In the world of ecommerce, a strong brand community is created when people have an emotional connection to your brand. It allows them to feel closer to your company and each other, and can even mean the difference between success and failure. When consumers are committed to your brand, they become your best marketing tool and will often stay loyal to your products.
Today’s shoppers are increasingly interested in how sustainable brands are, what they do for their communities, and how the brand is perceived through social media and other channels. When you choose to interact with customers and stay transparent about your mission, those who shop your products will appreciate it and trust your brand even more.
One of the most obvious choices for ecommerce brands looking to create a community is to offer subscriptions. When customers become subscribers, this shows their loyalty to your brand: a long-term commitment that will support your ecommerce store.
This post will explore the benefits of community building and exactly how merchants can go about it so that their brand communities thrive.
The benefits of focusing on brand communities
The advantages of a strong community are ample, whether you are an individual or an ecommerce brand. Great communities can offer support, ideas, and stability. When merchants can create a sense of community among their subscribers and around their products or services, they will have a leg up in the long run.
Individual consumers will become important brand advocates, and loyal customers will feel even more connected to your products. As a merchant, building a community can help you:
- Increase brand loyalty
- Encourage new ideas based on consumer feedback
- Grow brand awareness
- Market your products through word of mouth
- Rally your audience around a purpose or mission
- Feel connected with customers through more than just your products
At the end of the day, a strong customer base will always help your business grow in the right direction. Let’s explore each of the various reasons why building a great brand community will benefit your ecommerce store.
Increase brand loyalty
The first benefit that ecommerce brands can enjoy from having a community is stronger brand loyalty from their subscribers and customers. When you have fostered a strong community, the people who have bought into your brand will be your most loyal customers, much more so than the average shopper. Brands can benefit from a greater average lifetime value and customers who stick around longer.
Encourage new ideas from community members
Creating natural community spaces for your customers, such as Facebook groups or online threads, allows for natural discussions and community engagement to take place among people. Many brands have found that an online community can give them a better understanding not only of what their customers want, but also of how they can do better in the future to meet their needs.
Grow great brand awareness
The best brand communities will create a buzz around your ecommerce store. Whether people are talking on social media or amongst their friends, when they feel a certain loyalty and sense of belonging, they’ll want to brag about it. It’s just human nature!
Market your products easily
Another benefit that merchants can enjoy, once they’ve created their own brand community, is essentially free marketing. Many stores will choose to release new products as a trial to their loyal subscribers. These customers, who have proven their commitment to your brand, will be your best spokespeople for any new or existing products you wish to sell.
Rally around a purpose
Many brands are purpose-driven, meaning they aren’t just here to sell products. Some are committed to preserving family-run businesses, others give back to support causes near to their hearts. Often, brand communities exist and thrive because the consumers are as committed to the cause as you are.
Connect with customers on a deeper level
Arguably one of the best benefits of having a brand community is the opportunity to connect with your customers on a deeper level than just your products and services. Many people are eager to connect, especially in this day and age. When you give people an opportunity to do that, especially those who have shared interests, you will grow trust among your customers.
How to create a community through subscriptions
Now that we’ve explored the benefits of having a community, it’s beneficial to understand how merchants can create a community in the first place. There are various avenues to explore when you want to create a strong ecommerce community without a brick-and-mortar store.
Here are a few great examples of how to create community:
- Offer membership or loyalty programs
- Give special incentives to your subscribers
- Share your mission statement
- Offer flexibility, with SMS and easy options to skip or change orders
- Make the customer experience memorable
- Interact with community members on social media
- Encourage consumers to recommend products
- Send out a newsletter
- Create an online community space for your loyal fans (like a Facebook group, Twitter Community, or Discord server)
- Share user-generated content, such as social media posts
- Allow loyal customers to unlock discounts and special offers with a rewards program
When consumers buy into your brand with subscriptions, they are already showing an interest. Taking it a step further by creating a community—whether it’s with online groups or loyalty programs for your most trusted shoppers—will only help your brand in the long run.
Reaping the benefits of a successful brand community
Customer retention and continued ecommerce success often rely on a great brand community. When a community platform is nonexistent, it’s a huge missed opportunity for ecommerce businesses. Whether you’re talking about new or existing customers, there is a great need for community and connection among those who shop your brand.
Merchants who have worked hard to create a branded community know how valuable it can be—and they are able to enjoy the myriad of benefits that come with it. Keeping community at the forefront of your marketing strategy will allow your most loyal customers to connect with you and your brand on a deeper level, leading to stronger relationships and brand loyalty.