I may go shopping because I need pants. But while I may go into a store with a mission to find pants, I often leave with an entire outfit. There is a science behind why this happens, and it’s the mark of a great merchandising team. If I shop online, however, it’s uncommon that I check out with more than just those pants. Why is this?
Mannequins: Guidance for the Fashion-Challenged!
Some people are blessed with an eye for style. They can pull all the right pieces together and look amazing. I’m not that person, and I’m certainly not alone. When I go into a store, clothes are displayed by the look, not the category. I know I need a pair of pants, but look how well they go with that sweater and those shoes. This of course oversimplifies some shoppers’ thought processes, but you get the idea. There’s power — customer loyalty, revenue, and more — in guiding customers on how to pull the right outfit together. Many of us rely on merchandisers for our fashion guidance.
Where’s an Equivalent Online Shopping Experience?
This physical store set up has worked for decades. Online shopping isn’t new anymore, but why isn’t there a widely-used, easy-to-shop online equivalent to the mannequin? On some sites I see creative, trendy looks… but I can’t shop them easily. Instead, I’m forced to dig through multiple category pages, browse across rows and columns of product images (a.k.a “the grid”) and pull that outfit together on my own. Imagine how frustrating it would be if you saw a well-dressed mannequin, but then had to hunt across the store to create that look yourself? As a consumer, I want online shopping to be easier. Help me shop your looks directly from those eye-catching images on your site.
An Opportunity for Online Retailers
So again, why aren’t more retailers making their lifestyle content shoppable? It may be system limitations, the need for custom code, timing and more — as a consumer, that’s not good enough. But the ecommerce industry is changing. Shoppable content technologies are becoming more common — and easier to use. They vary from isolated content types like shoppable video and user-generated content (UGC) to more comprehensive —and often very expensive — solutions that bring all types of content together within one platform. Compelling shoppable content platforms allow non-technical eCommerce and merchandising professionals to create rich, engaging content without any coding. The best shoppable content technologies allow digital merchandisers to pull all types of content together, create “shop the look” content, publish it instantly, and update it often. All of this can now happen at speeds that were impossible until recently. Imagine if a brick-and-mortar store could change its displays and configuration every day, making a more dynamic and interesting shopping experience that keeps customers coming back. Today, there’s no good reason why your online store can’t do exactly this — you don’t need to be stuck merchandising by category. Your customers expect more. They want to see engaging content and shop “looks” directly from rich lifestyle images. They want (at least part of) the look, they want to add to cart quickly, and they want to check out easily. The future is here — please help me shop the look. Shoppable content platforms like Zmags Creator help online retailers, eCommerce professionals, and digital merchandisers create “shop the look” functionality quickly and easily.