<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="" data-consent-src="https://px.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=233274&amp;fmt=gif" data-category-consent="cookie_cat_marketing">
Start trial

Sell the vision, not the product

Feb 4, 2021


  • Consumers buy the result a product will bring, not the product itself
  • When you promote the result, you'll ignite a shopper's imagination and attract them to your store

We're an imaginative generation of consumers. Imaginative, but impatient. If brands and retailers don't grab our attention straight away, we won't stick around for long. Even when they've got our attention and we've seen something we like, our desire for it is impatient. We want it immediately.

This combination of imagination and impatience is incredibly hard for today's ecommerce teams to cater to. So most take the easy way out. They focus solely on pushing highlighted products to hit their sales targets. And they do this in the cheapest way possible - showing product images on a white background.

For buyers, these product images work. They clearly show the product and if that's exactly what you know you want to buy, great. But, these plain images don't cut it for the imaginative shopper.

Shoppers need a spark to light their interest. That spark comes from one thing - seeing the lifestyle a product can bring. And how do you ignite that spark? You sell the vision, not the product.

Let's say a shopper is browsing the internet, summer is around the corner and he's looking forward to spending time in his garden with friends and family. He's casually switching between Facebook and Instagram, like we all do, and he sees this image. Would he click?

Sell the vision, bbq1

Probably not. It's just a picture of a barbecue. Yes it might have crossed his mind that he'd like one, but this image has done nothing to convince him he needs it now.

But say he's scrolling and he sees this...

Sell the vision, bbq2

It's the exact image he's been picturing. Friends, family, fun. And it's all centred around one product, the barbecue. The spark is lit, his attention is caught and he now knows he needs a barbecue to get one step closer to his summer goal.

Having a goal or vision applies to all products. When you buy a barbecue you want the delicious food and summer fun. When you buy coffee beans, you want that warm cup first thing in the morning sat on the sofa watching Friends. When you buy a ski jacket, you want the crisp mountain air and a cheese fondue after a long day on the slopes.

Consumers want the result of the product. They want what buying the product will give them. Showing them the lifestyle they could achieve with your products is the only way to capture a shopper's attention. 

So why are webshops still so full of white grid product images? How do retailers expect to ignite the spark with limited visual inspiration? 

At iPaper we're full believers in the need to inspire. Whilst we know how challenging the current market is for retailers, we're passionate about the importance of visual inspiration. Simply by improving images used across your webshop, ad campaigns, catalogs, newsletters and other marketing channels, you're more equipped to ignite the spark and attract shoppers to your store. 

Click here to see how BoConcept expertly inspires shoppers to browse using images.

It's extremely difficult to predict shoppers. There's no formula you can use to guarantee you'll hit the right shopper at exactly the right time, every time. But when you focus on selling the vision instead of the product, you have a greater chance of inspiring a wider audience. And that's what ecommerce brands want. To grow their audience, keep shoppers engaged and encourage them to keep coming back for more. The only way to achieve your vision, is to sell the vision. 


Jo Molloy

Jo Molloy