Each week, we publish a mishmash of ecommerce-related, insight infused articles for your to smash through. Just as we collect business information across all of a merchant’s channels in a single place, we’re doing the same for ecommerce related content from a variety of top tier content creators.

It’s a topic that gives and keeps on giving. Why? Because it surrounds every aspect of a business. Your brand is your everything. It’s the way you talk, the way you appear, the way customers experience your business. In this week’s mishmash, we’ll cover how that B-word effects your business in a variety ways, from actual brand strategy to customer loyalty. We’ll also touch on how satisfied consumers are with brands and the ways a brand can influence purchasing behavior.

Build-A-Brand Workshop

Anything customer-facing is a part of the brand, and that warrants some sort of strategy. Bigcommerce, inspired by how large brands like Uber and AirBnB manage themselves, put together an explanation on how building a brand is a long, consistent game that’s based on a branded strategy. It isn’t something you think of one day, slap onto some webpages, and leave. From your values to your voice, webpages and product, brand-building is a process that starts with the core of your business, touching each part of it, and doesn’t end until your business (hopefully never) goes bottom-up or is bought.

Living Up to Expectations

eMarketer covers how brands are meeting customers’ expectations. The result? An emphatic “meh.” The data covered in the study isn’t completely about ecommerce, but it stresses that all businesses — not just online ones — are having to struggle with the consumer’s move from one channel of choice (which used to by brick & mortar) to a few or more. A web connection is all that’s needed to form another channel, and consumers expect to be able to interact with your brand on many, whether it’s mobile, desktop, social, or physical, receiving a positive, consistent branded experience on each.

Putting the “Ding” in Branding

Ultimately, every business move you make has one goal in mind: let’s make some money. It may be a little more abstract and fluffy, but your branding can make that cash register (or payment processor) ding. How consumers interpret your brand has a significant impact on if and how they purchase from you. What’s to prevent an online consumer from going straight to Amazon to buy, instead of your storefront? Why pay more for a product when a similar, cheaper alternative exists? For many, it’s the brand.

For some specific stats on a brand’s influence on buying behavior, look at this wonderfully-presented infographic from Invesp.


Questionable Loyalty

And, ideally, you want that customer to keep coming back — that’s why many businesses implement loyalty programs. Although it’s relatively uncommon for e-retailers to have one, they may not be missing out on much. New York Times coverage on Bond Brand Loyalty’s yearly report suggests that loyalty programs are solid for attracting customers, but many are lackluster. A free product or discount isn’t enough these days.

That’s not to say they don’t want those benefits; they do. But that perk needs to matter to them. It needs to be personalized. It’s recommended that e-retailers take the customer data they collect and apply it to their loyalty programs, offering discounts or freebies on products that the customer actually gives a damn about. With that, you’re not only making the loyalty program far more successful, you’re rewarding the customer in a way that matters to them.

The Rankings

At the end of the day, do consumers care at all about brands? When it comes to actually experiencing an ecommerce website, it’s questionable. There are more important matters to attend to. Here’s a list of what visitors to your online website expect at the very least. Pretty much, they just want it to work. All of the pretty bits and bobs that come with branding — flashy movements, sleek designs, color — take a backseat to the usability.



But don’t worry, a brand is far from pointless. Although many of the thousand-plus respondents prefer more critical functions, they did place importance on heavily-branded elements, like your business’ story, product information, and content. The bare-bones of an ecommerce storefront are obviously critical, but it’s just a skeleton without your brand to give it a face and feeling that customers identify with (and buy from).