I work for a large UK-based clothing retailer. After some initial customer testing with our product details page there has been some debate on the following question:
Do customers generally react better to lifestyle-based product photography (ie, being used/worn by a model) or still life shots (product only, no humans)?
My personal guess is that the majority of users will favour the lifestyle type images and distance themselves from the rather bland still life style, which in our case displays the clothing on a mannequin against a plain background. The still life style (particularly in the context of a fashion business) strikes me as somewhat cold. Generally I believe that fashion brands try to instill a sense of fashion (which by definition is creative and energetic, not static). Personally I think the powers-that-be believe that not hiring models is cheaper...it's probably true but that's not what I'm here to debate.
However I like to think I'm a practical fellow and so I'm seeking any established research that would support - or discredit - my theory. Can sales conversion rates be improved (increased) with the use of lifestyle imagery (showing live models interacting/wearing the products), as opposed to person-less mannequin based photographs?
Thank you to anyone who can point me in the right directions of any such research.