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Key mistake by brands embracing eCommerce

The flurry of startups making noise in D2C eCommerce has forced major brands to look at D2C eCommerce potential. For CEOs, winning it is now a business imperative and no longer a "nice-to-have", "on-the-sides" strategy. However, even with significant financial backing, they fail to navigate this digital frontier.

Confluence of many factors - availability of internet, mobile device penetration, social and digital platforms, eCommerce technologies as SaaS, alternate options for logistics and delivery etc. have enabled D2C eCommerce startups achieve dramatic success. They allow these startup to easily

  • reach out to consumers across geographies digitally
  • drive consumers to own eCommerce website, built on inexpensive SaaS platforms
  • fulfil orders, without establishing a large distribution and retail network or the associated investments

However, major brands with substantial brand equity adopt the very strategies used by these startups, but fail to bring substantial value to the business. 

A key reason is the lack of focus on digital brand experience.

"Template-based" eCommerce technology platforms are very popular with eCommerce startups for running websites. They come with standard pages (home, search, product, checkout) which are "skinned" by updating logo and brand colours. Without much of brand legacy to protect, these inexpensive platforms are an attractive option for eCommerce startups.

These eCommerce platforms are transaction focused. They do handle product discovery and checkout quite well. This, again, works very well for eCommerce startups as they too drive marketing with a transactional mindset (offers, deals etc.).

However, these platforms significantly lack flexibility for creating a digital brand experience or showcasing a product beautifully. 

Would like to see an awesome product page? Look no further than Pixel 6 Pro and Apple Watch 7. How about checking out the digital brand experience at Cowboy 

The key eCommerce drivers of brand with an established brand equity should be relational. Some specific examples would be

  1. Creating a website experience recall (try thinking of an awesome website you visited and its influence on brand recall)
  2. Leave a lasting impression about a product page (does the Apple Watch page match the actual experience one has with Apple products?) 
  3. Capturing consumer mindshare digitally (and influence both online and offline purchase decisions)

This would mean that any digital assets (websites, apps etc.) created by the brand closely follow the brand ethos. This is achieved by working closely with branding agencies, UI/UX/CX designers and technology platforms to craft a brand specific digital experience.

Tying in a digital content strategy that is on par the brand equity is also crucial in staying ahead of competition in the digital ecosystem.

None of this can be truly achieved by using a "template-based" eCommerce platform. By using one, not only do these brands lose out on their brand equity, they also lose sight of what should have been their key eCommerce drivers.