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Brand Identity for eCommerce: Connecting Digital and Physical Experiences

Most eCommerce businesses start with their digital brand identity first.

Not only is this the usual order of things, but it’s downright smart!

Your customers have to first find you and then decide to buy from you before you can actually send them a physical product. So prioritizing your digital branding makes perfect sense.

The challenge becomes making your physical branding and packaging match the digital presence your customers have come to know and love.

When you’re trying to match your digital and physical branding to provide your customers with a cohesive experience, consider these factors.

Reacquaint Yourself with Your Brand

As a business owner, it may seem like a given that you know your brand inside and out. However, there’s a huge difference between how you see your brand and how customers see your brand.

Similarly, it can be easy to assume you know your brand when you’re constantly making little tweaks and changes in the early days of creating your digital presence.

Before jumping into the shopping and purchasing phase of picking out your shipping materials and packaging, reacquaint yourself with your brand by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What are my three main brand colors?
  • What are my brand values?
  • What is my brand’s personality?
  • What is the first impression I want to leave potential customers with?
  • Is there a particular demographic that my product aligns with?
  • How do I want my customer to describe my product to their friends?

Then, ask your customers – via social media or an emailed survey – or a few trusted colleagues the following:

  • What stands out to you most about my brand’s appearance?
  • How would you describe my brand’s personality?
  • What is the first impression you have of my brand?
  • Who do you think would like my brand best?
  • How would you describe my product to your friends?

With that information, you can begin finding the physical elements that carry the same personality, level of luxury, and experience as your digital branding.

Stay Consistent with Brand Identity

If you’ve finalized your digital branding, you likely have a brand identity guide with details on your company’s specific font selections and hex colors codes.

When choosing your physical materials for your product or packaging, stay consistent. Use the same font styles and hex color codes in your print materials and everything that your customer will touch.

If you have a brand slogan or tagline, include that in your physical brand identity. Have a brand mascot or a character who’s featured on your website like Target’s dog, Bullseye? Make sure he pops up in physical form, too.

Continuity of messaging is key to ensuring your customer identifies everything associated with your brand – both digital and physical – as uniquely and specifically yours.

Get Creative with Your Logo

The term “branding” that we see used in marketing actually refers to an age-old tradition of marking one’s property with a piece of hot metal in a recognizable shape, word, or symbol. When pressed into wood, leather, and other materials, the brand would be permanently emblazoned on the object for all the world to see.

This is what you need to do with your logo, as well.

Start by thinking about the elements of your physical product or packaging that the customer is going to keep around. It could be a storage case (think: sunglasses, tools, electronics), an instruction manual with warranty information, or even something extra that you want them to keep but may be in addition to the product they ordered.

For example, the power tool company Makita is known for including a keychain in the shape of the tool the customer purchased inside the tool case. Although the brand name may be hard to see on the little mini circular saws and power drills, the brand’s color is instantly recognizable as purely Makita.

While you don’t have to go so far as creating miniatures of all your products and hanging them from keyrings, there’s something to be said for Makita’s strategy for leaving a lasting reminder of the brand around a customer’s house.

You can do the same with window or bumper stickers, magnets, bottle openers, business cards with discount codes on the back, and receipts.

Of course, you always have your packing materials to rely on for carrying your brand identity, as well. Custom tissue paper, sticker seals, and letterheads for packing slips are low-cost options that will give your brand a presence once your package is in your customer’s hands.

Give Your Packaging a Voice

It may sound odd, but your brand does have a voice. It can be fun and friendly, authoritative and stern, sexy and seductive, or even catty and sarcastic. Whatever your brand’s voice is, creating physical brand identity is an opportunity to get your brand’s voice into your customer’s home.

For example, if your brand is all about fun and whimsy, you may want to put a phrase like “Open this little box for big fun!” on the top of your product packaging. If your brand is meant to be strong, bold, and inspiring, add a “No Wusses Allowed” sticker to seal the package.

Similarly, once your customer has opened the package, there are endless possibilities for infusing brand voice into your packing slip, instructions, product label, and box interior. Even a simple “Hello, Jane!” on the packing slip can go a long way toward making your customer feel appreciated.

The key is to get clear on how you want your brand to come across, then let inspiration take over. And if you need help, that’s what we’re here for.

At Dotcom Distribution, we help our clients find all the right elements to represent their brands in physical form with our eCommerce fulfillment and branding solutions. Reach out to us today for help with your eCommerce logistics or post a comment below if you have general questions. We’d love to hear from you!