According to the latest eRetail Sales Index from Capgemini and IMRG, online retail sales in the UK topped £133 billion last year— five per cent higher than initially expected.

And with ecommerce sales predicted to grow 14 per cent in 2017, it’s clear that the ecommerce industry is expanding. Fast.

This poses the question: how can today’s ecommerce brands cut through the growing competition and stand out from the crowd?

One answer is by harnessing the power of great storytelling.

A good story can turn a lifeless brand into one that has meaning—one whose image and values resonate with its target market. Whilst communicating your brand’s unique, personal story with the rest of the world is not easy to achieve, some of the fastest-growing and most successful ecommerce stores of the last five years have pulled it off.

1. Backcountry

Sell an experience. Backcountry, we are told, began in 1996 with two guys, a “stack of avalanche beacons”, and a garage in Park City, Utah. Their goal? T o provide the best outdoor gear (and to “be the best at doing it”). Backcountry’s story is all about going out and doing cool stuff. Being adventurous. The gear they sell is just related to the experience they are selling. That’s key. People connect with an experience or lifestyle much more than a product.

Share your core values. The values depicted in the video not only resonate with their target market.

2. Hiut Denim Co.

Rally behind a cause you believe in. With an honest, earnest tone of voice, Hiut tells visitors to its site how and why it first came about: to re-employ skilled people who had lost their jobs when the denim factories closed. This key information not only establishes the premise of the brand, but generates awareness of the cause behind it. Consequently, by supporting Hiut, customers are indirectly supporting all these individuals that almost lost their jobs, which makes each purchase that much better.

Focus on one thing. Through their dedication to denim, visitors are made to believe that these guys are specialists: they are different and better than other jean manufacturers because they spend all their time improving one type of product, rather than trying to be good at many different ones.

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