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Shake off the dust

Shake off the dust

The importance of the brand in e-commerce

I’m no guru, and I usually spend more time reading interesting articles than trying to write them, but I can say I was just 12 years old when I made my first purchase from Teletienda, the Antena3 shopping channel. The “Static Duster” cost me 3,450 pesetas (the old Spanish coins), and even now, I still don’t fully understand why I was so struck by it.

However, I so loved the experience that I quickly followed up this purchase, buying a music compilation: “90 from the 90s”, with hits like “Informer”, “All that she wants”, “What is love?” … and 87 more that I won’t list here. A string of other orders followed, and my parcels took “only” about a month and a half to be delivered. Teletienda was my first contact with an e-commerce channel. Well, perhaps I should call it “t-commerce”.

From story to experience

When I ordered the duster, I was too young to know what marketing was. I don’t know if I was shopping brand or product, and I’m certain that no one had explained “user experience” to me. What I do know is that Teletienda or, rather, the brands that were sold there, offered me something I couldn’t find in a physical store: a story. And I bought the lot. The story, that is, not Teletienda!

As human beings, we are programmed to listen, analyze and understand stories as they gradually unfold. And what stories Teletienda told! Plenty of happy people enjoying miracle products. A seamless story; nothing could fail. Irrationally, these stories captivate us, draw us in, and we try to live them. It is at this point when a story ceases to be such, and becomes an experience. When consumers want to give up their passive role and assume an active role in the brand-person relationship, that’s when the real challenge begins for advertisers. And this is especially the case when we talk about e-commerce.

The brand and its e-volution

Nowadays the “experience” is the protagonist in any meeting or presentation. Everyone strives to offer the perfect experience to their consumers. But what role does the brand play?

If we pay attention to the data, brand is also the key to success in e-commerce, in any of its formats. It does not matter whether it is your own shop, drop-shipping or a marketplace: the brand reflects notoriety. The more famous the brand, the less investment is necessary in search engine marketing.

But brands no longer have to be simply one brand and have a single identity. The behavior of the brand in the e-commerce environment, as well as the experiences it generates, must change and evolve, at the same pace as consumers themselves evolve. And that is not simple.

The channels and possibilities have multiplied and sophisticated with e-commerce, and brands that have proven to be able to generate emotions in people, and to win a place in their lives, should take advantage of the opportunity, technology and a new language that e-commerce offers. Brands must avoid making the mistake of simply replicating their real-world retail model in the virtual environment.

And the most important step may seem obvious: they must offer a truly different experience, but one that chimes with the history of the brand, so that the consumer wants to live their story ... no matter what the barriers are.

There is much distrust around e-commerce, so please, brands, tell the truth. We are too used to hearing things like: "An experience as real as life itself, but from your sofa". Sorry, but no. The consumer has already assumed that, if they want to see and touch a product, they must go to another channel because the sensation will never be the same online. And I do not speak of “better” or “worse”; it will simply be a different story and experience.

For this reason, a large part of the success or otherwise of brands lies in how quickly they accept the existence of barriers in certain channels, and focus on finding and taking advantage of the opportunities offered by other channels and options. Successful brands find new stories and new experiences that define their personality in the virtual environment. Only in this way will brands live beyond the current generation of consumers, and today's consumers will not only survive all their contact with brands, but thrive as a result of it.

As Charles Darwin said, "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor is it the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change."

If you’re in any doubt, remember the brands I bought from Teletienda. I was interested in their stories, and again and again I was convinced to repeat the experience. I took the cordless phone, which hopefully had battery, called the number that appeared in the ad (fast, very fast, to catch the special offer available only to the first 10 callers), then waited 84 days, five hours and 21 minutes for the postman to knock on the door ... and opened the box to find my “Butterfly Pillow”.

One fine day, I stopped buying from Teletienda. I'm sorry, but they forgot to dust themselves off and move with the times. Long live the “Static Duster”!

Víctor Álvarez

Executive Creative Director