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Shop the look: When customers are buying more than your product

In the early days of e-commerce the new platform of shopping in a non-physical, virtual store was the biggest differentiator for traditional shoppers. Since then e-retailers have evolved to transform the virtual shopping experience on many fronts, including investing heavily in branding and user experience (UX). Online shoppers too have evolved, from seeking out a single product that could be bought conveniently online and placing emphasis on website reliability to becoming consumers of experiences and followers of unique fashion. This transformation has been helped along greatly by the advent of social media, fashion influencers and brands striving to differentiate their marketing approach. The use of in-context or lifestyle photography by e-retailers, also termed ‘shop the look’ photography, has defined this transformation, especially in retail fashion. Here, the brand offers shoppers a complete look rather than a single item. The ‘product’ image then contains several products on a model or in a specific environment arranged to collectively portray a certain look, lifestyle or persona.

For e-retailers, a shop the look marketing approach can potentially boost customer conversion in several ways, among others:

  • A significant volume of potential sales traffic originates from social media sites like Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest where users share moments, discuss lifestyles and post their own fashion photos. It makes sense for brands to have a strong presence on these channels and similarly curate their product images to attract customers.

  • Shop the look product images help brands to better describe their positioning and brand voice by portraying products in a situational context, clearly showing their intended use in a specific environment or situation.

  • This approach provides brands with more ‘space’ on which more products can be presented to the buyer for consideration by including several saleable items in one photograph. This can lead to customers purchasing more products than when the product is displayed as a standalone item.

  • Product images capturing a moment or displaying its use in a real-life context do more work in terms of marketing several aspects of the product through a single image: product attributes; the ‘feel’ when used in a specific environment; brand voice; and the look or lifestyle that the product promotes.

  • Shop the look photography has given e-commerce retailers the opportunity to create apps that help customers choose single or several items easily from an image made up of several items and accessories portraying a lifestyle or look. This enables brands or shops to further engage with their customers on an additional channel, enhance the UX and get buyer analytics to inform marketing campaigns.

Increasingly social shoppers are transforming the way products are viewed and chosen as they seek to pursue experiences and a unique look by combining several items. This trend has encouraged progressive brands to go for more creative product shoots which capture moments or define a persona for those wanting to shop the look instead of a single, ‘isolated’ product. As on-line retailers adapt their product advertising to these discerning customers, those in image editing services too will have to adapt to editing a new crop of images. Find out more in our next blog.