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Has shopping changed forever?

Written by Jimmy Rustling

Shopping trends and innovations often centre around convenience. The popularity of one-stop supermarkets paved the way for the recent boom in online shopping. With the internet at our fingertips, it has never been easier to shop. Now, online shopping has made the e-commerce industry highly competitive.

For today’s businesses, it is more important than ever to differentiate your brand from others in the market by connecting with consumers on an emotional level. But how can this be done?

Why brand perception is important
A recent study carried out by Feefo explored the notion of brand perception and values. It found that almost three-quarters of shoppers (74%) always consider a brand’s values before buying. The research also found that 57% think companies should be ‘socially and environmentally responsible’.

This insight suggests e-commerce businesses need a means of putting positive values across to the consumer in a way that appears genuine and sincere. And this is where ‘brand identity’ and comes in.

Feefo’s Marketing Director, Keith Povey, says: “It’s been an incredibly volatile 12 months for businesses, which has seen a seismic shift in consumer behaviour, some aspects of which will have a long-lasting effect on how buyers think, act and spend. That said, our research shows that for those businesses that are agile and realign their marketing strategies, there are many opportunities to improve brand awareness, perception and loyalty. Those that respond and act with the medium to long term in mind will see greater returns over the next few years than those that see this period as nothing more than a dip, due to external circumstances.”

Creating a strong brand identity online
It’s more important than ever for businesses to create strong brand identities that their consumers can relate to. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that almost all (99%) adults aged 16 to 44 years say they are recent internet users. This has seen businesses increasingly push their resources towards e-commerce in a big way.

The recent lockdown forced by Covid-19 has also dramatically altered the commercial landscape. Feefo’s recent report found that more that two-fifths (43%) of consumers said they will do the majority of brand purchases online once the restrictions end.

So, with the online space so crowded, how do you make shoppers choose you product over that of a competitor? In this situation, a strong brand identity will often be the deciding factor. It is often said that consumers do not choose between different brands by taking into account how the products perform but rather why the company made them. Now more than ever, businesses need to project their ethos and let customers know what motivates them.

The following tips will help you build a strong brand identity online:

  • Think about how you can connect with your customers emotionally. Do you have a reason why customers will choose your business over others?
  • Make your customers feel valued with personalised services and excellent customer service
  • Be honest with your online buyers, don’t keep them in the dark
  • Align your brand identity with values that are spoken about often across your social media platforms
  • Be environmentally mindful, a lot of customers will choose a brand that is sustainable and is contributing to the eco-system surrounding them
  • Use SEO tactics to help create your brand identity

It is clear that brand values remain highly important to the consumer. Now is the time to utilise the many online marketing tools at your disposal to ensure that your values come across to your potential buyers. When you win the hearts and minds of you target audience, you will often have a customer for life.

Povey concludes: “The report clearly highlights the need, and opportunity, for brands to invest more in defining who they are, what they believe in and how they operate. Effectively communicating this demonstrates how, by giving business to the brand, the customers will be supporting a transparent, trustworthy and socially responsible business. In other words, it is imperative to invest in creating a brand with a purpose.”

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About the author

Jimmy Rustling

Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.