Reach Customers by Creating a Strong Brand Story – Weekly Loop #11

 

Weekly Loop #11

Reach Customers by Creating a Strong Brand Story

 

When it comes to marketing, stories sell. The brands with the best stories behind them typically forge the strongest relationship with their customers. In fact, customers that relate to a brand’s story are much more likely to be come unofficial brand ambassadors, recommending the brand to friends and family.

Stories are typically an area where smaller, focused brands have an edge over large corporations by being authentic and true to their mission. As Walmart learned this past week, it’s tough to purchase that type of authenticity.

After announcing they’d be opening a Moosejaw shop on Walmart.com, four of MooseJaw’s wholesale brand partners sent cease-and-desist letters to Walmart. Although the manufactures had agreements with Moosejaw, and Walmart purchased the outdoor retailer, the brands had never given permission to be sold on Walmart.

As covered in the first link below, this is just one of the problems facing Walmart as they attempt to fight back against Amazon. While Amazon has faced some backlash from brands, they don’t struggle with the same low level of brand perception as Walmart yet. However, their race to the bottom attitude makes it seem within the realm of possibility that they may face more backlash in the future.

Amazon and Walmart sell a huge variety of products at the lowest prices possible to mass markets. Low prices may win a lot of sales, but it hardly builds the type of emotional connection a store like Moosejaw has with dedicated outdoors enthusiasts – or even many of the brands they carry.

Build a great brand story to connect with customers and deliver added value to customers. Look for ways to connect outside of convenience and prices. Stories are one of the few advantages independent focused businesses have over corporations and  this power shouldn’t be ignored.

 

GoodsLoop

GoodsLoop - Cotopaxi

Take a look at an excellent standalone ecommerce shop for inspiration

Sticking with the theme of great brand stories, this week we’re featuring Cotopaxi as an example of a great standalone ecommerce shop.

Cotopaxi is “a Certified B-Corp that creates outdoor products and events, and [gives] 2% of revenue to alleviate poverty.” The company produce a number of products using re-purposed materials, partners with a number of non-profits, and runs a number of events to bring people together. Clearly, they are trying to lead by example to “do good”, a phrase found on a number of products.

The site is easy to navigate and the products are well displayed. Nearly all products are “guaranteed to last 61 years, the average lifespan of a person living in the developing world.”

Though I haven’t ordered yet, I placed an order and excited for a new lightweight jacked, which should be perfect for biking the Bay Area.

Take a look and think about how your shop could implement an ethos around your brand, and potentially with others to further enhance the brand story.

 

Recommended Links

 

Each week, we read and watch articles, blog posts, videos, infographics, books and more related to ecommerce. We share some of our favorites links on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

In our weekly updates, we pare the links down to our favorite seven links from the past week.

Have a suggestion of something to include? Get in touch.

— Shortly following Walmart’s announcement of launching a Moosejaw shop on Walmart.com, wholesale partner Black Diamond Equipment sent a cease-and-desist letter to Walmart citing they never entered into an agreement. This articles lays out the problems with buying relationships, as Walmart has attempted to do with the purchase of Moosejaw. 

“Buying a retailer that sells brands is not the same thing as buying a brand or even the distribution rights to that brand.”

Black Diamond Snafu Highlights Critical Gap In Walmart Strategy
Chris Walton Forbes

“The strategy is flawed logic. For Bonobos? Fine. Now Walmart has a slightly more upscale men’s brand. I could argue, big deal, but at least the logic is sound. Moosejaw is different though. Moosejaw isn’t a brand. It is a retailer. A retailer who sells a range of brands. For $51 million, Walmart didn’t buy the right to distribute the brands (those rights reside with the brands). It bought the Moosejaw storefront. Once Walmart put Black Diamond on Walmart.com, Black Diamond, in my opinion, had the right to come out publicly the way it did. Generally, there are reasons why brands forgo certain points of distribution, so Walmart thinking it can just buy another retailer and bring the items sold by that retailer onto its website, when it hasn’t been able to secure distribution of those items in the past, is a pretty big gap in logic, like the size of the Grand Canyon big.”1

— And just like that, there are four brands who have objected to selling on Walmart.com through Moosejaw. 

“[ski] pole maker LEKI is the fourth big name brand to follow suit”

LEKI Becomes Fourth Big Name Brand to Withdraw Products from Walmart’s Premium Outdoor Store
Steven Agar SnowBrains

“”2

 

—  Shopify has launched a new app store. Upon first testing, it’s much easier to use and reminds me more of the Apple app store than even the previous Shopify store. 

“The new Shopify App Store was rebuilt with both new and existing merchants in mind, to make it easier for you to find the solutions ”

The New Shopify App Store: Discover the Right Apps to Grow Your Business
Jonathan Zhao Shopify Blog – Company

“When you visit the new Shopify App Store, the first thing you’ll notice is a completely revamped design giving you an improved experience on both desktop and mobile.
The Shopify App Store is now simpler and easier to navigate, and has been reorganized based on feedback we’ve collected from our merchant and app developer communities.
Apps are now categorized using the same language you use to find them, making the search and browsing experience more accurate than ever.
Looking for more ways to turn browsers into buyers? Simply visit the “Sales and Conversion” category to discover all available solutions that can help you sell more, sorted into subcategories like “Cross-selling and Upselling”, and in the order of what’s most relevant for your business.”3

— eBay’s authentication program had flown under my radar until now. Fees are roughly 20% of sales prices, which seems somewhat steep. What other niches could benefit from such a service?

ebay “will now authenticate luxury watches, in addition to the handbags and wallets it was already verifying”

eBay expands its authentication program to luxury watches
Sarah Perez eCommerce – TechCrunch

“Similar to the luxury handbag verification service, the new authentication program for watches will utilize third-party experts to verify the watches’ authenticity. The authenticators will also list, sell and ship the watch to the buyer, taking a 20% cut of the sale price – which is competitive with if not lower than the rest of this market.
When eBay Authenticate first arrived, the company explained it was reacting to increasing consumer demand to buy pre-owned luxury items online, but found that eBay shoppers were hesitant to do so because of the potential for forgeries and knock-offs.”4

— Neil Patel delivers another comprehensive article. This time, he covers pricing and all the factors that go into setting the right prices for your products. 

“Believe it or not, research suggests that similarly priced items hurt conversions”

How to Generate More Profits by Focusing on Your Pricing Strategy
Neil Patel Quick Sprout

“Your prices will directly impact your sales. Implementing the right pricing strategy will increase your profits.
Don’t set similar items at the same price. Apply the anchor pricing tactic.
Encourage your customers to spend more money with each transaction. Bundle packages together. Offer big discounts.
Segment your prices to appeal to a wider range of customers.
Research your competition. Know your profit margins.
If you want to appeal to a certain type of customer, create a luxury brand with high prices and never run a sale.
Prioritize quality and value.
No matter what type of business you have, I’m confident you’ll find an appropriate pricing strategy in this guide.
How will your brand generate higher profits with your updated pricing strategy?”5

— You don’t necessarily need a marketing budget to get sales. Generate great content and reach customers organically. Once you know something works, it may be time to put a marketing budget to work. 

“Modern consumers don’t want to see sales pitches – they demand tailored content that resonates with their needs and values”

10 Advertising Ideas that Won’t Cost You a Dime
Warren Fowler Bootstrapping Ecommerce

“Running a low-budget business is never an easy thing to do, but it’s feasible if you have a beautiful website and want to invest time and creativity into free advertising ideas. With so many valuable features available online, there is no need to spend too much money on promoting your business.”6

— Here’s a full blueprint from Shopify on how to take a shop from scratch to growing profitably. 

“To help, we’ve put together a comprehensive blueprint for getting started, compiled from Shopify’s most popular content.”

Ecommerce Business Blueprint: How to Build, Launch, and Grow a Profitable Online Store
Mark Macdonald Shopify Blog – Company

“Building your own ecommerce business is as exciting as it is challenging. At a rapid pace you’ll learn a ton about choosing a product, evaluating its viability, figuring out how to get it produced, building an online store, and marketing and selling to new customers. The process can feel like you’re solving a head-scratcher of a puzzle, but it’s rewarding all the same.
We hope following this resource roundup helps provide you with a clearer roadmap. As always, the best advice anyone can give is to just get started, and to enjoy yourself along the way.”7

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherwalton/2018/08/31/black-diamond-snafu-highlights-critical-gap-in-walmart-strategy/
  2. https://snowbrains.com/leki-withdraw-products-walmart/
  3. https://www.shopify.com/blogs/blog/new-shopify-app-store
  4. https://techcrunch.com/2018/09/05/ebay-expands-its-authentication-program-to-luxury-watches/
  5. https://www.quicksprout.com/2018/09/05/how-to-generate-more-profits-by-focusing-on-your-pricing-strategy/
  6. https://bootstrappingecommerce.com/free-advertising-ideas/
  7. https://www.shopify.com/blogs/blog/ecommerce-business-blueprint

Andrew @ EcomLoop
EcomLoop founder. I've worked in ecommerce since 2005, beginning with my own ebay store. I've run multiple independent ecommerce businesses on Magento, Joomla, and more recently, Shopify and WooCommerce. I believe marketplaces should be looked at as a sales channel and that all independent businesses should strive to build a direct connection with their audience for long-term success.

Leave a Reply