Perfecting the Customer Experience Through Brand Control & Branding

Josh Mendenhall

January 5, 2021

A solid customer experience can be the difference between a brand that wins big and a brand that totally flops. Every experience a customer has with your business, from viewing your product online to pulling it out of the box and holding it in their hands is a significant one, and making sure their expectations are met from end-to-end is the trick to winning big on ecommerce.

Through brand control, consistent storytelling, and customer service that looks outside of the box, brands can create exceptional customer experiences for their customers and ultimately remain profitable.

Brand control on ecommerce

Getting control of your brand on ecommerce directly and often deeply affects your customer experience. Iconic brands like Apple and Nike are as dominant in their markets as they are because they’re so good at control. They’re selective with who they let distribute their product, and when lines are crossed, they enforce their policies with teeth.

Most brands when they’re starting out or trying to grow quickly are more inclined to do the opposite. They opt for as wide a distribution as possible to get their products in as many hands as possible, because more is better, right? Well, not so much, and especially not for customer experience.

Having wide distribution on ecommerce without proper checks can be a bit like wrangling livestock on foot. You can get some and maybe even most distributors where you want them to be, but there’s no way you can control all of them, and without full control, your channels can become chaotic. When one distributor breaks the rules—drops their prices below your MAP, for example—others will follow to compete. That harms your margins and your profits online and off. It also devalues your product and your brand equity.

Wide distribution means a bigger pool of sellers who can represent your brand however they’d like to online. They may offer poor customer service. They might have blurry photographs on listings of your product or incoherent product descriptions. That doesn’t just reflect badly on them. It reflects badly on you.

Exceptional customer experience starts with making sure you have control of your brand on ecommerce, that unauthorized sellers aren’t distributing your products, and that your distributors are limited so it’s easier to maintain control and consistency.

Consistent storytelling

With billions of products and brands scrambling for the attention of online shoppers, you have to have consistent branding and storytelling to stand out on ecommerce. Consistency—consistent product quality, consistent imagery, consistent voice—communicates trust. It helps your brand become familiar, and it shows consumers they can rely on you.

Your goal is to make sure that a customer can pick your brand out of a lineup no matter which distributor is standing there holding your product. Ideally, the customer experience should be the same on two fronts: your visuals and your customer service.

When we talk about visuals we mean things like the photography in your image stacks, the video content you use, the typography, the way your content is formatted, and the colors on the page. These should be consistent on both your D2C site and on marketplaces where your product is being sold so that your customers can immediately recognize you.

You also want to choose distributors who care as much about your customers and your product as you do so they’ll offer the same level of service. If your distributors are providing poor customer service, it can be reflective on the experience with your brand as a whole.

So where do you begin? First, determine what story you want your brand to tell. Is your brand young and exciting? Luxurious and sophisticated? Edgy or clean? Once you’ve found your story, you can begin to decide what you want your branding to look like and then, with the help of a partner like Pattern, you can clean up your product listings on ecommerce and maintain consistency.

Popsockets Brand Equity Example | Pattern

PopSocket is an example of a Pattern brand that has done really well with its storytelling across multiple distributors. Its D2C is young and vibrant, as are its pop grip products. PopSocket listings are easily recognizable on Amazon because the imagery is consistently the same, as is the formatting of the listings. Customers know that what they see is what they’ll get.

Case study: KONG

Another area where businesses have the space to improve customer experience is through their customer service, particularly their packaging and shipping. Packaging can be a great way to reinforce your branding as well as build positive connections between your customers and your business. You might handle your packaging directly to make it more personalized, for example, or add more collateral to a shipment as a treat for your customers.

One brand that has leveraged their packaging and shipping to provide exceptional customer experiences with Pattern is KONG. The KONG brand is centered around training dogs to behave well through play. Along with selling dog toys and treats individually online, KONG sells them in a monthly subscription service called KONG Box. KONG Boxes typically come with three toys, three treats, an easy-to-make dog snack recipe, and personality tips based on the personality of each subscriber’s dog.

KONG box example of great customer experience on ecommerce | Pattern Blog

One of the biggest selling points of a KONG Box is that it makes purchasing dog snacks and toys more convenient for pet owners who already purchase them regularly. They’re also fun to receive—subscribers are surprised with different hand-picked toys and unique treats each month that their dogs will love. Check out the Facebook Live event we did with KONG here.

With Pattern’s help, KONG has been able to make the shipping experience an exciting event for their customers, but they’ve also been able to leverage data to address problems and make the shipping experience more aligned with their story.

The KONG Box was designed to be a party in a box for dog owners and their pups, and initially KONG toys and treats were packaged with tissue paper and crinkle paper to improve the aesthetic of the packaging and make it feel more giftlike. Through Pattern’s data analysis, KONG was able to learn that the way they were packaging their product was in fact detrimental to the mission of their brand.

KONG Box case study example of great customer experience on ecommerce | Pattern Blog

Consumers would open their boxes in front of their dogs, and their dogs would immediately pull out the packaging and make a mess in their homes. What was party packaging for KONG was an annoyance for customers and, on a larger scale, a disconnect from KONG’s branding story about improving dogs’ behavior through play. KONG used that analysis to change the way they packaged their products. Dog owners still get surprise treats and toys for their dogs in a fun box, but now with less of a mess to clean up and definitely no crinkle paper.

How Pattern can help brands improve customer experience

KONG is one of many brands Pattern has helped achieve success on ecommerce through improved customer experience. As an exclusive 3P seller, Pattern gives control back to the brands we partner with and provides expansive data analytics to help those brands win on every facet of their ecommerce business, including advertising, SEO, product innovation, and growth.

Pattern uses data to identify what your consumers expect from your brand, which areas you should address to meet those expectations, and missed opportunities for growth. We identify the story your brand is best positioned to tell, clean up, and create content for your ecommerce listings that help them become more aligned with that story. We also help you gain control of your brand across ecommerce marketplaces by finding the bad players eroding your pricing, connecting you with resources you need to eliminate them, and giving you tools for long-term profitable growth.

To learn more about how Pattern can help you improve your brand experience, contact us in the form below.

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Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)
Sept 26, 2022

Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Peak with Google Ads

Peak season is almost upon us and with all signs pointing to it starting earlier than ever, with Christmas gifting searches now ramping up in August and September, it’s time to start preparing for peak. In this article, we’re sharing our top five tips for planning and preparing for peak season with Google Ads and the strategies required to get your Paid Search ready so you can drive success over this crucial period.

1. Go Early

In 2021, gifting search terms started increasing in popularity in August. The general trend is that people are looking, researching and weighing their options early, so it’s best to start your Paid activity early to ensure that you’re capturing that early research traffic. This will help drive revenue alongside aiding those consumers who are in their research phase.

From 2020 to 2021, spend during Cyber Week actually only rose 2% but in the weeks leading up to it, it increased by 16%. However, Cyber Week is still the biggest period during the latter half of the year, accounting for 23% of all online spend by consumers over peak. Being prepared and starting early will help you to maximise your time during this period.

2. Get Ready for Privacy Changes

 According to Google, 48% of global consumers have stopped buying or using a service due to privacy concerns. Privacy is front of mind when consumers are shopping online and we know that Google is phasing out 3rd party cookies in 2023. This is going to make it much harder to track users online and it’s something that brands need to think about this now – waiting isn’t an option.

From a Google Ads point of view, you want to ensure you have set up the Google Ads tag across your site and have enabled ‘Enhanced Conversions’, which ensures all conversions are tracked and allows you to monitor other actions such as ‘Add to Cart.’ This is relatively easy to set up, especially if you use ‘Google Tag Manager’.

It’s also vitally important that you build up your first-party data during this time as this is data you own and it can be used when targeting consumers that have provided your brand with their email address. Pattern’s own experience shows that by segmenting and using first-party data, you can see a 10% improvement in revenue and ROI.

3. Ensure Consumers Can Discover your Brand

A full-funnel approach is now more important than ever as consumers become more discerning and have more choices than ever of where to shop.

Pattern has seen success with Google Ads’ ‘Discovery Campaigns’ (image-based ads that appear on Google platforms such as Gmail and the Google app), which have driven success both from a traffic and revenue perspective.

The performance of these campaigns is significantly enhanced by adopting a segmented and nuanced approach to first-party data and incorporating these into your campaigns. Other options for a full-funnel approach include YouTube and testing bidding on keywords that are more representative of the research phase. (e.g. ‘best baby clothes’ for a baby clothes brand)

4. Get Moving with Performance Max

Earlier this year, Google announced that they were moving away from Smart Shopping and launched Performance Max. This is a new campaign type that incorporates features and placements from Smart Shopping but expands them onto other platforms such as Gmail but also alternative creative options, such as images and videos.

Since Google has already started automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max, expect to see some fluctuations in the first 2 weeks following the switch over but results generally seem positive. We recommend upgrading sooner rather than later to limit any potential impact to peak period.

5. Flight Budgets Accordingly

Peak period will be even more competitive than in 2021 and you’ll need your budgets to support this period, we recommend boosting budgets in October to start capturing that early peak traffic. As we enter November and the Cyber Period, start early and make sure you are capturing those consumers looking for early bargains, ensuring you are being nimble in your optimisations and reacting to the data that you are seeing.

Overall, peak period is vital to help drive your sales and by preparing early, you will see strong results and drive success for your brand. If you want to discuss how your brand can navigate this next peak period, contact us to discuss your options with our performance team now.

Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Marketplace Consultant Must-Haves

Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.

So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.

Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.

An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.

Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services. 

2. Proven Results

It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.

4. Network of Resources

The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces. 

With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.

Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.