Marketing

How to Use Storytelling in eCommerce to Sell Your Brand

Consider your brand as an eCommerce business, your values, and what you stand for.

Done?

Okay, now, can you represent that in the form of storytelling?

Now, wait, you don’t actually have to write a novel about your eCommerce store, but if utilized well – storytelling can land you plenty of ‘forever customers’.

Why?

Because, we, as humans, naturally love stories.

In any art form or medium you look at, you’ll find hints of storytelling to attract and keep the attention of onlookers. From the moment we’re born, we’re introduced to stories, of the old and the new, myths, legends, and more.

They inspire us, give us confidence, and most importantly – hold our attention to the very end (of course, if the story is good).

Over the past few years, if you noticed, marketers’ main weapon of choice has become storytelling as a way to attract and retain customers.

In a world where customers suffer from decision fatigue, good storytelling can mean the difference between falling in love with a product or glancing past it. While many products might be the same within your niche – the stories are most certainly different.

So, if you too would like to utilize the superpower of storytelling – this guide is for you.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind when using storytelling to sell your brand in eCommerce –

1. Show, don’t tell

This is a classic storytelling technique and you might have even heard of it a few times during your academic literature or writing classes.

But what does it actually mean? Especially for eCommerce?

The advice of “show, don’t tell” essentially means that you must represent yourself (or your brand) within a larger context, or the bigger picture, to prove your point.

Think about how you can best represent your brand values through your website copy.

This is another easy way to increase customer loyalty, because if they identify with your brand’s core values – then it’s very likely for them to purchase from you again.

Your ‘about us’ is the perfect place to introduce your team and tell your story – the reason you started in the first place and what motivates you to continue. When you have a great story about how your product or service was built to change lives – share it. And make sure you place it in front of your customers.

Good stories humanize your brand, providing a bigger context and meaning for your product.

Every company has a story to tell. It’s best to think about this early when you’re just starting out.

Because, in the beginning – you might not have a lot of budget or products. But you’ll always have your story.

Using emotional copy and descriptions can make you stand out between a thousand other bland eCommerce stores.

And that brings us to our second point –

2. Start with “Why”

Consider this golden circle, first introduced by Simon Sinek in his Ted talk “How great leaders inspire action”.


diagram of The Golden Circle showing the order of "Why", "How", and "What" that brands should answer

Source: Pure 360


Just like your story, your “why” is just as essential for building your brand.

Sinek looked at what makes inspiring brands so successful and found that the answer has to do with the way they market themselves.

Look at some of the biggest corporations – Apple, Nike, Virgin Atlantic, and more to see successful application of the golden circle.

All these corporations answer these questions in the way Sinek suggests – “why” before the “how” or “what”.

By starting with the “why” first, companies can inspire people even before they talk about their products.

What does this look like?

Look at Apple, for example, they don’t just make great computers with a slick design that’s simple and easy to use (their “what” and “how”).

Their “why”, meanwhile, might look something like “to challenge the status quo and think differently.

“Think different”. This is where Apple began and to this day, they manage to live up to their original core value. Regardless of what you think about their products, you can’t deny the excellence of their storytelling and their brand.

Now, you might not have the vision of Apple or the storytelling skills of Steve Jobs, but if you too want to delight your customers with your products, then this final copywriting formula can help.

3. Turning features into benefits

“People don’t buy drills, they buy holes”

What does this quote tell you about your sales copy?

Zoom out a bit and look at your product in the frame of a bigger picture.

Consider its features, and benefits.

Features are the physical/factual statements about the product being promoted. A benefit, meanwhile, provides the results they’ll get from using your product.

And most people buy for the benefits, focusing on the results they want to obtain.

This simple copywriting formula can majorly affect your conversions as long as you write the description with it in mind.

So, look at things from your customers’ perspective and think about how they would use your products or benefit from them. Every customer is different, of course, but if you know your target market within your niche well enough – you’ll also know what they’re after and what they hope to gain.

Think in terms of results and you’ll be able to turn every little feature of the product into something your customers will benefit from. Even the slightest detail (color, design, etc.) can be used to influence customers.

A bright red color coat might be an easy way to stand out in a large crowd and gain attention if that’s what your customers are after.

Conclusion

Now, consider all of the storytelling techniques mentioned above and look at your overall eCommerce business.

First, start with your overall brand values and how you can position yourself with your core values in mind.

Then, make sure you can communicate that within your branding.

And finally, after that, really zoom in on each of your products, while keeping in mind what your customers are hoping to gain from it.

Good storytelling is a learned skill that takes time and patience to really instill with your customers.

And once you manage to do that, after a while, you’ll be selling your vision instead of just your products.

profile photo of Uwe

Uwe is the founder of online invoicing software InvoiceBerry and also offers free invoice templates to businesses. Small businesses and sole traders can create, send and manage their invoices, quotes and credit notes with the tool. In his free time, Uwe travels the world and enjoys experiencing different cultures.