I remember when I first got connected to the internet so well. It was 1996. Coincidently the same year I got my first cellphone. A revolutionary year for me and our then real estate business 🙂 I started dabbling in eCommerce soon thereafter.


What is eCommerce Branding?

The process of building and maintaining your business’s reputation and image in the internet marketplace is known as eCommerce branding.

eCommerce has become essential to most companies in the modern digital era. With the shift to online shopping now virtually complete and the ever-increasing competition, it’s more important than ever for businesses to establish a strong eCommerce brand – the marketplace is too busy for you not to focus your attention online!

With the help of an effective eCommerce branding strategy, you can gain the respect and trustworthiness of your target market. Not only that, but your branding strategy is what will differentiate you from competitors and ultimately help drive sales.

Your eCommerce branding strategy can also help you make an emotional connection with customers and establish brand loyalty.

eCommerce branding is specific and can differ greatly from traditional and B2B branding.

In general, branding entails a blend of components like brand strategy, visual identity design and messaging in addition to a thorough comprehension of your particular target market. To increase your visibility in organic search results and on social media, you will also need to optimise your online store for e-commerce branding.

Knowing the value of eCommerce branding as a company owner is crucial, and you’ll also need to develop a plan for positioning your brand successfully in the marketplace to improve conversion rate and ultimately customer loyalty.

A strong eCommerce store will have a brand strategy blueprint to help build a successful brand online that can stand the test of time.


Understanding Your Target Audience

Understanding your target audience is the foundation of an effective eCommerce branding strategy.

The logic for this is simple.

Understanding your target audience’s requirements, interests, and behavior is essential for developing a brand that appeals to them because they are the people who are most likely to purchase your goods or services.

Researching and segmenting your target audience allows you to create a more targeted and effective branding strategy. Carrying out this audience segmentation in a structured and logical way allows you to tailor your messaging, content, and overall brand experience to the specific needs and preferences of different parts of your audience… This is a game-changer for eCommerce brands selling multiple different sub-products.


Your target market can be researched and segmented in a variety of ways, including:

Surveys and questionnaires: To learn more specific details about your target audience, use investigative techniques like surveys and questionnaires. Your aim should be to find out who your target market is, what interests them, and what drives their behaviour.

Analytics: To learn more about how your audience engages with your business, use analytics and data from your e-commerce website and social media channels. You can see what kinds of messages do better on social media; for example, perhaps videos have more engagement, or short-form content has more “viral” tendencies. Make data-driven decisions to advance your company by learning from your analytics.

Competitor research: You should also study your competitors’ target audience and marketing strategies to understand the market and identify potential gaps in your own target audience. I recommend using a tool like the affordable Ubersuggest to help you with this.

Personas: What are buyer personas? Simple. They are effectively fictional representations of your ideal customer based on your research. You can create buyer personas for your target customers, which will help you make more informed decisions about your branding and product strategy. Finally, your overall brand persona will also help dictate how you communicate with your customer base.

One tip I recommend is separating your target market into a few different groups based on their characteristics, such as demographics, behaviour, and needs. This allows you to create sub-strategies. These sub-strategies can be personalised for a more focused approaches that resonate better with individuals.

Remember that your target group may change over time, so it’s essential to regularly review and update your research to ensure your branding strategy is still effective.


Consistent Branding

You have probably heard that consistency is king.

When it comes to building out an eCommerce branding strategy, this couldn’t be more true.

Defining a brand identity inclusive of voice and visual identity early on in your branding journey is crucial in creating a consistent and effective eCommerce branding strategy.

To quickly summarise these terms.

Your brand voice is your personality used to communicate with your target audience, such as your tone of voice. Then, your visual identity includes elements such as your logo, color palette, and overall aesthetic.

To develop a consistent brand voice and visual identity that aligns with your unique value proposition and appeals to your target audience, you can follow these simple yet effective steps:

Brand personality: Start by defining your brand’s personality. Is your goal to be friendly, helpful, authoritative, or spicey? It’s less important what your brand personality is and more important to stay consistent with it.

Brand style guide: Having a brand style guide document that outlines your brand’s visual identity is also a good idea. The document should include things such as your logo, colour scheme, and typography. The document will also include instructions/guidelines for team members and external partners using all of these elements consistently across different platforms.

Visuals to enhance your brand: Use visuals, such as photographs, illustrations, and graphics, that align with your brand personality and visual identity. High-quality visuals make your brand look more professional. If possible, you should try and work with a graphic designer, whether that’s someone working full-time or as a freelancer.

Monitor and adapt: As mentioned, you should continuously monitor your brand voice and visual identity to see how things work. From here, you can update your branding as needed to ensure that your strategy is safe from future trends and developments.

By being consistent, you can build a stronger, more recognisable brand that is easy for customers to recognise, engage with, and recall.


Develop a content marketing plan

Building credibility and trust for your business can be accomplished with the help of content marketing. It is an effective method to inform and involve your target audience about your e-commerce brand.

A content marketing strategy aims to develop and disseminate high-quality written material consistent with your brand and appealing to your target market, like this newsletter.

To create a content marketing strategy, you need to focus on following a few steps.

Define your content goals: You can begin your content marketing journey by defining the goals you want to achieve through your content, such as building brand authoritativeness, driving traffic, or increasing conversions.

Type of content: Identify the various types of content that will be most effective for achieving your goals and reaching your target audiences. You can explore writing blog posts, making videos, designing infographics, and unique case studies. I am going add video to my newsletter strategy soon, which can be used to build a YouTube channel, be embedded into the newsletters and sliced into shorts for social media usage.

Create a content calendar: Not to be too repetitive, but consistency is king. I was realistic and decided to commit to a once per week newsletter only until I have more capacity. Consistency makes it easier for customers to recognise, interact with, and recall your brand, resulting in a stronger and more recognisable brand.


Plan your content marketing strategy.

Content marketing is an effective method of educating and involving your target market in the discussion of your eCommerce business.

A content marketing strategy is a roadmap for producing and sharing worthwhile written material that complements your brand and resonates with your target market.

Optimising your eCommerce website and content for search engines is relatively easy. When you apply conscious effort to making SEO improvements, you will start to notice results, but my experience is that it takes up to six months to show results.

Conduct Keyword Research: You can use keyword research tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush, but I use Ubersuggest to find the keywords and phrases your target audience is searching for, and then you can optimise your content to rank for those keywords. Create content pillars of relevant articles that help you establish topical authority. For example, I always talk about brand strategy.

Structure and design: You should ensure your website is correctly structured and designed to increase its visibility and usability. This includes adding clear and obvious navigation and focusing on fast loading times by using better web hosting.

High-quality content: Google needs a reason to rank your website. Making high-quality, pertinent content that aligns with your target audience’s needs and interests is one way to offer Google this justification. Then, optimise it for search engines by including LSI keywords and meta tags. You can then build backlinks to these posts to get an additional credibility boost. Great content is one of the easiest ways for eCommerce brands to stand out from the competition!

Build backlinks: They are, in fact, arguably the most prominent ranking factor. Great backlinks to your website from other high-quality, relevant websites signal to search engines that your content is reputable and shows expertise. In turn, this can improve the visibility and authority of your business in organic search engine results.

SEO is not going to die anytime soon.

Google search is used by billions of people every single day. People will always need to access information, and optimising for SEO is a good way to ensure you are the one delivering the content.


Brand Storytelling

Fiction and stories have been popular for thousands of years.

They enable people to feel “enthralled” and provide a form of escapism.

Brand storytelling, also called brand biographies, is the practice of using the story format to engage your target market on an emotional level and give personality to your brand.

Storytelling can effectively communicate your brand’s values, mission statement, and personality. Enabling you to form a deeper connection with your audience.

You must adhere to a few essential steps if you want to use storytelling to forge an enduring emotional bond with your target market and bring your business to life.

Definitions: Start by defining the story of your brand. This should include your brand’s history, mission, and values and the problems you solve for customers e.g. you provide a time management solution for busy professionals, you aim to help everyone stay on top of their work.

The brand storyline must link your company’s history to the requirements and preferences of your target market. Doing this is more meaningful than being generic, as it will make your brand story more relatable and engaging to people.

Integrate storytelling and marketing: Storytelling doesn’t have to be exclusive to an “about us” page on your website. Alternatively, it can be applied to your content and marketing efforts, including blog posts, videos, or social media updates.

Storytelling differentiates your brand: You can use storytelling to differentiate your brand from your competitors by highlighting what makes your business unique. Is it the way you source products? Is it what you do for the environment? Is it how you provide top-of-class customer service? Whatever it is, boast about it and make it evident why it matters to your target audience.

Storytelling builds trust: In the same way, storytelling can be used to differentiate your brand, it can also build trust. This is because storytelling can highlight your brand’s positive impact on customers. I implement case studies and testimonials from previous customers with positive things to say about BrandDoctor.


Influencer  Marketing

People are obsessed with social media influencers and networks in our day and age.

If you can’t compete with them, join them, as the adage goes.

Influencer marketing is a type of advertising where companies collaborate with well-known figures in their field to advertise their goods or services. As such, this can be a solid way to reach new audiences and build credibility through “social proof” for your brand.

Some key tips must be remembered to leverage influencer marketing and reach new audiences.

Find relevant influencers: While any positive press will benefit your brand, it will be even better to find influencers in your sector who share your values and have a sizable follower base of people similar to your target market.

Build relationships: Reach out to influencers and build genuine relationships with them. This is a good strategy to enhance the chances of them wanting to work with you in the future. One of the best strategies is to be sure to highlight how a partnership will be mutually beneficial.

Create a campaign: After deciding that you want to collaborate with a particular influencer, it’s time to design a campaign that reflects your brand and speaks to your target market. It’s paramount that the influencer understands what you want to achieve and the role they will need to play in helping.


Email Marketing

Email marketing has been around for decades and I just love it – not because I am so old, but because it still works very well 🙂

It is effective because it’s a direct marketing approach that uses email to communicate with potential customers, often called prospects. Additionally, email marketing provides an effective channel for businesses looking to build relationships with customers and drive repeat sales.

But how do you use email marketing to get ahead of the competition?

Build your email list: This one seems obvious, but you won’t have much success with email marketing if you don’t have a list. Try to build a list of previous customers and prospects who have opted in to receive email communication from your brand. You can use a tool like system.io to help you manage your list and communication with your list.

Content plan: You should create a content plan for your email marketing campaigns. This should include the types of emails you will send (whether that be newsletters, promotional emails, and abandoned cart emails) and the frequency of your emails. I recommend reading a couple of blog posts on email marketing best practices to get started with this.

Personalise everything: The more personal your emails are, the more likely they convert. Try and use techniques such as the customer’s name, purchase history, and funny stories if it suits your brand personality to create a more engaging email experience.


Implement Data-Driven Tactics

We live in a data-first world.

Data and analytics can be used in eCommerce branding to help you make more informed decisions about your target audience, channels, and messaging. By analysing data and identifying patterns, you can gain valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t. I use AB or split testing for client campaigns.

What are the best ways to adopt a data-first approach?

The most crucial indicators for your e-commerce branding strategy to focus on are website traffic, conversion rates, and customer lifetime value. Remember, you don’t need to track everything! This is a common mistake that can actually be harmful to your brand marketing strategy.

Diversify: I suggest you collect data from various sources, not just your website analytics. You can also use social media analytics and gather customer feedback through polls and surveys. Patterns and trends—positive and negative—can be found in this data to help you develop your plan.

Data helps with content strategy: I mentioned the importance of content strategy earlier. You can actually use data to make better content decisions. Data can provide information on popular subjects with your audience (the most feedback I received to date was about influencer marketing), the best times to share on social media (I post twice daily: 10:00 and 14:00), and the best content types to use. Gather this information, make the changes, gather more data, and repeat this cycle!



Of course, you’ll want to ensure that your eCommerce site offers the best possible customer experience. Also, your eCommerce strategy works hand-in-hand with your social media platforms, which can help create brand awareness and get your brand name out there.

Your job is ultimately to sell more and drive profitability. A good eCommerce branding strategy is the best way to achieve this.

Before I wish you luck on your eCommerce brand strategy journey, I recommend joining my newsletter for regular in-depth techniques to improve your branding, including for eCommerce businesses.

As someone with a wealth of experience and a PhD in brand management, I would like to work with you. Please feel free to schedule a consultation or workshop with me to get the most out of your brand!

Until next week.

Pieter Steenkamp, PhD