Translating Your Brand Into the Ecommerce Experience
All things considered, the age of everyone-has-an-ecommerce-site is still relatively new. It wasn’t too long ago that most brands had marketing-only sites with little means for capturing or converting customers. When many brands first entered ecommerce, they often focused on just getting the basic shopping aspects right, often at the expense of the brand’s personality and the overall customer experience. As ecommerce platforms and internal digital retail teams have matured, we’ve seen more and more digital stores infuse brand storytelling throughout the shopping experience.
Obviously, customers have a variety of places they can buy your products. Offering them a strongly branded, deeply engaging, and highly usable ecommerce site is critical to capturing those sales directly, as well as strengthening and taking ownership of your relationship.
So how do you translate your brand into ecommerce? We use a variety of techniques to infuse brand essence into the digital experiences we create. Naturally, we deploy and execute them differently for each brand we work with, but there are some proven underlying constructs. To help illustrate a few of them, let's take a look at the site we designed and built for Movado.
The principles outlined below are high level and brand oriented, but they are proven to impact the bottom line. The sites we redesigned for Movado saw a 14% year-over-year increase in conversion.
Capture the Look and Feel of the Brand
Every strong brand has its own way of expressing itself. Those forms of presentation vary from high-level philosophies to specific design details. Ecommerce experiences are channels through which those various aspects—from aesthetic to interactive—should be represented to create successfully branded connections.
As a brand, Movado is the pure embodiment of modern minimalism. In every execution, from product design to marketing, the company expresses confidence through simplicity. So for both our design and development work, we held these characteristics up as our guideposts. Through the avoidance of adornment, a stark color scheme, a strong and confident construction, and gracefully refined motion, we strove to make the entire site a demonstration of bold elegance.
Whatever the personality and elements of your brand, the key is to highlight them as directional beacons and criteria for judging every aspect of design and development, from creative concept to checkout.
Communicate Through Content
It’s no secret that branded content now plays a significant role in many companies’ marketing and commerce efforts. As we’re doing in this very instance, communicating by providing value is simply more appreciated and more trusted than traditional advertising messaging.
The type of content you provide, and how you serve it, will vary widely based on a host of factors. What’s important is simply ensuring you develop and present it in ways that are consistent with your brand and the relationship you have—or hope to have—with your customers.
From recognition by world-renowned museums to celebration in contemporary fashion, the Movado story is long and vibrant. To ensure these aspects of the Movado brand were accessible, we created the Our Story section to weave it all together in a dynamic tapestry. This exploratory portion of the site encourages customers to roam through both the brand’s heritage and its continuing relevance. From historical moments to editorial coverage, every feature is a storytelling mechanism that reinforces the legitimacy and power of Movado.
Guide Customers Down the Purchase Path
By now, we’re all familiar with the challenges of selling online. Customers have largely gotten over many of them at this point, but there's still ample opportunity to make them more confident in their choices. The ecommerce experience is a prime example of how a brand’s actions and interactions have become more important than a brand's words. To really deliver on your brand's promises and establish connection, we need to find ways to remove friction and provide guidance.
Movado sells luxury watches. In an offline retail setting, the details, materials, size, weight and fit of each piece would play a significant role in purchasing decisions. To make up for that lack of physicality, we employed oversized product imagery, dramatically cropped close-ups, landing pages for key collections, and an elegantly executed “Details” section for the product detail page that clearly communicates information about materials and sizing.
To offer customers a more assisted shopping experience, we created the Watch Advisor guided selling app. With seven questions the Watch Advisor helps customers sift through more than 250 watches and two dozen collections, cutting across the standard browsing funnel by inquiring about topics such as the reason or occasion for purchasing. We then took the brand experience even further, building out a Customize tool that allows customers to craft their own timepiece from the brand’s Heritage Collection.
Both tools maintain the brand’s and the site’s refined style. In a category in which customers are accustomed to the calm, personalized guidance of a knowledgeable salesperson, this tool provides an alternative way to deliver that sophisticated expertise and a premium shopping experience.
Just Be Your Brand
The strategies and tactics for every brand are going to be different, as they should be. While there certainly are some established ecommerce best practices, there are many different ways to execute and augment them. The above principles are general guiding ideas, but it's how they're used within your site that makes the difference. Overall, their implementation must align with the personality of your brand and the expectations of your customers. And as with most things, the high-level design concept and navigational structures are important, but much of the personality of your brand will come through in the details.