[Storytelling for e-commerce] Once upon a time, there was a trick to selling more by telling stories

If it sounds like a tall tale, we don’t blame you.

But the truth is that stories sell… a lot. And they also:

  • Make your brand more memorable.
  • Foster client loyalty.
  • Generate more engagement.
  • Go viral.
  • And more!

How can we get all that by using storytelling in our online shop?

You have all the details in this post. ;)

Once upon a time, there was an e-commerce…

What is storytelling? So much more than just a story

The “official” definition says that it is telling stories, but digital marketing goes a step further:

Storytelling is a sales technique based on telling stories that can capture a client’s attention through emotions so we can get their complicity and their liking, and we can increase their desire to buy our products.

That is to say:

But the question at hand is: how can stories lead to all that?

Let’s go ahead and answer that with… a story. ;)

Do you remember Scheherazade, the main character in The Thousand and One Nights

Thanks to all the tales she told the sultan, she was able to postpone her execution one thousand and one nights. The Sultan was so into the tale that he would forgive her night after night.

The idea is obviously not for you to take that long to sell your products. However, you can become the 21st century Scheherazade and grab your audience’s attention through exciting stories that are directly focused on feelings.

In other words, kick your stories into high gear to increase your sales.

One thousand and one benefits of storytelling (that’s right, we’re still with Scheherazade) ;)

Using storytelling in your business is based on one clear idea.

Your clients may forget what you tell them (especially if you are giving them a bunch of details), but they will always remember how you made them feel.

We are talking about creating emotions, remember?

If your audience:

  • Feels thrilled with you
  • Identifies with your main characters
  • Respects and admires your brand’s values

Then they are going to choose you over any other supplier. In other words, they are going to choose your shop over the competition.

But let’s get to the point and talk about what you can achieve with a good storytelling strategy:

1. Create engagement with your target audience

You’re going to strengthen your business’ emotional connection with your potential buyers. You are no longer just a place to buy – you have now humanized your business and have gotten much closer to your audience.

And taking into account all the competitors that there are online, getting your audience’s affection is quite the advantage.

2. Get stuck in your client’s head

A story that moves you is always memorable.

In addition, it is often passed on because if clients like it, they’ll tell it to more people (indeed, stories are much more likely to go viral).

Click play and have a look at this Christmas commercial from Ruavieja (they received more than 11 million views in just a few days).

 

3. Generate trust in your brand

By telling a story you can simplify an otherwise difficult concept. You can share your business’ mission and explain how to properly use one of your products.

It’s especially useful if you sell new products or if you notice that they are not being used properly.

Have a look at how Albal explained how to use their Zip bags.

 

Now that we’ve seen some examples, are you already convinced?

If you still have some doubts, keep reading. And if you are convinced, you’ll still learn more useful tips below. ;)

Can storytelling increase your e-commerce sales?

In 2009 some researchers tried to prove the idea that words can turn insignificant objects into important ones.

To do so, they proceeded as follows:

They bought a bunch of stuff from an auction and secondhand shops for just a few dollars. Each of them was later posted on eBay with a fictional story filled with emotions written by professional writers.

What happened?

The products, worth $128, were sold for more than $3,600.

If you want to know more about the Significant Objects Project, click here.

Hopefully that experience with storytelling resolved any remaining doubts you had about its power.

Now let’s talk about the more practical side of things: how you can apply storytelling to e-commerce.

What should you include in your storytelling?

Before you start writing your epics, you have to take some details into account:

1. Who you are telling the story to

Or, in other words, your buyer persona.

Your story must be gear toward your ideal buyer’s profile. Remember that the final goal is to make a sale.

Important: if you don’t know who your buyer persona is, you are not going to make them feel anything,

Luckily, you can read about how to define it in this post.

One great success story was the #LikeAGirl campaign by Always, a female hygiene product brand.

Steering clear of the typical communication used in the sector, they created a campaign that focused on the use of the expression “like a girl” being an insult.

The campaign sought to connect with younger female clients and they made it happen thanks to a campaign aimed at empowerment. It was a perfect fit for their target audience.

Obviously, it was a global success.

 

You need to transmit your brand’s values – those benefits that your clients admire and the reason why they choose you over your competitors. That “something else” that makes you different.

For example, IKEA wants to transmit the idea that they create homes.

Along those lines, they used the Christmas holiday season to launch a campaign about families, the core of every home. It’s impossible to watch it without tearing up a bit.

 

2. Define the main characters

Choosing your main characters properly is important since you need your clients to identify with them. There must be an emotional connection for storytelling to work.

That’s exactly why you must be very careful not to show non-credible characters. Again, it is essential to know your ideal client’s values.

And in order to exemplify this, here you have another Christmas story (again, it’s impossible not to cry).

 

It’s a commercial for a supermarket, so the target audience is families.

Christmas + getting your family together + a good story = success.

You can always share real stories from clients that will automatically be a guarantee for your products (remember the importance of social proof).

Dove did that perfectly with its “Real Women” campaign.

 

3. Build a structure

Every story has 3 parts:

  • Setting
  • Problem
  • Resolution

Use that structure so you don’t get lost trying to transmit your message. Don’t try to create overly complex stories since, most of the time, talking about a specific situation is enough.

The Spanish brand Casa Tarradellas is an expert in sharing these moments with a humoristic tone.

 

Where to apply storytelling in your e-commerce

If you choose to use storytelling (and we really think you should), you need to know that this is not about telling a story just once.

In order to generate engagement, you need to think about stories as an integral part of your communication strategy and put them into all of your messages.

Here you have some examples:

1. The home page

The homepage is the entrance hall for your clients, so the challenge here is to engage them from minute one.

How?

You guessed it – with a story, or with several short stories. Have a look at the home video from the Dollar Shave Club website.

This male cosmetics shop shows different daily scenes of men in the bathroom. We see everything from the guy playing videogames on the toilet 😅 to the one taking a bath surrounded by candles to the teenager getting spiffed up before a date.

storytelling ecommerce tienda online

It’s all about mini-storytelling that captures your attention right off the bat and puts a smile on your face.

2. In your product cards

It’s easier to show off the benefits of your products by telling stories that make your clients feel as if they were using them.

A perfect example is The Singular Olivia, a craftswoman who makes natural and ecological soaps and cosmetic products.

Storytelling en ficha de producto - The Singular Olivia

In this picture we can see mojito soap described as follows:

“Get soaked in joy and energy with this soap that will make you dance salsa in the shower thanks to its refreshing lemon and invigorating mint. The perfect start to a big night out.

As you can see, product cards go beyond a simple list of ingredients. And don’t forget the “superpowers” tab.

“A soap that awakens smiles, feelings, and that deeply hydrates your body while you free your mind. It has such a soft texture and such a pleasant smell that you’ll be daydreaming about that hard-earned vacation before you go to work each day.”

This is real copywriting in a product card done the right way.

3. In the About Us/Who We Are section

You may not like the liquor Jagermeister, but there’s no doubt that you’ve heard of it.

It’s more than a century old and they’ve re-launched the product to tell you the story of their brand and their unique (and unbreakable) bottle on their website.

Storytelling en Quienes Somos - Jagermeister

4. Social networks

Showing clients your products or the production process is a great way to humanize your brand.

That’s what The North Face does on Instagram, and you just need to have a look at the interaction they get to be persuaded to try it yourself.

 

5. And more, much more

Stories can be found almost anywhere:

Don’t cut yourself short! Remember what we said before – a story hooks people (which means more time on your website, which also means a boost to your site’s positioning). ;)

What’s your next story?

Everyone has a story to tell… so what’s yours?

We’re sure you’ll see the impact on your conversion rate.