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how to bridge the gap between IRL shopping and ecomm

by | Jan 14, 2021

here’s a visualization for your ecomm store for 2021: imagine you are walking down the street. you are strolling past adorable little shops with a variety of specialty goods. in the window for each shop is a beautiful design that stops your feet and entices your senses. and before you know it: you are going inside and buying something new.

 was that a bit dramatic? that’s the point! your ecomm store needs to emotionally grip your customers in the same way.  

when you consider what “going shopping” means — ecomm has a lot to make up for. when shopping in a brick and mortar store you have the opportunity to look. touch. smell. and feel products. the way you experience these sensory actions define whether or not you’re going to purchase an item or not. online shopping is stripped of 3 out of 4 of those actions. so how do you give your online customers an experience that rivals IRL shopping? by strategically planning your product content of course.

“Transactions are what we do in ecomm but there are emerging brands that are really smart about wanting their customers to have an online shopping experience.” soona’s CEO and co-founder Liz Giorgi said. “when they land on a page it isn’t just an add-to-cart moment. it’s an engagement moment. it’s a get-to-know-you moment. it’s a customization moment. these are the things soona helps unlock for individuals who are willing to make that investment.”

Liz breaks down the top considerations YOU should be thinking about when planning your ecomm content:


for Liz: showing the size of a 6-ounce product in the context of her hand is good enough. but for other consumers it might be putting it in the context of a makeup bag. or next to another product in their product line. contextualizing products that allows the consumer to understand the size (and if they’ll like it) is key.


this is exceptionally hard to do in ecomm. what does this product look like in a dollop?  in a smear? when it’s actually rubbed into the skin? how shiny is it? how thick is it? even in a video: how long does it take this product to go from being a dollop on my skin to completely absorbed? is it 5 seconds or 45 seconds? that video length can help tell that story as though the consumer is standing in an aisle in a store getting that same experience IRL.


scent is a big deal in the beauty category. how can we get the raw ingredients in a shot to tell the story of your product? it’s more than just putting a lemon in a shot. it’s slicing the lemon and making that lemon look beautiful. squeeze out the lemon juice. show the lemon seeds. actually show people. our minds are really good at closing the gap between seeing that squeezed lemon and understanding the smell as though you squeezed it yourself. put action on the object so your mind can be tricked into smelling that scent.


show how your product works IRL. show off its best features through video. stop-motion. or GIF. if you’re a clothing company: consider walk cycle videos. show consumers how your clothing moves on a body. show how it stays in place. or keeps its shape. or doesn’t crease in weird spots. the more you can show how a product moves. the closer your customer will be to purchase.


there are two key things to consider about trying to relay how a product feels:

one: there’s not a lot of emphasis online of up-close tight shots of fabrics and textiles. hyper-tight shots are a really great way for people to get a better understanding of what the fabric looks and feels like.

two: using videos to highlight the stretch and the movement of the product itself is also extremely telling. just like the lemon theory: seeing a fabric up close and personal and how it stretches and moves gives the brain an expectation of exactly what that fabric feels like.

need a quick hit of what to remember for your next ecomm shoot? download our ecomm checklist!

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