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Branding

The 4 crucial ingredients of a stand-out eCommerce brand

The internet has made it easier than ever to start a business and looking around, it kind of feels like a new eCommerce brand pops up every 10 minutes.

The internet has made it easier than ever to start a business and looking around, it kind of feels like a new eCommerce brand pops up every 10 minutes. This may or may not surprise you but more than 600,000 new businesses open each year in the US alone, according to SBA estimates. That’s not a number to joke around with.

So for the love of all things digital - how on earth do you stand out in an unruly ocean of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of new businesses worldwide (not to mention the ones already existing) every single year?

Well, if you’re an eCommerce company, you’re building a business in one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Add that to the near-constant changing behaviours of people online, particularly post-pandemic, and you’ve got yourself quite the dance of variables and ever-changing circumstances.

Here’s one thing to keep in mind: if you’re setting up shop with good intentions, a clear mission statement and a killer brand story, you’re already heading in the right direction.

If you’re curious how to either stand out as a new brand or maintain momentum as an existing brand in 2023 and beyond, keep reading for our tips on the 4 absolutely crucial ingredients of a stand-out eCommerce brand, to capture your audience’s attention and keep it.

1. Brand strategy - Who are you and why should we care?

One of the most important things about creating a memorable brand is, shock, having a clear brand strategy. This is the only thing that’s really going to guarantee you long-term success.

When we say brand strategy, we’re not just talking about colours, a cute tagline, logo and fonts. We’re talking about the entire foundations of your house - as a brand. 

What do you stand for? Why do you exist outside of making money? Why should people care? Why should someone give you their strained - and extremely limited - attention (let alone their hard-earned money)? Make it worth it. Make it matter. Make it mean something to them. 

This is what good brand strategy is made of.

Say goodbye to simply problem-solving and poking at pain points because your story, the causes you care about and the future goals for your brand are what people are looking to relate to when they think about buying your product.

There may be others that do what you do. But, nobody does it the way you do it. What’s one thing that sets you apart from everyone else? You.

Answering these questions is what’s going to get you on track to stand out from the crowd.

2. Experience. The details matter.

Do you know how long users will spend on your website when they first land there? Maybe 10 minutes? 5 minutes? A minute, even?

15 seconds. 

That’s it, friends. 

That’s all you’ve got to win someone over. 

No, your eyes have not deceived you, you’ve got 15 seconds to make a good impression before someone decides they’re out of there. Can you imagine trying to do this in real life, in a human-to-human store? That would literally look like someone crossing the threshold of your shop door and immediately turning around and walking out again. Could you make a good enough impression in that time?

This is why making sure that your website, visual identity and user experience are near perfect is essential to eCommerce success. 

It might seem superficial to make sure your brand has a good “look” and is attractive to your audience, but there’s no doubt that an attractive, sleek and well-functioning page with an easy shopping and browsing experience will outperform a slow-loading, crowded site that forgets to thank the user for their purchase – by a mile.

Here are some questions to keep in mind when designing your website and your brand’s visual identity:

  • What type of experience do you want people to have when they visit your website? 
  • How do you want them to feel after interacting with your brand? 
  • What do you want them to remember about you and your brand?
  • How can you make the whole experience easier, more enjoyable, smoother, even more memorable? What would make the experience really stand out?

3. Marketing - What are you trying to say?

This is a big one. Having a clear, strong message and mission statement behind your brand can often be the ultimate deciding factor for consumers between your brand or a competitor. 

What are you trying to say? And, not only that, but what do you want your people to hear? What do they want to hear? What do they care about? What are you doing that’s different or better than someone else?

Accenture says that 62% of consumers want companies to stand up for the issues they are passionate about and 66% of consumers think transparency is one of a brand’s most attractive qualities. Post-pandemic consumers are purpose-driven. They’re only interested in interacting with brands that align with their values. They expect more sustainability, contribution to human causes, ethical practices and transparency than ever. And, they’re informed. They won’t simply fall for good intentions.

There is endless data and numerous studies on consumer behaviour post-pandemic and the numbers speak for themselves. The game is no longer about who has the best product and who can cross off the most pain points, it’s about attracting people who believe in the same things you do.

So this begs the question, what do you care about and how are you going to communicate that at every possible touch point and interaction with your brand in a way that makes it clear? The people are waiting.

4. Longevity - Build a real relationship

Perhaps the most important is that consumers aren’t jumping ship as quickly as they once used to. Studies show that consumers are now making slower, more conscious choices about where to spend their money and then they’re sticking with them.

The pandemic was a hard cultural reset for a lot of things, especially when it came to spending money. Intentional-ism has seen an upsurge in people’s spending habits, especially in younger consumers with 71% of Gen Z being more thoughtful and purposeful in their decision-making. 

People are now highly tuned in to the idea of being more intentional with their time, values and definitely the stuff going into their baskets.

This is why cultivating real relationships with your consumers is crucial to be memorable and have true staying power in your market beyond 2023.

It might seem obvious to say but don’t underestimate social media. Many eCommerce brands ditched their organic strategies for Facebook ads and have waning influence on better connected social media channels. This gives purpose-driven brands a clear chance to get back in front of their customers in a more friendly fashion. 

Don’t just tell them what you’re selling, either. Show them what you make and how you make it. Teach them something new. Ask what they want to see from you. Make it a two-way conversation and pay attention to what gets the best organic reach. There are so many golden nuggets in your organic social media analytics. Don’t overlook them. 

Shopify, which has just released its list of product updates for 2022, is now introducing YouTube Shopping. Netflix and Chill? More like Watch and Shop. 

With social media shopping and “live commerce” on the rise, it’s even more important to jump on these sites to get face-to-face with your audience.

So, to wrap it up:

As important as your product development and marketing your product is, remember, this isn’t what’s driving consumers to click the Buy Now button anymore. Gone are the days of impulsive shopping and grabbing last-minute deals for the sake of it. We’re all navigating a new world of essential-ism, intentional-ism and conscious purchasing.

Building a memorable brand is about SO MUCH more than just a good product and a polished website. The main focus is on your brand’s mission, vision and connection with your consumers. 

The question is: How will YOU stand out?

Beth Taggart

Author

Beth Taggart

Growth & Partnerships Manager