The ultimate guide to eCommerce branding (with examples)
This post was last updated on November 4, 2022.
Expect more. Pay less. If you recognize that that’s Target’s tagline, then you already understand the power of a strong brand.
A well-crafted brand has the power to extend the reach and success of your products, more so than any single product or campaign ever will on its own.
Yet, while the concept seems simple, good branding isn’t a cakewalk (and is sometimes misunderstood). Branding, for one, is far more than a logo or tagline. The best eCommerce brands cultivate a consistent, repeatable, and reliable customer experience that makes their company appealing inside and out.
"95% of what marketing today is being spent on creating demand through being over-skewed on acquisition. And for a long-standing customer relationship to come to fruition, the focus needs to shift to creating demand—which is answered by a long-term approach to building a brand." - Neil Verma, founder of eBrand Builders, in an interview with Wix
So, how do you convert your business from a simple website to a long-lasting, memorable brand? Read on to learn the elements of a successful brand and tips to kickstart your branding journey.
Put your best foot forward using Wix’s eCommerce website builder. Design a store with conversion in mind and streamline your operations from start to finish.
Ecommerce branding: a simple definition
What, exactly, is a brand?
Jeff Bezos may have said it best: “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
More specifically, your brand is the perception that people have of your products and services. It evokes certain emotions, builds authentic connections, and fosters a high level of brand trust.
An eCommerce brand is slightly different from eCommerce branding. Branding defines the specific actions you take to bring your brand to life, from creating a visual identity to telling the story of your company.
9 elements of a strong eCommerce branding strategy (with examples)
A brand isn’t built overnight. It needs plenty of time to develop—and lots of trial and error. Few stores hit the nail on the head on their first attempt at developing a brand.
But regardless of whether you’re creating a brand from scratch or rethinking your current branding, there are nine indispensable elements of any branding strategy.
Identifying your brand purpose starts with one simple question: why did you start your online store in the first place? Go beyond “making money.” Instead, think about the problem that you originally sought to solve and the factors that motivate you every day.
Having a clear purpose gives your brand an instant differentiator. In fact, purpose-driven companies tend to grow three times faster and experience higher market share gains than their competitors, according to Deloitte.
Not to mention, “your brand purpose is highly effective at the beginning of the shopper journey, when [customers] have just discovered you and are trying to figure out if your brand is for them," according to eCommerce mentor Monica Sharma-Patnekar in an interview with Wix. "Your purpose will help show what you stand for and if your shoppers' and your values are aligned. It will support building an emotional bond with your audience.”
Izzy Wheels is one such company that touched the lives of many people by championing a clear, authentic purpose. Sisters Ailbhe and Izzy Keane founded the company together after decorating Izzy’s wheelchair for fun.
Izzy, who was born with spina bifida, has always seen her wheelchair as a symbol of freedom. Izzy Wheels now empowers other wheelchair users by creating wheel covers that help them express their individuality. The company simultaneously seeks to challenge negative associations with wheelchairs—a story that’s artfully told on their site and represented in all of their interactions with press and fans.
02. Mission and vision
While your purpose is your “why,” your mission and vision are the “how” and “what.”
A powerful mission statement articulates the immediate impact you wish to have on people through the products and services you provide.
On the other hand, a vision statement paints the ideal future (or the “big picture”) that your brand is striving towards. It acts like a compass, guiding you toward the right decisions and keeping your team focused on your long-term goals.
Love Her, a California-based athletic wear brand, boldly states their vision within their online store’s footer: “We believe that every woman deserves the right to reach her full potential.” Love Her then follows this up with a complementary mission statement: “to make high-quality fitness and athleisure wear, encompassing everyday use through performance.”
Brand values embody what you do, why you do it, and how you do it. They mold your company’s culture, helping to attract both customers and employees that share the same beliefs.
In this way, defining your brand values can help you to build a community of enthusiastic fans. According to a recent survey of consumers in 25 countries, 70% of consumers say that they choose to buy from brands that reflect their own principles.
“Shoppers want to get to know the brand before they make a purchase decision,” said Sharma-Patnekar. "Talk about your purpose, value, and value proposition. Remind your customers what’s in it for them and of the bigger picture by creating FAQs that address questions [as an example]. Think of how and by whom [your product was] made, the ingredients or resources used, or even practical things like sizing.”
Indian Summer—a West Australian-based retailer specializing in swimwear, clothing, and accessories—demonstrates what it means to live by its core values. With a devotion towards ethical production and sustainable fashion, the company uses sustainable fibers to create their clothing and celebrates makers who share their commitment to ethical and environmental manufacturing.
04. Visual identity
Now that you’ve established the personality and motivation behind your brand, you have the pieces in place to create a visual identity. This piece tends to draw the most attention, if only because it’s the most obvious and visible aspect of branding. This includes everything from your logo to brand colors, website design to product packaging.
Take the time to build a proper brand style guide. Check that your visual branding expresses the values, mission, and vision that you just fleshed out.
Take, for example, Abeille Creations’ branding. This is the official eCommerce site for Georgia-based artist Melissa A. Mitchell, who sells apparel, art, and home decor that carry her signature style. Every image on her online store contains vibrant colors, unique shapes, and bold lines—a tribute to her Bahamian heritage and dynamic style as an artist.
While visual identity gives your brand a distinct look, brand voice helps infuse your eCommerce store with even more personality. Your voice shapes the words you use on your online store and other sales channels. It informs the way your employees talk to each other and to your customers, and how your brand is expressed in any marketing content.
For example, the Wix brand voice strives to be professional, but not “corporate.” Inspiring, but not overpromising. Fun, but not overly goofy, similar to how two professionals might talk to each other.
When developing your voice, consider how the words you use, the jokes you crack, or the tone you convey (among other things) appeal to your audience. Are you speaking the same language as your target buyer? Does your tone match the mood they may be in when searching for a product like yours?
Below are a few examples of how you could enhance certain traits of your brand through your voice.
06. Target market
Identifying your target market is crucial for shaping your brand in a way that doesn’t just resonate with you, but also resonates with your ideal buyer.
To that end, creating buyer personas can get you in the practice of thinking from your customers’ perspectives. When developing personas, you’ll be forced to study and document specific traits about your target shopper, such as:
Hobbies and interests
Ideals and values
Generally the more specific you can get, the better. For instance, VelociRAX, a Utah-based maker of vertical bike racks, targets adventure-seeking cyclists. Every piece of content on their site is tailored toward this audience, from UGC galleries that show “racks in the wild” to images of their products in mountainous settings. By contrast, if VelociRAX had chosen to target everyday bike users, such as kids or city dwellers, then the imagery and messaging of their site would look very different (think: kids riding their bikes in a cul de sac).
What makes your products or online store stand out from your competitors’? The answer to this can help you develop a brand positioning strategy, which details the unique benefits of your products and/or services.
If you’re struggling to find your differentiators, a SWOT analysis can help. It’s a simple tool for assessing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats when compared to other players in the market. You can then decide whether it’s your price, customer service, product quality—or a combination of these things that set you apart.
Agavus is a brand with one-of-a-kind products. They sell a line of artisan watches handcrafted in Mexico. Their website’s “our history” page pays tribute to their Mexican heritage and clearly articulates why customers won’t be able to find their products anywhere else.
Your customers want you to be honest with them. A whopping 90% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support. Authenticity gets to the heart of what your customers think about your brand and helps build confidence in your products, which many buyers may not get to sample before they purchase.
The key here is to be transparent. List your return and shipping policies where they can’t be missed. Don’t hide your product pricing, and feature user-generated content like customer reviews and comments.
Cordina Hair, a UK-based hair and beauty brand, builds authenticity by incorporating Instagram reviews on the homepage of their site. This, in turn, boosts their social audience, with Cordina Hair boasting 23,000 followers on Instagram.
When your brand aligns itself with social causes, you can send a powerful message that drives customer loyalty. Consumers—especially those in younger generations—prefer to support retailers who commit themselves to a greater good, with 63% of Gen Z consumers admitting that they’re more likely to buy from a company that contributes to a social cause.
The Alaskan King Bed Company promotes its commitment to charitable giving on the homepage of their site. For every Alaskan king bed sold, they donate 10 meals to Feeding America, an organization that helps to fight hunger in the U.S.
For more inspiration, learn how five LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs use their brands to promote inclusivity all year round.
Creating a powerful brand identity online: 5 essential steps when setting up your store
When it comes to launching your brand online, there are several key steps you’ll need to take to ensure that your online store is up to snuff:
01. Select a catchy name
Your name should be short, memorable, and unique to your business. If you’re struggling to think of clever ideas, the Wix business name generator could spark some creativity. Simply type a couple of keywords into the generator and get an instant list of potential names.
You could also consider four groups of words:
The products you sell (hats, swords, flowers)
Your industry (fashion, battle gear, wedding decor)
Your product differentiators (waterproof, portable, glow-in-the-dark)
Your values (sustainable, handcrafted, community)
Then, mix and match those keywords and see if anything sticks, e.g., Underground Glasses, Swords with Swag, or Firework Florals.
A few other helpful hints you can use to create a memorable name:
Try techniques like alliteration (using the same letter or sound at the start of each word).
Think of names that include J,K, Q, X and other seldom-used letters, which have a tendency to help make names more memorable
Consider getting inspiration from the names of characters from Greek mythology, literature, or animals in nature
Use Google Trends and other tools to identify keywords that your target audience searches for the most, and consider including them within your brand name
Look at your competitors and make sure that your name sets you apart
02. Get a custom domain
Once you’ve decided on a name, check that it’s unique and isn’t associated with anything negative online. Check domain availability, even before registering your business name, so that you know if and how you can include your name in your site URLs.
Using your brand name in your online store’s domain can help with your company’s visibility in search engines, plus ensure that shoppers associate any individual product pages or site pages with your brand. When you’re ready, you can use Wix.com or another domain registrar to buy the domain.
03. Craft a professional email address
Customers will likely connect with you by email at some point in time. So, you’ll want to make sure that your brand name is reflected in all the email addresses connected to your business. This is a key step in creating a uniform, professional, and trustworthy identity. Consider options such as:
Add your custom email address to business cards, your Contact Us page, and social media accounts to strengthen your brand.
04. Create a memorable logo
A great logo helps customers instantly recognize your brand. Keep your online store’s logo clean and unique. Avoid overly complicated drawings or small words.
Think of Target’s logo. It’s clean. It’s simple. It’s easy to use and recreate.
The Wix Logo Maker can help you create your own professional logo for free. Simply answer a few questions about your business and select the types of logos you prefer in order to receive hundreds of options.
If you want to get in touch with a professional designer, browse the Wix Marketplace for freelance or agency designers with experience in branding.
05. Develop irresistible content
Once you establish a winning brand, you’ll want to proactively expand its reach. A content marketing strategy can help you achieve that. Blogs, videos, ads, podcasts—you name it—all have the power to reinforce your brand and engage potential customers in exciting ways.
Prorso, a leader in men’s grooming products based in Italy, uses a blog to educate customers on products, as well as shaving how-tos. Posts range from practical (how to choose the best beard brush) to helpful (6 tips to stop the itch accompanying a growing beard) to trendy (cow shaving cream: what is it?). Their content serves to demonstrate their intimate understanding of the world of shaving.
Launch a thoughtfully branded store with Wix
Ready to create an online store that wows? Wix’s flexible and reliable eCommerce website builder gives you the tools to shape your branding however you want. Get powerful automation and marketing tools that ensure that your brand not only looks good, but also runs smoothly 24/7.
Marketing Writer, Wix eCommerce
Geraldine is a marketing writer for Wix eCommerce. She uses her broad experience in journalism, publishing, public relations and marketing to create compelling content and loves hearing user success stories.
Editor, Wix eCommerce
Allison is the editor for the Wix eCommerce blog, with several years of experience reporting on eCommerce news, strategies, and founder stories.