Storytelling in E‑commerce: Why Is It so Important?

Storytelling is a great marketing strategy if you're looking for ways to stand out from the competition, increase your turnover and create great marketing campaigns.

E-commerce is more popular today than ever before. This is, of course, good news for most shop owners. However, it also means that the competition is getting stronger every day.

Here's what you can expect to read in this article:

Storytelling is becoming increasingly important to shop owners who don’t want to lose customers to the competition. Before we deep-dive into the topic, we should clarify some things beforehand:

What is storytelling?

Anyone who is involved in online marketing will eventually come across the word storytelling.

Storytelling is obviously about telling stories. However, in a marketing sense, this word means much more than that. In everyday life, everyone tells stories:

  • stories from the office
  • stories about the date we went on
  • stories about crazy experiences
  • stories about the weekend, or
  • stories about the greatest product in the world…

Telling stories is even a key element in human evolution. As information and knowledge is passed on this way, we can warn each other of dangers, educate others, and provide motivation.

Connecting one’s own online shop or products with a story creates a completely different awareness among customers. This can strongly affect their impression of your brand. Your online shop becomes a shop with character if it contains a story behind its whole concept.

Take a second and ask yourself which online shop you would rather buy something from?

Online shop A: Hi, we are online shop A and we sell camping utensils.

Online Shop B:Hi, I love to go camping!

As a little boy I went camping almost every weekend. During our trips, I learned a lot about nature, edible foods, camping, and also a lot about myself.

I've had some of the most beautiful experiences of my life out in nature. I opened up online shop B so that other people can experience the same things I did as a kid.

The decision is easy. You might even be willing to pay a little more than at another shop because you have the feeling the shop owner has put a lot of love and energy into their shop.

father and son telling campfire stories

Source: Liudmyla

Another example:

Would you be willing to spend 1 million pounds on a simple stone? Most likely not, as it is only a stone.

But what if you knew that this stone was the stone which was used by David to defeat Goliath? The value of the stone increases immeasurably due to the story behind it.

That might seem like a crazy story, but think about those auctions where people buy scraps of paper that were used to write the most famous songs of our generation. They pay thousands of pounds on such items because of the (his)story behind them.

What is the point of storytelling?

Here are three reasons to implement storytelling into your marketing strategy:

Reason #1: Storytelling strengthens the trust in your shop

As an experienced shop owner, you know that trust is one of the most important conversion drivers in e-commerce.

Many consumers are still cynical of online shops, especially the ones that they've never heard of before. New site visitors often look for trust elements such as a quality badge or a trustmark on the site for a sign of trustworthiness.

However, the trust which your customers have in you can also be enhanced by a story.

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Even if you don’t have an emotional story or reason why you started your shop, you can still convince your customers of your shop by uploading pictures and videos of…

  • Internal processes (production, team meetings, etc.)

  • Your team

  • Happy customers

  • Honest product testing

Remember that your customers are sharing sensitive information with you and they'll feel better if they learn a bit more about your company. Seeing friendly faces and knowing what the founder’s motive behind the shop is can build a story for your online shop.

Reason #2: Storytelling sets you apart from the competition

E-commerce is booming and there's a good chance this will not change dramatically in the next few years. In order to benefit from this boom and not be lost in the sea of online shops, you have to stand out from your competitors.

shadow puppets telling a story

Source: Altmann

Open a new tab and start analysing your competitors.

Do they have a story behind their idea or do they hardly differ from each other?

Differentiating yourself from the competition when it comes to price rarely ends well or even profitably. If a competitor lowers their prices, many shop owners will follow suit and also lower their prices. This is a never-ending story.

That’s why the About Us page should definitely be used as a differentiator. Make sure that this (surprisingly often visited) page fulfils the following points:

  • Who you are
  • What you offer
  • Why you started the shop
  • How many people work for the shop
  • What you have ahead of your competition
  • What values you stand for
  • Etc.

Make sure that the “About Us” page is not boring and that it comes from the heart. Address your customers directly and put yourself in their position.

If you work in a certain industry where humour is acceptable, write something funny about you and your team, for example.

Whether a customer will buy from you or another shop can come down to your story and your products.

Showing potential customers why they should buy from you even before they've decided to buy anything at all will increase your chances of selling immensely.

Reason #3: With the help of storytelling, you will become a brand

There are so many online shops trying to convince potential customers to buy from them. When you pursue a storytelling strategy, you will not only stand out from the competition and create trust, but your business will also be perceived as a brand.

Setting up your own shop as a brand has several advantages:

  • You can produce your own products

  • You can charge a high-end price

  • Customers are most likely to identify with your shop and will become loyal fans

  • The value of your shop will increase as you will no longer just be a shop but a strong brand.

Recommended reading:
The Big Branding Guide by Trusted Shops

But how will you be able to tell great stories that will help you reach these advantages?

Storytelling in E-commerce:
Tips & Tricks

Tip #1: Use honest emotions and answer “why should I buy this?”

In order to reach your customers with your story or message, you have to see it from their perspective.

What are customers looking for when they visit your shop? In this case, do not think about the products being bought, but rather the reasons why they are being bought.

  • Camping means adventure, nature, & new experiences

  • Cooking utensils mean family, having fun, & taste experiments

  • Athletic clothes mean team, performance, & fitness

  • Books mean relaxation, curiosity, & discovery

Show your customers that you understand their desires for adventure, performance and relaxation with the help of texts, pictures and videos.

Try to guess what YETI is selling while watching this video. What feeling do you get when watching the ad?

YETI video thumbnailAfter watching this video, would you rather buy from YETI or from a no name competitor?

Tip #2: Use high quality pictures and videos

There was always a high budget involved when producing high-quality marketing material in the past.

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Nowadays, the costs are much lower. Smartphones, for instance, allow anyone to produce a professional-looking 4k-video and photo shoots. Therefore, smaller online stores with a lower budget can tell impressive stories with great images and videos.

Tip #3: Get to know your customers

Whether it’s a survey sent via email or a personal conversation, try to get to know your customers and find out why they are buying your products.

Ask them what is important to them while shopping online and what they pay attention to.

This way, you can build custom-made stories that reach your customers exactly where they are.

Recommended reading:
Creating a Buyer Persona to Better Understand Your Customers

Tip #4: Write great product descriptions

A shop owner can also be creative with their product descriptions. Competitors might be using simple product descriptions (provided by the manufacturer). However, a little extra effort in this area can make a big difference.

This may not be classic storytelling in the sense that you may not be telling a personal (or even true) story. However, stories in product descriptions can also trigger certain emotions.

As a simple example, think of a perfume: customers get an idea of how the perfume will smell when the product description is well written.

Another example might include a story of fancy dinner during an anniversary celebration. The scent of the perfume awakens the memories of a loving relationship... You get the idea.

product descriptions whitepaper

Examples for great storytelling

Outstanding storytelling examples don’t take long to find. As soon as you pay attention to it, you’ll see examples of marketing stories everywhere.

There are of course companies that stand out in this category, such as…


The slogan Just do it by Nike is world-famous. Several motivating ads have led to one thing:

Whenever you think of cool sportswear, you think of Nike.

Nike is also famous due to its great ideas like this one:

Make It Count video thumbnail

Nasty Gal

On the About Sophia page, the founder of Nasty Gal, Sophia Amoruso, is presented and she talks about how she started the business with almost nothing and motivates her customers with her #GIRLBOSS mentality.

About Us on Nasty Gal

The online shop was purchased by for several million dollars back in 2017 and her story even inspired a Netflix series. Check out the trailer below:

girlboss video thumbnail

Seattle Cider Company

The Seattle Cider Company shows that storytelling does not always have to be done by video or text. The company’s homepage playfully shows how the product is created. More information is revealed while scrolling down the page.

Homepage Seattle Cider Company


Giving your online shop a personality with the help of storytelling has many advantages. Develop a unique story that describes you and your shop and sets you apart from the competition, as well as increases the loyalty of your customers and, in the best case, also your turnover.

A good story goes hand in hand with user-generated content, because both marketing strategies support each other. If you want learn more about this topic, download our whitepaper now!

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Dan Heller

Dan Heller is an SEO specialist that studied Communication & Design. He is a passionate content creator with experience in many industries, including e-commerce, real estate, and fashion.

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