Shoppable Images

Shoppable images are both immersive and contextual in ways that digital has never seen before.

Whether it’s shoes, apparel, and accessories on a model or the latest living room setup, people want to be able to visualize how a product will fit into their own style and environment. Shoppable images are turning that idea into a reality for customers of all kinds. From the company’s perspective, shoppable images present a great opportunity to share the story of your brand – they allow you to naturally tell a story as users are browsing through products in a way that hasn’t been possible through traditional eCommerce.

Topshop is on the right path

The British retailer Topshop has its own take on shoppable images, making use of an ezine style approach to show off its various collections. Utilizing their established brand and a unique tone and style, Topshop effectively tells their product’s story in context, immersing the user in shoppable images. Interesting and high quality photography allows the clothes to feature themselves, as opposed to the traditional and typical grid of products laid out on a white background. This also allows users to move at their own pace in a natural and more compelling way. If they see something they like, they simply click on an item to dig in and get more product details and exact specifications. We do think Topshop should make its shoppable image collections more prominent, since it’s such a great way for their brand lovers to shop, but they’re definitely on the right path.

Why shoppable images will change everything you know about shopping online

  • Shoppable images make shopping online more experiential and emotional. The pinnacle of shoppable images will be realized once we learn how to refine the product selections while allowing the user to remain in the shoppable image experience. A list of products on a page might not be very effective at converting users, but shoppable images just might be the lever needed to convert.
  • Shoppable images fit the evolving digital shopping experience. People’s expectations continue to evolve around the shopping experience. An example of this in the apparel industry is that retailers are providing more insight into how clothes will fit different figures. It’s broader than just apparel though — from furniture to outdoor lighting to any number of other products, retailers want customers to be able to experience the products in the ways they will use them, before they ever use them. The concept of shoppable images supports future development and innovation and represents a logical next step in the ever-changing digital shopping world.
  • Shoppable images will provide an extra oomph of engagement and stickiness for certain areas of sites. Providing users with different methods to shop could prove to be very beneficial in boosting low-traffic pages or product lines. If that holds true and drives engagement, then it’s ultimately going to drive conversions, which is a big win for any retailer.
  • Shoppable images make sense for different people on different devices. We’ve been learning that certain devices are more naturally used by people seeking an experiential session as opposed to a simple search and load session. The result of using shoppable images boils down to reaching a wider audience, as you’d hit the experiential users with shoppable images and non-experiential users with the rest of the site. And, maybe some of those users who come in not seeking an experience will even end up having one.
  • For users not looking specifically for an experience, shoppable images can actually save time. This could really come into play with certain B2B sites, as different functionality could be integrated into the shoppable images. As a random example, if you’re in charge of a construction team, you could go to a site with shoppable images, see construction workers in your line of work wearing and using the tools of the trade that align with your needs, and add items from a number of categories to your cart all at once.

We’re not saying shoppable images will magically change your site or your results overnight. We would say, though, that the idea of shoppable images represents fertile ground for innovation and disruption in the eCommerce space. As a complimentary offering of eCommerce sites that already have solid browse and shop experiences, shoppable images could be the next big move in eCommerce.

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Michael Braun
Michael Braun
Affectionately referred to around the office as the "Silver Fox," Michael's silvery sheen reflects his UX wisdom and design knowledge. He's also a big Brewers fan. Feel free to email him with any questions related to UX design.