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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Improve Your Amazon Advertising Strategy With One Simple Metric: True RoAS
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Improve Your Amazon Advertising Strategy With One Simple Metric: True RoAS

The purpose of advertising on Amazon is simple: increase traffic and conversions. But the approach to get those conversions is not always so simple. Your Amazon advertising strategy is based on current ad data and performance results such as your return on ad spend (RoAS). 

At a minimum, your RoAS number tells you how well you’re maximizing your ad spend. The problem is the RoAS you’re getting from Amazon or an advertising agency isn’t always accurate. 

As a top 3P seller on Amazon, Pattern helps brands improve their Amazon advertising strategy and results by providing them with one simple metric: true RoAS.

Understanding True RoAS

To understand why true RoAS is helpful to brands, you need to understand how Amazon and other agencies calculate and present your RoAS.

The key to growing your brand and maximizing your ad spend is to drive incremental traffic, rather than cannibalizing what has already taken place. For example, if you are selling probiotics, and paying for sponsored ads to win the keyword “probiotics for women”, but also organically ranked in the top results with the same keyword, that’s cannibalization. The RoAS score you would receive from Amazon includes that level of cannibalism, which inflates the number, causing you to pay more on ad spend. The best ads drive incremental growth instead of cannibalizing organic sales. 

At Pattern, we’ve created the acceleration software to make sure brands are getting their “true RoAS”. Pattern’s patented tool applies artificial intelligence to advertising to maximize incremental growth or true return on investment. 

Our software helps brands optimize their efforts by providing live and updated information on where your brand is not organically ranking, and what you should be paying for. If your ranking improves in one area, the ad spend will automatically decrease for those words or phrases until the software detects a drop in ranking, signaling that your ad spend should go up again. This dynamic monitoring of ad spend will help you maximize incremental growth and improve your RoAS.

Improve Your Amazon Ad Strategy with Pattern

Knowing your true RoAS is key to improving your Amazon performance. Advertising agencies and marketplace account managers often give you an inaccurate RoAS ratio or value, which only incentivizes you to spend more on advertising, ultimately increasing revenue for the agencies and/or marketplaces.

At Pattern, a 3P partner on Amazon and other marketplaces, we view our brands just as that: a partnership. When you win, we win. You succeed on Amazon by maximizing your ad spend and we have the data and resources to help you do just that. Accurate, transparent data and reporting will help improve your advertising strategy to drive more traffic to and conversions on your products. 

Ready to finally get your true RoAS? Contact us.   

Slowing Inflation is Music to Consumers’ Ears
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Slowing Inflation is Music to Consumers’ Ears

**Instrument Pricing Changes Tune Amid Record Inflation** Compared to 2022, consumers should expect to pay more for musical instruments, but the rate of inflation shows signs of slowing. **The backstory:** America’s most popular musical instruments saw a notable price increase in 2022 compared to 2021, but the rate of inflation eased in Q4 ’22. **Why it matters:** Slowing inflation within this product category could indicate economic pressures like increased demand, rising labor costs, and supply chain disruptions are easing across the consumer landscape. **What we’re seeing:** The average cost of musical instruments increased 7.5% from 2021 – 2022; however, when analyzing individual increases year over year, some instruments saw price increases as high as 21%. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for Instruments — 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-02Lwk" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/02Lwk/2/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="379" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * Trombones experienced a 21.73% increase compared to 2021 * Trumpets +20.08% * Flutes +18.6% * Recorders +16.13% * Saxophones +13.63% * Clarinets +10.55% * Drums +5.41% * Ukuleles +5.17% **However:** Inflation among these same instruments was significantly less in Q4 ’22 compared to Q4 ’21. In some cases, prices decreased from Q4 ’21 – Q4 ‘22: <iframe title="Price Change for Instruments — Q4 2022 vs. Q4 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-6X6GZ" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/6X6GZ/2/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="379" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * Trombones +11.23% * Flutes +10.41% * Saxophones +5.94% * Clarinets +5.59% * Trumpets +3.10% * Recorders +2.85% * Drums -2.59% * Ukuleles -8.46% **Moreover:** Certain instruments saw inflation reverse in 2022. On average, prices for melodicas, guitars, and violas saw their prices decrease by 4.41%, 3.19%, and 0.97%, respectively. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for Instruments — 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-0Tefk" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/0Tefk/3/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="259" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> **Diving Deeper:** Inflation was more significant when comparing Q4 ’21 to Q4 ’20 than when comparing Q4 ’22 to Q4 ’21, indicating a slowing down of price increases for consumers. <iframe title="YOY Q4 Price Change for Instruments — 2020 – 2022" aria-label="Stacked Bars" id="datawrapper-chart-p6iqt" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/p6iqt/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="206" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * In Q4 ’21, average prices for all instruments were up 8.89% compared to Q4 ’20. * When comparing Q4 ’22 to Q4 ’21, the average price for all instruments only increased by 2.65%. **The takeaway:** While consumers should expect to pay higher prices for instruments this year, overall inflation impact within this product category appears to be slowing down. With National Ukulele Day coming up on February 2, now is a great time for ecommerce brands to take advantage of slowing economic worries and reach new consumers. * Want Pattern’s data science team to power your brand with consumer insights like these? Contact us to [request more information](https://pattern.com/contact-us/) today.

Slowing Inflation? What Musical Instrument Pricing Tells Us
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Slowing Inflation? What Musical Instrument Pricing Tells Us

It’s safe to say consumers and brands alike are eager for a change to the pattern of rising inflation, steadily increasing in many ecommerce categories . Pattern’s internal team’s data scientists analysis of instrument pricing shows a glimmer of hope that inflation may be slowing, which would be great news for brands selling online.

At Pattern, we’re interested in and monitoring trends and news related to pricing since price is a key factor in a brand’s profitability (as explained in the Ecommerce Equation). When brands are able to optimize their price, conversions, and traffic, they can optimize their profitability. And profitability leads to better allocation of resources, better brand control, and gives leaders the ability to expand their presence to new markets worldwide.

YoY Instrument Pricing Increased at a Slower Pace

When analyzing the pricing changes of instruments from 2021 to 2022, our teams found that prices increased, but at a slower rate than from 2020 to 2021.

As shown below, the year over year Q4 changes show quite a lower rate of increase.

Inflation Improvements Raise Profitability

Because inflation impacts online shopping behaviors, lower inflation can lead to better overall profitability for brands. This idea, of course, is nuanced, but Pattern’s Ecommerce Equation can help illustrate the general principle.

When inflation rises, consumers change their spending habits. Shoppers spend more time researching products, forego premium, higher-priced brands, and buy more in bulk. Brands tend to see a loss of loyalty as they’re forced to raise prices.

Price is a key variable in the Ecommerce Equation: price x conversion x traffic = profitability. As inflation lowers, brands can expect better performance in all of these areas—more traffic as spending habits return to normal, higher conversion from returning customers, and price that better fits consumer demand. As inflation lowers and these variables stabilize, brands will see profitability increase.

Raise Your Profitability with Pattern

As an ecommerce accelerator, Pattern is obsessed with gathering data that helps our brand partners succeed. We’ve created best-in-class technology, models, and analytics to understand changes on the horizon and inform our decisions. With an incredible team of data obsessed Pattern employees, we see what makes the difference in truly great ecommerce performance and apply those learnings for brand partners. 

Ready to improve your profitability? Contact us here.