7 Ways for Customers to “Experience” Your Products Before Purchasing

One of the biggest barriers to purchasing products online is that the customer does not have the opportunity to experience the product in person before they buy. With online shopping gaining popularity year after year, it’s safe to say that this is a barrier customers can and do get over, but how? If you want to increase purchases on your ecommerce site, you’ll need to help customers overcome these hesitations and feel excited about clicking “add to cart”.

Let’s think for a minute about the process of buying a car. Carvana and other sites exist, but nothing beats being able to get in the car, see the interior, take it for a test drive, and enjoy that new car smell. It’s the little details that stir up excitement about the potential purchase, all of which caters to the emotional side of the brain.

If your business sells only through ecommerce, it’s your job to find ways to help speak to a customer’s emotions even though the shopping experience is online. That requires more than a boring photo gallery on your product page! That is why in this post, we’ll provide 7 ideas to help your customer “experience” your product before they buy it, getting them closer to that ideal in-person sales experience.

7 Ways to Show Customers Your Product Without Them Holding It

Let’s walk through seven creative ways customers can experience more of your product before they purchase.

1. (Better) Product Photos

This first one is obvious but important. Your product page must have an image gallery with high-quality images. Include both product images and lifestyle images. This helps customers see details about the product as well as visualize themselves using the products in their own life. If details are important to the item, be sure to include close-ups as well. For more tips, check out 4 Best Practices for Product Images & Galleries where we go into much more detail.

2. Product Videos

If you’re not including videos in your products’ image galleries, you and your customers are both missing out. More often than not, customers have to navigate away from an ecommerce site and go to YouTube to find videos of the unboxing experience, reviews for the product, comparisons with competitors’ products, or just a more detailed view. Why not provide a video experience for your customers on the page? Videos help capture details that can’t always be relayed in a photo, plus they can help answer additional questions the customer may have.

3. Augmented Reality

A third way to help customers experience your product before purchasing is with augmented reality. In case you haven’t personally seen this on a website before, augmented reality helps customers to actually visualize the product in their space via their phone camera. It’s most often helpful for products like furniture, decor, electronics, or other items that take up space and need to fit certain dimensions.

Technology for this is still improving, but it’s becoming increasingly doable and useful. According to ThreeKit’s research, as of 2021 only 1% of retailers are currently using AR, but 70% of customers said they would shop more often if they used AR. Adopting this trend and doing it well has the potential to boost conversion rates and customer satisfaction, plus it’ll give your product page a competitive edge!

4. Virtual Salesperson

Another option is to include the option to speak to a virtual salesperson on the product page. This would allow customers to do a video call with a salesperson on your team who can share more about the product, answer questions, or send them to another product that might be better for them. This is a fairly new concept, but there are platforms that facilitate this. If you like this idea but your team doesn’t currently have the bandwidth to execute it, the next option we’re about to cover may work better for you.

5. Virtual Walkthrough

This is similar to the virtual salesperson, but instead of a live salesperson, you will use a prerecorded video of a team member presenting the product. Be sure to utilize a likable team member who is a strong communicator and appears comfortable on camera. What this person discusses might vary based on what you sell, but most could go over the product’s features and benefits, what they love about it, how to use it, or how it compares to other products you sell.

The advantage of both the virtual salesperson and the virtual walkthrough is the ability to get a little closer to the in-person sales experience. You may be able to better communicate certain aspects of your product or what makes you different via video than via text and images— and if nothing else, it just makes shopping online feel more personal! For an example of this, Zappos does this for many of their shoes’ product pages.

6. Virtual Try-On

Similar to augmented reality, virtual try-on is a helpful feature if your customers would benefit from seeing what it would look like to wear your product. This is obviously best for clothing, accessories such as glasses, or even makeup. Warby Parker and other glasses companies offer this technology and it can be extremely helpful for customers who are hesitant to buy without trying on first. By building customer confidence in the purchase, it’s possible to increase your conversion rate as well as decrease the number of returns. It’s a win-win!

7. Unboxing Videos and Other Social Proof

Unboxing videos have gained popularity on YouTube and social media over the years and should be used to your advantage. They have become a way for shoppers to see very organic, honest customer reviews as well as what the product looks like “in real life”.

If your site visitors have the potential to leave your site to go find video reviews like that, why not make it easier for them? Near your standard customer reviews section on the product page, consider including a section for unboxing videos or other video reviews from influencers. Not only will it help the customer experience your product vicariously through another customer, stacking social proof is a great way to build trust.

How Will You Enrich Your Customers’ Experience?

Ecommerce is one of the most powerful sales channels out there, but not being able to experience the product in person before buying can be a barrier to purchasing. The more creative you can get with helping your customer see more of your product in different ways, the better. You’ll build trust, increase conversions, and stand out from your competition. Just remember to choose tactics based on what type of products you sell. Not every tactic mentioned here are right for every product, but every product could benefit from a few additions to enrich the customer’s experience on your product detail page!


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