Increasingly competitive and with a greater expectation than ever to provide an outstanding shopping experience, online retail is a balancing act between creating awareness and driving quality traffic, and converting this traffic into customers. If one half is out of step, the cost of sale or the dreaded ‘R’ word – returns – can quickly and dramatically erode margins.
With the stakes so high, this balancing act is becoming an ever more sophisticated pursuit – complex analytics, big data, integration of social peer reviews, AB split testing and complex user experience programs.
It’s little wonder then, that sometimes marketers and commercial teams can take their eye off one of the most important basics – the product presentation, more specifically e-commerce photography.
In our studios here at Photolink we shoot thousands of images per week for online only and for multi-channel retailers, from major high street names to niche brands. Every day we see how improvements in product presentation can positively impact the metrics that online retailers quite rightly obsess over – increased conversion rates and a reduction in returns.
Improving both is fundamental to success, and doing so involves these four important principles –
Provide online customers with an opportunity to ‘pick up’ a virtual garment, examine it closely, turn it around, see what it looks like on, understand how it fits, see how it moves.
For us this means giving our retail clients a suite of still images and product videos that shoppers can interact with online, just as they would with the actual item in the high street store.
All too often online shoppers are presented with a mish-mash of product images that lack quality and consistency, and as a result misrepresent the product and undermine the overall brand experience.
This is why the images we shoot are produced to an exacting and detailed visual style guide, something that today’s most successful online retailers insist upon.
What was once complex and prohibitive in terms of time and cost is now much simpler, as new technologies mean that for us shooting still images and switching to shooting video has become a singular joined up process.
The benefit of this to online retailers is undeniable, as research shows the inclusion of product video has a highly significant impact on conversion rates, giving consumers more confidence in their final purchasing decisions and making them less likely to return items.
Today’s online shoppers demand more from the stores they visit – as well as first class product presentation they expect to be inspired, advised and informed.
By creating additional content such as style guides, latest looks, how to wear and what’s new, we help our clients deliver a shopping experience that keeps customers engaged, happy and coming back for more.
Adopting these four principles and presenting products with quality and consistency, can make the difference between a sale and an empty basket, or even the difference between a satisfied customer and one who returns their goods and shops elsewhere.
Getting the product presentation right should be right at the top of the e-commerce priority list.