Running an e-commerce store isn’t as easy as people make it out to be—especially if you are trying to create a well-known, timeless company with the potential for global sales. Of course, you have to worry about your suppliers and shipping, but you also have to manage your brand’s reputation or face being ‘canceled’ over negative reviews or poor customer service.
Keeping a squeaky clean brand image is next to impossible. However, with a little time and effort, you can manage people’s overall opinion of your store. We’re going to tell you how you can manage your e-commerce brand’s reputation with just a few simple tips. Keep reading for more information!
Why Your Brand’s Reputation Matters
Let’s say there are two brands of televisions: television A is cheaper and offers more features than television B. Television A isn’t associated with a brand while television B is from a well-known and well-liked company. Many consumers would choose television B because it is from a company that they know and trust.
The same concept applies to your e-commerce brand. People will buy from the brands they’ve heard of before making a purchase from no-name or unheard of brands. Additionally, if your image or brand name gets muddied by multiple poor reviews and repeated instances of terrible customer service, your e-commerce store could collapse.
As your brand grows and your reputation becomes well-known and well-liked, you will begin to notice that people keep returning to make purchases. An even better turn of events would be that returning customers refer their friends and family to you! Essentially, a good brand reputation leads to consumer’s trust (which means higher sales!)
Keep in mind that even the best eCommerce business broker will have a difficult time selling your store if its reputation is horrible. It will also be harder to meet your asking price should your brand remain unknown or have a poor name within your industry!
You Can’t Make Everyone Happy
If you have a background in customer service or naturally want to please people, you will absolutely do everything in your power to make customers happy. Every. Single. One.
This idea isn’t realistic. As your e-commerce store grows, making everyone happy isn’t going to happen because at some point someone will make demands that simply aren’t feasible.
What you can do is this:
- Be honest about your mistakes and make a reasonable effort to correct them
- Have return/refund/exchange policies posted and easily accessible
- Empower your representatives to make decisions based on the customer’s needs without the employee having to obtain approval for every small gesture
- Make your brand’s contact information easy to find and;
- Respond to negative reviews, questions, comments, concerns quickly and with compassion
Part of a brand’s reputation can come from how they engage with people online, including their overall ‘tone.’ This can be positive, funny, witty, or sometimes even snarky. Use whichever tone you feel represents your brand, but be sure to use it consistently.
Also, try to be aware of major current issues and your target market’s vernacular. If you’re out of the loop with current issues, you risk saying something insensitive or completely offensive. Your target market could (and should) be considered when choosing your words. For instance, if your ideal customer is a bit older, you may want to avoid the use of slang; oppositely, if your market is younger, slang might work in your favor.
Reputation Nightmare: What Now?
Oh boy. Your newest customer service representative responded rudely to a customer after their order wasn’t shipped on time and arrived damaged. In fact, there have been multiple cases of this exact scenario going on and people are now telling their friends and family to NEVER buy from your store. They’re also posting negative reviews online, calling your brand a scam, and threatening a lawsuit.
Sounds like a nightmare, right?
This situation is completely made up but it can and does happen to good brands. Unfortunately, when the online community decides that they’re against a brand (for whatever reason) it can be almost impossible to reverse the damage.
This might be where you simply close up shop and decide to open a new business. Or… you can hire a digital PR agency. A public relations agency can help you fix your damaged reputation; they can also work towards increasing the number of leads and sales conversions as well as help you identify any gaps in your marketing strategy.
You can attempt to do this yourself or hire someone from Craigslist but you probably won’t achieve the same results. This is simply due to the fact that PR agencies have accumulated years of collective knowledge and experience and have the manpower to change the perception of your business.
One of the easiest ways to avoid reputation issues with your e-commerce store is to manage customers’ expectations from the beginning.
Out of a product? Say so.
A bug in your software? Admit it.
Shipping delays? Send an email.
You get the picture. People will be thankful for your honesty and it’s better to deal with an issue head-on than it is to try to hide potential (or real) problems. It also allows you to gauge any possible negative reactions, handling them before they become blown out of proportion and blasted on the internet.
Providing customers with top-notch products and experiences should be a priority. However, this doesn’t mean making promises you can’t, won’t, or don’t intend to keep. It also means that you should choose your words carefully, ensuring that untrue implications aren’t made.
Final Thoughts: YOU Are Your E-Commerce Brand
In the beginning phases of your e-commerce store, it will largely be up to you to manage your brand’s reputation. This reputation management will include social media posts, comments, responding to reviews and emails, blogging, taking calls, and handling any issues that arise.
Ultimately, it will be up to you, as a business owner, to set the tone for your brand’s reputation and how future employees will handle day-to-day customer engagements. Even if your face is never shown, your voice will be heard through your brand; make that voice a good one that aims to please customers and strives for the best outcomes!