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Retail Branding - Building a Strong Brand Identity for Retail Success

11 Nov. 2023

For better or for worse, we live in a world of branding. On billboards, buses, and even E-bikes, branding calls out to us to look and buy something. Whether consciously or not, branding has become the lingua franca of the modern age.

Thanks to the rise of hyper-consumption, customer loyalty can sometimes hang on retail branding strategies. Retail businesses that don't have a highly developed brand identity can struggle to find an audience. This issue, if not addressed, can lead to complete failure.

However, as a business owner, retail branding should be at the forefront of your mind. There are thousand and one businesses out there that offer similar items you do both online and in real life. A strong brand identity can help you stand out from the crowd and grow a loyal audience of consumers.

But where to start? It can be difficult to know where to begin building a winning and sustainable retail branding strategy. (After all, modern retail branding goes beyond having a funky sign and a mascot in a big furry suit.) In this blog, we'll explain what we mean by retail branding, go through key retail branding strategies, and give you tips on how you can apply them to your own business.

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What is retail branding?

In simple terms, retail branding is how you build a strong identity that entices customers to shop at your store. Branding encompasses everything you want your store to represent, from your voice on social media, all the way down to the color of the walls in your brick-and-mortar store.

Branding is particularly important with online shopping. The digital revolution has made shopping online easier than ever and more and more customers interact with brands online, rather than pop into a physical store.

With this in mind, you need to ensure that your online channels are fully branded as if they were one of your physical stores. Your customers should still feel as if they've had a physical retail experience while they are shopping online, and that your brand syncs seamlessly between both online and offline worlds.

Successful branding strategies build an identity that customers know and trust. Think of it as the story of the business that you tell to attract customers. The best brands lay out a unique retail vision that balances customer engagement with customer experience. The more your customers identify with your brand, the more likely they will be to choose you over your competitors.

Why is retail branding important?

As we mentioned above, modern customers are looking for something a little extra with their shopping experiences. They're no longer only looking for the cheapest price or the most quality product. Modern customers have different expectations of what a retail brand can be and how they interact with it.

Here’s an example. Think of a world-famous retail business such as the Harrods department store in London. Throughout the years (the business has been in constant operation in different locations since the 1830s), Harrods has built up its reputation as a respected establishment. It does this through offering a luxury shopping experience for customers that can't be found anywhere else.

From the light fixtures to the staff (Harrods is one of few remaining department stores to employ doormen), everything in the business speaks to a sense of opulence and expense. Through its branding strategies, Harrods can consciously pursue this image and play it up all over the world. It's not unusual for the great and the good to plan an entire trip to London based around a visit to the store. 

Retail branding vs product branding

To the uninitiated, product branding and retail branding can easily be confused. While these work hand-in-hand to achieve the same goal, they are separate. Both are trying to get customers to walk into a shop and buy something. The difference comes from how they go about it.

The main difference between the two are in terms of scope. Retail branding targets a wider market. Product marketing, on the other hand, goes deeper and targets a particular subset of customers with one particular product.

Let's take a gothic clothing store as an example. 

Retail branding would be concerned with the gothic market as a whole. Retail branding would inform the business owner on how they can best reach all goths in their local area. 

Product branding would be concerned with a particular brand of white face makeup, and how it can convince the customer to choose its brand instead of a competitor's.

As a business owner, you should consider product branding when you stock your physical retail store. Product packaging, price, and quality are all a part of product branding and this plays into your physical store's overall retail branding. If you stick to high-quality products that fit into the aesthetic of your business, your customers will know they can trust you to find what they need.

Why you should use branding in your retail store

A good, sustainable retail branding strategy is one of the best tools businesses have in their arsenal. Retail brands with strong branding will always attract customers and get the chance to build long-term customer loyalty. Below, we've outlined three key reasons you should build a strong brand for your retail business.

  1. Get ahead of the competition

The retail industry is a highly competitive place, with hundreds of businesses fighting for the attention of today's consumers. One of the key challenges of any retail business is building an identifiable brand. A strong retail brand identity will help your business stand out from the pack and capture that all-important target audience.

While consumer behavior can be difficult to predict, customer preference trends towards brand loyalty. A good brand identity is more likely to form an emotional connection with your customers while also attracting new customers.

  1. Crafting a story

Every business owner has their own reason for embarking on their retail journey. Whether it's to fill a niche, connect with customers, or servicing a community they love, every business has a story. Successful brands capitalize on their story and reach out to their target audience with it.

Using social media platforms and customer engagement techniques, you can convey your story to consumers and a personalized shopping experience. This, in turn, creates a positive emotional connection with the customer and ensures a memorable impression.

  1. Build cross-channel consistency

More and more, building an omnichannel presence is becoming important for retail businesses. Consumer behavior has quickly changed and many customers expect your online offerings to align exactly with your physical store.

Aligning your online and offline store can be as simple as using your brand colors and fonts and offering the same stock. By doing this, you give your customers more ways to shop with you, while assuring them that your online store isn't an afterthought.

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The best in POS for retail stores

Retail branding is a great way to bring customers into the store and encourage them to start shopping. Once they've decided to make a purchase, it's up to you and your retail tools to give them the best possible shopping experience.

This is where Epos Now's retail point of sale (POS) system comes in. With Epos Now, you get access to one of the best retail POS systems on the market. With helpful features like payment processing services, a suite of incredible apps and integrations, and highly-sophisticated inventory management tools, our systems will change the way you do business for the better.

How to use branding in your business

Now that we understand the importance and utility of retail branding, we can begin to incorporate it into our businesses. Below, we've compiled a list of ways that you can incorporate branding in-store and improve your customer experience strategy.


For the average person, signage is branding. This is true in a sense that signage is often the first thing a potential customer sees. Having well-designed, thoughtful, and helpful signage is an easy way to drive consumer engagement.

Signage includes your business name, window displays, and even the way you display pricing. As part of the in-store experience, your signage should be unobtrusive but still present enough to encourage customers to shop with you. If you have the capital to do so, you should update your signage each season in line with retail industry trends.


While they may seem like two sides of the same coin, your logo and signage are two different things. While your signage is used to draw customers in, your logo should be a memorable expression of your business that sticks in the mind of your target audience.

In this sense, your logo is an expression of your business and what you represent. Your logo should be simple and easy to reproduce. (If you want to get very technical, then logos should also be accessible, with easy-to-read text and colors. This will help with making sure the right colors are printed if you produce physical items with your logo on). 

While you may feel tempted to plaster it all over your business, you should instead place it strategically, where it will have the biggest impact. For example, putting it on your shopping bags is a great place to put them as it will act as a mini-advertisement for your business as customers walk around with their bought goods.

Brand colors

The colors retail brands use can be easily overlooked but they are one of the most important parts of your branding. Millions of dollars have been spent to formalize the science of colors and the effect they have on consumers.

Specific colors produce specific emotions, so it's important that you get your colors right. For example, blue is calming and pleasant, while red is fiery and emotional, and green has a natural-looking aesthetic. Think about how you want your customers to feel when they see your business and pick the colors that can best get that emotion across. 

TIP: You’ll want to create a color scheme or palette for your whole brand (such as having accent colors alongside your main colors). Colors with lots of contrast create lots of energy. Harmonious colors will create a more relaxing atmosphere. Just remember to use color intentionally.


Much like colors, music can elicit a whole host of emotions from your customers. This can best be seen (or heard) in the "muzak" used in elevators and call-center hold music. Muzak is designed to placate customers and keep them calm and compliant.

The music playlists you play in your business should be built with your target audience in mind. For example, retail businesses that target younger audiences will often play more pop-centric playlists. Your location should also play a part in your music selection, given that different places will have different tastes

Product packaging and displays

The way you package and display your products also plays into your retail branding. Your window display is particularly important as it will entice foot traffic into your store. Think of your window display as a window into the world of your business, your display should encourage potential customers to step into your retail world.

In-store, your products should also be displayed in an enticing way. Lighting is important and can be used to highlight best-sellers and products you’re making a push on. In bigger stores, end-of-aisle displays can be used as advertisements for new and favorite products.

Our final thoughts

We hope this blog has been useful in helping you understand retail branding and what goes into building a strong brand identity to set your business apart and get more customers to your store.

As part of our customer-centric ethos, we keep our blog regularly updated with well-researched articles. Here are just a few of our recent blogs:

If you'd like to know more about Epos now and our retail business model, get in touch with our expert team below.

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