eCommerce Marketing Best Practices

Brand Marketing Best Practices 2022: Mid-Year Digital Assessment

eCommerce

By Alexandra Akaoui & Diamanta Hykaj on 09/22/2022

Ready for the next step in your eCommerce journey? In last month’s blog, we delved into eCommerce Marketing Best Practices from a retailer’s perspective. As promised, here’s part 2 where we focus on the brand or manufacturer’s perspective. Keep reading to discover Brand Marketing best practices through an eCommerce lens. Let’s take a look at features and functions can help customers on your website efficiently go through the conversion funnel.

TECHNICAL FUNCTIONS & UX FOR BEST BRAND MARKETING RESULTS

Enhancing Customer Experience has to be on top of your list.  Thus, we’ll guide you through the technical features you should invest in to improve your customers’ interaction with your digital touchpoints. In our experience, it is helpful to start by acquainting yourself with your customer base and their needs. Is your website built to fit the market you’re serving?

Page load speed

The name of the section may seem self-explanatory. However, it helps to think of it as either the time it takes your site to load a given page or the time till your browser receives the first byte from the hosting server. In either case, you should aim for an overall score of at least 90. Page speed is a factor that shouldn’t be taken lightly as it affects your search engine rankings, customer experience, and thereby conversion rates.

Here is an example of a Pagespeed score:

Page Load Speed
For better brand marketing always aim for a page load speed of 90 or above

Google Lighthouse Performance Score

This performance score is made up of 5 key factors. These are performance, accessibility, best practices, SEO, and progressive web app. It may be best to work with your technical team to optimize your score in each of these sectors. Each aspect can bear an impact on your overall search ranking. Google Lighthouse performance score is useful resource to help you prioritize your technical optimizations.

Here is an example of Google Lighthouse Performance scores:

Google Lighthouse Report allowing you to better optimize your website
Lighthouse’s performance report is a perfect guide for brands seeking to better optimize their websites

Sticky Navigation

Sticky navigation is a fixed navigation bar that is always visible on the webpage. No matter where the user is on the website, a sticky navigation menu always remains visible. This feature helps users orient themselves among endless digital shelves that are a feature of online shopping. Easy navigation can also encourage cross-category shopping and consequently lead to bigger basket sizes.

Here is an example from Nivea, Dyson & La Prairie’s website:

Sticky Navigation on top Brands' Websites
Marketing for your brand has to start by an easy to navigate website

Sub-Menus

Sub-navigation is one of the most important brand marketing tools. It showcases the sections that are of utmost importance to you as a brand. It also defines how well you know your customers & their needs. A sub-navigation also helps the customer pre-filter the results based on their initial preferences & their category of choice.

Here is an example from the Nivea website in Germany:

Sub Menus allowing an easier overall navigation
Sub-Menus should include your top products and sections that are of utmost importance to your customers

Different Language Options

Your website should at least support the main languages in your market region. If you’re an international brand, however, it is advisable to have options for users to choose their country and language. By doing this, you guarantee that your brand marketing efforts are not lost to language barriers.

The other option, of course, is to have different websites in different countries. This gives you better control over localizing content and optimizing for SEO in the country.

Here is an example from Wella’s website: 

Different Language Option is essential especially for International Brands
Marketing for your brand internationally means that you have to support a different language option on your website

How do Technical Functions & enhanced UX add to your Brand Marketing Efforts?

As users are becoming more familiar with eCommerce, their expectations for features and functions is getting higher. Therefore, your brand marketing efforts can succeed when you match shopper expectations. When your website becomes feature-rich, it often can become prone to technical issues. Therefore, using the tools outlined in the section above can help you maintain a balance between technical performance and an enhanced UX.

CUSTOMER SERVICE & EFFECT ON BRAND MARKETING

Customer Service is especially important in eCommerce. Since you aren’t meeting your customer in person, your brand should seek ways to gain the end users’ trust. Credibility and convenience are important foundations to achieve conversion online.

Contact Information 

Remember that through this Contact us tab, you’re guiding your customers on how they can get in touch with you. This means that all contact information should be easy to find, readable, and linked to their respective contact means. For instance, if you list WhatsApp as one of your contact forms, you should make sure to link to the App. In this case, you should also avoid a text-heavy page that is full of instructions or requires users to take several steps to find actual contact details.

Here is an example of a well-laid-out contact us page on Dyson’s website: 

Dyson Visually appealing Contact Page
Large Icons with links making it easier for the customer to reach the company

Live Chat

If you’re considering a Chat option as part of your Contact Us strategy, you may consider investing in a live chat option. Automated chats or chat bots are of course, a good first step. However, the customer experience with a live agent is incomparable. They’re the closest you can get to a customer service phone call minus the long waiting on hold time. 

Here is an example from the fashion brand & Other Stories:

Live Chat feature on &Other Stories
Live Chat majorly cuts down on waiting time for customer service support

Store Locator

If you’re an Omnichannel or a brick & mortar store with an online presence, your offline stores should be easy to locate on your website. Stores and their addresses should be featured in an intuitive way.

In the following example, we will show you how La Prairie has implemented an advanced version of this feature. The brand added a filtering option on its store locator page, helping the customer filter through the available stores. La Prairie customers can filter by store type, available collections, payment methods & services. 

Here are the examples from La Prairie’s website:

Store Locator advanced functions for Brand Marketing
If you’re an Omnichannel, guiding your customers to your offline stores should be on top of your brand marketing efforts

Shipping Information 

Shipping information should be clear and easy to find. The customer isn’t supposed to search for it. It should be very visible all along the order placement process. Ideally, shipping & delivery information should be placed on both the PDP & the checkout page.

Here is an example from Dyson’s PDP:

Shipping information on Dyson's product page & checkout
Shipping information has to be easy to find on the PDP & the checkout page

User Login Option 

Provide your customers a login option while offering benefits in return. This could be especially beneficial for producers of Electrical appliances. The customers, in this case, can register their appliances and get their questions answered more efficiently. You could also take it a step further and offer a longer guarantee for customers with registered accounts.

Here is an example from Philips benefits for registered customers:

Philips Sign in benefits
Producers of electrical appliances should be keen to offer product registrations on their websites

A login option could also be interesting to fashion and cosmetics brands. It is your chance of retaining your customers while offering them exclusive member deals, preferential treatment, or early access to newly released products.

Here is an example from H&M:

H&M Membership benefits
A Sign in option with preferential benefits for Members is key to customer retention

Here is another example from La Prairie:

La Prairie Membership Benefits
Exclusive access to new product releases and personal product recommendations

How do Good Customer Service Features affect your Brand Marketing Efforts?

Customer Service done well means a higher customer retention rate. It also means a higher probability of an increased customer loyalty. Premium Customer Service also increases the likelihood of acquiring new customers through word of mouth. This being said, we advise you to back up your brand marketing efforts with good customer service. 

WEBSITE’S CONTENT

Website content shows how well you, as a brand, understand your customers and their needs. It could be answering their questions or guiding them on how better to use your products. Imagine being placed in a position where your customers turn to you for advice on how better to solve a certain problem. Website’s Content also affects how you rank on search engines. Therefore, the more optimized your content is, the more visibility & reach you would gain out of it.

Brand Marketing Through Blog Creation

A blog is your chance to place yourself as your customer’s advisor or source of information when it comes to your product. If you’re keen on gaining your customers’ trust, start by providing good quality content. 

Your blog should cover topics that are of interest to your clients. It should also educate them on how best to use the products. The blog doesn’t always have to be product related though. Mix it up to keep it interesting. 

From a best practice perspective, we highly recommend having filters on your blog. Here is an example from L’Oréal showing advanced multiple filters:

L'Oreal allowing multiple filters on the blog's page
Allowing the customer to easily locate the blog he/she wishes to read is key to the success of the created content

Filters could however be as basic as you see fit. Here are a couple of examples from Charlotte Tilbury and Dyson:

Charlotte Tilbury's blog categories
Allowing the reader to filter through your content is a plus

Notice how Dyson is subtly referring to the blog’s category using a label on the top of each post:

Dyson Blog Labelling
A subtle label hinting to the category of your blog post, could be an alternative to filtering

Brand Marketing Through Video Content Creation

Visual content is key to brand marketing. Since we’re in a time, where no one has hardly ever time to read, creating video content could be the way to go. 

  • Start by knowing your customers, their age groups, and their needs. 
  • Create short professional tutorials on how best to use your products

Here is an example from GHD’s hair tutorials:

GHD hair tutorials explaining how to do a certain hairstyle using their tools
Videos & tutorials are more intuitive guides on how to precisely use a certain tool or product

Brand Marketing Through Social Sharing Buttons

Investing in creating good content has to pay off. One way of expanding the visibility of your content beyond the walls of your website is by adding a social sharing button. Customers could then share your content on their social profiles. A small feature that could passively but positively affect your brand marketing efforts. 

Here is an example from Wella:

Social Sharing Button on Wella's Website
Social Sharing button extends your visibility beyond the reach of your website, a feature worth investing in

How does Good Website Content affect your Brand Marketing Efforts?

Creating SEO-optimized content helps you rank higher on search engines. This automatically leads to higher traffic to your website. To increase your chances of conversion, make sure to add product links to your content. Internal links can also raise the chances of cross-selling. 

E-COMMERCE FEATURES FOR A SUCCESSFUL BRAND MARKETING EXPERIENCE

eCommerce websites can present a number of challenges. A number of things need to be completed, including sales, orders, payments and shipping. For this reason, you need to ensure your website is well-rounded when it comes to its design, functionality, and maintenance. As a visitor, we will look at things from their perspective. Therefore, our here journey begins with the search function and goes through to the very end, delivery.

Search Bar / Autosuggest

It’s not always the case that shoppers come to your eCommerce site looking for a product they already know they need. Although many shoppers are informed about what they want to purchase, some are impulsive buyers. Their curiosity brought them to your site after they recently spoke with a friend who recommended you. For this reason, it’s important to have a search bar that has an autosuggest function that’s optimized for short generic keywords.

As a result of this feature, customers can quickly see all the related products to the generic keyword they typed in. However, an autosuggest shouldn’t be limited to just this. Additionally, image previews, prices, add-to-cart buttons, ratings & reviews are all part of the process. An enriched Autosuggest allows users to collect as much information about a product as they need, thereby making the whole experience as quick and as informative as possible. Furthermore, this function is extremely helpful for conversions.

Here is an example from Charlotte Tilbury:

Brand Marketing: Advanced Autosuggest
Advanced Autosuggest which allows users to purchase the products straight from the search bar

Product Detail Page

A successful search will result in a visitor wanting to examine the product in greater detail. Therefore, optimizing product detail pages (PDPs) should be a top priority for any brand selling online. So, what exactly are the characteristics of an “ideal” PDP? Numerous factors are involved, including the product type and the industry. It is still true, however, that all of the best product detail pages have several features in common. Some examples are as follows:

Long description:

An overview of your product’s features, as well as how they benefit customers, is provided in the Long description. Having a well-written description gives shoppers all the information they need to make an informed purchase decision. It’s therefore crucial to use a conversational style when writing to get shoppers’ attention.

Here is an example from Kerastase:

Kerastase Long Description
Long Description: Kerastase implements its SEO-optimized keywords in the long description. The text is separated into two blocks and links are used

Short Description:

Many consumers are browsing and buying on their mobile devices, and large blocks of text can be challenging to read. Most of these customers rely heavily on short descriptions to get the information they need. A short description will be easily digested if you use visuals such as lists, bullet points, and icons to make it more appealing visually, quickly and intuitively.

Eucerin has a great example of a short description:

Brand Marketing: Eucerin Short Description
Product Detail Page: Short description of the product with bullet points

Rich Content:

Shoppers who shop online do not have the opportunity to see products before they purchase them. Due to this, most rely on visual content to determine whether a product will satisfy their needs. In order to make the text easier to read and understand, you might consider the use of rich content such as visual icons, images, videos, and other techniques. With how-to videos, images that include tips and tricks, and comparison grids, shoppers will get a better sense of what an item would look like on a variety of body types, skin colors, hair colors, etc…

Here an example from Dyson:

Brand Marketing: Dyson PDP Rich Content
Product Detail Page: Dyson shows a good example of rich content in video format

Ordering Experience

Check-Out

The checkout process of a brand page is crucial. Regardless of whether you have earned the consumer’s trust, if the checkout process isn’t seamless, you can lose them. Fast and secure checkouts, on the other hand, make purchasing really easy. It is not guaranteed that someone will make a purchase after adding an item to their cart. Despite this, shoppers tend to convert more to one-click checkouts, thanks to the shortening of the purchasing process. 

Here an example from Amazon:

Brand Marketing: Amazon One-Click Check Out
Check Out experience made easier with the one-click “Buy Now” feature

Payment Methods

The payment methods must also be taken into consideration. Check-out experiences are heavily influenced by them. Increasingly popular payment methods are a good way to appeal to more shoppers. Finding out what would be more appealing to your target group is a good start. Younger generations might prefer digital wallets, while older generations might prefer bank transfers. Nevertheless, having both options on your page is still a plus since you will be prepared to process orders from people who might not be in your target group (like those purchasing gifts).

Here is an example from NARS:

Brand Marketing: Nars Payment Options
NARS offers the most used payment options on its website. They are also visually represented at the bottom of the page

Buy Buttons & Shop Locator

Buy Buttons

By adding Buy Buttons to your website, you can sell your products across multiple pages without requiring your customers to go to each product’s detail page. Thus, customers benefit from Buy Buttons by being easily accessible and are encouraged to purchase a product they are interested in. The inclusion of a buy button within your content is a powerful method for getting customers to take action right away before they forget or lose interest in the product. It is likely, that customers will not bother browsing your store and looking for a product if they have to navigate through your site on their own.

Bepanthen has linked its product to its blog pages:

Brand Marketing: Bepanthen Buy Buttons On Blog Pages
Blog Page: Bepanthen offers products on blog pages that are linked to the PDP and can be ordered immediately

Store Locator

There is a high chance that your website visitors are about to visit your store and become your customers. All you have to do is guide your potential customer. Store locators are the best feature for that. If you implement the store locators appropriately, you can boost the exposure of your brand in local searches by making the landing pages accessible to users. Therefore, everything becomes more convenient for your customer with a store locator. Customers will find it much easier to shop online since they can always check the inventory of nearby stores. Additionally, they will become more devoted to you as a result, increasing their level of trust in your company and its brand.

Store Locator example from Charlotte Tilbury:

Charlotte Tilbury - Store Locator
Charlotte Tilbury offers a Store Locator on their page for customers to find the products on offline stores as well

Brand Marketing through Packaging

If you want to establish a solid and lasting relationship with your clients, the delivery experience is crucial. Here, packaging plays a significant influence on the customer experience. The likelihood that customers will link your brand and items with quality increases if your packaging is of exceptional quality. It’s crucial that your packing effectively safeguards your goods. If it does not, people may believe you are unconcerned about your products and customers.

Example from Philipps:

Philips Branded Packaging
Delivered Packages with Brand Logo and Product protecting material

Why is packaging so important and how does it work?

Packaging is a fantastic way of raising your brand’s recognition. Thus, it’s important to make a solid first impression because your packaging frequently gives people their initial impression of your brand. Your packaging can prominently feature your logo and other brand components, and it can even function as a brand aspect in and of itself. Customers will get familiar with your brand when they see your packaging in stores, increasing the likelihood that they will choose your brand the next time they need a product you provide. 

Example from Charlotte Tilbury:

Charlotte Tilbury Packaging
Environment-friendly packaging through refilling glass cups

How does a Good eCom Experience affect your Brand Marketing Efforts?

To achieve Brand Marketing, you must offer your customers the best eCommerce experience possible. It is the road to success for a brand to satisfy its customers by offering them an easy, quick, and luxurious shopping experience. Customer satisfaction is key to success for a business. It is impossible for a brand to exist if there are no customers.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is no longer just a tool to stay in touch with old colleagues or friends. There is now much more to it than that; it is a potent marketing tool that any brand, no matter how big or little, should use to increase its success. Social media marketing is gaining weight and quickly strengthening itself as a foundation of any brand’s marketing strategy.

Brand Marketing Through Social Media Shops

With this tool, you can set up your brand profile as an editable online store. You provide customers the option to shop directly from your Instagram business profile by using it.

Example from M.A.C Cosmetics:

Mac Cosmetics Brand Marketing through Brand Shop
M.A.C Cosmetics Instagram Brand Shop

Brand Marketing Through Shopping Tags

You can highlight items from your store in your stories and content page by using shopping tags. Also, American companies who use Instagram’s “checkout” feature can also include product mentions in their bios and captions to display their items.

Example from GHD:

GHD: Instagram Shoppable Posts
GHD: Instagram Shoppable Posts

Brand Identity

Instagram develops new commercial tools, but the social media site has always prioritized visual material. Hence, uploading high-quality photos and videos will help you stand out from competing brands and creators, attract people’s attention, and encourage sharing and purchase. Create a distinct visual identity for your brand so that people can recognize it right away.

How does Social Media Experience affect your Brand Marketing Efforts?

Using social media to engage with customers, partners, and talent/employees allows brands to build trust. People will want to know more about your brand or products/services when others promote them. Social media not only provides an opportunity to reach a large audience, but also shows exactly what people are talking about and liking. You can build a loyal audience that believes in your brand and products once you understand social media’s potential.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?

The core of Brand Marketing is the brand identity you have created, which reflects the personality, values, and mission of your company. When it comes to branding, you must, however, exercise patience and give yourself, as well as your clients, enough time to learn about and enjoy your brand. Include your brand in all facets of the customer experience, including your website, social media and interpersonal encounters. Customers will grow to trust your brand more deeply and be more inclined to buy what you have to offer. Therefore, to accomplish your goal, you must create a unified narrative and brand image.

WHAT TO DO NEXT?

Do you want to know if you have partnered with the right retailers? Or know if you are leveraging all their features as a brand? Talk to us about eCommerce analytics: moin@watersky.digital