Did you ever wonder why agents and sellers stage homes? It’s because product image is paramount. Creating a vision and painting a picture for the buyer can make your product stand out from the competition.
Visuals matter more than ever, which is why it’s common practice to see virtual tours as part of a compelling product story. The fact is image and outstanding product presentation drive buying confidence. Some experts are now calling this ‘visual-driven commerce.’
The same principle applies – and may be even more important – when it comes to digital commerce in the home furnishings industry. The stakes are higher when purchasing home furnishings online because it’s a large investment. Some buyers may feel anxiety and apprehension because they are making purchase decisions without the ability to see, touch or feel the product in real life.
To instill buyer confidence, you can implement some of the following visual merchandising and best practices used by popular home furnishings websites. While not all of these may sway a customer to ‘add to cart’, it will certainly help showcase your products in the best light, drive engagement, and give her peace of mind in the buying process – bringing her one step closer to purchase.
- Stellar Product Photography
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When it comes to product photography, this is not an area to cut corners. Use professional grade, high-resolution photos that provide the utmost clarity. Create a uniform display format across your product selection and include multiple product images and perspectives to give customers a detailed vision of what they are buying.
- Interactive Product Imagery
Allow customers to interact with your product when possible. By using display tools that allow customers to zoom with extreme clarity and see product details like finishes, fabric textures, and colors, they gain additional confidence that a specific product will suits their needs.
Using technology such as Adobe’s Dynamic Media Classic (formerly Scene7), you can implement advanced features on your eCommerce website such as 360-degree rotation, panning, zooming, and even manipulate product customization by viewing different color swatches. This experience somewhat simulates the inspection of merchandise that customers go through in a retail store.
- Inspiration Galleries & Look Books
Seeing the big picture and envisioning what furniture will look like in a home can often be difficult for customers when all they see are standalone product images. This is one of the reasons that inspiration galleries and online look books are increasingly popular.
Galleries that feature within a room can take customers on a visual tour of product collections that spark emotion and provide ideas of trends, styles, and how pieces may actually work within the customer’s home. Not every customer has a ‘vision’ or has interior design experience. The use of ‘romance imagery’ and showcasing multiple products in use within a collection helps convey how multiple pieces work together, which creates cross-selling opportunities and provides customers with inspiration or additional ideas for product usage.
Galleries and look books also provide a great opportunity to employ additional rich content and media elements to incorporate with product storytelling. eCommerce marketers can embed hot-spots that link to additional products information, content snippets (i.e. reviews, uses, applications, design-tips), calls-to-action (i.e. Buy Now, Request Quote) and rich-media such as video elements to generate additional interest and encourage customers to take action that ultimately leads to conversion.
Within the competitive eCommerce market of home furnishings, merchandisers recognize the importance of “upping their game.” Learn how one of our clients, Jordan’s Furniture, has significantly improved its online and offline shopping experience for customers by integrating its product catalog, website search, and eCommerce capabilities.
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