What comes to your mind when you see the products in the graphic above?
- and most importantly, brand value.
In this blog post, I’m going to talk about how you too can transform your eCommerce business into a BRAND. A brand that your customers love and tell others about. Let’s go right in.
So, what is a brand?
According to Wikipedia,
a brand is AN overall experience that a customer receives, which distinguishes a company from its rivals in the eyes of that customer.
The key point here is the “overall experience of your customer”.
But what does that mean? Let me explain it with the 4 pillars of eCommerce branding.
Pillar #1 – Your Vision & Mission Statements
As an eCommerce business, you have to tell your customers why your company exists. It’s especially true when you are in competitive niches, such as shoes, jewelry, clothing, pets, vehicles, etc.
Why should someone buy shoes from you, instead of Nike? Well, maybe it’s because you can solve an issue that Nike doesn’t solve. For example, shoes for diabetic pain relief.
There are 100 other companies who sell diabetic pain relief shoes. Why should your customers choose you? Well, maybe your vision is to create a world where no diabetic patient suffers from feet pain.
Now, that’s a great vision, right?As an eCommerce business, you have to tell your customers
why your company exists.Click To Tweet
How do you achieve that vision? Well, by creating the best quality diabetic pain relief shoes, at the best price possible, so everyone regardless of their financial situation can buy them.
That’s the mission.
A vision statement describes what your company desires to achieve in the long-run, say 5 to 10 or more years from now.
A mission statement defines how you are going to achieve that.
Let’s look at a real-life example.
In a market where there are hundreds and thousands of men’s grooming and beard oil products, BeardBrand came up with their own vision and mission, to differentiate themselves from their competitors and to connect with their audience.
Here’s their vision.
This is a great example because BeardBrand was able to pinpoint the problems and the social status issues that men with beards face in society. That created an immediate connection and allowed them to relate to their audience.
Beardbrand’s vision/what -> To change the way society views beardsmen.
Beardbrand’s mission/how -> By fostering confidence through their grooming products.
And that’s how they turned their company into a brand that’s making $100,000/month.
Note that they’re not talking about their product benefits and how great their oils are. Your vision and mission statements should only talk about that, your vision and mission.
Think deeply about why you’ve started your eCommerce business, what problem is it solving in the world and whom is it serving? Your vision and mission statements should speak to the problems facing your target audience.
Pillar #2 – Your Brand’s Story & The Emotion It Evokes.
Just like you and I have our own stories, every company has a story.
Why did you decide to start your company? Obviously making money is usually the prime motivator, but beyond that, what convictions did you have at the beginning? Talk about your mission and your passion, and how they influence the way your company works.
Your honest brand story goes a long way in connecting with your audience and establishing trust.Your honest brand story goes a long way in connecting with
your audience and establishing trust.Click To Tweet
Did you start your company to solve an issue, as Beardbrand did?
Or are you continuing your family’s legacy? Like JensHansen.com, Let’s have a look at their brand’s story.
You can also see a timeline of what happened since 1940, taking you back in time and creating that experience.
I guarantee you, that once you’ve read their entire ‘about us’ page, you’ll feel more trust in JensHansen than you do now. So go and give it a try.
Your origin story can really personalize your company; it’s attaching a face and a story to your company and humanizing it. In the same way that JensHansen did with theirs.Your origin story can really personalize your company;
it’s attaching a face and a story to your company
and humanizing it.Click To Tweet
Now, depending on your story and how you lay it out, it evokes different emotions. For JensHansen, it’s all about producing the best jewelry pieces and being the best gold & silversmith in New Zealand.
The emotions they want to evoke are “confidence, trust & legacy.”
They want their customers to build their confidence & trust and feel that Jens Hansen is the best in what they’re doing and that their legacy proves it. Being in the wearable jewelry space with high ticket products, that is definitely how they want their potential customers to think of them.
BTW, JensHansen is one of our best customers and we help them every single day in delivering rich experiences to their customers.
PILLAR #3 – Your Product’s Uniqueness & The Unboxing Experience.
When you have a great vision, mission and a brand story that differentiates you from your competitors, it will automatically translate to your products.
Needless to say, your products should be somewhat superior to your competitor’s products. It can be as small as an extra feature, or as big as a complete upgrade. But they HAVE to be superior in some way.
Because even though your customers are connected with you, they also want superior products.
Your vision, mission and brand story connects with their emotions (right brain) and the features and benefits that a superior product offers, connects with their logical thinking (left brain.)
Don’t put them in a situation where they have to fight within their own brains, Most of the time, the left brain wins and you might lose a potential customer. Instead, make it easy for them to go with you, create superior products driven by your vision, mission and your brand story.Don’t put your customers in a situation where they have to fight
within their own brains.Click To Tweet
Now for the unboxing experience. Why is it important? If your new customer who has just bought something from you, didn’t visit your store, then this is his first physical interaction with your company.
If they did visit your store, well, that’s their first physical interaction and of course, you’ll have made sure it rocked.
However, companies who ship internationally, and don’t have physical stores in each city (which is 99.99% of eCommerce companies), should ensure their unboxing experience really rocks.
Going back to our previous example, Jens Hansen. These guys really work hard at their packaging and unboxing experiences.
Watch the videos that I’ve added in the description box below, to see how grand their packaging and unboxing experiences are.
These unboxing videos that people put on YouTube, brings you a ton of new traffic and sales, that’s an added benefit.
PILLAR #4 – Your Customer Support
Well it’s obvious, isn’t it? A great brand needs great customer support, both pre-sale and post-sale.
When you rock your vision, mission, and brand story with a superior product and a great unboxing experience, you have to ensure your customer support is first class too.
If not, the trust and connection you’ve built are going to collapse. No one wants to deal with a company who responds to urgent queries after a week.
Your customer support team should be quick, and genuinely helpful. They should be able to help your customers choose the best products for them, clearly communicate your shipping and returns policies, and why they should buy from you.
Your customer support also includes the post-sale support, helping them to track and resolve any issues with their orders.
The key here is your response time; it should be quick and your answers should be genuinely helpful. Live chat and email support are the 2 things you have to focus on. Make sure your response times are less than 30 seconds for live chat and less than 2 hours for email.Your #customersupport response times should be less than
30 seconds for live chat and less than 2 hours for email.Click To Tweet
Zappos is one of the finest examples of eCommerce customer support. Have a look here:
They offer 4 options to contact them. Call, Text, Email and Live Chat, thus giving their customers every option possible to contact the company. And when they say quick, they really mean it.
I’ve tested their live chat support and got connected with one of their agents in 44 seconds flat.
If you think you don’t have the bandwidth to be online 24 hours a day, all week long, you can look into hiring a customer support agency to do it for you.
Those are the 4 pillars of eCommerce branding. The companies that I’ve mentioned in this blog post excel at all of these 4 pillars, which has helped them to grow their businesses.
In the next blog post, I’m going to walk you through the process of writing your own vision & mission statements and building your brand story. So stay tuned.
What is your vision & mission statements? Let me know in the comments below.