Stimulating the Visual Generation
The most important fact for retailers when thinking how to enhance their online shopping experience is that modern e-commerce has been a part of consumers’ lives for almost 20 years. Millennials don't know a world without online shopping, and even older consumers are extremely sophisticated e-shoppers today. Both groups have also had over six years to become obsessed with their smartphones. Imagery, and interactivity with images, is expected.
The need to "feel the fabric" in brick-and-mortar stores holds none of the appeal it did for younger consumers. They're totally comfortable buying products based only on images. Smartphones’ touchscreens have made them almost hyperactive about it. Give tablet users the option to swipe among images, let desktop users enlarge them. However consumers are viewing your e-commerce site, allow them to interact with the images presented to them. Today's consumer feels frustrated when denied this level of control.
Visuals have become so important they should supplement text whenever possible. If an item is available in five more colors than the one you're displaying, you need to showcase all five colors. It's no longer enough to show just one. Use text to explain, "Also available in black, red, navy, beige and gold."
Video is also a valuable tool, but only when used correctly. Videos displaying products rotating are too passive. Why not let consumers see your salesperson on video, talking about all a product's benefits? This is a much more useful shopping experience for consumers. Save rotating product views for the latest image technologies, where they're able to interact with the images instantly upon sight.
Consumers have become so comfortable with online shopping that a strong enough visualization experience easily overcomes any remaining purchase barriers. Simply put, if they like what they see, they'll buy your products. Why not, when they trust e-commerce enough to know they can simply return items later if they don't like them when they arrive.