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Getting the most out of visual merchandising

Visual merchandising (VM) is a critical component of selling online. After all, this is an environment where the customer can’t touch or feel your apparel, accessories or footwear.

If you have a sizeable range as well as frequent drops throughout each season, then you may decide that you can justify having a permanent photography resource in the business

Whether you decide to insource or outsource, here are our recommendations for how to get the most from VM:

  • If you do insource, then you will also need to be organizing a stylist, make up and models
  • Test and learn. Try some categories with model shots and some without to find out which one’s convert best (see below)
  • Whatever product you’re shooting, ensure you show enough views of it. If it’s apparel, customers need to see the back of the item as well as the front
  • If it’s accessories and bags for example, then you need to show inside the bag as well as the front on view
  • Bigger images convert better than smaller ones. Seems obvious, but it’s a fact.
  • By all means merchandise other products to boost sales e.g. a tie with a shirt. But only if both products can be purchased at that point


What outcome can you expect?

Women’s: In our experience, model shots sell through is between 5% & 20% better than flats/mannequins. The benefits vary by product type:

  • Dresses, trousers, jeans the best
  • Skirts, tailoring, coats, underwear all benefit from model shots

It Increases sales and decreases returns.

Men’s: Overall flats/mannequins perform better

  • Except jeans, trousers and underwear

Each garment costs 30% - 40% more to shoot on a model than on a mannequin (model, hair and make up, stylist)

Video also converts extremely well so consider leveraging video to drive conversion.

Martin Newman is chief executive of ecommerce specialist Practicology

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