8 February 2019
By Drew Smith
Drew is the Director of Product Strategy at Volo and focuses on how technology can help brands and retailers deliver what their customers want.
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Looking for a sharp rundown of great ecommerce product listings and what makes them so good? We’ve got you covered. We’ll be looking at ten fashion brands to see why their product listings convert, what they do differently and how to take the best tips from them to make your own fashion product listings the best they can be.
A digital darling, Boohoo just posted 44% year-on-year growth for the last 4 months of 2018. Their product listing is packed with details, but half of the space is devoted to product imagery. These high-res product images display both colour variants to give browsers a better sense of the options available.
Interestingly, Boohoo opts for “Style notes” rather than a traditional description. This advisory tone encourages shoppers to imagine the benefits of the product to their wardrobe, and subtly directs shoppers to other available Boohoo products.
Another natively online brand, Asos has been a fashion ecommerce market leader for years and is celebrated for its UX work. Their listings are heavily mobile-optimised, featuring a total lack of clutter and hiding a lot of the product data itself behind a ‘See More’ tag.
Of course, behind the scenes, search engine crawlers are fully able to read the whole set of information with ease, enabling Asos to capture the benefits of a fully search optimised product listing without cluttering the screen for the shopper.
The proprietary ‘fit assistant’ is one of the few non-essential items above the fold. This speaks to a combination of personalisation and great product data quality which enables the tool to recommend sizes of any given product to a user, who just needs to give the fit assistant their basic metrics.
Ted Baker’s product listing follows the Asos model of minimising extra information behind drop-down panels. Note the elements which remain: ‘add to bag’, ‘add to wishlist’, and the emphasis on the free delivery offer – pared down to the basics. These basics appeared to be working for the fashion brand – Ted Baker recently reported an 18% increase in online sales.
The distinguishing feature of this otherwise quite plain page is the photography, which dominates the listing. Ted Baker trades as a premium brand and is careful to show its investment in the product through great photography. No thumbnails here!
Joules is another star performer from a 2018 winter season that was harsh to many retailers and brands. The UK fashion brand saw 17.6% online growth in the latter half of 2018.
Their product listing is the first of our selection to drop in user-generated content, in this case taking the form of reviews. These sit below the message which alternates between telling us how many people are currently viewing the page and how many times the item has been purchased recently.
These demand signals indicate to shoppers that they could miss out on a product which others have already enjoyed, adding impetus and FOMO to increase conversion.
Where Boohoo used its description copy to encourage shoppers to envision the product within their wardrobe and style choices, Joules uses its product photography to highlight the lifestyle role of the product and the aspirational nature of the brand.
Rent the Runway is not itself a brand, but trades on the implicit understanding of the value of its brands to consumers. The site has a tricky path to tread between emphasising the luxury of the product and ensuring customers are aware of the value they’re receiving by choosing to rent rather than purchase directly.
Rent the Runway manage this tension smartly by using a generous amount of white space and highlighting the designer’s name. Then, in a subtle grey directly underneath the designer name and product title, the retail price is displayed.
This sets up the value offered by the rental service whilst making sure that the product listing does a great job of selling the luxurious fashion items available.
The best part about this page is the philosophy that seems to say “We’re Nike and we’re here to sell you a shoe. Anything else is a distraction.”
That leads to the biggest immediate difference (similar to Ted Baker’s approach to emphasising photography) in that there is no image selection panel or carousel with a single larger image to view. Instead, shoppers get to see the shoe from every angle, no clicks required.
In a similar vein, sizing is now available at a glance – there’s no “pick a size” drop down, because they’re all laid out before the viewer already. This listing is designed for frictionless shopping at the level of every click. The result is a highly focused product listing that allows customers to stay focused on the shoe they want.
Another UK fashion brand with a successful winter under its belt, Paul Smith’s product listings draw a nice balance between simplicity and blandness. It features nice touches, such as using actual product photography rather than plain swatches for the colour selector, and an image carousel where the bottom row of images trips across the line dividing the two main sections.
This draws potentially uncertain shoppers flicking through the images down into reassuring copy about the quality and provenance of the product. This shows a really strong synergy between imagery, layout and copy, all thought out with regard to the user’s journey.
One benefit of being a direct-to-consumer apparel brand is that you become known for and sometimes synonymous with a single product. Allbirds do have a range of products, but their original wool runners are still the shoes they’re known and loved for.
Their product listing reflects this neatly. Instead of the navigation trail you find on almost every other example (e.g. Home > Mens > Jackets), Allbirds puts the hero image of the shoe directly underneath the logo in their header. Colourways are broken out in a clear visual language distinguishing between upper and sole. Like Nike, the product is speaking for itself.
The only other above the fold content is the heading for the section below, which is full of user generated content and Instagram snaps, a gold mine of social proof for Allbirds.
Selling a USP on a product listing doesn’t have to mean including it in a list of bullet points on a product description. Sunglasses maker Oakley have used the below-the-fold space here for an appropriately visual interactive demonstration of the value of their lenses technology.
The actual listing space itself is also somewhat striking, eschewing the typical column format and using the width of the screen to full effect.
Diesel captures here many of the lessons of Nike’s product listing above, and goes one better by incorporating video seamlessly into the photography panel to fully illustrate the product from various angles.
Also interesting is the use of tags to highlight specific product attributes. This helps shoppers navigate the wide variety of somewhat similar products on offer – Diesel sells a lot of different types of denim!
A throughline for all of these different fashion product listings is that the best examples work with quality product data and marry it to the brand’s unique style. Whilst there are clearly a couple of structural conventions at play, having the backend attributes to power innovations from fit assistants to browsing by product tags brings the user experience up to a level not many are delivering and can act as a real differentiator.
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