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Independent E-Commerce – Where to Start?

June 6, 2020
Author: Jasmine Waters

During the past weeks and months, there has been a distinct push to make every aspect of a brand as digital-friendly as possible. This comes as no surprise as consumers – if at all – are spending almost solely behind their screens, which will need to lead into a seamless customer journey transition back to the brick-and-mortar store further down the line. With the emphasis currently so heavy on brand E-commerce, how can small and independent brands utilise opportunities and resources available to them to the fullest extent?

Why is E-Commerce so successful?

Over the last few years while all digital eyes have fallen at the feet of Amazon, small brands have been quickly and quietly gaining sturdy digital followings with both older and larger brands fighting an online war against them. What smaller brands continue to have in their favour are their lower overheads, creative design and exceedingly efficient customer acquisition tactics. For brands of all kinds, the product remains at the core of the business itself – with a trending or badly received product having the potential to make a huge financial difference. Many small, digitally based brands are opting to carry on inventory at all, but instead be built with tightly constructed and managed supply chains that have the capability to both manufacture and shop a product in small batches on demand. This feeds into the asset of hyper targeted advertising, another tool that brands have as ammunition to harness a piece of the e-commerce pie. Investing into this type of advertising means that even the most niche brands can find a healthy customer base, aligning their products with those who have interacted with similar competitors. These kinds of opportunities allow small brands to adapt more quickly, being able to respond to micro trends and having the ability to be led by individuals with a deeper understanding of niches that bigger brands cannot match.

Are there any lockdown specific strategies?

Then there is the tech itself. We know that social selling it what drives a large portion of digital sales forward but since the start of lockdown, Zoom has shown itself to be instrumental in keeping those brand-to-consumer relationships connected. Independent brands that have taken the decision to host virtual community-driven hangouts have cited how having this available hasn’t just been a brand touchpoint, but rather a turning point for consumers themselves. This can also have a deeper pay-off in terms of engagement and repeatability, forming a natural extension of previous community-building efforts. Other brands have taken to offering personal experiences for Zoom itself, such as curated playlists and independently designed virtual backdrops. The consumer engagement itself is not a one-size-fits-all solution and developing a sense of what ‘new normalcy’ could be for a small brand needs to stay consistent with the experiences that have been previously provided. There is no need for a complete overhaul during this uncertain period but rather harness tact and empathy that reflects what’s going on. It doesn’t matter how small brands can choose to do this as long as it remains true to brand identity and fully embraces being a member of the ever-changing digital community.

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/@julia-m-cameron


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