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You can’t be a successful eCommerce marketer if you don’t understand the importance of storytelling. When it comes to converting new shoppers who are sitting on your site right now, nothing matters more than a good, compelling, delicious story.
Why storytelling matters
68% of your site visitors are new (Databox survey). These are people who have a need but don’t know who you are.
How new visitors behave
Shoppers search on Google, see a list of results, and right-click to open their product pages in new tabs:
If what they see on your landing page doesn’t inspire them, they’ll exit. It’s how we all shop (including you).
importance of storytelling: impact
The difference between a good story and a great one is 512x.
The market is not seduced by logic; people are moved by stories and drama and hints and clues and discovery. Logic is a battering ram, one that might work if your case is overwhelming. Wal-Mart won by logic (cheap!), but you probably won’t. — Seth Godin
One word of caution
Let’s get one thing out of the way: when we say storytelling, we’re not talking about fabricating facts. Every product innovation has a compelling origin story. Unfortunately, creators are so close to it they forget how special it is. They don’t think it’s relevant to talk about the 38 times their prototype failed. They don’t feel comfortable nerding out about their passion. But these are precisely the things your audience is looking to connect over. You just have to know how to extract this story (explained below).
Importance of storytelling: how it boosts conversion rates
Stories can be big and broad but in the course of A/B testing hundreds of ideas, we’ve discovered that there are two aspects of stories that have the most meaningful impact on improving conversion rates when it comes to converting new buyers. These are:
Why we exist, and
Why this product must exist
As we’ve seen in the previous article (How to Increase Online Conversions and Sales), shoppers are inundated with choices. This means that when they come to your site, no matter how unique you may think you are, they’ve seen a version of it before.
Paradoxically, because shoppers are inundated with mass-produced experiences, they crave something authentic.
Further, because online experiences lack a human touch, anything that humanizes the experience connects at a deeper emotional level.
This is why stories that connect with emotions matter.
Think of your site as a hurdle race where the shopper has to overcome hurdles before they are ready to pull out a credit card.
The first hurdle is “who are you and why should I care?” and this is what the “why we exist” section answers.
Once they’ve bought your “why we exist” story, they are ready to explore your product page(s). Here, another question comes into focus: “I like you and understand why you exist but what makes your product the best?”
This is what the “why this product must exist” question answers.
Note: the “why this product must exist” story must be answered for each item you carry. But imagine you are a site like Bouqs and sell dozens and dozens of flower arrangements where any one individual item doesn’t drive enough sales to warrant it’s own “why this product must exist” story. In such instances focus more on the “why we exist” story. In can be the umbrella story for all the items you carry.
Now that we understand the importance of storytelling and the 2 main stories “why we exist” and “why this product must exist” we need to figure out where to have site visitors discover these 2 stories. That’s explained in this product page optimization article.