Retailer finds sexy images don't sell lingerie

When it comes to lingerie, sex does not sell. That is the most eye-catching conclusion of research carried out by Adore Me, an intimate apparel brand in America that has been using sophisticated customer reaction research techniques to help it refine its marketing.

Rebecca Greenfield a reporter for business magazine Fast Company took a close look at how Adore Me studied its customers’ behaviour, and how the brand is using its findings to drive up sales on its web site.

As part of its lingerie promotions, Adore Me shoots several versions of each piece to run on its website. In some instances, different models will wear exactly the same garments and pose in exactly the same position with the same background. In others, the background or pose of the model is changed.

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By analysing what closely resembles a controlled scientific experiment, the company can precisely refine how it presents each collection.

"We see the impact of each picture in some sort of parallel process," Adore Me CEO Morgan Hermand-Waiche told Fast Company. For every thousand people that come on the site, 500 will see picture A, another 500 will see picture B and over time, one will sell better than the other.
The research technique, which is known as A/B testing, adds to the cost of shoots because several versions are required for every item.

Although Adore Me’s research was done in America, its findings are likely to be common to similar nations like the UK, and could have a profound impact on both sales and profitability.
Crucial to profits, Adore Me found that the right model matters more than price.

“If customers see a lacy pushup on a model they like, they’ll buy it. Put the same thing on a model they don’t, and even a $10 price cut won’t compel them,” Fast Company reports.

Even the position of the model matters. You will see a surprising number of models playing with their hair on the Adore Me web site. Why? Because it nudges up sales by a few percentage points, the company has found.

The overall conclusions from the Fast Company piece were revealing: “Sex doesn’t sell, so forget the boudoir shot. Blondes don’t work. Props distract. Couches are fine. Playing with hair is ideal,” it states.

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