Online Shopping Experience: Quality Photos Boost Sales

I love shopping online!  There’s something about sitting at home in my pj’s browsing through pages and pages of products that’s compellingly addictive.  And getting the best deal online feels oh-so-sweet!  According to Internet Retailer, I’m among the many at-home pj shoppers contributing to the steady increase in online retail traffic and sales in the billions.  But what makes internet shopping so appealing?  And what promotes repeat visits and sales?

Admittedly, the one product I browse most online is shoes.  I think it’s because I don’t have to worry too much about how they’ll fit, and I can comparison shop different sites to find the best price.  And better YET, most of the shoe websites I purchase from have free shipping (and sometimes free overnight or two-day shipping!  drool…).  When I think about it a little more, I realize that I probably wouldn’t buy as much online if the product information (including photos, description, and reviews) wasn’t as thorough.  In an article by Internet Retailing, they site usability experts, Yuseo‘s, findings that reveal the one most important aspect of online fashion shopping to users is the quality of the images.  Now, most of us have seen those horrible garage-sale looking photos on e-Bay, so we can totally understand why this is true, right?  Some of the other top reasons for return customers and sales are trustworthiness and good value.  Appealing pricing and promotions, brand reputation, and customer service also contribute to brand loyalty.

The study done by Yuseo included brands such as Boohoo, River Island, Topshop, Next, Very, Zara, John Lewis, Asos and H&M, so I decided to take a closer look at one of these brands to see how they are using product images to promote sales of their products online.  H&M was my site of choice, considering their rapid growth this side of the pond.

Here are their women’s and men’s editorial-style “inspiration” photos.  Beautiful photos, attractive models, and on-location shooting gives a seasonal and luxurious feel.

H&M women's fashion

H&M Women’s Inspiration

H&M men's fashion

H&M Men’s Inspiration

Now some screen shots of the product home pages.  One feature image, then gridded product shots showing a variety of images including on-model with a background and without, and off-model.  The variety adds some interest without looking disjointed.

H&M women's fashion

H&M Women’s Products > Dresses

H&M Men's fashion

H&M Men’s Products > Tops

Looks like you can’t order online from the U.S. at this point , but we can still nose around a little.  🙂  The detailed product pages are clean with options to view various images of the product, zoom, and view full screen.  Fairly standard.  The added bonus is the option to try on!  We’ll get to that shortly.

H&M women's fashion

H&M Women’s Product Detail

H&M Men's fashion

H&M Men’s Product Detail

Once you click on “try on” from the product page, you are swept away to try your look on a model in the Dressing Room!  I always think this feature is cool, although I’m not sure how many people use it as a determining factor for a purchase.  The Dressing Room has a gamer feel to it, allowing you to change out your model and apply different products to make a complete head-to-toe look.  If nothing else, it’s fun to play with and might keep a customer on your site longer.

H&M women's fashion

H&M Women’s Dressing Room

H&M men's fashion

H&M Men’s Dressing Room

There’s no doubt good quality photos can help sell products.  What makes a photo work well online?  I would have to say, first and foremost, good lighting and proper exposure to show details and color accurately, use of clean background, and consistency.  Showing on-model shots always help get a feel for the overall fit and size (which can help with accessories too).  Plus, on-model shots can always help add interest, variety, and lifestyle appeal.  Lastly, showing different views and being able to zoom in closely is the next best thing to seeing the product in person.

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