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Thanks to the rise of mobile devices, consumers can connect with ecommerce businesses from anywhere. They can research your ecommerce brand whenever they want and reach out for customer support anytime.
This is why ecommerce business should branch out and provide a strong online brand image built on values, swift response times and genuine care for customers.
Below are six ways you can improve your ecommerce brand image.
Show Your Ecommerce Brand’s Core Values
The latest trend among consumers is seeking brands that represent their values and lifestyles. Consumer buying decisions depend on emotions, not logic. We buy from brands we like and brands that represent values we consider important to us.
It’s crucial that your ecommerce brand image matches your company’s core values and speaks to your target audience. Highlighting your brand’s values will help customers relate to you and influence their decision to buy with your company.
Here are some ways to show your company’s values:
- Donate to Charity. Whether you donate a portion of sales to a worthy cause or donate company time to helping a local charity, you’ll show that your company cares about more than just profits.
- Focus on Eco-friendly Business Practices. As consumers become more aware of the damage that producing goods can have on the environment, they seek ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Ideas include using recyclable packaging, switching to energy efficient light bulbs in your office or warehouse, and choosing eco-friendly cleaning chemicals. Large companies might consider an energy audit to identify more ways to go green.
- Highlight Fair Labor Practices. Besides seeking environmentally friendly companies, consumers are also seeking companies that use fair labor practices. Highlight your company’s dedication to fair labor on your website and explain where your goods and materials come from.
- Commit to Quality Products and Services. You should stand behind the quality of your products and your customer service. Reassure shoppers by offering free returns and easy access to customer service to answer their questions.
Satisfy Customers with Snappy Response Times
As technology gets faster, customers expect faster response times too. Customers prefer to reach out to companies via social media and chat in hopes of a quick response.
Unlike a traditional brick-and-mortar store, you may never see your ecommerce customers face-to-face. This means positive online interactions are crucial to satisfied shoppers.
According to the Connecting with Customers Report, 71% of consumers expect access to live help within five minutes when shopping online.
If help was unavailable within their desired timeframe, 48% of respondents said they would look elsewhere or abandon their purchase altogether.
This can cause high loss of profits for companies without a responsive virtual presence.
Common ways to interact with customers online include:
- Live chat. Having a live chat window available on your website is one of the easiest ways customers can ask questions while browsing or completing a purchase.
Incorporate chatbots that answer common questions and refer the customer to live support for more complex questions.
- Social media. Consumers may take to Facebook or Twitter to ask questions and voice concerns. A speedy response on these platforms can seal the deal on a sale.
It also gives you a platform for reassuring customers of your ecommerce brand’s values and commitment to high-quality customer support.
- Email support. Though not as fast as live chat or social media, many customers still use email to reach out with questions. Offering a response within 24 to 48 hours is standard.
Having automation options for social media, email, and chat support can reduce abandoned cart rates considerably.
Be Proactive, Not Reactive
Your brand image is the face of your business. Instead of waiting for customers to discover your brand and form their own opinions about it, take your brand to them.
Being proactive about your image is a key step in shaping a positive consumer opinion of your company.
There are several proactive ways to reach out to potential customers:
- Social media. Ensure your company has marketing and branding guidelines so your social media posts match the tone of your emails and website content. An active social media marketing campaign will make people aware of your brand and your values.
When they find themselves in the market for the products or services you offer, your company will come to mind first.
- Events. Setting up a booth at events is a great way to meet your customers face-to-face. Everyone loves freebies and handing out custom pens, tote bags, or even coupons is a way to spread positive brand awareness.
- SEO. Focus on what your company does best and target your content and advertising around those key phrases. Geico, for example, is all about fast, cheap car insurance quotes while Progressive is known for comparing quotes with competitors. Because they each focus on their key selling point, customers can easily remember these brands and tell them apart.
Help Customers Spread the Word
One of the most important steps in running an ecommerce business is earning positive customer reviews. Good reviews help you rank higher in search engine results.
They also build trust among new customers who are trying to decide whether they should buy from your online store.
According to a survey by BrightLocal, 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Be proactive about your reviews. Constantly read what people are saying, and if you receive a negative review, take the time to reply. Apologize to the customer who left the review and offer a solution.
Not only will you appease a dissatisfied customer, but you will also show to others reading the exchange you care about quality customer service.
Build a Positive Company Culture
Another way you show your company’s core values is with company culture. A positive work environment leads to better employee performance, which leads to higher customer satisfaction.
Thanks to sites such as Glassdoor, anyone can see what your employees think about your company. If the reviews are negative, customers may seek a more employee-friendly company to do business with.
- Screen potential employees not just for their job skills but also for fit within the company culture. The transition to the new job will be easier and increase the chances your new employee stays long term.
- Review your onboarding process to ensure employees have all the information they need to understand company values and what you expect them to provide for the company.
- Lead by example. Employees will not honor company values if you don’t! Managers at all levels should mirror the behavior and attitudes you want to see in your employees. This is especially true for top-level executives.
Make Your Ecommerce Brand Your Own
Brands don’t have to be boring! Make your ecommerce brand image stand out by giving it a distinct impression that differs from your competitors.
Two powerful ways to show off your style are in product and website photos and in your product descriptions and blog content.
Clothing website ModCloth, for example, shows its dedication to women’s bodies of all sizes by hiring everyday women, including plus-size ladies, to model apparel for their product listings.
The strategies you use to improve your ecommerce brand image will depend on your business.
Technology and Customer Preferences Will Keep Changing, and So Should You
Perhaps you need to write up guidelines to ensure your tone matches across all social media accounts. Or maybe you need to respond to online reviews to identify problem areas and show customers you’re listening to their feedback.
If you’re at a loss where to start, seek a competitor’s sites and see what areas they excel at.
Make it a point to check-in regularly to see how your site and store are performing so you can adjust accordingly.
What is your biggest hurdle with branding? Which marketing tactic that’s promoted everywhere just didn’t work out for you? Let us know in the comments below.
Jen McKenzie is an independent business consultant from New York. She writes extensively on business, education and human resource topics. When Jennifer is not at her desk working, you can usually find her hiking or taking a road trip with her two dogs. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie