It’s important to build a brand for your e-commerce store, even if you only dropship products. These three rules will help you do it effectively.
The easiest and safest way to enter the ecommerce industry is through dropshipping. Dropshipping simply means that you act as the middleman between great products and the consumer. The main responsibilities as a dropshipper are to find quality products and then advertise them to consumers.
If your job is mainly marketing products to consumers, you may wonder why you need a brand. After all, the products that you sell will usually be generic products.
While it may be true that you won’t be branding products when you act as a dropshipper, it is equally true that you still need a brand for your e-store.
A brand is your e-store’s identity.
And it’s crucial to build a strong brand in the ecommerce marketplace because the stronger your brand, the more repeat customers you’ll see coming through your virtual doors.
So I’ve compiled three “Must-Follow” rules here to help you create a better brand.
One: You Must Have A Narrow Category
Your ecommerce store should not try to be an Amazon or Walmart.com. Those are already giants in the industry, and honestly, you can’t enter the market as a newbie and compete. While Amazon and Walmart make their money selling everything to everyone, that’s not the way you’ll make money.
You’re best bet is to narrow the market down to one category–and then keep on narrowing. So if you’ve decided to go into the children’s apparel market, you may narrow it down to babies. From there, narrow it down to female babies, and then down to flower head bands.
I know that this is hard to do. Afterall, you don’t want to miss out on sales or leave out any potential customers. You may find yourself wondering, “What about all of the boy babies out there? Their caregivers are buying things too, right?”
Yes, they are. And if you feel strongly about a niche that you have to cut out, you should consider starting a second ecommerce store that will focus on that market.
But it would be a mistake to widen the focus of your ecommerce store. Even Amazon didn’t enter the ecommerce space as the retail giant they are today. They began as a bookseller. Now you can buy almost anything on the site, but at their conception, they only sold books. And they grew from there.
In fact, the more you narrow your brand, the stronger it will be. Think about it for a moment. What does the Walmart brand mean to you? Groceries, car tires, toilet paper, or even clothing. Maybe convience and low prices…But none of that is really a brand.
Now think about Mercedes Benz. That brand stands for luxury automobiles. If you instantly know something when you think of a name, that’s a successful brand.
And you want customers to feel the same way about your ecommerce store. Don’t make them wonder what you sell. They should know what to expect when they shop with you.
Consider Little Ceasar’s Pizza Chain. They were just one of many pizza chains trying to compete. They weren’t unique. Nothing made them stand out. Then they narrowed their focus to customers who wanted to buy a pizza and walk away with a pizza–no more waiting 30 minutes.
Boom! The “Hot-N-Ready” pizza movement was born, and just like that, Little Ceasar’s had created a share of the market for itself–by narrowing its niche.
They only offered cheese pizzas and pepperoni pizzas as Hot-N-Ready pizzas. Obviously, they couldn’t offer every item on their menu ready for take-out.
Limiting the offer to only two types of pizza would have been an obstacle if they were overly concerned with leaving part of the market share out–the sausage, supreme, and Hawaiin pizza lovers. But by ruthlessly narrowing the market, they saw better sales. “Little Caesars’ CEO told CNBC that its “Hot-N-Ready” model has made it one of the fastest-growing chains over the last decade.”
You can, and should, use the same principle for your ecommerce store. Narrow your category, and you’ll have a stronger brand.
Rule Two: Your Brand Must Stand For Something
Haagen Daz Ice Cream, Volvo, Rolex, Nike, Apple iPhone, Starbucks…
Chances are good when you read those brand names, they convey meaning to you.
But if your brand is weak or too general, it doesn’t stand much of a chance of being memorable.
And if customers don’t remember your brand, there’s a good chance that they will not go to the trouble of seeking you out–even if they had a previously good experience ordering from you.
Always remember that your customers aren’t concerned with your business and your brand. They will do whatever is easiest for them, and that usually means buying from whatever ecommerce store comes to mind first.
If you’ve done a good job narrowing your niche, your brand should inherently stand for something. For instance, if you sell kitchen gadgets, your brand will already mean something. But you can go further in brand building. You could specialize in time-saving kitchen gadgets for the busy cook. Or gadgets for the food scientist. Or high quality, expensive gadgets for the affluent cook.
In this way, you’ll elevate your niche to a brand.
Rule Three: Choose an Ecommerce Name Wisely
Choose a name–don’t name your category. Again, back to Amazon, Amazon is a name, and so it is unique. However, if Jeff Bezos had named it something like Books.com or Wholesalebooks.com, or Cheapbooks.com, it wouldn’t be a memorable brand. Those names describe the category, but they do nothing to create the brand.
When you choose a name, it’s good to link the name to the category if possible, but don’t be too literal. A great example of this was BlockBuster. BlockBuster referenced the category it did business in–movies–without being a direct category name. BlockBuster’s rival, NetFlix, also has a great referencing name. The name is specific to NetFlix but also alludes to what they do (renting movies over the internet and later streaming movies over the internet).
Also, remember that customers may be typing your store’s name into their address bar, so it should be easy to spell. Simplify spellings whenever possible.
Spelling your store’s name is another reason to use a real name (a proper noun) instead of just describing your category. When business owners describe their category, customers end up trying to spell out a string of words in their address bar like onlinefurnitureanddecor.com. That’s too much to expect from the average consumer.
Simplicity also means that you’ll be keeping your name as short as possible. Your customer has a lot to keep track of throughout his or her day, so don’t make a long, challenging name one of them.
Easy is the name of the game when it comes to naming your store.
But remember, easy does not mean generic sounding. Buy.com or Pets.com are not names that will build up a brand.
So remember, narrow your category as much as possible, stand for something, and choose a name wisely. With these three rules in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating more than just an ecommerce store. You’ll be building a brand.