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Online fashion is growing fast, but as Leon Bailey-Green pointed out in our recent interview, just 6% of the UK fashion retail market is selling online.

This means there is still huge potential for getting people to shop for fashion online. One way to do this is to attempt to recreate the in-store experience as closely as possible, and to help shoppers get a feel for clothes without being able to see them close up and try them on.

Here are a few ideas from online fashion sites that are doing this well, though the advice applies equally to other sectors...

Use video on product pages

Images are great, but seeing clothes in motion, or how they can look when worn with accessories can help to showcase products more persuasively and persuade shoppers to buy.

Embedding videos on product pages, as ASOS does in the example shown below, is a good way to do this, as it makes it easy for shoppers to watch videos without waiting for new pages to open. 

ASOS product video

Use video to promote looks and ideas

Creating videos with tips and ideas for looks from fashion experts can give shoppes a feel that someone is there helping them to shop, and provide some useful recommendations for outfits. 

In this example from Warehouse, new looks are showcased, and the featured clothes are shown on the right of the page with links to product pages so that customers can easily make a purchase if they like what they see:

Have high quality images

If you're expecting customers to spend decent sums of money on fashion online, then they need to see quality product images. This may not matter so much with electronics or DVDs, but with clothes you need to showcase them in the best possible light.

Images should be high resolution, and good enough to give customers an idea of the texture, the kind of material used etc. 

In this example from The White Company, the images aren't really doing enough to sell this dress, as images are low-res, and shoppers cannot zoom in to see detail: 

Net-A-Porter does it better, providing quality images and allowing customers to zoom in on different parts of the dress:

Show a variety of views

Displaying clothes and shoes from a variety of angles can quickly answer consumers' questions about products, such as whether jackets have vents at the back, or what kind of grips shoes have.

There is also the option of providing 360 degree images of products so that the customer can manipulate the view and look at the product from any angle, though I haven't found examples of this technology on any fashion sites.

This can also be done by providing a decent range of photos though, as Schuh does with these trainers. Views are provided from every conceivable angle so the customers gets a great idea of the product: 

Schuh product image

Virtual fitting rooms

Virtual fitting rooms give customers a chance to try out looks and see what goes together and what doesn't.

One examples is the Oasis fitting room which allows shopper to compile a look from all of the clothes on the site, then head for the checkout to buy the complete outfit:

Graham Charlton

Published 23 September, 2009 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (9)

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Mike

Great read on how major etailers are displaying products and making the most out of the technology available.

But I have to admit, I'm more excited about the relaunch of the Schuh site. I read your critique George and the comment from Carol, hopefully they have taken on board a lot of the feedback you took the time to write down.

over 6 years ago

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George R

It seems my comment was deleted...was there a reason for that? I felt I made a relevant point.

over 6 years ago

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George R

Good article. One could counter, of course, that the whole discussion about how best to display fashionwear online is part of a wider debate regarding overall site design and usability.

You make specific reference to the Schuh site which, at the time of writing, is not what you'd call a showcase of web best practice. Whilst it does a good job of displaying the products, it's not great in other areas.

Previously, I've reviewed the Schuh site - and the current iteration - and found them lacking in most other design aspects.

However, it seems they're relaunching in October, so it'll be interesting to see what they've done to remedy the situation.

over 6 years ago

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lucy

thanks ...  i know what to do...

over 6 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi George,

With reference to your point about the comment being removed, it seems to have fallen foul of the spam filter. I've restored it now.

I take your point about Schuh and the rest of its site, and agree that such product display tools / technologies are best used as one part of a well designed and usable site.

On this occasion though, I was focusing on product pages, and one thing Schuh does well in the product photos.

over 6 years ago

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oncon

Good advice for fashion sellers Graham, but one more way is using of 360 degree product photography. 

over 6 years ago

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Alex Kadinsky

360 product view is another way to show your product from all side.

over 6 years ago

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linhui

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over 6 years ago

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Jessica Washington

360 degrees product photography is starting to gain more demand in the US. European online retailers are the early adapters. This new trend will surpass traditional photography since for the same price you pay you get more images and utilize them in a 3D spinset demostration. You can also use them offline if needed since all images are shot in high resolution. Online shoppers will gain more purchasing confidence and reduce more returns since they can inspect the product in full 360 degrees and zoom in for details. This similar technology can be seen here: http://www.mediaspin360.com/blog

over 6 years ago

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