Bringing Your Whole Self to Your eCommerce Website
When interior designer Veronica Solomon decided to build a website one night, she thought it would be temporary, so she had fun.
She filled her Casa Vilora Interiors website with all the things she loves: splashes of color, immersive images of her dramatic designs, and accolades she’s earned from the top industry publications. She even has leopard print buttons for her social media icons.
And when it came to her About page, she shared her story of immigrating to America and working hard to reach the top of her field. “I grew up in Jamaica with humble beginnings. It’s a little embarrassing, but I always talk about it,” she says. “I even embrace it. I find people respond to it and they find they can relate to that. They say, ‘My gosh, look at what you’ve accomplished.’”
The Katy, Texas-based designer says her eCommerce website is one of the keys to her success. She has a thriving business with an online community where her members discuss interior design challenges and questions. Solomon also has a branded housewares collection, and was just named 2020 Person of the Year by Kitchen and Bath Business, the premier professional organization in the $170 billion residential kitchen and bath industry.
Research shows that being vulnerable builds trust and admiration with people we meet—and that openness is valuable for online communities as well. Study after study proves that people buy from brands they like, connect with, and relate to.
Bringing your entire self to your website—which is your business’s public face—has never mattered more. Your unique brand story, the life experiences that shaped you, and your values are what set you apart in the crowded marketplace.
Here are seven ways Black entrepreneurs are finding success by bringing their whole selves to their online presences:
01. Evoke Emotion With Photos
The saying a picture is worth a thousand words is true: images communicate so much instantly. But a stock image of a multicultural team joining hands won’t work–our brains dismiss them because they’re not real. If you want to connect with your audience, choose images that convey emotion and make your audience feel something. We love how these eCommerce website design examples do just that.
Ruby Love, a menstruation absorbing underwear and swimwear company, built a $22M business partially by sharing joyful, empowered images of the founder and other customers who have been liberated by the company’s transformative apparel.
Read about how Ruby Love became a $22M business and check out their success story:
02. Tell Your Story
You want your brand to shine on your About Us page and position yourself as professional, competent, and reliable. So that’s probably why many brands create a safe and somewhat general page that features a list of qualifications. Science says for a more impactful page, tell your readers a story. Our brains are designed to love stories; we remember them more than facts, and we love a good tale of overcoming challenges.
The Glam Shop, an Atlanta-based beauty loft that teaches others how to build their salon brand, tells their founder Sierra Gates’ inspirational story in detail, using it as a way to connect with customers who might see themselves in the Gates’ narrative.
03. Be Yourself on Your Blog
Think of a blog as a way to share your thoughts, hopes, and experiences with your audience. The best blog content is useful and helps your audience learn how to do something better, have a new fact to share with others, or a good story that helps them understand you better. Not only will creating a blog help you communicate with your community, it’s also an excellent way to help your business get found on Google. Target relevant SEO keywords with your blogs to help new potential customers find your store.
Ammas Health Services, which sells nutritional supplements and beauty products, shares tips that help readers understand why turmeric is so beneficial and solves problems like stomach pain after eating.
Pro tip: Think about labeling your blog something that will interest your audience, like latest research, trends, industry updates, or tips.
04. Make it Easy to Contact You
There’s a growing trend of having just a contact form for potential clients to fill out. It’s a great way to cut down on spam, but it can also cut down on inquiries. A 2018 user experience study found that people preferred live chat and email to contact forms.
The candle making experience company ReWax and Unwine—they combine pouring wax and pouring glasses of wine—includes a live chat options, as well as their telephone number, email, social media channels, and lets customers book all on the homepage.
It’s one thing for a brand to say we’re No. 1; that’s advertising. When your clients share their love for your product or the way they were treated, that’s golden. A whopping 91% of shoppers read online reviews, and they matter almost as much as a recommendation from a friend.
And seeing is believing: Pretty Melanin users shared videos and photos showing how dark spots and acne disappeared after using the botanical skincare line.
06. Be Social
These days it’s hard to find an eCommerce brand that doesn’t have Instagram or Facebook icons on display. Not only is it a great way to update your followers about new products, sales and special promotions, you can also use Facebook and Instagram Ads to target new potential customers.
The Glam Shop knows sharing photos on their Instagram feed is more than a way to gain a few new followers. When people feel connected to your brand they’re more likely to make a purchase. A 2019 study by Sprout Social found that 57 % of people were more likely to purchase from a brand they follow, and 57% bought something they saw on a social site. Just be sure to be authentic and share relevant posts so your followers stay loyal.
07. Celebrate Your Community
A powerful way to show your clients and potential customers who you are and what you believe in is by creating a thought community around your brand.
Zelie for She, a fashion brand for curvy women, showcase their customers in a beautiful photo gallery called: Lovers. Those looking for an "unapologetic expression of one's authenticity and style" can take inspiration from images of everyday customers, social media influencers, and even pop superstars - yes, that's Lizzo wearing their yellow two-piece Cuddle Up Set.
Follow these tips, and you’ll create an eCommerce business and online brand that reflects your real personality and attracts customers who appreciate your vibe and want to buy from you.
Ready to get your business started? Create your online store today.
Marketing Writer, Wix eCommerce
Brielle is a Colorado native with a passion for innovation and helping to mobilize entrepreneurs. Brielle is a marketing writer for Wix eCommerce, which powers over 700k online stores worldwide.