Adam Mc

Thoughts on the web.

SXSW Day 5 – Building Brands Online: The Future of eCommerce


Building Brands Online – The Future of eCommerce

Hashtag: #eComFuture

Panel by the founders of Club W, The Black Tux and StyleSaint

The success of Amazon, Zappos & large ecommerce outlets isn’t what companies should be chasing. It’s the service & care of a local shop. Technology gives us a chance to know each customer really well. Even when there are hundreds or thousands of them.

This small store approach, focusing on doing one thing well & each customer’s experience has lead to many small, very successful ecommerce companies. (Warby Parker, Timbuk2, Club W, StyleSaint, Rent the Runway, etc..) Building the brand is a key component of this approach. 

You have to build an emotional connection with your audience. Not just offer them free shipping. The brand needs to show it cares about what their customer cares about. Help your customers talk about you online, help them tell your story. Being risk adverse to public feedback is the opposite of the culture you want. Managing community around brand is a key of this approach to eCom. When your brand is built on connection you have to connect.

Ecommerce brands don’t have to live by the same rules as traditional retail. They have different pricing, sales & distribution models as well as different identity and flexibility. Because of this their metrics focus on customer purchase history, brand affinity, repeat purchases and social feedback. Not just sales. But these Etailers also have a small team that still has to deliver big for customers. (Shipping, receiving, inventory, customer service, etc) The hardest part of running these businesses is having to do everything yourself.

Two Takeaways from this:

  1. Any ecommerce destination care learn from this small, strong brand, boutique-like approach.
  2. What kind of ecosystems will we see pop up to support these type of companies? (i.e. Distribution and customer service vendors)

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