The world is currently experiencing drastic transformation in various aspects such as socialization, business operations, and the digital revolution. The Covid-19 pandemic is non-compromising, depriving the world of socializing privilege. This awakens the desire to operate, work, and live in online-based communities.
Today’s entrepreneurs are building eCommerce businesses to sell, promote and thrive in the business industry. Now, the eCommerce business is highly embraced by customers seeking quality products and services. Thousands of online shoppers flock to the internet to purchase or shop around for favorite products.
Though the online market is gaining popularity, customers tend to stick to popular eCommerce sites. This poses a business threat to new eCommerce businesses looking for recognition in the online field. To beat the competition, the new eCommerce sites need unique, extra mile services to wow the customers.
It’s not about better prices, SEO steps, delivery services, or quality customer support. The business needs more creativity, especially in eCommerce branding.
Importance of branding for eCommerce business
A brand is a pivotal aspect of business growth. The majority of customers tend to purchase products due to the brand but not the knowledge about the product. Branding paves the way for most eCommerce businesses in the competitive business industry.
Branding comprises exclusive features such as logos and brand names. Most customers associate with brands by wearing products with the Company’s logo or name. Always make an impression on any visitor on your eCommerce site. This solidifies your business impact despite the competition.
Besides the logo, name, and exclusive features, the eCommerce brand is the permanent perception by people interacting with your business. For a new eCommerce site to thrive and maintain status, you must revamp your logo design and remain exclusive. Perception is built from the impression and personality presented to the people, and the reaction of people when they see or hear about your eCommerce business is what makes a brand.
To attain a sustainable brand, provide customers a reason to pick your brand over the competitors. The unique service features will transform site visitors into loyal customers. This gives you an advantage and creates regular customers. Again, people tend to choose popular brand products over cheap and quality products from other providers.
Ecommerce brand pillars to implement
Ecommerce businesses should implement various pillars to stand out from others. The business should embrace four pillars as follows:
Every entrepreneur holds some values which should guide your business. The values offer a view of your organization and how your customer should uphold the business. To generate business value, you can analyze the following questions.
- What is your customer saying about your business?
Always check the review and feedback from the customers. The information helps improve or maintain your services for better business productivity. This applies even to eCommerce businesses despite operating online.
- What are your business priorities?
Establishing business priorities will help your customer get the business values and common ground. It allows the business and customer to emerge winners and create solid bonds.
- What are other brands doing? Or what is your favorite brand doing?
Everyone has a brand they associate with due to the services, customer support, name, or more. The primary aim of recognizing the brand is the values shared. Your eCommerce brand should instill values that allow customers to associate with you anytime.
Business vision offers a significant impact on production and customer association. The vision the business portrays guides your customers. It’s not based on monetary value but on the Company’s dream you wish to achieve.
Ecommerce businesses need to provide a promising vision to customers to assure quality services. Branding aligns with the business vision to ensure your loyal customer attain the best that your competitors cannot achieve.
Businesses, both physical and eCommerce businesses possess a business voice. Your brand’s voice should be unique and impactful to stand out from other companies. The voice is displayed by how you treat and serve your customers. The brand voice can be warm, customer-friendly, supportive, authoritative, and more.
To thrive in your business field, ensure your brand voice is memorable. It should represent your brand, giving clients the need to come back.
Your direct or indirect customers need business visuals to associate with your brand. The visuals portray the face of the business.
- Brand logo
A company’s logo is the image or identification of the brand. Entrepreneurs should choose a logo or use logo maker software that depicts their business. The image should provide comprehensive details about the Company.
- The typography
The brand’s presence, style, and words must be well crafted to fit the business. Just as the physical layout of a store can build business, so do typography help online businesses.
- Choice of color
Branding success is also affected by color. Your choice of color can attract more clients and increase production. Selecting a unique color for an eCommerce brand improves client relationships and creates long-term business relationships. The color aspects sound simple though many clients associate it with favorite colors. They are likely to purchase a product due to the color besides other factors.
Building your eCommerce brand
After establishing the business pillars, you can settle for ways to build your eCommerce brand for successful outcomes.
1. Identify your audience
Not every online user is a potential client for your business. A quality eCommerce company should identify a specific audience aligning with its services. It’s easy to determine your audience based on the product and services you provide. Ecommerce businesses should provide open or available markets to allow customers to venture into the business.
2. Define the benefits of using your brand services
What defines your brand from your competitors? To succeed in the eCommerce business, you require the extra feature. Always provide benefits such as discounts, bonuses, gifts to build bonds with your audience. However, you can also give exclusive quality services.
3. Using visuals
Visual defines human functionality; many people purchase or utilize products based on what they see. An eCommerce site can display attractive pictures about the products, uses, and outcomes. Businesses can design professional visuals to define the Company’s services and products. Most eCommerce businesses use visuals to demonstrate their services. The process is regarded as the most effective business branding strategy.
4. Have a genuine story about the Company
Giving your audience your Company’s story enhances branding for your eCommerce. The story creates confidence and builds a business personality. The story helps increase productivity and improve customer relationships. This motivates clients, helping them associate with a familiar storyline.
Establish a brand’s mission and ensure to fulfill it every time. Customers seek companies sticking to their mission and vision without wavering.
5. Use social media platforms
Social media platforms are the growing socialization hubs globally. Many people spend part or most of their time online surfing through various social media services. Ecommerce brands should utilize the privilege to reach potential customers online.
It’s easier to market your products and services through social media services such as Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp, and more. An eCommerce site can design sign channels through social media platforms to communicate with customers. Ecommerce sites can also use advertisements to promote their products.
First, to utilize the social media service, establish the target audience to suit your promotions. If your business has to manage multiple social media accounts to post or schedule your post, the most efficient way is to use social media management tools.
6. Build trust
An eCommerce business requires a high level of trust to wow customers. Trust is crucial, especially in money matters. It’s advisable to invest in reliable payment modes. The eCommerce site needs to build payment pathways such as credit cards, debit cards, mobile wallets, or any bank-related program along with the best eCommerce platform.
- Create good relationships and be consistent
Businesses can build a strong relationship by being consistent with what they do. Always address user issues fast and provide better communication channels.
Ecommerce brands can enhance transparency and trust by providing simple payment pathways. The business policies should guide the customer in every purchase. Companies can ease the return policy to avoid user frustration when returning a product and also use simple checkout plugins.
To run the eCommerce business smoothly, provide the delivery and shipping policy at the user’s disposal. This allows users to estimate the time to receive their product. Companies promising fast delivery should keep the promise to avoid inconveniencing the customer. Ensure to provide realistic goals, the delivery deadline, and prices to gain more revenue.
Note always dedicate time for complications, as they are prone to occur in online business. In every business stage, engage the customer until they receive and verify the product. This eliminates the fear and upholds the brand’s values.
Though eCommerce is online, it provides a personalized experience to every customer. Businesses can introduce digital tools to track and analyze customer data to handle all customers. This will help businesses segment every client and offer quality service.
What Can Ruin Your Brand Reputation
Corporate reputations are tricky. To quote the famous American investor Warren Buffett, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
As an employee, your public persona can reflect not just on you, but also on the company you work for. Protect both you and your employer’s corporate reputation by avoiding these reputation-busters that could ruin your company’s brand:
Whether it’s being late to a client meeting or missing project deadlines, a failure to honour time commitments can reflect badly on you and your company. Being punctual tells clients and your work associates that you value their time.
Time management is especially of the essence in this side of the world and can go a long way to establishing a positive corporate reputation.
Stay ahead of your time commitments by practicing good time management techniques, such as prioritising your work and delegating when necessary. Make use of technology aids, such as email and mobile reminders, to help you be on time for meetings and project deadlines.
2. Being careless on social media
Social media can sometimes be a complex communication medium: it’s useful to engage with customers directly, but it can backfire on your corporate reputation if you post insensitive remarks – even on your personal page.
In today’s hyper-connected world, words go around quickly. What may be seen as a harmless remark may come back to bite you within minutes.
Your social media post may even go viral and damage your company’s online corporate reputation, which may ultimately cost you your job.
3. Accidentally leaking company data
With bring-your-own-device or BYOD becoming more common in the workplace, today’s professionals have easier access to company resources on their personal devices.
However, this easy access to data also heightens the risk of accidental leakage, which can damage corporate reputation and even affect the company’s bottom-line.
While you may not deliberately set out to hack your company’s database, you may contribute to exposed cyber-security by using weak passwords on your company devices, allowing unauthorized access to storage drives, or not properly disposing of printed confidential data.
Prevent accidental data leakage by pushing for good cyber-security policies to be implemented in your company, as well as getting yourself trained on potential security threats.
4. Spreading gossip about clients
Demanding clients surface from time to time. As tempting as it is to let off some steam about them, spreading office gossip about clients can adversely affect your corporate reputation.
Gossip by nature, according to the Society of Human Resources, casts doubts on your credibility and professionalism – and as a representative of your company, it undermines stakeholder trust in your company as well.
For instance, if you’re actively engaging new clients, allowing gossip or confidential information about other clients to slip into the conversation can lead them to immediately think twice about doing business with your company.
When referencing other clients in work-related conversation, always err on the side of being neutral and professional. This helps you redirect the focus of stakeholder conversations back to what your company can deliver.
Trust, an important part of corporate reputation, is the fuel that keeps businesses running. Lying about work-related data, events and mistakes not only undermines the trust that your company has in you, but also (depending on the scale of the lie) public trust in your company as well.
Ironically, lying is often a defensive move with the assumption that covering up mistakes will preserve corporate reputation. However, this assumption doesn’t hold water: lies become harder to cover up over time, and one small misstep is all it takes for the whole facade to crumble.
Exposed lies can ruin a company’s carefully built corporate reputation in a matter of moments. Bloomberg reported that companies with lying CEOs took at least 5 years to recover from their damaged corporate reputation, even after terminating the employee. Besides misrepresenting information, lying in a corporate setting also includes lack of disclosure and due diligence.
Fixing Your Brand’s Bad Reputation
Warren Buffett’s famous quote on reputation goes like this: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” Reputation is breakable and needs to be maintained, but with a little common sense and effort you can manage your brand’s view.
What are some of the things you can do to protect yourself against an attack on your brand? How do you take the steps to build and restore your brand’s bad reputation? What defense do you have against personal attacks, customer complaints and blatant falsehoods? How can people get away with saying whatever they want on the Internet with little to no consequences for their actions?
We’re here to shed some light on these types of questions, so read on.
Unfair attacks on reputation are nothing new.
Slander against companies and individuals is not a new subject. In the late 19th century, the expression “yellow journalism,” coined by New York Press editor Erwin Wardman, described how newspaper moguls, specifically Joseph Pulitzer II and William Randolph Hearst, would use misleading sensationalized stories to improve circulation.
Hearst is the subject material that inspired Orson Welles to make the film Citizen Kane, based on the influence and corruption he acquired in the 1920s and 1930s.
Why can I say anything on the Internet?
Yellow journalism is still in the media today but, due to libel and slander laws, media outlets have to be careful about how they report the news. Unfortunately, the Internet does not have the same guidelines as print and television outlets.
The internet keeps the spirit of free speech alive for the Internet but may enable immoral users to abuse the Web. Possibly due to so many anonymous attacks on companies, Google now gives preference to verified and identified user content and pushes the unknown authors back in the search results. Google also will remove defamatory statements from their search results.
Prevent damage by monitoring your brand.
The top two ways of gauging your online reputation is by looking at the search engine results pages (SERP) and using Google Autocomplete. By staying ahead of any negative stories, you can take a proactive approach of protecting your reputation.
If you are seeing an issue emerge, you can go into Google Analytics and look for spikes in your site traffic that will point out key events and possible red flags.
Have a plan before fixing your reputation.
Managing your reputation is a manner of organization and foresight. Make sure to set up Google alerts for all titles in question using brand names, product tags, popular misspellings (use analytics to find these), competitors, senior team leaders and key industry terms and popular search phrases. By discovering the problem, you can develop a solution.
Always have a well-thought-out plan for how to handle a reputation crisis. Sometimes the best fix to a problem is not to respond to the problem at all. Look to see if the offending website that hosts the negative comments about you will gain popularity by the rebuttals from the company or person trying to defend himself—if the site performs on other people’s comments it may be a good idea not to respond at all.
Do not feed the fire.
Some say the only three laws for reputation management are authority, authority, authority. The more authority you have, the easier it is to make a big difference in where the stories will rank on the search page results. One way to establish authority is by building a social media reputation with a strong following.
This is not done by purchasing likes but by engaging with people as a thought leader or by being very transparent about your brand.
Also keep in mind that your authority can be built outside the Internet by participating in events, speaking engagements, becoming a sponsor and by joining charitable organizations. Depending on what type of outcome you are trying to achieve, authority can push your search results to page one moving negative comments into oblivion.
There are other simple steps you can take to build or fix your reputation as it appears within search results:
- Own Your Past. Address the elephant in the room. Acknowledge what the company has perceived to have done wrong. Apologize and have an action plan to make it right.
- Control the conversation about your brand. And create an online crisis-listening program to catch increases in negative conversation before they reach bloggers and online media.
- Understand complaints your brand already receives. Use social media to clarify customer misunderstandings, reducing overall complaints and building brand fans at the same time.
- Adjust your social media response plan based on research, not emotion. Have analytics in place to help make an informed decision. Surges in traffic from websites like Reddit, where users can deliver anonymous content, can indicate a potential crisis developing.
- Monitor employee complaint platforms. Glassdoor is one such resource.
- Be proactive to prevent issues from turning into a crisis. Use decision trees that include the steps to take when an issue surfaces online or within the media for faster handling of potential issues.
- Limit potential surprises. Own variations of your website URL, including negative versions (Yourbrandsucks.com).
- Take complaints offline when possible. This ensures both a faster response for the customer, and less visibility about the issue at hand.
- Be quick to apologize to customer complaints. Remember that a happy customer tells five fans, an unhappy customer tells 10, a fan who had an issue resolved tells 20. This is a great way to build super fans.
- Be transparent when handling client issues. Transparency here means telling the customer what happened so they understand the issue; don’t make up excuses.
- Fix what you can! Understand which elements of the complaint you are able to fix and do so. Use this feedback to build a better mousetrap.
- Use testimonials. Positive feedback from influencers can help boost any image problems.
- Create quality subpages from your website. This will help push negative results down.
- Reward loyal customers. Make your clients and supporters feel appreciated by giving them exclusive content, products or experiences.
- Be patient. Building a good reputation doesn’t happen overnight. And rebuilding a damaged one is an even longer process.
The Internet has changed the way reputation is handled and perceived. While it takes millions of dollars and years to build a reputable brand, it only takes 45 seconds to create a Twitter account and potentially ruin an organization’s reputation online. In today’s world, nothing is more important to a company’s health than managing your brand’s reputation.
Though eCommerce is based online, it works with tangled and logical strategies to thrive. Entrepreneurs running an eCommerce site need to dedicate equal or more time and energy to achieve revenue and attract more customers. Besides the business’s monetary part, let your customers feel part of the growing business through effective branding.