What is a Lookbook?
Lookbooks began as printed publications and are now used by many stylists and fashion designers to show off their collections online. Lookbooks offer a rich visual experience through (well taken) photographs, guiding customers through your work and brand’s story. There is no reason why other e-commerce platforms can’t cash in on the lookbook madness. In fact, a lot of businesses outside of the apparel industry are looking into lookbooks as a great marketing tool.
Digital lookbooks are the new modus operandi of many creatives since they are immersive visual experiences. They offer a superior presentation of your products and allow you to better set a mood and tone, not that you can’t do that with a printed edition. Visual content is not only easier and faster for humans to process, but it’s also great for generating more views, clicks, and conversions and works as a great storytelling strategy, which is why a lookbook is crucial to any creative business.
Unlike a full-on catalogue, a lookbook doesn’t usually contain prices, specifications and other wordy details. These things are left to a separate book, leaving the lookbook to be a striking visual display of your products through lifestyle photography that is intended to inspire consumers or attract interest from retailers.
The Psyche of Your Consumer
By showing your products in real-life scenarios or what creatives like to call lifestyle photos, lookbooks allow you to create stronger emotional connections with your audiences and heps push the ‘pleasure and excitement’ that comes when shopping becomes an experience and not just a search.
When brand storytelling is combined with a lookbook’s rich visual experience, the recipe for a successful content marketing strategy is in place.
Typically lookbooks are categorized by season, but those tend to be apt for apparel based businesses where shopping is dependent on the weather. You can categorize lookbooks in several different ways as a creative that sells products or art. Depending on how many lookbooks a brand might have, you can also categorize them by month or bi-annually or per major holiday season, such as a Christmas book or a Summer Book. It is all hinged on what your brand’s story is and what it is dependent on.
For example, if you sell art prints, you would fall into the home decor category. This means you could potentially pair up your lookbooks by how decor standards, where different seasons focus on different colours. On the flip side, your lookbook could be based on gift buying seasons such as Christmas and Halloween.
What is the Benefit?
There are several ways you can benefit from lookbooks as a part of your marketing strategies. In addition to improving the customer’s experience, lookbooks can benefit brands by:
1. Inspiring and educating your customers - A lookbook will show your collection displayed not as individual products but as a complete collective and coherent look. In the case of a fashion lookbook, it will show customers what pieces can be worn together, how they can be worn together and even in what setting they can be worn.
2. Sharing the story behind your collections - Brand storytelling builds loyalty and trust, two things you cannot buy but have everything to do with the success of your brand and ROI. A great collection is not just a random selection of items, but it is a story. A story or theme is what separates good from great; and your customers will want to hear the story behind your collection.
3. Building brand awareness and word of mouth - If you can offer something unique and above industry standard, you can generate buzz around your brand and collections. Making the images and the whole lookbook easily shareable can drive organic engagement around your brand. If you are not comfortable with the idea of shared images, you can always had your brand name and logo as a watermark on each image so your credit is not lost or hidden.
4. Increase sales - Lookbooks, if digital and uploaded on your website, should be made shoppable. You should include a button to buy directly on the pages. You will see increased sales not only because providing a good content experience, but also because you are selling a complete look, not just a single product. For example, if you are selling an art print; frame it and photograph it in a home setting as opposed to photograph it on its own. By doing so, you are selling a lifestyle to the customer. And then when you add a direct “Buy Now” button on the product itself, it’s a victory for you. Basically it implies that you didn’t just sell the art work, you sold the look; a look that your customer can envision for their home.
5. Get Noticed. A printed brochure shows that you take your work seriously, and that you’ve invested the time and money into a professional display of your products. So if you are planning to go to retailers in person, a printed lookbook as opposed to looses samples of your work will make a bigger and more professional impression, and we all know what they say about first impressions.
6. Appear Bigger. If you’re just starting out or you’re a small company, it can give buyers the impression that you’re a bigger operation with a bigger budget, already reasonably successful and therefore more likely to be reliable. Presentation is everything. Even a pauper dressed in King’s clothing can appear like an elite - not that we are comparing you new businesses to a pauper. In other words don’t be afraid to appear bigger than you are. Make sure you sound and look like a business. Don’t just present yourself well, but do the same for your products; and the lookbook is the best way to do that.
7. Get Read or Get Left Behind. Emails and links sent to buyers and consumers rarely get a second chance if they arrive at the wrong time. A printed lookbook, on the other hand, can sit on someone’s desk until they’ve got a spare few minutes. It’s likely to be put on a pile along with the competition, which is why standing out through visual perfection is crucial.
8. Like a Business Card. A printed lookbook can work just like a business card: it’s enough to wet their appetite before you invite them to see your collection properly. And that’s exactly what a lookbook should be. Tell your story, but don’t reveal your secrets. Make them want more, before you reveal your pricing in your catalog.
Now that you see the benefits of a lookbook it’s time to get down to the nuts and bolts, the nitty gritty. How do you do that you ask? Well you layout an exquisite lookbook of course. Stay tuned to see our blog post on how to style your look book.