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Creative Differences: Optimising eCommerce For Brand Retailers

Take a first glance at blubolt’s client list and you’d be forgiven for missing a key factor that unites the diverse list of household names we’re proud to work with. Today’s article will explore the world of brand retailing, what it means and how the design process can be tailored to the specific needs of the sector.

What is brand retailing?

No one size fits all when it comes to an eCommerce build. In order to create sites that truly fulfill their purpose, that purpose needs to be explored and understood in minute detail before a single pixels hit the page. As a result of this deep understanding, many agencies will begin to niche down when it comes to certain verticals, building strong reputations for fashion, homeware, consumables and more.

In today’s crowded commerce marketplace, differentiating factors are vital. Branding is a crucial element for any successful retail; communicating a promise, reputation and clear set of expectations that a consumer can rely upon. A brand retailer is one who has doubled down on this tactic; often exclusively selling their own branded products, and pouring huge amounts of effort and care into crafting a brand impression that is felt across all touch digital and physical points.

Examples of fantastic brand retailers that blubolt are proud to work with include Teapigs, who offer their own high-quality product range, Frugi, who are synonymous with bright, ethical children’s clothing and Sarah Raven, a fabulous example of a personal brand that has expanded to incorporate a highly successful commercial element.

Teapigs products: single tea bag, glass cannister of tea bags and a packet of loose leaf tea.

Careful considerations

When brand is at the heart of retailer’s strategy, a specific set of considerations need to come into play from the very start of their eCommerce design journey. Working with an external agency means that a retailer harnesses their considerable experience – an undeniable benefit – but it’s incredibly important that experience is coupled to a clear communication of retailer’s own specialism; a deep understanding of their brand’s personality, ethos, goals and values, and attaining this relies on a strong client/agency relationship.

For over a decade, blubolt has placed this factor at the heart of our creative design process. We know that a successful site relies upon perfect communication of the brand our clients have carefully built, often over many years, and so no work can commence until we have a deep understanding of these goals.

“We immerse ourselves in our clients’ brand from day one; interviewing stakeholders and undertaking a series of site and store visits as we work together to build up a true understanding of the experience and atmosphere that it’s our task to faithfully recreate online.” – Matt Richards, Creative Process & Design at blubolt 

Tell me a story…

As their audiences are very clearly defined, brand retailers typically seek to convey a specific lifestyle. This goal is communicated across all facets of the business; in-store experience, marketing, content strategy, offline engagement, and certainly throughout the online experience that their customers enjoy. In the realms of eCommerce, brand retailers require a design that’s highly empathetic to user journey, resulting in an experience that feels cohesive, familiar and in tune with the rest of the brand’s carefully crafted lifestyle experience.

As the dots start to join us, and our mission becomes clear, at blubolt we invest additional resources into portraying brand lifestyle, creating unique and narrative led static pages, that give users the story of the brands we work with. Storytelling really is a key component when it comes to optimising the online experience for brand retailers, and can be enhanced in many ways; high-quality lifestyle photography, custom illustration (such as the work we created for TeaPigs), and copywriting that conveys the perfect voice of brand.

Case Study: Digging For Victory with Garden Trading

As a brand retailer, Garden Trading’s inventory tells a story of quality, style and carefully considered curation. They wanted their customers to get a real sense of this attention to detail as they made selections and purchases; telling the backstory of their pieces fabrication and reinforcing the high quality of the manufacturing and materials.

In order to help meet Garden Trading’s goals, blubolt married a lifestyle photography-led design with highly intelligent smart search capacity, and a carefully considered carousel system that encouraged exploration, whilst enabling easy selection with a sticky add to basket function.

An important element of the shopping experience for Garden Trading’s customers was the ability to acknowledge their own sense of style from the products on offer. This sense of individualism was achieved through a feature that enabled users to put together their own bespoke “sets” of furniture and accessories, via a visual list of suggested complementary products, sensitively presented for cross and upselling across all categories.

Having invested so much time and effort into understanding their customer, Garden Trading had a very clear idea of how their online experience should feel: high quality, curated, luxurious but still incredibly intuitive and easy to use. It’s been a pleasure to work with them to produce a beautiful, photography-led eCommerce experience which delivers on functionality as well as form.

The results of this collaborative redesign speaker for themselves.

We love working with Garden Trading, a brand retailer who truly appreciate the power of beautiful, unique eCommerce sites. We’re looking forward to building on that shared outlook for years to come.

We’re with the Brand

If you’d like to explore some more of the specialised brand retail eCommerece experiences that have recently come from blubolt, check out the client case studies section of our new website. The process of really getting to know our clients is something we really enjoy; and the experience appears to be mutual, as our average relationship extends for close to 7 years!

In addition to improved conversion, increased product adds, transactions and revenue – all amazing metrics that we’ll never tire of seeing get boosted for our clients – we always delighted to see our strong focus on user journey and storytelling recognised. The result of our collaboration with Seasalt is a site that delights users and keeps them coming back for more. When questioned about their favourite online shopping experiences in 2018, Seasalt was recently voted second in the whole of the UK by Which? Magazine readers.

Brand retail presents the opportunity to work with businesses with strong values, real passion, and exceptional products. It’s an honor to help these companies tell their stories, and we look forward to many more years of close collaborations, as we marry our decade of eCommerce experience with the beautiful stories these retailers are writing.


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