Spinning Stories: Why visual storytelling matters for ecommerce stores

| Manasi

Storytelling has always been a crucial factor in retail. Buyers walk into a store with a story of how they got there. Sellers listen, understand their take, and help them with suggestions, spinning the tale further. The online world has adapted the same essential system. However, the competition is a lot more intense. Online visual storytelling needs to be a lot more immersive. 

A shopping experience is like being in a story with a start, middle, and end. The consumer enters the space with a reason, browses through, and takes a decision. At every turn (read: click), the store has a chance to make a purchase — or at least, build brand recall. 

According to a study, about 10% of people remember what they hear, 20% remember what they read, and an overwhelming 80% remember what they see and do. Humans are excellent at remembering pictures. When asked to recall a picture three days after they saw it first, people can recall about 65% of it!

Read on to know about why visual storytelling matters for eCommerce stores.

Product-First Approach

While tapping onto the benefits of visual storytelling, a brand must focus on a product-first approach. For retail stores with a digital presence, it primarily involves online visual merchandising — letting product images drive the story. The human brain can process an image after seeing it for as little as 13 milliseconds! Brands could leverage it if they were to focus on introducing and promoting their products via visuals.

Enriching Buying Experience

If a consumer is browsing through a fashion store, they would like to buy the big-ticket items first, followed by everyday scents and accessories. The latter are usually kept as knick-knacks near the cashier — easy to pick and add to the cart. A person buying shoes might look for socks too. An eCommerce store can enhance their experience by recommending products one would need to assemble their desired outfit. Stores have to go beyond and guide buyers like a trusted shopping companion. It’s the visuals of aspirations that pull people in, nudging them to add more to their carts.

Expand Brand Image

The brand recall heightens significantly when a customer sees the same hues and imagery at different touchpoints. They start associating different colors and symbols with the brand. It makes them integrate the brand into their everyday life and communication. It helps them become returning customers. Consistency in brand communication helps expand its scope and add to the brand’s overall value.

Leveraging Popular Culture

Being receptive to the current happenings, especially in the world of memes, topicals, and trends, can help a brand shape its communication better. They can leverage popular imagery in their messaging to deliver contextually relevant brand communication. They can couple it up with quick discounts to delight customers and up-tick engagement. Visuals are the essential components that drive this purchase journey.

Going Beyond Retail

An eCommerce store selling clothing pieces can talk about ways for people to expand the shelf life of their existing wardrobe. It would help them strengthen their resolve towards sustainability and build a stronger relationship with consumers. If the consumer were to need a new product, they would remember, likely making a purchase. The returns might take longer, but it would be a worthy investment. The focus here would be on brand building.

For physical stores starting their online journeys and eCommerce stores expanding their reach, visual storytelling is a tool to form deeper connections with customers. The messaging interacts with their sensory vision, compelling the buyers to take a better look. The stores can entice them further with discounts and contextual content compelling them to hit the cart.