The internet has opened the floodgates to limitless and nonpareil online merchandising. Today, marketing is a virtual reality that stimulates the visual senses of buyers and propels them to form an interest over the featured product(s). The adage ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ is so fitting to the current visual retailing scenario, where apt and vivid visuals/pictures have an upper hand over pompous eloquence in product conversions.
Certain techniques need to be implemented to fine tune these perceptible representations to hit the right chords and make the e-commerce page result-oriented with the visual merchandising retailing phenomenon. Effective visual merchandising is the key to influencing metrics like buyer engagement on a particular page, navigation and ease of use of the product featured web page, average order value, conversions, product promotion and recommendation, repeat orders and of course multi-platform usability (both on desktops and mobiles).
Some of the effective visual merchandising methods include:
- Representing the Story Behind the Product
- Good Visual Composition
- Simple Navigation Structure
- Avoiding Unrealistic Image Detailing
- Promoting Positivity
Let us examine these visual merchandising methods in detail:
Represent the Story Behind the Product
Every potential customer old and new, look for brand reliability and authenticity. The product page must be demonstrative of the sellers’ brand image, their background, the product quality, its features, its benefits, and more enticing attributes that promote it while helping customers make an informed buying decision.
To implement brand storytelling, the following elements must be incorporated into the product page:
- High-quality Image.
- Well-written product description highlighting its best-selling points and specifics.
- Prioritizing information sequence where the most important detail comes first.
- Give a visual explanation of what the product is and how it works.
- Use visual customer reviews to promote the goodwill of the brand and the product.
- Use high-profile accolades and approvals from the print media and online media.
- Use social approvals and call to action proof (likes, shares etc).
- Use scrolling notifications like other recent purchases of the same products or products of the same brand made by real customers to convince the current customer.
- Alternative product recommendations need to be highlighted through scrollers, for example complimenting jewelry for an outfit, or matching home decor products for a set of furniture etc should instantly be flashed onscreen.
- Use graphical representation like performance report and business analytics graphs.
- Use graphics to display the growth of the brand along with its customer base as a thank you note to patrons.
Good Visual Composition
The right order of the product offering in a visual representation is important as it will have an instinctive ability to feature products in the order that coincides with common requirements and expectations of potential customers. Pictures that highlight the brand logo, the distinct features, and the benefits need to be focussed on subtly but deliberately. The various angles of the product and its parts need to be captured and rightly portrayed in a logical sequence to evoke buyer interest and remove his apprehensions about buying the product. A visually appealing balance needs to be created with the images and pairing complimenting product accompaniments or props also helps.
Sticking to a single color theme and orientation like close-crop or long-shot images is a great visual theme idea. The modus operandi of the brand must be reflected carefully without being too loud or self-imposing on the buyers. Any hallmark stamp or symbol of recognition must be highlighted in at least one of the images.
Neutral backgrounds are always preferred over jazzy or confusing ones in order to highlight the product in the foreground emphatically. Some of the modern and professional photographic techniques are designed especially for this purpose.
Simple Navigation Structure
Lack of sensory appeal like touch and smell make it imperative to take visual appeal to the next level. It is not just the product images that need to appeal to the potential customers fundamentally and subconsciously, but the navigational structure and the category hierarchy of the photos, specifications and descriptions that takes advantage of the pre-set format of product pages of online selling sites should never fail to impress too.
The buying patterns of the customers who often visit the site need to be focused upon to render a result-oriented visual merchandising page while pitching up those aspects of navigation that truly land on pages with the desired results. The images must not take too long to load, otherwise it would drive buyers to resort to alternative websites to fulfil their buying needs. It must be taken into account that all buyers may not be technology savvies and thus an elementary, easy, yet powerful navigational technique must be implemented for navigating product images and information pages.
Avoid Unrealistic Image Detailing
The seller takes up a big challenge while posting images or promotional visual contents of his products. The images need to embrace the idea of impressing and convincing the buyer without giving up realism totally. If the images are too photo-shopped or overdone with effects then it automatically gives the buyers false impressions about the product and the brand.
A naturally appealing image enhancement is preferred over excessive alterations. The visual merchandising theme needs to appeal to the targeted age groups and gender without being too awkwardly hazy or sharp, which makes it trying too hard to impress, something that does not sell these days. Visual merchandising is not just mere window dressing in the online world, it needs to communicate naturally to buyers while visually giving them what they desire.
Clever visual merchandising involves creativity and positivity. Just purporting positivity will never work, a deep and comprehensive highlight of the product’s benefits to the buyers will definitely win some marketing brownie points for the sellers. Either a positive message in words or through images will cast a lasting impression on buyers. They need to be reminded through visual retailing why they choose to buy your products over other brands in the first place. Failure to do so will only make you one among many sellers. Brand superiority matters and it needs to flash spontaneously in the buyers’ minds and only visual merchandising can achieve that.