It's estimated that there will be over 2 billion online shoppers worldwide by 2020.
And, with around 24 million eCommerce websites in total, if you don't offer a stellar shopping experience, you'll lose out on customers in the blink of an eye.
That's why the buyer's journey and speed of web shops has increased in importance.
And, that's why we've seen a huge rise in shoppable content.
Because shoppable content bridges the gap between browsing and buying.
It encourages consumers to act immediately and provides a smooth shopping experience.
So what elements does your shoppable content need to create the ultimate inspirational experience?
Images need to lure in, capture and inspire your shoppers.
They need to show off your products, showcase their use and appeal to their target audience.
And shoppable content really is the place to make your images shine.
One effective form of shoppable content is online catalogs.
They provide a smooth shopping experience, allow customers to get inspired and discover a huge range of products, and they're easily shareable across all online channels.
But, when it comes to images, online catalogs offer a unique platform for brands to show exactly what they want to in whatever design they choose.
Now, there are various different ways to present your products, but they should always represent your brand and reflect what your audience likes. Two very different styles to compare are those of Ex.t, an Italian design brand, and Meny, a Danish supermarket chain.
Ex.t uses images to inspire and encourage its customers to think about the style of their bathroom and what they want to achieve.
The images are effectively simple as they show the products in a life-like, realistic scenario. Rather than your typical grid style display, Ex.t has produced a more customer focused brochure that is simple, but makes them think. This style not only suits Ex.t's ideal customers but reflects the brands values.
With just the click of a button, customers can be re-directed to that specific product page on the Ex.t website and immediately add products to the basket.
Alternatively, Meny has developed a more interactive and visually enticing version of the typical grid style. This allows customers to find exactly what they want quickly, easily and effectively.
The vibrant backgrounds, segmented sections and price stickers bring that extra visually appealing aspect. Customers can enjoy flicking through the catalog, adding products immediately to a shopping list that's emailed to them directly (so they don't forget the deals once they're in the shop).
Having a quality image database and strong brand identity is crucial when it comes to creating engaging online catalogs and shoppable content in general. Be it a lifestyle set up or grid style, your layout and imagery should be top quality and reflect the essence of your brand.
If you still need convincing about the importance of video here are some quick stats for you:
80% of millennials refer to videos when making buying decisions.
One third of online activity is watching video.
And shoppable videos are not only a tool for inspiration, but they unlock more opportunities for brand storytelling, one of the biggest marketing trends out there.
One brand that's ahead of the game and used by many as a great example of shoppable video is Ted Baker. The fashion house has already created a few shoppable video campaigns that have shown exactly how shoppable content can work.
Video is key to engagement and interaction.
And, shoppable videos are a step forward in combining brand storytelling with a direct link to purchase.
Videos can also be included in other types of shoppable content to help improve the experience and offer a unique shopping opportunity.
When it comes to online catalogs, videos can be a supporting asset that tell more about a product, offer behind-the-scenes exclusives and show products in different settings or styles.
So don't limit yourself. If you want to create inspirational videos, look at how you can make them shoppable or incorporate them in your shoppable activities.
Whilst images and videos make shoppable content inspirational, what makes it effective and successful is the customer journey.
Your customer journey must be seamless.
To do that you need to put yourself in your customer's shoes and see for yourself what they will experience.
If there's a second too long to wait for the page to load, if the checkout journey isn't clear, if the basket doesn't automatically update, then you'll lose shoppers instantly.
A long and complicated checkout process is one of the top 3 reasons why shoppers abandon their carts.
And if you don't like the experience, chances are your customers won't either so you need to think that one step ahead.
The point of shoppable content is that it bridges the gap between browsing and buying.
It speeds up the shopping journey and allows shoppers to instantly act on their inspiration.
If you have the images and videos locked down, don't let your efforts down by not optimizing your checkout experience.
So make sure you get it nailed.
The online market is crowded, and brands and retailers must lessen the friction between content and their products when attracting and engaging with their customers.
The key thing to remember is: make the path from browsing to actual shopping as simple as possible. Connect the dots between your content and your shop.
To learn more about how to improve your web shop experience and inspire online shoppers, download our eBook today.