At one point in time, online purchasing was seen as simply a cheaper and more convenient source for goods and services than buying in-store. With the growth of Ecommerce, consumers now have touch points across both digital and in-store experiences to drive conversion and inform their purchases. Taking into consideration the emotional connection derived from an in-store experience, retailers and service providers offering Ecommerce can no longer operate on a basic one size fits all platform for their digital presence.

From a customers perspective, the online buying experience now must authentically reflect, and be able to compete with a comparable in-store experience. These elements include an immersive experience that taps into in-store implementations by visually representing the company or organization across the digital journey, encouraging user connection and promoting engagement to the user throughout the entire pathway to conversion.

Leveraging strong branding and insights – designers, marketers and business owners can now seamlessly merge digital and physical aspects of a user-centered retail experience to create more personalized digital Ecommerce environments that increase brand loyalty and buying metrics. To encourage these complex environments, retailers should take strategic steps with regard to branding elements and digital strategies:

Personalization & Customization

The ideal personalization plan can bring many benefits to both the user and brand it is supporting. Driving higher conversion, the content provided to the user is highly useful and aids in saving the user time in searching for products or information they need. By connecting platforms and algorithms to cookies (or stored data), and aligning it with a user profile  – similarities and assumptions can be made to identify what will be the ideal experience for a particular user.

The Right Platform

This is perhaps the most critical aspect – as all Eommerce  platforms are definitely not created equal. Whether opting to self-host or farm out the work, working with an integrated team of designers and developers to build the site is highly recommended. Self hosted platforms such as Magento, WooCommerce and  Shopify offer the freedom to design and manage content freely, however all of these will require additional plug-ins and customization to work ideally for user experience and the specific needs of the retailer. While it’s important to be able to manage content ongoing, it’s advised to work with a team upfront and ongoing to prevent cart issues, product uploading/data entry and possible crashes.

Content Driven

Content strategies and storytelling are fast becoming the way to a customers trust. Simple product information is not enough to support a conversion. Brand and product stories must be readily available for consumption in tandem with product details and imagery to to promote relevancy and inform the user in their discovery.

Community Building

Nowhere is community engagement more valuable than in an Ecommerce setting. Encouraging and inviting users to become a part of the brand, whether through reviews or ambassadorship lends a level of credibility and trust to customers, both existing and prospective.

Imagery

Successful branding requires visual storytelling and applying this technique to Ecommerce has been shown to greatly increase conversion. Merging visual cues with calls to action and intelligent data in the proper user journey will result in a more intuitive and usable experience – allowing users to become more easily connected with the messaging.