How to Decide on Branding Colors for Your Online Marketplace

September 29th, 2022 | 6 min read

With 2.14 billion people shopping online, e-commerce reached unprecedented heights.

According to Grand View Research, global e-commerce will continue to scale at a compound annual growth rate of 14.7% until 2027, averaging as much as 7.4 trillion dollars in profit by 2025.

About 47% of these sales were made through marketplace websites or online marketplaces; leading the pack are Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay, which facilitated two-thirds of global e-commerce sales in 2021.

All of these towering marketplaces are branded well.

Today, we'll explore the importance of online branding in an online marketplace. 

What is Marketplace Branding and Why is it Important for your Online Marketplace

Branding is how a seller sets their product or service apart through the intentional use of themes such as colors, logos, design, and even mission statements.

87% of consumers consider consistent branding across traditional platforms integral to their experience.

Similarly, Forbes says that consistent branding can positively impact your revenue by 23%.

One of the most famous examples of successful branding is Coca-Cola.

Invented over 100 years ago, the brand's iconic logo was first conceptualized in its signature flowing handwriting in 1893 and trademarked by the US Patent Office.

Since then, it's undergone several iterations that added extra swirls, tail tweaks, splashes of color, a white wave, a red disc, and other elements that made it relevant to the time it was being redesigned.

Today, anyone can recognize Coke's logo (without reading the words).

Another example is the Apple logo.

Apple started in a small Californian basement in 1976, and back then, it looked completely different from the sleek and modern logo it has now.

Steve Jobs wanted something that would communicate a more modern feel, and the very first iteration of the current logo was born; at the time, it had rainbow colors and the word "apple."

Seven years later, the logo lost the text, and in 1998, it lost the rainbow colors.

Finally, the Apple logo was changed to the iconic monochrome bitten apple that we have all come to associate with the brand's commitment to providing high-quality, simple, and secure devices and technologies.

Next, let's discuss one of the secret tools to branding: colors!

What Colors Evoke the Emotions You Want Your Online Marketplace to Communicate

It only takes 0.05 seconds for people to form an impression of your brand.

And a lot of this impression rides on the colors that you choose.

Most established brands in the world are recognizable specifically by the colors of their logos.

Think red and yellow, for example; did you automatically see the golden arches of McDonald's?

Or blue and white, which are the signature colors of Facebook.

Using a signature color for your online marketplace can increase brand recognition among your target audience by as much as 80%.

And consistent use of colors can increase brand visibility by 3.5 times compared to those that use inconsistent branding.

How do colors do all this?

Colors evoke emotions.

The primary colors, in particular, have distinct impressions on people.

Red stimulates the appetite (hence, the McDonald's logo) while creating a sense of urgency.

Red has been found to increase heart rate and even blood pressure.

Red is the dominant hue used in clearance sales and promotions.

Blue is associated with security and trustworthiness, so it's present in 33% of logos of the top 100 brands in the world.

One primary explanation for this is that it's the favorite color of 57% of men and 35% of women.

A study published also adds that blue is typically associated with primarily positive correlations, such as the skies and the seas.

Blue was found even to curb the incidence of suicide on Tokyo's Yamanote railway line.

On the other hand, yellow evokes positive emotions like optimism, hope, and happiness.

Yellow also communicates haste and urgency, as in a "get me off the shelf" way.

For example, in the United States, yellow pencils sell out quicker than others.

Yellow is also the color of caution and safety, which is why it's present in the logos of equipment and power tools companies like CAT and Stanley.

With the primary colors, you'll want to figure out what secondary colors you'll want to use.

Green, which is the color of nature, is thought to represent health, growth, and peace.

This could be in part because green is a short-wavelength color, like blue, which has been found to contribute to slowing down people's heart rate.

Hence, green is used by brands associated with relaxation and living the good life, such as Holiday Inn, Whole Foods, and Spotify.

Using this color in your logo also makes a buyer feel like you're employing eco-friendly policies.

Another secondary color that has a specific effect on how people perceive brands is purple.

Also called the color of royalty, this color was first documented in the natural world in 1900 BC in the form of dyes; these dyes were used to color Roman togas, which clothed only Roman emperors.

Purple is also associated with femininity.

International Women's Day uses purple in its logo, like makeup brands like Urban Decay.

And it's also considered to be the color of creativity and indulgence, as exemplified by its use in the logos of brands like Yahoo, Hallmark, and Cadbury.

Now, to orange.

As a combination of yellow and red, orange communicates boldness and grabs attention.

Orange makes a practical accent for call-to-action buttons.

Additionally, it triggers specific reactions in the human brain, such as creativity, warmth, and cheerfulness.

Many foods and beverage companies use this color in their logos, like Fanta.

We're left with black, white, brown, and gray.

34% of the top 100 global brands use black in their logo, owing to its perceived sophistication and power.

And according to HubSpot, only 1% of people will associate a black product with cheapness.

This is precisely the case for brands like Chanel and Nike, known for their elegance and reliability, respectively.

On the other hand, white represents neutrality, cleanliness, minimalism, and even purity.

It's not a popular color for branding, although certain businesses have established their whole enterprises upon it, like Sony and HGTV.

2% of the most successful brands ever use brown in their logos, and they do so because it is associated with reliability, stability, and quality.

Examples of brands that have it in their branding include M&M's, UPS, and Hershey's.

And if you're going for something understated but sophisticated and a tad futuristic, gray or silver is a good choice.

6% of the top 100 global brands have grey or silver n their logo like Mercedes-Benz.

Trying Different Color Combinations When Branding Your Marketplace

Here are a few ideas when it comes to testing different color combinations.

First, understand the difference between the subtleties in the various colors you intend to use.

According to Canva, there are five "types" of colors that you might consider.

The first is a color hue or red, yellow, and blue variations.

Another is color shade, or when black is added to a color.

The opposite of shade is a tint, which is when you add white to a color to make it lighter; there's also saturation or tone, which uses both black and white.

Think about your color codes, as they will ensure consistent branding across your marketplace and other publication materials.

To create your brand palette, choose the primary color that best evokes the kind of emotion (or emotions) that you want your users or customers to feel.

Next, pick two to four secondary colors that provide an analogous, monochromatic, or contrasting color scheme.

Analogous color schemes use colors that belong to the same color family; monochromatic color schemes are various shades and tints of your primary color. Contrasting color schemes make your primary color pop, as they will set it off nicely.

Your brand palette should be consistent in the use of your logo and your social media, advertising, and email.


Branding colors are essential!

When choosing them, place them on your online marketplace's vision, message, and goals, and use them throughout your unique selling proposition.

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