Stories are vital to the success of ecommerce stores.
Storytelling helps you build a connection with potential customers and stand out in increasingly competitive ecommerce markets. From fashion to coffee and subscription ecommerce, storytelling is becoming more common. So it’s time for you to start telling your unique brand story to grow your store.
The problem with e-commerce websites
Most ecommerce stores aren’t using storytelling and it’s resulting in high bounce rates, poor conversion rates and a bad customer experience.
We’ve all been to stores after clicking on a social ad. We click around, look at a few products but soon get bored and click back to what we were doing.
While there are lots of reasons people don’t buy from ecommerce websites, one of the biggest challenges for ecommerce store owners is grabbing someone’s attention and keeping it. Most ecommerce sites are set up to focus on the brand’s products, not what makes the brand or those products unique.
The importance of storytelling
If you’ve ever watched an episode of the X Factor you’ll know all about the story. Humans are fine tuned to absorb stories much more easily than facts and statistics. Stories make us sit up and pay attention, we connect with them on some level and we retain them in our minds.
If a story is framed correctly and told in the right way, a brand can connect with a consumer and build a two way conversation. This is something that is vital in order to stand out and build customer loyalty over time. Think John Lewis adverts, they’re not heavily product focused but we remember them and share them with our loved ones. Why? Because as well as hearing, reading and seeing stories we all love telling stories too.
Our consumers become our brand ambassadors by sharing the story of your brand to their friends, family and work colleagues. That’s how messages spread, through the power of ecommerce storytelling. Your store can utilise this powerful tool too.
Stories increase trust & authenticity
By creating an authentic story you help build trust with your audience and they feel connected with your brand.
Authenticity is key here. If you create a fictional story and your audience sees through it, you’ll automatically lose trust and once trust is lost it’s hard to rebuild.
Make sure your story is authentic and easy to tell to build trust across your audiences.
Stories increase brand loyalty
Brands who build relationships with their customers have greater brand loyalty.
Brands like Apple and Patagonia have built a following of dedicated fans. Apple fans still camp out overnight for the latest iPhone, Macbook or iPad and Patagonia has dedicated followers who want to save the planet. Both brands utilised storytelling as a way to grow brand loyalty beyond products.
Stories help buyers take action
With so much choice and information available to consumers they often put off buying decisions because of the stress involved in making a decision. By creating a compelling story you make the decision to choose your brand much easier by cutting through the marketing noise and appealing to the head and the heart of consumers.
Ecommerce storytelling: How to get started
Start with “Why”
The unique passions, interests and experiences behind your business will shape its reason for existing. Every business has a reason to exist, else there’s not much point in it being there.
What drove you to set up your business?
What does your business care about?
What values do you and your business follow?
Once you’ve answered the questions above you should have the basics of a “Why.” You’ll probably need to refine this further to get a strong answer to the question “Why does my business exist?”
Let your customers’ needs shape your story
There is nothing more valuable to your business than your customers and their stories. Ask for reviews, ask them why they use your products and find out what makes them choose you. Build your companies stories around your customers’ stories.
Do they buy your organic t shirts because it makes them feel like they’re contributing to moving the fashion industry away from fast fashion? Do they buy your food because it reminds them of a special time in their lives? Listen to your customers and use their reasons for using your products in your storytelling.
You’ll notice patterns in the reasons why customers buy from you – use these to create a story that resonates and connects with your customers.
Be part of something bigger
Storytelling doesn’t always have to focus on your specific company, it can be a part of something bigger. For example, the war on plastics is a huge subject and has huge players like David Attenborough engaging to tackle the problem. Your brand can join in that conversation to become part of the story.
How can your business contribute to reducing plastics, or how can your brand partner with other organisations to be part of something bigger?
Focus on emotions
For stories to connect with consumers you need to focus on what emotion you want them to feel. What do you want your customers to feel when they use your product? Build that into your product or service to bring about an emotion when someone engages with your brand. Always focus on positive emotions, we don’t want someone to feel sad or angry when they use our product. We want them to feel something positive.
Make it shareable
All good stories are concise and memorable which makes them easy to share. Your consumers become your biggest brand ambassadors, reducing your marketing costs and increasing awareness of your story and brand.
When someone feels good about using your product they’re much more likely to share their experience with their network. You could try using a branded hashtag to get consumers sharing their positive experiences on social media. Brand hashtags are great for platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.
Digital storytelling examples
Patagonia is often given as an example of a brand doing great things for the environment. Their storytelling and transparency has led them to become a brand loved by millions. So how do they do it?
Everything Patagonia does builds its brand story as a premium sustainable and ethical apparel company. From their use of materials, to environmental policies and supply chain transparency they have cornered the environmentally-conscious apparel market and they continue to grow whilst still being ethical.
Whilst their products speak for themselves in terms of quality and how long they last, the real value in the brand is through its storytelling. Everyone says they want to save the planet but everything Patagonia does suggests that they really do. They have invested millions of pounds into sustainable startups and even given away IP rights to other companies when it can benefit the environment and help these other companies (sometimes competitors) to innovate and produce more environmentally friendly products.
Their use of video and aspirational imagery is key to their storytelling success. They regularly commission videos to promote their campaigns and impact on the environment.
As demographics and values change, more and more people are buying into Patagonia’s story and that story is spreading like wildfire, resulting in more sales and bigger profits.
Doing good in business really does deliver.
Who’d have thought you could build a story around glasses?
Well two students in America did and they had a simple story “Glasses are too expensive”. Tied in with a Buy 1, Give 1 model – they had a strong story that resonated.
From inception the brand focused on creating a more affordable way to buy glasses and people stood up and listened. Through the use of social media storytelling they built a brand following of over 500k followers on Instagram.
Their use of boomerangs and stories on Instagram is one way they use ecommerce storytelling to engage their audience. Warby Parker uses video differently across platforms, opting for shorter snappy storytelling clips on Instagram and more shareable long form video on Facebook.
What do these brands have in common?
They communicate a consistent story across different channels by tailoring the way the message is delivered on each platform. They focus on the consumer and what they care about to deliver a story that resonates using personal and impactful copywriting.
If you’re ready to grow your ecommerce brand, you should consider adding storytelling to your marketing strategy. The power of stories to build relationships and spread awareness is huge.