona in order to understand how to approach future customers. The goal is to answer a simple question: Who is my average customer? If you answer this question precisely, you will know what sort of brand to build.
A buyer persona has a number of traits, so you need to discover the following:
- Age and gender: You know that men and women think and behave differently, particularly if there is a big generation gap between them.
- Location: If you are focusing on a specific market, then it is necessary to know which one it is and understand its peculiarities.
- Education and income: Your products and marketing messages will depend on these two features.
- Personal interests: Find out how your target consumers think and behave.
Answers to all these inquiries will give you enough material to work with. That way, you will be able to create an appropriate marketing strategy and build a corresponding brand image.
Define the brand basics
Now that you know everything about your ideal customer, you need to define the basics of your brand. What does it mean?
First of all, you need to begin with the name. An eCommerce company requires a name that clearly reveals the nature of the business and helps consumers to figure out the purpose of the brand immediately. For instance, Shopify is one of the largest online retail platforms out there and its name makes it quite obvious what it’s all about.
Secondly, you need to think of a good branding strategy with all the corresponding visuals and color palettes. Create a simple but effective logo, making it straightforward and understandable. The same goes for other visual elements such as brochures, email templates, etc.
At the same time, it is important to design a user-friendly and eye-catching website. Secure a domain name and don’t forget to follow the branding guidelines, using the right colors and images to boost brand recognition.
Drive traffic to the website
You’ve got everything prepared by this point, so now it is time to start driving traffic to your website. Generally speaking, there are two major ways to attract users and increase the number of visitors – content creation and search engine optimization (SEO).
Gregory Monroe, a marketing officer at Assignment Masters, claims that every eCommerce webmaster has to know that content is king in the digital universe: “If you can publish quality content on a regular basis, you can become a thought leader in your niche and expect more people to keep coming to your website.”
Besides that, you need to pay attention to optimization. It’s a rather technical process, but you have to take care of it in order to improve the discoverability of the content. How can you do it? We have a few suggestions:
- Use the right keywords to allow search engines to find and classify your posts easily.
- Write clear and concise metadata (title tags, image tags, descriptions).
- Use tools like Google Trends to write about the most popular topics.
- Improve page load speed because it is a critical SEO parameter.
- Remove possible shortcomings such as broken links or duplicate content.
Use social media marketing
Social platforms like Facebook or YouTube are incredibly important because they attract more than three billion users on a daily basis. In such circumstances, social media activities must play a major role in your attempt to build a solid eCommerce brand.
Keep in mind, however, that you don’t need to create accounts on every platform currently available. Think about the target audience and see where they hang out the most. That way, you can save yourself a lot of time and focus on relevant networks only.
Facebook is the largest platform and you should definitely add it to the social media marketing plan. It also has a powerful advertising solution that allows you to target potential customers based on a number of preferences.
But given the fact that online retailers usually sell physical products, we can also recommend you to utilize Instagram and YouTube. The two networks are ideal for product-oriented businesses because they can display and present commodities, making them more attractive in the eyes of the average consumer.
Take care of customer experience
Although we are talking about online business, it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to improve customer experience. On the contrary, this is exactly where you need to invest additional efforts and ensure a nice and comfortable consumer journey.
How you do it mostly depends on the nature of your eCommerce store and your own creativity, but we can give you some very practical tips as well:
- Simple website navigation: Design a website that is easy to navigate, allowing people to find all they need in a click or two.
- Mobile friendly site: Most people browse the Internet using smartphones, so you have to make the website mobile friendly.
- Visually appealing site: Don’t ruin customer experience with too many website elements, annoying carousels, and hardly readable fonts.
- Deploy chatbot technology: Make your eCommerce business available around the clock. Deploy chatbot technology and allow users to contact you whenever they want.
Start a eCommerce brand may seem like a simple job, but it is actually not so easy to come up with a completely unique brand in any niche. That is why you need to think strategically and respect some basic rules of branding in the field of online retail. We showed you five essential tips to successfully start an eCommerce brand in no time, so now it’s your turn to step up and do what it takes to make a breakthrough.
Michael Gorman is professional writer and proofreader from UK. He is an expert in eCommerce and digital marketing, but his articles also cover topics like personal branding and self-improvement. Michael is a father of three high school kids and an amateur long-distance runner. Feel free to contact him via Facebook or check his Twitter.