In this article

Visual Merchandising in Fashion eCommerce: 7 Best Strategies That Work

Design-oriented eCommerce industries like fashion require excellent visual merchandising to help stores stand out from the competition.

a woman with glasses sitting in front of a wall
By Arjel Vajvoda
Joel Taylor - Editor for Fast Simon
Edited by Joel Taylor
Oli Kashti - Writer and Fact-Checker for Fast Simon
Fact-check by Oli Kashti

Published July 2, 2024.

A fashion store filled with lots of purses and handbags displaying effective visual merchandising

The importance of visual merchandising in eCommerce can never be understated, especially in design-oriented industries like fashion. For instance, 67% of consumers state that image quality is an extremely important factor in their purchasing decisions​​. Additionally, incorporating user-generated content (UGC) into visual merchandising can influence buying behavior, as 93% of customers find UGC helpful when making a purchase decision​​.

Meet the Expert

Arjel Vajvoda, Head of Product at Motomtech, leverages her extensive experience in customer support to craft user-focused SaaS products with innovative documentation solutions.

» Sell other products besides fashion? See these creative ways to display your eCommerce merchandise

Benefits of Visual Merchandising in Fashion eCommerce

  • Increased engagement and time spent on site: An appealing presentation signals high-quality content to Google, potentially boosting organic rankings and driving more traffic​​.
  • Improved site navigation and user experience: Nearly 50% of online consumers consider a website's visual appeal and aesthetics when judging its credibility, affecting their interaction with the site and their purchasing decisions​​.
  • Increased average order value: Effective visual merchandising strategies, especially category merchandising, can encourage customers to purchase more per transaction​​.
  • Higher conversion rates: The conversion rate, indicating the percentage of visitors who make a purchase, is crucial for return on investment (ROI).
  • Enhanced brand awareness and loyalty: Visual merchandising strengthens brand awareness and fosters loyalty by consistently presenting merchandise in a way that reflects the brand's identity and meets customers' tastes​​.

» Need more examples? Here are some inspiring digital merchandising examples

Fast Simon infographic showing the seven best visual merchandising strategies for fashion eCommerce stores

1. High-Quality Product Images

High-quality product images are essential in communicating the quality and details of fashion items, crucial for industries where visual appeal is a key purchase driver.

Unlike other visual merchandising tactics, high-quality product images provide a direct and detailed view of the product, offering the closest possible experience to seeing and touching the product in person. This is vital for reducing return rates in an online setting where physical examination isn't possible.

Common Pitfalls to Watch Out For

  • Balancing quality and speed: High-resolution images can slow down site performance if poorly optimized. Technologies such as AI-enhanced imaging and compression tools can optimize image quality and loading times without compromising the visual integrity of product photos.
  • Consistency: Although maintaining consistent quality and styling across all product images can be challenging, it is necessary for brand cohesion.
  • Initial cost: May require significant investment in professional photography or equipment. For businesses on a tight budget, DIY photography with high-quality smartphones and basic editing tools can also produce good results and is easily scalable.

Examples: Amazon and ASOS

Amazon requires all products to have high-resolution images, with the product occupying at least 85% of the frame.

Similarly, ASOS presents products with multiple photos, zoom-in options, and catwalk videos, emphasizing product details​​.

Screenshot of the Amazon website showing their high-quality product images

Screenshot of the ASOS website showing their high-quality product images

2. User-Generated Content (UGC)

UGC and social proof is highly beneficial for all types of fashion eCommerce businesses, from luxury brands to more accessible options, but is particularly effective for brands aiming to enhance authenticity and build community engagement.

Unlike professionally created content, UGC is an eCommerce merchandising use case perceived as more authentic and trustworthy by consumers. It directly showcases real customers' experiences, making it a powerful tool for enhancing brand credibility and trust.

UGC campaigns are highly scalable. Brands can start small by encouraging customers to share their experiences with product reviews and gradually expand their strategy by leveraging hashtags and contests for broader engagement.

Common Pitfalls to Watch Out For

  • Maintaining brand image: Remember to balance the authenticity of UGC while ensuring it aligns with the brand's image and quality standards.
  • Content moderation: Effective content moderation is crucial to filter out inappropriate or irrelevant UGC. Consider UGC platforms to collect, manage, and showcase customer content as they often incorporate AI to help with content curation and ensure relevancy and brand alignment.

» Worried about your content? Here's how to test your content quality with Google Gemini

Examples: Salsa Jeans and Brownie

Salsa Jeans utilized UGC in their “Never Surrender” campaign, encouraging customers to post content featuring their products. This approach not only fostered a strong bond with their consumer base but also attracted new customers by showcasing authentic user experiences​​.

Another example is Brownie, which created a lookbook of UGC on its site, linking real customer photos directly to product pages for easy shopping​​.

a collage of photos of women in different outfits
Salsa Jeans

a collage of photos with the words browniespain

3. Personalized Recommendations

Personalization is crucial for every fashion eCommerce business, from small startups to established brands. They are particularly effective for enhancing customer satisfaction and increasing revenue, as they tailor the shopping experience to individual preferences.

Personalized product recommendations use data-driven insights to suggest products that are highly relevant to each customer. This approach not only increases the likelihood of conversion but also enhances the overall shopping experience by making it feel unique and catered to the individual.

» Here are some other elements to personalize on your store

Common Pitfalls to Watch Out For

  • Over-complexity: Trying to implement overly complex recommendation systems without adequate data or understanding can lead to less effective results.
  • Privacy concerns: Balancing personalization with privacy concerns is crucial, as excessive data collection can deter customers or even violate regulations like the GDPR.

» Here are some tips for personalized digital marketing

To avoid both pitfalls, technology can help. Advanced machine learning algorithms and AI are typically used to analyze customer data and generate personalized product recommendations. These technologies can adapt in real-time to customer interactions, further refining personalization.

Examples: Amazon and Target

Amazon uses personalized upsell tactics and recommendations on their product and order confirmation pages, while Target leverages demographic data to influence recommendations, significantly enhancing the shopping experience and increasing customer loyalty.

» Need more help? See these eCommerce personalization strategies

a computer screen with a bunch of items on it

a screen shot of a store listing page

» Discover the best personalization software for you

4. Effective Use of Color and Aesthetics

Every fashion eCommerce platform, regardless of size, can benefit significantly from the effective use of color and aesthetics. These elements are crucial for creating a strong brand identity, attracting and retaining customers, and differentiating from competitors.

The strategic use of color and aesthetics directly influences customers' perceptions and decisions. Colors carry psychological connotations that can affect mood and behavior but also enhance brand recognition.

Common Pitfalls to Watch Out For

  • Ignoring cultural differences: Colors have different meanings across cultures; not considering these can lead to negative associations​​. Make sure you do your research and tailor your results to specific regions if needed.
  • Overcomplication: Using too many colors, complex designs, or inconsistencies can overwhelm users, leading to confusion, diluted brand identity, and poor user experience. Consider modern web design tools and platforms to test and optimize your use of color.

Example: Uber

Brands like Uber showcase the power of color in creating brand identity and user recall. Their use of black and white conveys elegance and professionalism that helps distinguish them in a crowded market space​​.

a screen shot of a web page with a picture of a woman entering a car

5. Mobile-Friendly Layouts

All fashion eCommerce sites must prioritize mobile-friendly layouts, given the increasing prevalence of mCommerce. This approach is especially critical for brands targeting younger demographics who are more likely to use mobile devices for online shopping.

Mobile-friendly layouts ensure that your website is accessible and navigable on smartphones and tablets, providing an optimal viewing experience through responsive design. This is crucial for engaging the significant number of users who shop on mobile devices.

» Have an app? Here's how to add search to your mobile app

Common Pitfalls to Watch Out For

  • Poor loading times: Mobile users expect quick loading times and effective site search functionality, and failure to optimize can lead to increased bounce rates. Responsive web design technologies, such as HTML5 and CSS3, allow websites to automatically adjust their layout based on the device's screen size. Additionally, eCommerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce offer mobile-optimized themes.
  • Difficult navigation: Complex menus and interfaces can frustrate mobile users, discouraging further interaction with the site.

» Struggling? Here's how to optimize your website for mobile

Examples: ASOS and Zara

Major fashion retailers like ASOS and Zara have optimized their mobile websites and apps to offer a seamless shopping experience. This includes easy navigation, fast load times, and mobile-friendly checkout processes, which contribute to their high mobile conversion rates.

Screenshot of the Zara website showing their mobile-friendly layout

a screen shot of a product description page

6. Interactive Visuals and Videos

Interactive visuals and videos are particularly beneficial for high-end brands that want to showcase the quality and detail of their products, but they're also increasingly being used by more accessible brands to engage customers and differentiate from competitors.

Interactive visuals and videos go beyond static images by allowing customers to engage with products in a more dynamic way. Features like 360-degree views, zoom-in capabilities, and augmented reality (AR) fittings can give customers a better sense of the product's look, feel, and fit.

Common Pitfalls to Watch Out For

  • Technical challenges: Ensuring that interactive features load quickly and work seamlessly across all devices requires technical expertise and can complicate website maintenance. Consider technologies such as HTML5, WebGL for 3D visuals, and various AR SDKs that enable the creation of interactive and immersive experiences. Tools and platforms like Adobe Aero, Unity, and Shopify AR can simplify the process for retailers.
  • Overcomplication: There's a risk of making the shopping experience too complex or overwhelming with excessive use of interactive elements. Use them sparingly when necessary.

Examples: Gucci

Luxury fashion brands often lead in this area. For instance, Gucci's use of AR for trying on shoes virtually allows customers to see how a pair of shoes would look on their feet using their smartphone camera.

Screenshot of the Gucci website showing their interactive augmented reality functionality

7. Strategic Product Placement

Strategic product placement is crucial for all fashion eCommerce businesses aiming to optimize their online store for increased sales, enhanced customer experience, and improved brand perception. This approach is especially valuable for brands looking to guide customers through their product offerings in a way that aligns with both business objectives and customer preferences.

Strategic product placement leverages consumer psychology and data-driven insights to arrange products in a way that maximizes visibility for high-priority items, encourages exploration, and facilitates the discovery process to influence purchasing decisions.

» Need more help? Start with the difference between product search and product discovery

Common Pitfalls to Watch Out For

  • Overwhelming customers: Bombarding customers with too many choices without clear guidance can lead to choice paralysis, reducing conversion rates.
  • Neglecting mobile optimization: Failing to consider how merchandising strategies translate to mobile platforms can alienate a significant portion of the audience.
  • Static merchandising strategies: Not regularly updating merchandising strategies based on changing inventory levels, customer behavior, and trends can make the online store feel stale and out of touch.

» Don't forget about irresistible product descriptions

Advanced eCommerce platforms and visual AI tools enable dynamic product placement and personalized merchandising strategies. These technologies can analyze customer data, inventory levels, and other key performance indicators to automatically adjust product rankings and recommendations in real-time.

Example: Patagonia

Patagonia excels in fashion eCommerce through its clear and cohesive brand storytelling centered around environmental activism. Their website prioritizes environmental messaging with stunning nature photography, while transparency in materials and manufacturing reinforces their sustainability message.

Screenshot of the Patagonia website showcasing their strategic product placement

The world of eCommerce is constantly evolving, and new trends are always emerging. Aside from these 7 merchandising trends, consider keeping up to date with the industry to leverage new trends as they emerge, such as:

  • Augmented reality (AR): AR lets customers virtually try on clothes using their smartphone cameras. This bridges the gap between online shopping and the physical experience of trying clothes in-store. You can prepare by investing in AR development tools and creating 3D models of clothing.
  • Shoppable live streaming: Live streaming through platforms like Instagram or TikTok allows brands to showcase their products with real-time interaction. Influencers or brand representatives can model clothes and answer customer questions live.

Additionally, don't forget to A/B test different visual elements and track your eCommerce merchandising metrics. See what resonates with your audience by trying variations of product imagery, layout, and storytelling to optimize your conversion rates.

» Enhance your merchandising strategy with these product bundle tips