You've launched your online shop and optimized it as much as possible – but it's still not running as smoothly as you'd like? You've already done everything you can to optimize the conversion rate, improve the user experience and present the products in a great light. And yet your sales are still not coming in at the desired rate?
If you're stuck in the situation above and simply don't know which technique to use to optimize your shop anymore, then I have some good news for you. A highly effective and popular method to boost sales can turn your fortunes and it's called storytelling.
This article looks at what storytelling is, how you can integrate it into your shop, adapt it and significantly increase your conversion rate to get the sales you want.
What is storytelling?
Before we talk specifically about the advantages of storytelling for your shop, let's start by defining what it exactly is. In essence, storytelling means nothing more than "telling stories" and its origins are not in e-commerce or marketing, but in art and literature. It describes a storytelling method that aims to convey content with the help of figurative and symbolic language, i.e. metaphors and leitmotifs.
In contrast to traditional narrative methods, digital storytelling focuses less on data and facts and must instead give way to emotions, imagery and a common narrative thread. The story told can be true, fictional or based on a true event and embellished.
There are no limits to storytelling and because of the special tension and attention it achieves, the business world has also increasingly recognized the potential of the storytelling method. Today, it's one of the most popular marketing tools, which is an efficient method for increasing sales, especially for online shops.
Benefits of storytelling for your online shop
Unlike the usual shop optimization of design, wording, product portfolio, checkout process and many other points, storytelling usually involves more time and creative effort. However, it brings a whole range of advantages that definitely justify the effort.
1. Storytelling helps build the brand
People love stories. That's why novels are bought every day, storybooks are read to children, films are streamed on Netflix and the latest neighborhood gossip is discussed with the people next door.
Stories give us the feeling of being alive and grip us with excitement and emotion. This element of storytelling also helps you build your brand. If you manage to bring a storytelling concept in line with your branding, people will associate the story and emotion with your brand.
Especially for new customers, it's great if the first point of contact is storytelling and you can capture them with emotions and win them over with your shop. With storytelling, you don't just win over random one-time customers, you build loyal relationships with long-standing customers.
The whole thing likely still sounds very abstract, so let's look at an example. During the coronavirus pandemic, many people with traditional office jobs had to shift to working from home. The American technology giant Apple took advantage of this and came up with perfect storytelling.
Apple produced a video called "The whole working-from-home-thing", in which a team working from home tries to meet a tight project deadline. In the process, the employees "suffer" from the typical problems that lurk when working at home and have become a meme in corona times: childcare, no scanner within reach, no designated workplace and distractions everywhere.
The short film shows the difficulties people have working from home in a humorous and authentic way. Viewers can immediately identify with them and recognize themselves in the characters. To what extent is this a branding measure? Well, the only constant that helps the bright team navigate through the home office quarrels is, of course, the reliability of the Apple devices.
Storytelling is therefore ideal for creating a story that your target group identifies with. If you also manage to position your brand in the story with its values, it will bring a tremendous boost for your branding.
2. Storytelling makes your product more valuable
On 1 July 2021, the Harry Potter glasses and wand used by actor Daniel Radcliffe in the famous films will be auctioned off in America. Experts estimate that the props will go for between 30,000 and 50,000 USD.
This is an extreme example of storytelling that conveys how a strong story with great emotional versatility can increase the value of a supposedly simple product. After all, why are fans willing to spend so much money on a bit of wood and a pair of ordinary glasses? The reason is quite simply that they're not just buying a pair of glasses and a piece of wood, but an attitude to life. An attitude to life that determines a large part of their existence and represents their values and passions.
Don't worry, you don't have to become the next J.K. Rowling to add value to your products with storytelling. If you succeed in developing a story around your company that has a certain family of values and appeals to a clearly defined target group on an emotional level, you too will succeed in adding extra value to your products. These can be values such as sustainability, family, love, health and many more. Think about what values you and your company want to stand for and how you can package them in a story.
3. Describe your product better with storytelling
A common mistake in marketing is to be too proud of bare figures and forget what is really relevant for customers. People are inundated with facts and figures these days, so it's all the more important to reach them on a personal level.
This is where storytelling comes into play. Instead of listing raw data in the product description of your online shop, you can use figurative language, symbols and metaphors to show potential customers the added value of your product.
Is there a classic problem that everyone knows and has experienced and that your product solves? This is where you can start and, similar to the Apple film, spin an emotional story that your target group can identify with. Create a fictional character, for example, whose everyday life is affected by this problem until they comes across your product. Or tell the true story of how you came up with the product idea and what problem it managed to solve in your life.
Depending on the type of shop you have, the emotions of the story can be conveyed humorously, touchingly or on many other levels. Once you have achieved this, you take away any further need to explain the product and thus also shorten the path to purchase. With a product description based on storytelling, you will noticeably increase your conversion rate!
How to integrate storytelling into your shop
We've already talked a lot about what storytelling actually is and what benefits it brings to your shop, and we've seen two interesting real-life examples. But how can you get in on the action and implement storytelling for your online shop?
There are many different storytelling methods and strategies you can use to bring a story into your shop – from the type of story to the medium. Basically, it makes sense to make a distinction between fictional and real.
Do you want to base your storytelling on a true incident or create a fictional story? Think carefully about what best suits you, your shop, product and long-term planning.
A fictional story is ideal if you have the feeling the real events don't provide enough for a gripping story. But even if you don't want to put yourself in the foreground of your shop and want to remain anonymous, a fictional story is ideal. Remember not to confuse fictional with "lies" in this context.
Anyone living in Germany surely knows the "two incomparable families" from the Check24 advertisement. It's a prime example of (fictional) storytelling. The funny commercials usually show an average family with a lot of stereotypes. The father saves money for the family through the comparison portal so the wife and daughter can buy themselves nice things. The storytelling with the family was such a success that Check24 even added a second family.
You too can easily construct a fairy tale or an imaginary character that comes into contact with your product or service and always accompanies the product journey.
Storytelling based on a true occurrence
Does your product have an interesting back story? How was your company founded? What were the challenges? Are there any interesting anecdotes?
By illustrating the long journey from start-up to product and the first happy customers, you create the perfect foundation for solid storytelling. Think about how you can create a thread that turns your experiences into a consistent story.
If you can present the hurdles and the path of your company's development in an interesting way, this will trigger emotions in potential customers that will be linked to your story. In this way, you also increase the connection and sympathy towards your shop. Consequently, the probability of a purchase increases considerably.
Your story comes alive through color and sound
Your concept for storytelling is ready? Great, now it's time to implement it. There are a lot of storytelling tools that can help you combine different media like text, images, video and sound to create your perfect storytelling.
Usually, storytelling tools are very easy to use and work according to the drag and drop principle. All you have to do is put together all the content you've prepared for your storytelling (images, texts, music, etc.).
Conclusion: Storytelling for your online shop
You now know all the advantages that storytelling can bring to your online shop. We examined what is meant by storytelling, discussed some best practices and how you can integrate it into your shop. Now it's up to you. Be creative and develop a compelling story that will make your conversion rate skyrocket!