People love stories. We like to hear them, we want to tell them, and we like to share them. So stories can make a difference when you’re trying to sell a product and they can be the key to a successful eCommerce.
Did you know that 65% of human communication happens with the help of stories? We often forget it, but we are social creatures, and stories help us keep in contact with those around us. They help us communicate, build relationships, and empathize with each other.
Stories demand more attention, and they are easier to remember! They are also an excellent tool for learning and teaching. It is why teachers, politicians, and even preachers use them — a lot.
Without stories, our life would lack context. It would make it hard for other people to relate to us. They also make life exciting!
When it comes to selling a product, storytelling can make a huge difference. It’s especially true for eCommerce where shoppers don’t have direct access to the product. It’s your challenge to bring it to them through the screen.
Storytelling can be very valuable for an eCommerce. It will help create a narrative around your company and your product, making them more desirable and relatable. Use it to share what drives your brand, what excites you, and how your product can make a significant change in the lives of your shoppers.
Remember infomercials? The early precursors of eCommerce had terrific examples of storytelling! They showed how easy your life would become with the new product. And no matter how exaggerated or obnoxious the TVads were, we watched them in full because they were entertaining.
And as marketers, we know that the longer that a shopper looks at a product, the higher the chances are of them completing the purchase. They were effective!
Tips on how to use storytelling in your eCommerce
Before I continue, I have to tackle this pet peeve of mine. Take it as a tip: Whatever you’re promoting, don’t just announce that you’re “the best.” Instead, show WHY you’re the best or HOW you became the best.
We’re surrounded by people or products who claim to be the best, or the most amazing or the most successful, or the most innovative, and really, that doesn’t mean anything anymore. We’ve become numb to everything being the “best.”
Don’t announce your value. Show it. You have to think that you’re building a brand that’s much more than just the product you sell.
Storytelling on the Homepage
The homepage has to tell a story. It’s the entrance to the world of your brand and upon entering shoppers have to understand:
- Why am I entering this website?
- What type of company is this?
- How do I see myself reflected by this brand?
These are all valid questions. Customers want to relate to the brands they buy from. Your story has to confirm what shoppers think of themselves or show them what they can become by associating themselves with your brand.
One good example is companies with strong social responsibility values. Some shoppers might think, “I buy from an ethical company. Therefore, I am a good person”. It might seem too simplistic, or it might happen on a subconscious level, but it works.
I will use the example of Timberland. Their active storytelling approach on the homepage is great to introduce people to the brand, their products, and their environmental activism.
Make your homepage approachable. Help people understand why they’re there and why it’s vital that they know your brand.
Storytelling on the About Page
On the About Page, brands can dig deeper into their stories and paint the full picture of who they are. Make sure to help customers associate with your narrative.
The Saddleback has a fantastic example. Their about page opens with “A hot wife and two fabulous kids and 14 Rwandan sons and daughters and a cool dog and a crooked federale sent to kill me kind of makes up the saddleback story. Here’s how it happened.”
Who wouldn’t want to know the full story? This type of engaging story makes the audience want to be part of the story. Because let’s face it, it’s a cool story. People will want to share it.
Storytelling in emails
Mailings are another great tool to invite customers into your world. You can build a sense of community, and you can share product and company updates and associate them with positive experiences for your customers. Make customers feel part of the story by reaching out and including them into your brand’s narrative.
Storytelling in the Product Page
Last, but not least, there’s some compelling storytelling that you can do on the product page. And this is where you can get creative. Use engaging descriptions, pictures that tell a story or user reviews, which are great stories in themselves!
Make sure you have:
- A clear goal
- Well-defined audience
- List of feelings, or messges that you want to communicate
- High-quality pictures.
- User reviews or comments
I want to share a practical example that illustrates how successful smart storytelling can be for your business. Here is the story of a project named Significant Objects:
It all started when Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn bought a bunch of assorted meaningless products, spending USD 129 in total.
They then invited writers to create a story for every one of the products and invented categories to classify them. There was even a category of objects that were evidence in different criminal trials!
When they put the items up for auction, the result was surprising. Not only did they sell all of the pieces, but they also collected more than USD 3600! It just shows how convincing a story can be when associated with a product.
I believe that the main takeaways here are: Don’t sell the product. Sell the idea of what it means for your customers. Create emotional connections with them!
Help customers differentiate themselves with the help of stories. Shoppers want to be unique, and they want to be part of something bigger. Stories can add equal–or more–value than the product itself. Be it in an eCommerce, or everyday life, stories add authenticity to all experiences.