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  • Andrea Arañador-Ferri


We all know the critical role of e-commerce to ensure a business survival especially in the future. However, with COVID-19, its importance has just been further highlighted as it is critical in ensuring that a business survives today.

The lockdown in many countries has shown that only businesses with an e-commerce platform have continued to operate. Hence, a lot have been forced to “digitally transform” overnight – even traditional offline small businesses now try to sell their goods online.

But given the noise – with so many business and brands – how could one stand out? Having an e-commerce presence is one thing but cutting through the clutter, connecting with your customers and getting them to buy is another. With so many options at their fingertips, how do you make them to choose you?

Despite what many may think, e-commerce is not just about selling. It is, more importantly, about building and showing your brand to the (digital) world. For a moment, let us ask ourselves – what makes us buy what we buy online? Why do we prefer one online retailer over another?

Most probably because we trust that the brand could deliver – in terms of quality and that it follows the agreed delivery schedule. Or because maybe we have just been fans of this brand for so many years. Yes, everything we love about these products and brands, that we choose to support online, is because of branding.

Here are three brand strategies to keep in mind so you could win big in the e-commerce game –

#1. Be clear with your brand positioning.

How you position your brand is essential in the success of your online store. It is important for you to own a space in your customer’s mind – what do you want them to think about your brand and what are the benefits you want them to think of when they think of your brand.

You need to find your own point of difference. Remember, the online world is cluttered with so many businesses that offer the same product that you have. So why should people choose you?

The Dollar Shave Club is one great example of a brand that has a clear and compelling differentiation. They are all about affordable razors through a subscription service. Priced at a dollar, they highlight that their product does the job without being fancy and loaded with unnecessary features. The brand has totally differentiated itself from competition like Gillette.

Only when you have a clear and compelling message that highlights why your brand is different and worth buying would your audience even consider you over competition. What could help create a differentiation is to have a detailed analysis of what you do / offer which could include your product design, price, how your product functions, etc. Pin down what makes you truly unique. At the end of the day, it is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that could help you create connection and build a strong base of loyal fans.

#2. Be consistent with your brand message, voice and visual.

How you present your brand is another essential part in the success of your online business.

A lot think that branding is just for the big players. But businesses that realize what these big players have done – it is because of branding that they have achieved their current status – and create their own brand as well, despite their small size, win big in the game of e-commerce.

The Dollar Shave Club has been clear at the very start – their message is focused – they mean business by offering a razor that works with no BS at a dollar, yet it is also a fun brand. Its first video that went viral with more than 25M YouTube views was hilarious. The audience is clear with its brand personality because the brand has always been consistent with their tongue-in-cheek ads, playful visuals and hilarious copy.

Frank Body is an Australian skincare line that has grown into a multi-million business over the past few years. With a sensual and playful brand personality that complement their products, Frank has become a cult favorite. Flirty lines like “Getting dirty has never felt so good. I’m natural, naughty and ready to make you as soft as a pug in a rug,” have been consistently used in its brand communication which not only cut through the skincare clutter but also engage its target audience that like the brand’s fun and playful tone.

It is also important to consider your target audience when you create your brand voice and visual. If your target audience is a young high school student, you could consider a casual and more informal brand voice. While having CEOs as your target audience would perhaps mean a more serious and formal brand voice makes more sense.

Once you have crafted your brand message, voice and visual, it is important that you stick with it. Use it consistently in all your marketing and communication efforts so it sticks with your audience.

#3. Always focus on your customers.

How well you know your target audience is also essential in the success of your e-commerce business – putting the needs and reality of your customers at the center of everything that you do will have a positive impact on your brand and sales.

The Dollar Shave Club was a success because of its deep knowledge of its target audience. Their customers could associate with the pain point the brand is trying to address – there are men who only want a working razor with no added BS sold at a fraction of the usual razor price, a dollar vs 20. As the brand evolves and its product portfolio grows, they always stick to what is best for their customers and what would make their fans happy – like their special butt wipes made for men which their customers love.

Many also think that branding is just for Business-to-Consumer (B2C) brands. Hence, a lot of Business-to-Business (B2B) players usually would just have an e-commerce platform looking like it is straight out of their usual boring and text-heavy catalogue. However, players that realize that their customers, at the end of the day, are also human beings who expect to have a B2C treatment are usually the ones that come out winning in the e-commerce game.

Good Start Packaging sells compostable food service packaging to restaurants. As a B2B company with an established portfolio of clients, it could opt for a simple online shop that just dumps its products online. However, Good Start Packaging understands that the restaurateurs who buy its goods are also human beings who want a user-friendly web shop, content to educate them and a service that focus on their needs. Hence, the brand created an e-commerce platform that does all that.

As we have seen, a brand is more than just a logo and fancy visuals. Your e-commerce brand gives your customers the reason why they should buy and support you over your competition.

Of course, if you just want to make some sale in the short-term, then creating a brand would not be so important. With all the e-commerce platforms available, you could easily create your site and buy-and-sell items. However, if you want to own a business that is more sustainable and could last in the long run, then having a brand is essential. Because your brand will build trust and connection with your audience, create equity for your business and boost the value of your company – the Dollar Shave Club brand is the reason why Unilever bought it for a billion dollars.


THEKRE8TIV BRAND STUDIO is a full-service agency that helps build your brand and accelerate the growth of your business. Its team of brand strategist, creatives and digital natives have worked with some of the world's best brands to strengthen their online business. Aside from leading THEKRE8TIV, Andrea also instigates the #brandovercoffee conversations on Instagram where she helps individuals and businesses with their brand questions. Follow her at @andreaa.ferri.

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