Product styling is now more prevalent than ever and becomes even more challenging to translate into the changing environment of e-commerce. This is why we are seeing a rise in paid adverting or brand collaborations on social media such as Instagram; hence the term social influencer. Brands realize that if someone uses their product in their interior styling then the hard work is done for them as that influencer will want to show the product in an organic environment and will work hard to make that paid advert feel genuine to their followers, plus we are professionals when it comes to styling!
The stylist needs to bring the concept to life, so that they inspire and grab the attention of the viewer to convert them into customers. It is no use having high website visitor ratings or huge following if none of those visitors are buying anything. Selling online means that the customer has limited information to guide them, but most importantly they have the visual appearance; but they cannot pick up the product or get a real sense of scale, so the styling, story and grouping is of utmost importance.
Yet there are some online retailers who question the need for visual designers or stylists in an online platform, however this is a huge misconception as studies have shown that effective styling increases engagement and time spent on websites/posts, compared to those that simply have a single product in a white box. Styling for online retailing or social media platforms is much more complex than the traditional route, as real thought needs to be given to communicating and reinforcing the brand and its identity while highlighting a product and at the same time telling a story.
So how can you be sure that your styling produces results; I always think of it like approaching any interior project.
Starting with the brief; thinking about what I am wanting to say and what do I want to achieve. Then onto the concept; how can I say it and what style will I use to express it, looking into the product or products I want to feature whats makes them special, what would be the best environment for them to be placed in and how do I want them to be shot. It is important to carry out some research to get some inspiration to create my mood, colour, tone, texture and placement. Then Thinking about how I want to tell the story and who the end user might be and creating a world that they can relate to. I always like to add what I call “life” items which are everyday items such as slippers, books, glasses, flowers, cakes, shoes etc that make the space feel authentic and lived in.
Then at this point its all about having fun and experimenting with different compositions to see what works until you can get that perfect shot…..Good Luck!