Digital Display Futures

type - trends
Online visual merchandising faces structural challenges as customers simultaneously seek aspirational relatability, quality and entertainment.

Drivers: what’s happening

Following a 35% annual jump during the pandemic-induced lockdown in 2020, according to IMRG, online sales remain higher than before Covid, but most sales are still generated in-store. According to data from Revolut, online spending is about 38%, compared to 62% in-store. As most (75.7%) of online shopping carts are abandoned, according to Bolt, even digitally native brands like Glossier, known for its impeccable minimalist branding and website, have invested in retail flagship stores and resellers like Sephora to survive. In a post-Covid world, online stores must re-invent themselves while customers browse Hyperphysical Stores and seek experiential purchase experiences that only bricks-and-mortar shops can deliver.

Investing in social media content to raise awareness is no longer the panacea for online retailers. Engagement hit a new low in 2023, big tech still owns all customers’ data, and even Instagram has removed its marketplace tab from the app’s homepage. To remain relevant, e-shops need a bolder approach to visual merchandising, from a video shift to mastering artificial intelligence (AI).


Published by:

12 April 2023

Author: Dan Hastings-Narayanin and Jessica Smith

Image: Lewis Capaldi and ASOS, UK


Katchin, UK

Case studies: what’s new

Asos and Lewis Capaldi

The British online fashion and cosmetics retailer embraced the weird with an unusual collaboration with award-winning singer and TikTok enthusiast Lewis Capaldi, who has 6.8m followers on the short-form video platform. As Asos’s creative director for the day, Capaldi posed as a model and photobomber on various e-shop packshots and in a behind-the-scenes vlog released on social media. The singer admits not caring as much about clothes or fashion, which made the marketing activation even funnier. Asos and Lewis Capaldi brought a fresh approach to online visual merchandising, moving away from pristine perfection to reach a new level of aspirational relatability.

A video shift to UGC and live-streaming

With 87% of marketers feeling that video has a direct, positive impact on sales, according to a 2023 survey by Wyzowl, online visual merchandisers had to adapt. Short videos shot professionally on set – to show details of a dress in motion, for instance – are now being replaced with user-generated content (UGC). Brands are re-sharing videos from anonymous customers trying out products and giving their opinion to show more relatability.

‘Influencers aren’t always the end users,’ Steven Hubbard, group chief commercial officer at retail tech company OOOOO, told LS:N Global. ‘The best outcome is having a bunch of end users talking openly and honestly about their experience with the product.’

‘Influencers aren’t always the end users. The best outcome is having a bunch of end users talking openly and honestly about their experience with the product.’
Steven Hubbard, group chief commercial officer at tech company OOOOO

Want to read more?
Become a member today!

Sign up to one of our subscribtion packages and get unlimited access to a hive of insights - from microtrends and macro trends to market reports, daily news, research across eight industry sectors and much more.

Discover our memberships

Already a member? Click here to login