Brand.com reviews all the most pressing trends in e-commerce marketing, and according to the company, the “if you build it, they will come” approach to e-commerce is one that is destined for failure. Yes, e-commerce continues to thrive, and many e-commerce outlets perform quite well; just look to the continued dominance of Amazon.com, for proof. The e-commerce businesses that succeed, however, generally do so because they’re well-marketed and effectively branded. For e-commerce startups looking to achieve longevity, then, it’s smart to think through some of the musts of e-commerce branding.
Brand.com reviews a few of the basics, in the paragraphs that follow—including some tips for website design, social media activity, and even review moderation.
Brand.com Reviews Secrets of E-Commerce Branding
What’s in a Name?
The first tip that Brand.com reviews is that the name of any e-commerce operation matters a great deal; while some will find the site via search engines, many will want to access it directly, by entering the domain name into the browser’s navigation bar. As such, it is critical to come up with an e-commerce brand name that is short, memorable, and easy to spell.
Avoiding intentional misspellings is generally advisable, Brand.com reviews, because even when they are cute or clever, they can cause confusion among users. Additionally, word of mouth should not be discounted. It’s still a vital force, and as such, a name that is difficult to pronounce—or a name that does not make its spelling clear, when said aloud—is an ineffective one.
Brand.com reviews and endorses the following strategy, as well: Suggest a company name to a teenager. If he or she can easily come up with an embarrassing or inappropriate abbreviation or acronym, the name is probably not a very good one.
There are, of course, many important components to the design of an e-commerce site. A secure check-out is vital, as are informative product pages. More than anything else, though, navigation is key to effective e-commerce branding.
The navigation of an e-commerce page should make it easy for users to do what you want them to do—namely, shopping for products, adding them to a cart, and then checking out. What this means is that on-site search functions should work perfectly; product categories should be conducive to browsing; and a link to checkout should always be immediately noticeable, no matter which section of the site the user happens to be on.
More Than Just the Site
E-commerce sites are by no means immune to the growing need for social and content marketing, Brand.com continues. A robust social media presence, combined with a regularly-updated blog, can keep the lines of communication open between merchant and consumer; they can build customer loyalty, and effectively brand the e-commerce business as consumer-oriented and genuinely helpful.
The trick is to ensure that social media activity does not focus too heavily on promotion. 24/7 sales pitches are hardly effective for those looking to cultivate consumer trust, and facilitate social sharing. Informational articles, related to the products being sold—how-tos, tutorials, and FAQs, for example—can all prove much more effective.
Blogs and social media updates, when they are helpful and informative, can help establish trust among clients and customers. This is perhaps the most critical component about e-commerce branding: Building trust. Brand.com reviews that, despite the prevalence of e-commerce, there remain many consumers who are unwilling to cough up their credit card information unless they feel certain that the merchant is honest and legitimate. In other words, without trust, there are no sales.
Brand.com reviews some additional ways in which merchants might try to build trust, then, and all of them are essential. One method is to add some trust signifiers to the e-commerce page itself. These might be guarantees, seals of warranties, or any other certifications that help boost consumer confidence. Testimonials, from other customers, are also great for cultivating a sense of assuredness in various products.
Brand.com notes that e-commerce companies may even go as far to provide forms through which customers can directly submit their feedback on various products—though prudence is required here. Some careful moderation may be necessary to weed out illegitimate feedback—that is, defamatory remarks or spam attacks.
Speaking of which, Brand.com also advises e-commerce companies to keep their eyes peeled for reviews posted to independent online review sites—sites like Yelp.com. Over these sites, companies have essentially no control. Nevertheless, it is advantageous to know what is being said on these sites, and to respond appropriately. According to Brand.com, reviews posted to these review sites can prove utterly make-or-break.
Brand.com says that online merchants are smart to directly address their reviewers—some of the time. Responding with gratitude to positive reviews is always advised; meanwhile, addressing legitimate complaints or criticisms can actually show that the merchant cares, that he or she is invested in providing superior service. When the reviews are simply defamatory, however, the best response is no response at all. Instead of dignifying these malicious attacks, e-commerce companies might simply double down on building up positive content and laudatory reviews.
As e-commerce companies develop their sites, one of the most important steps they can take is to test everything thoroughly. Brand.com recommends that different variations of the site—with subtle yet significant differences—be sent to trusted friends and advisors. The feedback from these “focus group” members can help the company fine-tune everything from color choices to fonts to navigational hierarchies.
A related point that Brand.com reviews is that an e-commerce website is never truly completed. On the contrary, e-commerce companies are encouraged to view their sites as works in progress, and to continually refine and improve on them as trends change and as user analytics are further analyzed.
Branding and E-Commerce
The bottom line is that e-commerce success is by no means guaranteed. In order for an e-commerce site to thrive, some careful marketing work is required. This online branding encompasses everything from the site design to the social media presence attached to it.
Brand.com reviews and delivers online branding expertise to companies from across the world—including many e-commerce start-ups.