How to Present Products on Your Website

How to Present Products on Your WebsiteIf you think photographing that amazing ring from a single angle will suffice, think again

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it can’t show you every sparkling detail of a faceted diamond ring—not by a long shot.

And in online fine jewelry retailing, visual ambiguity is a conversion killer. Essentially, if consumers can’t view and comprehend the details of a product you’re offering—and visualize themselves wearing that product—you’re less likely to convert those browsers into buyers.

With just a few clicks on Google, the digital retail environment allows consumers to find multiple retailers selling the same item—letting them instantly compare prices, speed of shipping, return policies, and other factors that feed into purchase decisions. In this retail thunderdome, how a business showcases its products really matters.

The importance of displaying clear, high-quality imagery is a given. But photos can’t simply be pretty; they need to be informational and, ideally, plentiful, revealing all there is to know about an item: how it looks in real life (floating in space and worn on a person), what it feels like, how heavy it is, and its true colors.

Lastly, written product descriptions—the more concise and detailed, the better—fill in the information gaps photos leave behind. Clear and engaging copy is essential to selling your fine jewelry online.

Make sure your product pages are up to par by heeding these five online merchandising musts.

1. Cover the Angles

Fine jewelry and luxury watches are high-price products, not Amazon add-ons shoppers toss into the digital shopping cart at the last minute. It’s true that ultra-affluent clients can be impulse jewelry buyers, but the bulk of fine jewelry consumers do lots of research and pre-shop before clicking “buy.”

A recent study from Pymnts.com, which tracks innovations in payments and commerce, found that 88% of consumers research purchases online before reaching for their wallets. A brand’s product presentation plays a huge role in the decision process.

What closes the sale for one retailer over another? The amount of information a consumer sees is a factor: When presented with the option to buy from a seller showcasing an item with multiple detailed photos and a video over a seller displaying a single product photo, chances are the consumer will buy from the former. That’s because the more information you provide, the more confident consumers are bound to be in their purchase.

This boils down to adding more photos, from close-ups to overall product shots and every perspective in between. A 2017 study from user-experience (UX) research firm Nielsen Norman Group found that “leaving shoppers’ questions unanswered can derail a sale or, even worse, make shoppers abandon not just the purchase, but the site as well.” Don’t let a lack of illustrative photos be the reason you lose sales.

2. Show It in Motion

Not every visitor on your site will click on video clips; some will outright ignore them.  Yet the research on the potency of video as a marketing tool is undeniable: Marketers who used video grew revenue 49% faster than non–video users in 2018, according to digital advertising research firm WordStream.

That’s why prolific jewelry sellers including Tiffany & Co. and AUrate make liberal use of the medium on their product pages, usually in the form of a 360-degree product video—a clickable snippet that presents a quickie once-around video of a product.

3. Build a Story Around It

Once upon a time, advertising icon David Ogilvy made a list of the most powerful selling words, such as suddenly, now, amazing, and sensational. But writing engaging product copy in 2019 is less about cherry-picking splashy vocabulary and more about crafting messages that connect with consumers on a personal level.

There’s a science to creating product copy that converts. However, you don’t have to be a professional copywriter to effectively describe the jewelry on your website: The key is to aim for clarity and engaging storytelling.

“The best product descriptions address your target audience directly and personally,” marketing copy consultant Henneke Duistermaat wrote in a Shopify story this year. “You ask and answer questions as if you’re having a conversation with them. You choose the words your ideal buyer uses.… They want to know what’s in it for them. You use the word you.”

4. Humanize the Photo

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) experts found that 22% of returns from online purchases occur because the product looks different in reality than it does on screen. That’s why photos depicting a person wearing or using the item are essential on every product page—especially in jewelry, where the size of a piece can be difficult to gauge without something adjacent (a hand, a neck) to show its scale. Photos of jewelry and watches being worn also invite consumers to contemplate what an item might look like on them; it’s you as the retailer leading the horse to water.

Those human photos may actually increase conversion rates. Although there’s no hard evidence to support this theory, plenty of big-time marketers have vouched for its validity. In 2017, Instagram reported that photos with human faces in them had a 38% greater chance of receiving “likes” than those without faces. Of course, websites aren’t social networks—nonetheless, the stat speaks to our human desire (a part of our DNA) to observe and find commonalities with other people.

Many online retailers are taking that idea of reflection further by integrating augmented reality (AR) into online consumer toolkits. AR tools—which have been used by Kay Jewelers and Dabakarov, among others—allow shoppers to virtually try on jewels via a website or an app. In a 2019 Shopify article, 40% of consumers said they would pay more for a product online if they could experience it through AR. That’s a stat worthy of attention by any measure.

5. Show It in the Wild

Several jewelry and watch brands that do brisk business online, including Lizzie Fortunato and Mejuri, deftly integrate user-generated content into their websites—often in the form of Instagram posts. These posts are both shoppable (a click on a photo sends consumers to a product page) and instructive (showing consumers how others are wearing an item they’re considering).

The payoff for showcasing user-created content is similar to that of brand-commissioned photos showing people wearing products. But user-generated content, which is less polished-looking than studio-shot photography, lets consumers see your products in an authentic setting and therefore evokes a more visceral response. In other words, user-generated content harnesses the power of influencer marketing to romance potential consumers.

(Illustration by Nathan Hackett)