You may have heard it before: today you need to tell a great story in order to sell your products. By themselves, products don’t sell anymore. There is no novelty in anything except for cutting-edge hi-tech. But we are not talking about this type of product here. We talk about common, everyday items. We talk about the shoes and clothes we wear, the bed we sleep on and the vacuum cleaner we use to clean our carpets. These items do not sell by themselves – you need to tell people a great story to give them reasons to buy your products.
But what does a great story look like in the era of ecommerce? It is not about princes and princesses anymore. The bad guys have no place in this story. What should you tell people to make them see your products with the same eyes that you are looking at them with? Today we will look into six great stories told by various ecommerce brands and understand what really makes them great.
- Warby Parker
Warby Parker sells glasses. They have a large variety of frame models in stock, to suit all tastes. But that is not the story they are sharing on their website. What Warby Parker wants to tell its prospects and customers is that for every purchase, an amount is set aside for funding a CSR project which enabled the company to offer, so far, over 2 million free glasses to people in need.
Now, this is a motivating and uplifting story. Basically, what Warby Parker tells its customers is that by buying glasses from this company, they help disadvantaged people get a free pair of much needed glasses. Can you really walk away from this story?
- Saddleback Leather
The founder of this company which manufactures handmade leather bags guaranteed to last 100 years (this is one key selling point) shares his adventurous life, a life which made him understand the importance of a great, dependable bag. The story sounds very much like an old western tale combined with modern day crime fiction. Its out-of-this-world character gives it credence – it is far too outrageous to be made up.
In the end, what the reader understands is that the prototype of the bags sold by this company has withstood so many perils and yet it remained intact, and that any regular, daily use would leave it in pristine condition.
- Fit2B Studio
Can you sell workout and fitness videos these days? There are tens of thousands of tutorials and training sessions by professionals available for free on YouTube alone. Yet the owner of Fit2B is capable of this feat. How does she do it? She identifies herself with her customers’ number one pain point: lack of time.
A mother herself, Beth Learn knows everything about lack of sleep, lack of time and a hectic schedule. And she gives her customers this key assurance: that each personalised fitness programme will be built around their daily schedule, so that they can actually achieve their goals. This approach will certainly resonate with many young mums who are struggling to raise their children and get back in shape.
The story of Bonobos is simple: the founders realised that ready-made trousers rarely fit anyone perfectly. So they decided to change that by introducing a special curved waistline which is anatomically correct, compared to straight waistlines. Once that experiment worked, they moved on to clothing for the upper body.
This kind of story is a clever mix of emotions (“someone cares about the customer for real”) and logical explanations (going in-depth with the presentation of the business model). Appealing to both sides of the human brain, a story like this is very convincing, as long as you are really genuine and forthcoming in what you share.
There are many ways of telling stories in ecommerce retail, and one of the most powerful ways is through images. ModCloth is doing a really great job in this respect: once you land on their website, you see people just like you, the potential customers, doing things they love and which are similar to your own hobbies and ways of having fun and spending quality time with friends.
What does this visual story say? It makes prospects envision themselves as the models in those photos, having fun while wearing flattering and comfortable clothes. Do you really need more convincing to start browsing their collections?
This company was started by two friends who enjoy outdoor adventures. They enjoy an active life and want their customers to do the same thing. Their contribution is a comprehensive range of high quality outdoor gear, designed and manufactured by people who actually know what type of equipment you need during these adventures.
The key takeaway from this story is that you are buying items made by experts, who have tried various items made by other companies during their own adventures and have decided to make something better. You really feel that they know what they are talking about and this helps you trust them.