At the congress I attended in München, I was struck by a presentation of Jeff Hunt from Scene7. He stressed the fact that manufacturers spend millions of dollars making great images of all their products (to use in print or tv commercials) but then let e-tailers and comparison engines use crappy images on the internet. And these ‘crappy’ images are viewed by millions of users everyday!
The main problem is that manufacturers still have no idea at all on how to handle this ‘new’ (!?) sales channel. They are still scared to anger the traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. However, I cannot come up with any retailer who isn’t online yet. And if they aren’t, they are doomed to be taken over or crushed by other retailers. So, online retailers (both pure play and click-and-brick retailers) and comparison shopping engines have huge problems obtaining accurate specifications and images (high resolution) of every product in stock. And this is not only a problem for them, but even for the content providers like GfK, CNET Channel and IceCAT.
Jeff also showed some compelling websites of retailers which made perfect use of available rich media technology (Ajax, Flash or Flex) and high quality images. I would like to share some of these examples with you to inspire you (and maybe also some manufacturers).
Gucci.com makes perfect use of images, it is almost as if you are in the shop itself. You can select items, these are taken off the shelf and displayed. You can zoom in and see details (!) which is necessary if you are willing to buy a handbag of more than EUR 1500,-.
Main store (handbags selected):
One specific bag selected (with possibility to change colors in the same screen):
Zoom in on details (with possibility to turn the bag and scroll up, down, left or right)
Finally, a visual shopping basket (see top right, I can actually see which product I selected and which one I am about to buy)
Hey, a visual check-out! When I go to the checkout, show the product!! I want to know what I am buying (just as in the real world)
I would say that this is a perfect example of how to create a great shopping experience. In every screen you have the option to change the product (type, colors, etc.) and you are always able to view the product itself.
Still, a lot of online shops do not use proper images and they do not show the product during the shopping process… According to an anecdote of Jeff, turning of the image of the product in the shopping basket decreases conversion by 25%! Once some guy turned off this feature on the website, which immediately led to a dramatic drop in conversion..
Other great examples from Jeff’s presentation:
I really hope that manufacturers start waking up and start taking the Internet serious. I would say, stop spending millions if you are throwing away all that work by not displaying those images on the web!
Filed under: Comparison shopping, E-business, Online merchants, Online shopping | Tagged: images, manufacturers, Online shopping | Leave a Comment »