Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Web Hints – The Power of the Picture

chris black and white for blog At a recent meeting at IMRG the subject ‘Content is King’ came up.

Now of course there was plenty to be bandied about on the latest website innovations; rich media; the use of flash; video streaming and general brand experience but all of these, to my mind, although very important from a ‘keeping up with the Jones’s point of view’ may not necessarily add to the basic shopping experience if you’re in a hurry and looking for something specific. In fact they may just detract from it (and more about this later) if your site usability is not crystal clear.

I know that I’m going to be shot down in flames for saying this, but am I seriously the lone voice out there whining that actually I really just want to buy a pair of shoes, I want them to be black (!) high heeled, elegant/sexy/daytime/night time and I want to get to them as quickly as possible? I don’t want to watch the movie. I don’t want to see 100 pairs of brown, beige, red or, help me here, purple shoes. I just want black. NOW!

Which brings me back to the Power of the Picture, and Content is King, and the things that, if you are a normal, not over cash-endowed online retailer of shoes, bags or anything else, you have to do if you want to keep up in today’s online marketplace and which in fact, if you don't, you will seriously get left behind.

So here they are:

One product picture is not enough; It doesn’t matter how clear it is, how colour correct it is – nowadays you need to show multiple views including interiors. Two of the best websites for demonstrating this are http://www.netaporter.com/ and http://www.forzieri.com/. You need to be aware that now, if I’m going to buy something from you, online, I want to be able to do everything but pick the thing up before I’ll splash the cash.

Forzieri bag 1 Forzieri bag 2 Forzieri bag 3

The benefit of this to you is higher sales and lower returns as your customer can see exactly what they’re buying and will be less likely to make a mistake and therefore have to send their purchase back.

forzieri bag zoom

Make zoom as large as possible; There are still (naming no names) some retailers out there whose zoom facility is little better than the original picture. Sorry, again that’s not going to get you there in this market. Make your zoom as large as it can be and really let me get up close and personal. This pic above is not full size by the way, it’s just to give you an idea.

forzieri isabella Catwalk and 360 rotation; These are expensive, but I suspect for the larger sites will become the norm and there will be less expensive options developed for smaller applications. One company who does this really well is http://www.isabellaoliver.com/. Take a look at this and tell me that, if you were in the market for this type of dress, you wouldn’t be tempted to buy? There isn’t a lot you can’t see, is there?

Now all of this comes at a price but there are two things you need to do right now. Firstly you need to know what the market developments are so that, when the price comes down, or you get big enough, you can apply what you need to quickly. So keep up to date. Secondly do the smaller things now – take the extra shots, increase your zoom size and be totally aware that if you don’t, you will lose sales and those on the starting blocks now will overtake in a nano-second.

Just a reminder that Liberty of London have given an exclusive offer to http://www.thesiteguide.com/ subscribers – spend £100 and get £15 off. Use Promotion Code SITEGUIDE15 when checking out.