If you’ve got the wrong imagery, you’re losing sales

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In this world of omni-channel retail, consumers want to see one view of your brand – whether they engage through bricks and mortar, through a website or by viewing your social media, they want the same positive experience and a consistent message.

But the days where we could get away with sharing the same imagery across all channels are long gone. Yes, the tone and branding should be consistent, but the images should differ. Your look book user, your Instagram viewer, your website browser and your in-store shopper viewing your point-of-sales as they wander your store – they’re all looking for different things when it comes to your imagery.  If you’re not nailing this, you’re almost certainly losing sales.

For most Australasian retailers, online plays second fiddle to bricks and mortar because the marketing dollar goes to the predominant revenue streams. However, whether your online store is a transactional cash king or otherwise, it still very much plays a heavy role in generating demand. Many shoppers use a store’s website to check out available stock before they head in to purchase; or they browse multiple websites when looking for a specific item ie women’s leather jackets, before heading into the store to try on and buy.

I often see ecommerce websites not working as hard as they should to provide customers – and potential customers – with the information they need to either buy or complete their research mission in order to either purchase later or visit one of your stores.

What mistakes do I see? There are the basics, such as not having a clear value proposition, good product information, clear navigation and an easy-to-use check out system. And then there’s the imagery issues. Here’s the top 5 website imagery mistakes I see:

  1. Imagery needs to be of high quality. When you’re selling products that are mostly dependent on how they look, it makes sense that you should be doing all you can to show them in their best light. Always use equipment fit for purpose and be thoughtful with your lighting. If your site provides roll-over functionality (which it should) make sure your imagery is high res enough to showcase the detail the customer is looking for, such as a closer look at the zip, say.
  2. Images should have a consistent look throughout your site. This is a big issue for resellers that just use imagery supplied by their wholesaler – it makes for a very confused look that doesn’t in any way give a cohesive look to your brand/store. If you want to shoot a few things as clear cut images against a grey background, try to do that for everything that season or you risk your site looking like a mash-up of styles.
  3. Just one shot of each of your garments is not enough if you are a fashion retailer. Best practice for ecommerce now is to have at least 3 shots per garment: one of the front, one of the back, one side on, and support these with product shots possibly a detailed shot if the fabric is particularly beautiful or there’s a striking neckline or detail. In the absence of being able to try on and feel clothing, customers expect to see multiple views of garments and other items.
  4. Show the items in context and you’ll win sales faster. Extra points if you can include a shot of the garment worn by a model so you can see it on and how it wears; top of the class if you include a short video of the garment and model in motion. These last two go a long way to creating desire and the “I want that look” attitude that will have them clicking “Buy now”. Make sure you use models that make sense to your brand and your customers.
  5. Don’t forget to upsize. Thumbnail-sized photos aren’t enough to capture attention and imagination – make your imagery big and brave to get real buy-in from potential customers.

Andy Mackie is MD of LookDepot which specialises in solutions for the modern retail landscape, particularly around helping large retailers and wholesalers with their website and social media imagery needs. If you haven’t already heard about the game-changing StyleShoots Live machine, you need to check it out HERE.

Daniela Diewock