Picture this. It’s the middle of December. You’re bundled up. As you walk around Manhattan snow flurries begin to fall. When turning the corner, you hear sounds of laughter and notice a group of small children and their parents gathered around a department store’s window display. Immediately you are overcome with the sense of nostalgia as you reminisce about your family’s tradition of visiting the shimmering displays as a child. You smile as you replay the memory of helping your father pick out what is now your mother’s favorite necklace and your baby brothers dramatic first visit with Santa. The memory of your brother’s shrill screams while sitting on Santa’s lap reminds you that you have one last item to buy on your holiday list. Filled with joy, you walk into the store and begin searching for the perfect gift for your newborn nephew.
These kinds of memorable experiences have contributed to the success of brands and retailers for hundreds of years. These feelings of nostalgia and joy are difficult to create for shoppers online. eCommerce brands have also lost the ability to communicate customer’s self-identified lifestyle during the shopping process. By using the power of storytelling, brands and retailers provide new and powerful experiences that increase sales.
A recent study from Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications found that people were most likely to purchase products when brand imagery and messaging mirrored their lifestyle and social circles. Just as the holiday window displays captured the attention of children and families, eCommerce images should be used as sales generating marketing assets. The traditional eCommerce format of product grids is optimized for convenience over experience, limiting the ability to convey customer’s self-image. With eCommerce sales growing at a steady rate of 15 percent year after year, brands must now reconsider the benefits of convenience over customer relating experiences. Shoppable lookbooks not only tell a story but also increase sales as customers no longer have to search for products featured in the images.
The static printed lookbooks of the past have become an ineffective marketing tool in today’s digitally driven age. They are expensive to create, difficult to distribute and one dimensional, making it difficult to target multiple audiences effectively. Since the eCommerce boom, independent brands and retailers have struggled to not only capture the attention of customers but also to create loyal advocates who are not swayed by lower prices offered by conglomerates. The crowded market of eCommerce is exhausting, requiring an exceptional amount of innovation and effort to generate sales.
Shoppable lookbooks and interactive content have become the saving grace for brands and retailers selling products online. These next generation lookbooks are customer centric, bridging the gap between in-store experiences and eCommerce convenience by providing an interactive brand or product story. They are an answer to the biggest problem facing retailers today.
We’ve highlighted the top three ways brands can increase sales and retain customers using shoppable lookbooks
New eCommerce Experiences
Transform images into sales
Brands and retailers have long understood the power of visual content and storytelling. Eye-catching visuals and beautifully crafted narratives are one of the most effective ways to entice new customers. The POPSUGAR Future of Retail Experiences study found that 67% of millennials wish they could purchase products directly from digital content. Shoppable content is blurring the lines between content and commerce. It communicates a story while being completely interactive, allowing readers to view product information and ultimately shop while never leaving the image. Online shoppers have extremely short attention spans due to the millions of distractions on the web. The interactive features of shoppable content captures attention for a longer period of time while creating a seamless and user-friendly shopping experience.
Create engaging and entertaining content
Blogging has become one of the most efficient ways to catapult website traffic. Not only is it beneficial for SEO but it also provides customers with a deeper understanding of a brand. Blog posts help build long lasting relationships by revolutionizing a sales channel into an entertaining and engaging resource. With a shoppable lookbook, you can transform content by creating editorials that are visually appealing and easily consumable, all while generating sales.
Take Net-A-Porter’s The Edit, for example. It is unbranded content featuring celebrity interviews, style tips, and design trends that allow readers to purchase Net-A-Porter products directly from the magazine.
VIP Flash Sale
Treat loyal customers like royalty
It has become increasingly difficult to have world class customer service on the internet. Customers who regularly purchase products online are missing out on essential customer experiences that previously made them loyal to retail stores. Personal interactions with your VIP customers aren’t always possible, but there are other alternatives to show appreciation.
VIP Flash Sales provide them exclusive access to purchase new products at a discount. Use an interactive lookbook to engage with them. Not only will they feel like royalty, but you will gain valuable insights on the products they interact with and purchase. Everyone loves getting a deal. Your loyal customers will too.
Competition is fierce in the eCommerce space. Anyone with design experience or the ability to purchase products can create an eCommerce store in a matter of minutes. Emerging Creatives are now forced to compete with market dominating brands that have unlimited budgets. However, your competitors and large luxury brands cannot compete when you focus on what’s special and unique about your brand. Create compelling and enjoyable interactive experiences that tell your brand/product story while generating sales opportunities.