The 1st of September marks the first day of my final month working with I Heart Studios Amsterdam. It has been four years filled with experiences, challenges, and amazing people – and I wouldn’t have traded it for any other.
I Heart was one of the first real steps in my career so – my point of reference is limited. But for me, this final month seems to open a phase of reflection on the past four years working within (E-commerce) content creation. Having worked in Account Management, Postproduction, Planning, Production and finally Operations I’ve had the opportunity to really explore each step of content production firsthand. I’ve attempted to conceptualize the overwhelming amount of information that I’ve gotten to process and believe that the quality of content in E-commerce all boils down to a few key pillars which are useful for anyone trying to kickstart their company or brand into the digital selling world.
Before I share these pillars, I’d like to address why I think it is so valuable to bring the measures of quality back to a more comprehensive list of items.
In our market, with so many creative masterminds going beyond each production, you easily lose track of what is important. We do not like to talk about it, but our market is also fueled by cash and eventually needs to generate a profit.
Therefore, balancing quality with efficiency is key.
How do you establish a visually appealing, accurate and efficient asset for selling? Well, I believe by considering the below you can get it right – each time.
1. Fit with brand/strong brand identity
It all starts with creating and understanding your brand’s identity. What are you looking to portray? Do you have any values that you believe can be presented through your imagery? Are you inclusive and representative of your target audience? Having a strong brand appearance and guidelines will support your content creation team in ensuring that this comes across on your platforms. Also, as new generations focus more and more on buying products from brands that fit their personal values – showing a strong identity can help boost sales.
2. Representation (fit, color, accuracy)
E-commerce content is mainly produced with the sole purpose of selling. Focusing too much on appeal can make the asset move further away from its function. First and foremost, when checking an image, make sure it shows the product in an accurate way. Making products overly neat in styling or postproduction can cause an unrealistic view of the product which could result in returns. Looking for some handles on what to focus on? Fit, Colour and Product features are the most important features to show accurately.
I can probably pull in a million cheesy quotes about consistency and how it fuels excellence, but I won’t bore you with that. Sometimes keeping it simple does the job. So: in essence, people like to know what they can expect. Yep, we are not so adventurous after all… Therefore, consistency on your platforms and way of presenting products, helps customers navigate and reduces returns. Lastly, websites with consistent content overall have a more professional and appealing look. Make sure that when you start content production that you decide on a clear visual language and process (and do not forget to think about scaling, margins and other boring technical specifications that can help you out majorly in achieving such consistency).
I know, I know – we all saw this one coming. I wasn’t even sure whether I believed it truly was a pillar as (controversially so) I believe that in our industry, brands and talent sometimes focus too much on appeal…
Do not get me wrong, visual appeal is an incredibly important feature of an asset – when something is nicely styled or when an image captures my attention, I am more inclined to click on it. Nonetheless, I believe that the first three pillars play a more important role in whether I’ll buy the product once I’ve clicked and whether I keep the product once I receive it. So, my tip would be, focus on brand identity, accuracy, and consistency first, most likely you’ll have appeal covered through those features as well.
So that’s it, four years of E-commerce experience all come down to four pillars. Jokes aside, there is so much more that makes content production successful, but keeping these in the back of your mind when making any type of creative or process decision can help you in achieving your digital selling goals.
Please consider this my final homage to I Heart, our clients, and all the amazing talent and teams I’ve gotten to work with up until this point. And as all of us always say, but in our industry most likely true – this is not goodbye, but see you later.