GROWING YOUR OWN BRAND AND REPUTATION
Good branding speaks volumes about your business. Branding helps you to stand out against your competitors, giving you a unique edge and allowing your customers to develop a more personal relationship with your business. Think of some of the bigger brands out there. Starbucks is one of the largest, most recognizable coffee chains in the world – and a lot of it is down to their clever branding.
When you purchase a coffee from Starbucks, you’re not just buying a hot tasty beverage, you’re buying into the little bit of luxury that the iconic branding represents. You can’t deny the emotional enjoyment you feel as you walk around with the recognizable white and green cup in your hand. Put the same coffee into a plain brown cup, and it wouldn’t evoke the same feelings.
Customers don’t get the same emotional attachments to products as they do to brands. Therefore, you need to build a meaningful and memorable brand that gives them a reason to shop with you, starting with your own ecommerce site.
SELLING ON YOUR OWN ECOMMERCE SITE
Without rules and restrictions holding you back, creating your own ecommerce site gives you the flexibility that you need to build your own brand. You have full control over the design of your site, from the choice of layout to your logo, colours, fonts and promotional banners. If you decide to go down the route of using an ecommerce provider, setting up your online shop is simple and straightforward, due to the large selection of pre-made theme templates that you can customise and make your own.
Creating your own ecommerce site also means you can decide on the site structure and navigation, and you can present the products exactly how you want. Your homepage won’t be cluttered with products from your competitors, instead it will be comprised of the special offers and products that YOU want to feature.
With the ability to edit pretty much anything on your own website, you can really start to express your personality. You can personalise your ‘About Us’ page, creating emotional connections with your customers by telling your brand’s story. If your customers develop a relationship with your brand, they’re far more likely to return as loyal customers.
Loyalty schemes, discounts, coupon codes and special offers are all methods of retaining loyal customers, and they’re easy to implement when you have your own ecommerce site. It’s much harder to drive repeat customers to your online marketplace shop when you don’t even have access to their information.
UTILISING MULTIPLE INCOME STREAMS
Once again, we’re not saying you shouldn't use online marketplaces. We recommend that you take full advantage of them and utilise various platforms to reach a larger audience.
Marketplaces are ideal if you’re just getting started selling online, if you want an additional income stream, or if you just sell a few random bits and pieces in your spare time. However, we advise against putting all of your eggs in one basket, and relying solely on one platform to build your business on, particularly as you have no control over it.
Online marketplaces are constantly making changes to their policies and their offering, so it’s possible they can make changes at any point that could have a huge impact on your business. You don’t want to be left without a back-up plan or a safety net, so invest in your own ecommerce site that belongs to you, that you have the freedom to take control of.
Encourage your customers to make the transition from your eBay / Amazon / Etsy shop to your online shop by:
- Including both your marketplace link and your online shop link on your social media profiles
- Offering an incentive to your customers to place an order at your online shop such as; discounts, coupon codes, loyalty points, free gifts or free delivery
This will gradually move your customers away from other platforms to your online shop so that they can see you as a solo brand.