Infusing brand experiences into ecommerce, and why it’s now so important

Establishing brands that matter is critical, but the challenge for many online retailers is building strong emotional connections with their shoppers

We are all acutely aware of how the Covid pandemic has affected our everyday lives. It has influenced every aspect of how we behave and how we think about things and never more so than in how we go about shopping. Our approach to how we buy has fundamentally shifted – not only are we shopping online more than we used to but we are also more likely to purchase items we would never have purchased online before.

With that, we have also seen a big shift in our priorities. For instance, availability now takes centre stage, where one of the first things we think about is “am I going to be able to buy what I need?”

However, there are more subtle changes taking place. We are now re-evaluating what is important to us, what makes us happy, what it is that we value. These reflections are also impacting our shopping behaviour and changing our expectations about the brands and products that we want to engage with and buy.

Take Dr Martens for example. They recently made an announcement to repay their furlough cash back to the UK government, after a strong trading performance through lockdown. This action is fuelled by the recognition that their brand and what it stands for is paramount to their future success and that actions like this not only reinforce their embedded brand values but also contribute to building stronger emotional connections with their growing customer base.

Brands are defined by the associations that we build with them. I love the analogy that we see brands as individual rooms in our brain. Inside those rooms, we have an overall theme. So, as an example, if it was a Cadbury’s room, it would probably have purple walls. We then add furniture and accessories to the room as we have engagements with the brand that create associations, that are meaningful to us. These items remind us of how we feel about the brand. These can be both positive and negative, and either large and impactful or possibly tucked away out of sight. The final element is that these rooms are in the dark. When we are reminded or encounter the brand in our daily lives, we switch the light on and illuminate everything that we feel about the brand.

But how powerful can brand values be? I am asking quite a lot of you here but I do encourage you to watch this video from the Congolese designer, Hanifa. If you do not go away with a very inspiring and uplifted Hanifa brand room I will be surprised.

So, establishing brands that matter is critical, but the challenge for many online retailers is how can we not only promote and achieve a high level of transactions on our ecommerce site but also build strong emotional connections with our shoppers. This is no longer a choice, it is simply a must-have. Customers are expecting their shopping experiences to be more than a purchase choice, but rather an experience that inspires, informs, entertains and connects on a personal level. An experience that builds positive associations that resonate with their individual values and the way that the consumer lives their life.

This blog post from commercetools has some great examples of how some of the world’s leading brands like Burberry are achieving super storytelling, embedded in the online shopper journey.

What is needed to achieve this is an ecommerce ecosystem that equips brands and retailers to be able to adapt at pace and to blend orchestrated shopping journeys with brand curation and storytelling. The result is that brands are brought to life for the consumer in a way that builds emotional connection through associations that resonate, that are deemed valuable and are reflective of who the individual is.

The recent announcement of Attraqt’s strategic partnership with commercetools paves the way for the world’s leading brands and retailers to fulfil this vision and to build brands that matter, that are aspired to and that provide a real point of differentiation. For more information on this partnership, click here.

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