Branding is one of the most misunderstood words in business.
The definition of a brand is:
“A brand is a set of marketing and communication methods that help to distinguish a company from competitors and create a lasting impression in the minds of customers.”
Many businesses place a huge amount of focus on the visual elements of their brand. Their logo, colour palette and overall design. But you’ll notice the above definition doesn’t include any reference to them.
Design is important but nowhere near as important as trust.
Because trust is what what builds a strong brand.
Commerce has changed a lot since the days of the local store. We often lament the good old days when you could pop down to the butcher, baker or candle stick maker. That’s because you could be on a first name basis with owner, he would ask how Aunt Mabel’s health was and was an upstanding member of the local Rotary club. There was utmost trust in the relationship.
In an online world you need to work harder to build trust at every step of the customer journey. Humans haven’ fundamentally changed since the we were buying everything in an open air market and wan’t to deal with an someone they can depend on and will do what they say they are going to do.
Here’s some ecommerce businesses that are using effective branding and marketing methods to build trust online.
Trust Through Content
Ben and the team at Container Door are producing some great videos to show off their products and build a relationship with their audience. They use the videos to give the customer of a feel for their product and give them a peak behind the scenes in the process they use to choose products. With a business model that involves a customer committing to an order and not receiving the product for 4-6 weeks trust is an essential ingredient in making a sale.
Trust Through Guarantees
Who knew selling mattresses would be one of the hottest ecommerce opportunities of the past year?
Koala are an Australian startup who have entered the cutthroat world of mattresses. Dany comes from a design background so you know everything is going to look and feel right but it’s the guarantee that builds trust with consumers who are looking to spend a few hundred dollars online.
They offer no less than two guarantees. If you don’t like it in the first 120 days they will pick it up and give you your money back. They also offer a 15 year guarantee on their products.
A testament of the trust they have build with consumers is they are on track to do $12m in sales in their first year.
Trust Through Testimonials
I was loath to include Amazon as they are not one of my clients (yet) and they are the 800 pound gorilla of ecommerce for better or worse. But they do something most sites don’t.
Testimonials are extremely important to build trust and subsequently increase conversion rate. According to Reevoo stats, 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
What’s interesting about Amazon is they highlight negative reviews just as much as positive ones. Most ecommerce sites try and push negative reviews to the background or delete them altogether..
By showing negative reviews you elevate the transparency and trust by the consumer as they feel they are getting the full information on the product.
The Brand Trust Checklist
Building trust is deeply important online. No matter how good your product is if a consumer doesn’t feel trust in your brand they are not going to punch in their credit card details.
Here’s a quick trust audit for your brand and online properties:
- Do you have an about page with details of your company and the people in it? Extra brownies points for telling your origin story and your values.
- Do you have a contact page with every conceivable way to contact you including a physical address? Consumer want choice in the method they communicate so give it to them.
- Do you have a full range of testimonials and reviews on your product and ‘money’ pages?
- Do you have trust symbols on your buying pages that makes purchasers feel secure? Visa, Mastercard etc are all global brands that you can leverage trust from.
- Are you producing content that gives your customers a peak behind the curtain? Showing your company and product development is a great way to establish your brand positioning.