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.
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.
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.
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.
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.