Lionel Trains and Lego use in situ product placementA fantastic way to make your customers more excited about your products is by placing them within a less artificial context than merely displaying them on their own in your product catalog.Think about what seems more appealing and exciting to customers: seeing an image of your product by itself with the price and other common attributes listed, or seeing it displayed in relationship with similar products in your line? Tweet: What is more appealing to customers: your product by itself, or displayed in relationship with similar products in your line? If you arrange your products in situ, chances are they will look more attractive and appealing to customers, and inspire them to purchase not just the item they were originally looking for, but related ones as well. Two major toy companies, Lionel and Lego, do this extremely well.
On Lionel’s product page you can see a model train set complete with terrain features, small town, and of course, two trains. Lionel has added a hover feature over various items in the display:
If you want to purchase extra train track, you click on the feature over the train track. If you want to purchase a locomotive, you click on the feature over one of the locomotives. This is a great way to stoke (get it, like stoking a steam engine with coal) your customer’s imagination and encourage them to consider the value behind items they might not have been thinking about when they first visited your website.
Lego does something similar with their Castle line of toy sets. When you visit their product page you see each Castle item displayed in a fantasy landscape. Each set is placed in a way that conveys how a user (in this case, probably the eight year-old son or daughter of the parent who is browsing the website) would interact with the different sets.
Adding an extra degree of interactivity to the product page is a series of of different games that visitors can play. Clicking on one of the Lego sets gives you the option to play a Sonic the Hedgehog-style quest game with one of the Castle pieces. It’s an extra level of value added to the product and, combined with the in situ placement of the products makes these Lego products that much more desirable to potential customers.Besides children’s toys, this sort of feature would work well on a number of other eCommerce websites. The same hover feature utilized by Lionel could look great for a cookware website displaying various pots, cutlery, and other kitchen utensils in a model kitchen, or for a furniture company (IKEA, Pottery Barn, and Ethan Allen, to name a few, do this phenomenally well with their catalog mailers, but don’t have a similar arrangement on their websites).
Nasty Gal and Zara curate a "look" with each one of their piecesFashion companies have a naturally compelling way to display their products, since most shoppers appreciate seeing what a particular piece of clothing looks like on a model. We’ve mentioned trendy women’s clothing line Nasty Galbeforeon this blog because of their masterful use of social media, but they deserve another shout-out for their interactive product displays. A Nasty Gal piece comes with several full-body shots of a model wearing an outfit featuring the given piece, plus a reliably witty product description adjacent to a carousel image gallery of the model.
Right below the image of the model is a section called “The Look,” and in case a visitor isn’t too keen on the Knit Picking Fringe Tank but absolutely loved those Kerry Denim Hot Shorts the model was wearing, she can click on the image of a model wearing those shorts and be taken to the product page for the shorts.
Zara similarly contextualizes their products for a more appealing look by offering browsers a similar experience. For the linen shirt seen above, Zara includes images of other items you can “match with” in the photo shoot, including suit trousers, leather espadrilles shoes, and a leather backpack (which isn’t actually featured in the original shot but is a good example ofincluding related products to a product page). Giving customers more options in terms of taste or style increases your chances of getting a conversion, and it also builds customers’ confidence in your taste-making abilities and trust in your brand. Apart from clothing brands, this sort of “look book” product page listing can come in handy if your website relies on design-centric products such as automotive accessories like AutoAnything or graphic design icons such asNoun Project.
Nike and Vans let customers personalize their products into masterpiecesPerhaps the apex of interactivity when it comes to product listings is to let your customers design the product itself. Apart from giving a customer exactly what he wants, this kind of product listing pays off because the customer is investing their time and creativity into creating the product of their dreams. Nike and Vans hit it on the head in similar fashion.
In the case of Nike, when you browse shoes in their store, certain models come with icons indicating you can design a shoe from scratch.Nike offers a step-by-step design checklist for what you can customize: material, color, logo, plus intricate details such as the eyes of the shoe, the soles, and the laces. It’s an immersive experience that almost lets the customer get carried away in the fantasy of designing the perfect running shoe -- except that there’s a bright CTA to add the shoe to the customer’s shopping cart.
The skating and surf lifestyle brand Vans gives customers an immersive customization experience for many of their products such as backpacks. In the case of a humble “Old Skool” skater’s backpack there are 12 different features that can be customized, both in terms of color and material. As you cycle through various color combinations, the sample backpack on screen changes to reflect your selections, so you know exactly what the finished product will look like when you’re done picking out exactly what color you want the bottom panel of your backpack to be (I chose Reinvent Red).