This Is an Ecommerce Brand's Most Valuable Advantage Ecommerce brands face an incredible amount of competition these days, but they often use a tried-and-true tactic to set themselves apart.

By Jonathan Riff

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Ecommerce brands face an incredible amount of competition these days, from new brands launching daily to online retail giants like Amazon and Walmart.

Any and every advantage needs to be leveraged to command market attention and pull consumers away from the other options. Creativity goes a long way when marketing online, and it can give a brand an advantage when going head-to-head with competitors selling identical products.

Many of the most popular D2C brands are successful solely because of their creativity. Their products are typically outsourced from overseas, and identical products — often from the same manufacturer they use — can be purchased for a fraction of their cost.

Why would a consumer spend $60 on a product when he or she can purchase an identical item — less the branding — for $15?

It all circles back to the creativity used, from the branding and packaging to the marketing. Creative brands tell their story through their messaging, marketing and advertising. Let's look at some reasons why creativity can be an ecommerce brand's biggest advantage in a crowded marketplace.

Related: Ecommerce: 4 Actionable Ways to Build a Brand

Brands become more appealing by improving current options

As mentioned above, some D2C brands are taking existing products and slapping custom branding on them, bringing them to market and selling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of products via social-media advertising.

Why are these brands able to do insane volume and the "blank" product, which can be found on Amazon and websites like AliExpress, is passed over even though it will often cost only 10 to 20% of what the "branded" version retails for?

It's all about the creative marketing and community aspect these D2C brands are leveraging — from user-generated content being repurposed to showcase the community aspect and spark more sales to the creative social-media video ads being produced.

These brands are taking products that once collected dust in warehouses and have turned them into brands worth millions of dollars with zero intellectual property or any proprietary innovation or technology.

Related: 3 Branding Secrets for Ecommerce Success on Amazon

Creative branding makes consumers immune to price-comparison shopping

This circles back to the point above and is just further proof that creativity can get consumers so interested and attracted to a brand that they don't look for more affordable options even though they exist in plain sight.

Take the popular at-home teeth-whitening kits for example. Several very popular D2C brands sell these for anywhere between $79 and $199, whereas identical kits can be found on Amazon for less than $15.

Are they a lower-quality product? Are they less effective? No. They are identical and often made by the same manufacturer. So why do consumers not look to Amazon for the generic version and spend upwards of 15 times the price to buy the popular D2C brand version?

It's because of the way the product was marketed and introduced. Using a combination of broad Facebook ads and then remarketing via the Pixel, a brand can get very creative in terms of what kind of follow-up ads it shows you.

When the targeting and technology available for marketing is combined with a highly creative team behind the product, it's game over, and that is why these new D2C brands are being deemed overnight success stories. They have such high margins and drive such high volume. It's a great problem to have.

Related: 3 Keys to Building an Ecommerce Business Designed for Growth

It allows marketing to be introduced through multiple platforms and delivery methods

A creative brand has endless options when it comes to marketing platforms to leverage. Just to give you an example, let's assume you are a D2C health and wellness brand and want to put together a massive campaign for a new line of protein bars. The following platforms are available to leverage: Facebook, Instagram, Google (organic), Google (paid), YouTube, TikTok and Pinterest.

This is just a sample of the many different platforms available, with each giving you a different content format to use. Creative brands can take full advantage of each option, create amazing content that leverages creativity and pull in customers — away from other options.

Think of wildly successful brands that you support. Where do you see their creative marketing? Everywhere, right? When a product can market from every angle imaginable and deliver its messaging via every content format available, this is how a product becomes a true brand.

Jonathan Riff

Principal Brand Architect & Experience Designer

Jonathan Riff is the founder of Captains & Cowboys, a boutique digital agency bringing a human-centered philosophy to everything it creates.

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