“Remember that thrift store with the tiny parking lot in the back and all of stuff stacked up outside? We found a lot of great bargains there.”
“Remember that mom and pop pizza shop that had those amazing calzones? We should go there for lunch.”
“Remember that shopping center we found that had all of the colorful artwork along the walkway? We haven’t been there in ages. Let’s go this weekend.”
It’s funny, the things we remember about places we’ve been. We might not remember the name of the place or the street it’s on but we do remember the unusual details – details that make us want to go back for another visit.
The same thing happens online. I used to scrapbook and every now and then I get the urge to start again. When I do, I head for that online store with the cherries. I can’t ever remember the name or the URL, but I remember that they used cherries for loyalty points. I pop that into Google and there it is: A Cherry on Top.
There are hundreds of other scrapbook stores on the web; possibly even better stores, but I go back to that store again and again because I can’t forget those cherries.
Is your store memorable? There’s an easy way to find out. Ask someone who hasn’t visited your website before to look at it for thirty seconds. Ask a co-worker or someone from your Facebook group. (We have a private group for IndieMade site owners.) Don’t tell them what to look for. Just ask them to poke around for 30 seconds, then close the browser. The next day, ask them what they remember from your site; colors, images, items you sell, specific words. No detail is too small.
If they can’t recall anything, you have a lot of work to do. If they remember unexpected things – like that one odd piece of art that’s way out of your usual style – you’ve got some thinking to do.
The thing that makes you memorable doesn’t have to jive with your brand or your business. Sometimes, it’s that incongruity that makes it stick in people’s mind. When we first moved into our area, we stumbled upon a mall that had giant, stone alligators in the courtyard for kids to climb on it. It became forever known in our household as the “alligator mall”. Not an image you usually associate with shopping, but it helped keep that mall ahead of all others in our minds.
Online, it could work like this: you sell candles but your opening page has a photo of your huge shaggy dog and there are dog footprints on your pages. Now you're the candle store with that funny dog picture.
This may sound like I’m throwing branding out the window, but it’s quite the opposite. A brand is a collection of images, colors and shapes that make the product memorable. A Coke bottle doesn’t need a label. That busy bunny doesn’t need to have Energizer written on his drum. It’s up to you to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Simply having great products to sell isn’t enough, you have to catch a customer’s attention in a way that sticks with them after they’ve shut the browser.
One word of warning, don’t go overboard. You don’t want to be remembered as the cluttered or confusing website. Stick with one punch of color or one striking image. Add one unusual service or one unique piece. Find a way to make people say, “remember that online store with the (Insert thought here)?” Do that, and they’ll not only remember you, they’ll return again and again and they’ll tell their friends.