This article was contributed by Lichota Seidewand, Head of Business Innovation @ Forma
Clothing is a form of expression. It can be an art form for many. Capturing that expression online is not an easy task. Nonetheless, we can all point to our favorite fashion stores or ones that have fantastic websites.
What makes these sites so impressionable? Is it the design of the site? Is it the branding? Is it the way the clothing looks throughout the site? It is a mix of all three.
However, sales are the name of the game. Having a memorable, beautifully designed site is great; but, it doesn’t matter if there are no sales. Product photos are the primary reason for converting a sale online. 93% of consumers consider visual appearance to be the key deciding factor in a purchasing decision (JustUno). If visuals are so important for customer purchases, what is the best way for fashion brands to list their photos? Let’s jump in.
Fashion’s Best Shot
We see a multitude of ways brands showcase their clothing on their website from mannequins, laydowns, to models and more. Generally, brands that use apparel on models are seen as the best.
Using a model allows a brand to convey emotion and storytelling in their product. According to Vogue Business, “online retailers have found that straight-forward, front-facing model images, paired alongside an average of five detail shots, encourage purchases (Vogue Business).” As a shopper, you need to imagine how this item will appear on you. Models give shoppers that opportunity. The shopper can identify with this storytelling and imagine the item on their body. This is hard to replicate by using a mannequin or a laydown.
Brands that aren’t using models wearing their clothing are losing business because of it. You can find many critiques online of brands not using models in their product images. You can’t see how a dress will hang on a body or how a pair of pants will fit, from a laydown. There are some artistic benefits to the laydown, like Supreme New York, but you better already have a strong following to go down that road.
( Cathaleen Chen, a reporter for The Business of Fashion, tends to agree with this sentiment as seen here in her tweet.)
Make Them Big, Make Them High-Quality, Make Them Professional
Everyone likes big, high-definition images. Why not promote your products this way? A study conducted by Forbes noted that buyers prefer large product images and that these are more important than product information or reviews. Investing in professional photography to generate larger product images will ultimately lead you to better results.
There are many barriers online retailers face when selling clothes, such as look and feel. Brands can mitigate this barrier by growing customer confidence in their items. Using big, high-definition professional product images will grow shopper confidence and help convert them at higher rates, as authentically as possible so that customers know exactly what they’re buying.
Personalizing Your Product Photos
We know that personalized experiences online are important and proven. In physical stores, sales associates and fitting rooms help personalize the customer’s shopping journey. In eCommerce, stores provide personalized recommendations, ratings and reviews, and more. Still, 31% of consumers wish their shopping experiences were still more personalized (Infosys) and that 48% of shoppers have actually left a brand’s website and made a purchase from a competitor due to a poorly personalized experience.
Professional photographers, hiring models, and studio time are expensive and time consuming. However, they are a rewarded expense. As a brand, if you have the resources to spend on professional product images, shouldn’t you get the most out of them? There could be more untapped potential in your product images.
Integrating with Forma allows brands to transform their existing product photos into ultra- personalized experiences. Whether on mobile or web, shoppers can upload a photo of themselves to see a brand’s items on themselves digitally. In 2022, smartphones were poised to impact more than 40% of total US retail sales (more than $1 trillion) when analyzing the customer journey. With consumer buying habits shifting to mobile at an increasing rate, fashion brands can take advantage by using Forma and optimizing their business successfully to sell on mobile and web. Shoppers already have photos of themselves online and if they don’t, they can easily take one quickly on mobile. Through Forma, shoppers can then use those photos by simply uploading them to try on clothing digitally from anywhere. There is nothing more personal than a shopper seeing themselves in your items.
The Future of Fashion and Product Photos
With the current state of the world, shopping in person has taken a back seat due to COVID-19. Even with some physical store locations opening, there are still many barriers. Fitting rooms remain closed and a majority of people are still uncomfortable to shop in public. Having an ultra-personalized experience online has never been more important. Double-down on your product photos.
Brands need to innovate the eCommerce experience now and adding Forma’s computer-vision powered digital dressing room to your site is a good start. You have already invested in your product photos, now get more out of them. Forma will take your product images and generate tryons for your online shoppers. Although maybe new and infrequently used now, the use of computer vision technology in eCommerce will continue to grow more popular as the global augmented reality market is expected to reach $231.34 Billion by 2026. The good news is the benefits of using Forma and digital tryons are here now. Purchase conversions, personalized experiences, and social interactions all increase with Forma.
The Bottom Line
Bringing innovation to your consumer can be exciting and uncertain at the same time. Will they like it? Will they not? The concept of seeing yourself in clothing digitally is something truly new and unheard of. However, as Anthony W. Ulwick of Harvard Business Review says, “Customers only know what they have experienced. They cannot imagine what they don’t know about emergent technologies (Harvard Business Review).”