Unfortunately, it’s a paradox: On the one hand, brands want and need to stand out from the crowd in order not to get lost in the endless expanses of competitors. On the other hand, numerous brands advertise very similar products in their online shops with a lot of text and rather unexciting and interchangeable images. This way of presenting a brand has neither an authentic nor a personally appealing effect on website visitors. Yet product images in online shops are there to create inspiration, to visually show website visitors the product details and key selling points.

The key to success is to make the products on the product pages as attractive as possible and present them with a unique brand recognition, so that people choose you and become loyal to your brand. But how does your brand get such unique visual Content? The answer is quite simple: use visual Social Content from your community to enrich your product pages with eye-catching images. 

Visual Social Content on the product page – briefing

There are various ways to make the most of Social Content. User Generated Content (UGC) is one type of visual Social Content. You can learn more about the function of UGC in our UGC Basic Guide. One option is to spice up the product page in your online shop with images from your community and make them your brand’s flagship. 

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Eddie Bauer – visual representation product page

When using this option, a product stream is integrated as an element on the product page. This stream only displays Social Content that shows the respective product. Under the classic product image, there are additional images that show how your customers wear or use the product. To find out how you can technically embed Instagram content on your website, you can read in our blog post on the topic. In the following, you will learn more about the advantages of integrating UGC on product detail pages.

Why do product pages need images from the customer community?

This blog post highlights five reasons why it’s worth enriching your product page view with unique images from your community. To make sure this isn’t just a mindless listing, we’re contrasting the two clothing brands Eddie Bauer and Zara to illustrate. If you want to learn more about why embedding UGC is better than using stock photography, feel free to check out our blog post about it.

#1 Product pages with authentic images provide a natural aesthetics

The most important thing in wearable fashion is: How does the outfit look on real people? How does the product look in natural situations?

The fashion brand ZARA tends to rely on interesting product images to answer this question. Moody models wear the fashion while sitting on a stove or hanging bent over a tennis net. This brings up the question, to what extent does this reflect realistic and authentic situations in which buyers would really wear the products? 

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ZARA – product page picture example 1

It is artsy in any case, and that is certainly how ZARA aims to display their brand. However, the model images have little to do with the everyday life of most people and only marginally contribute a purchase decision. What’s the point of knowing what you’d look like in that dress if you were squatting on a hot plate? Let’s be honest, that hardly ever happens, at least when I think about my everyday life. 

This contrasts with the content that the brand Eddie Bauer relies on as a visual product description to accentuate the wearability and versatility of their  clothing in everyday life. For example, on the product detail page (PDP), the outdoor-inspired brand uses images from the community to show how the same yellow raincoat can look on various people in various situations. This creates a natural aesthetic that doesn’t look polished, but is highly authentic.

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Eddie Bauer -product page with pictures of the yellow raincoat

#2 Product pages with manifold images create a more room for identification

Appealing, authentic, diverse – that’s how users want product images on the product page to be. 

Oldschool product photos that show clothes on slim, tall and almost flawless models certainly put the products in a good light and make them look excellent. But such visual contentproduction is obsolete, out of touch with the times, and does not meet the needs of users. These product images do not reflect what the majority of buyers really look like, are not diverse, and thus offer little potential for identification. 

Let’s leave aside that it is questionable to suggest such an unrealistic vision of women as desirable through perfect images. Also, with very dark visuals, like those of ZARA, it is rather difficult to imagine oneself in the fashion it-piece.

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ZARA – product page picture example 2

Visual Social Content provides people with inspiration and thus supports their imagination. Users can get an impression of how they would look with the product. True to the motto “a product that can not be seen can not be sold”.

Integrating images of your own customers on the product page not only provides social proof, but also shows how the respective product looks on different types with different hair colors, skin tones and body shapes. This provides much more room for identification and shows different possible styling combinations of the piece. Eddie Bauer integrates product streams on product pages to focus precisely on this versatility of their products. 

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Comparison product page image ZARA vs. Eddie Bauer

#3 Product pages with images paint a personal and individual brand image

Every customer community is always unique because it is made up of different individuals. All these individuals have one thing in common, they are credible fans of your brand. The images are not at all generic, but highly unique. So if you use UGC from your community as a unique element on your product page, your brand’s online shop becomes distinctive. 

Through UGC you give your products a face, namely that of your customers. Product images from real buyers present your online shop, and therefore your brand, in a more approachable, individual, and human way. Each new UGC piece gives your online shop a more nuanced and personalized appearance, and provides ever-growing inspiration. To see how social content can be used across industries to guarantee inspiration, feel free to check out our Top 10 Social Walls of Inspiration. Eddie Bauer integrates inspiration into its online shop in this way. An example of this is the already known yellow raincoat:

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Eddie Bauer – various impressions of the yellow rain parka

On the product page, the brand shows different UGC pieces, each of them presenting this Charly parka. Real people virtually bring the outdoor jacket to life and make the product and brand appear multifaceted and multi-layered. By interacting with the community and centering users in their marketing efforts, brands can stand out from the crowd.

#4 Product pages with images from the community mean lower production costs

Certainly, the use of artistically valuable product images like the ones that ZARA aims for has a price that should not be underestimated. With such product shoots, there are costs such as model budgets, location and post-production, which makes it a challenge for smaller brands to produce such product images. 

Thanks to UGC, Eddie Bauer can access a large number of images per product and highlight different facets without incurring high costs. The images excellently reflect the diversity of the company’s customers. This not only provides versatile impressions, but is also the cheapest way to present a large flood of authentic product images. 

This variety cannot be depicted even with many model shoots. For one thing, it is not possible to show such a broad cross-section of society. And for another, each individual product would bring up utopian costs for image production, and that is rarely profitable.

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How to reduce content production costs

Download our fact sheet now and learn how to optimize content production for your brand and reduce costs in no time.

#5 Produktdetailseiten mit inspirativen Bildern stärken Website Performance 

Social Content plug-ins in the form of product teasers are a technique of social commerce and enhance the buying experience through impressions from the everyday life of other buyers, thereby strengthening your website performance. 

A click on an individual image not only shows who posted the original content on social media and with which caption, but also a direct link to the corresponding product with all product details. Another click takes the user to the product page in no time at all and they can easily add it to their shopping cart. This speeds up the customer journey, simplifies the buying process, and minimizes the likelihood of last-minute bounces. 

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Eddie Bauer – product page with Social Content plug-in

Integrating visual Content in e-commerce ensures online shop inspiration and provides a lot of room for identification. This also improves website performance and overall time on page. Product pages with authentic images encourage users to spend more time in your online shop. In turn, this improves the visibility of your domain via search engines. If you want to know more about essential KPIs in e-commerce, download our free whitepaper. 

Conclusion

Of course it is important to remember that it always depends on what product images aim to express. If your brand has a rather abstract claim to the online shop, the ZARA way certainly fulfills this function. But if you want to focus on individual inspiration in your online shop and on authentic brand awareness, visual Social Content is the better option. 

Visual Social Content is not interchangeable, rather it is highly unique. It portrays an immediately visible product description that a text alone can hardly represent. It gives your brand a distinctive face that people can identify with much easier. Use visual Social Content to turn your product pages into a source of inspiration with authentic images that naturally move people to make a decision for your brand in the sea of competitors.

If you’d like to learn more about how to provide online shop inspiration in your specific industry, feel free to read our detailed blog post on the topic. 

About Caro Wulf

Caro has a degree in communication science and German studies and has been supporting the squarelovin team since the beginning of 2021, with content creation here on the blog and for the knowledge area. Her focus is mainly on social media and influencer marketing.

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