When I buy something online, I don’t want to look at only one picture of it. I want to see different views. I want to be able to experience the item as much as possible from my computer. I want it to feel like I’m there. I’m a reasonable guy. I know I can’t feel or smell items I’ve yet to purchase online–I just want to get as much visual info as I need.
This week, I went shopping online for a late-winter jacket (a must-have for self-respecting New York pedestrians). I checked out a couple of sites and there is plenty of room for improvement in all of them.
I live right down the block from Bloomingdales, but I can’t go to their store while I’m blogging through all hours of the night. (Very sad, I know.) I find a jacket I like and it looks great on the model, so I decide to click on the ‘Zoom’ button. The pop-up has three icons and the main Call to Action is the ‘Close Window’ button. I hit the ‘Plus’ button and it gives me a closer view of the jacket. But there’s only one picture of the jacket and I can’t even see the whole frontal view! If I can’t see half of the jacket, there’s no way I’m paying full price.
The next site I go to is Eddie Bauer. They do a good job of displaying multiple views, showing the jacket in all possible colors before purchase, and they even have clear and easy instructions on how to use the zoom functions. This pop-up window addressed all my questions. Now, where do I buy? Despite all that white space on the right side of the window, there isn’t a Call to Action anywhere, nor do I see a Call to Action beneath it–anywhere.
Lands End has a unique approach to displaying the image and its zoomed-in version. They have the tool built right into the product page. This is a good approach and doesn’t make the visitor leave to open a pop-up. Unfortunately, they don’t have multiple views available, so I can’t see the back or sides of the coat. Another problem is the placement of the color swatches. You can change the color of the zoomed images, but the swatches are visually removed from the tool. Shouldn’t they be right under the product picture so I can utilize the tool better?
The last site I check is L.L. Bean. Their pop-up looks unprofessional. (This, by the way, is an issue we’ve discussed several times on GrokDotCom.) They have swatches to let me view the coat in different colors; however, they make me scroll or resize the window just to view the entire coat. They’ve also limited me to only one view. On the plus side, it’s a really big picture
As you can imagine, you’ve got many options when testing product images. Here are a few tips for showing them off in a larger format.
At the end of the day, product pictures just don’t mean much if you can’t provide any additional context. If you know an online retailer that’s doing it right, comment below and link to your favorite $$$ shot. [Editor's Note: Clothing required, by the way.]