Images and Engagement: the Key to Success
Research shows that users who visit an eCommerce site for the first time decide in about 50 milliseconds whether to continue exploring it or leave immediately*. This first impression is based almost solely on aesthetic criteria rather than on the content itself: does this site or product “look” professional, “feel” easy to use, “seem” trustworthy?
The look of the user interface, the brand and more precisely, the image content have a considerable impact, as they can create or drive away an audience before you even have the opportunity to convince them to stay. In this context, it is essential to consider our image as a variable that has a major impact on our conversion rate.
If your bounce rate is too high, the average session length is too short, and your ads don’t warm up your audience, it’s because your content isn’t up to customers’ expectations.
Here are some tips to guide you through creating a better “first impression” on your eCommerce.
Unsplash, Shutterstock, and the False Idea of Stock Photos.
Knowing that you have a fraction of a second to hook your target customers, whether it’s on your website, via your ads, or on your social networks, what image will you put forth? A recent study shows that 67% of online shoppers consider the use of high-quality images to be a “very important” factor in their purchase decision, a better score than “product-specific information” or “product reviews” in particular.
While royalty-free images are attractive from a short-term budgetary standpoint, they are mostly a pitfall to be avoided. First of all, visitors have a much better nose for “stock” photos than you might think, and they are usually overused because of their accessibility and directly contradict your goal of standing out. Some very low quality, or fraudulent, websites use this type of cheap imagery in abundance.
By association, the recognizable aesthetic of “stock” photos refers to a negative perception. It’s also a missed opportunity to use visuals that specifically express how your offer differs from the competition, because if there’s one thing stock photography excels at, it’s being very general.
Engagement is born from emotion, so you have to commit to content that won’t necessarily appeal to everyone. What type of images works best with your target audience to convince them to pay attention to you? For a lasting effect, your content must be consistent over time and truly reflect your products and what sets them apart from the competition. When creating visuals, you should always keep in mind to communicate your value proposition as clearly and quickly as possible. Want to test the performance of your visual content? It can definitely be relevant to do A/B testing on your ads or eCommerce.
Show Your Personality on Marketplaces With Cooler Experiences
When it comes to content creation, consider the cost of creation in relation to the number of channels and make sure to maximize usage. It makes little sense to pay hundreds of dollars for a shoot for a single platform. It makes much more sense and is more cost-effective to use that same content across multiple sales channels. Good product photos will not only give you a great looking website, but also better newsletters, better listings on marketplaces, etc. Platforms like Amazon, eBay, AliBaba are full of poorly detailed product sheets and poor quality photos. Here’s a golden opportunity to stand out with photos that showcase your product features as well as your brand personality.
Present the Content As If It Could be Touched!
Now you’ve reached the first level, you’ve captured the attention of your customers and drawn them into the product details. This is far from over. One of the main reasons why online shoppers don’t buy is because they can’t physically handle the product before placing their order. This is a justifiable objection if the only image available in the detailed file is a picture of the product in its packaging without any context.
If images are well chosen in a product sheet, they can replace a physical consultation. They can communicate much more information and selling points than the product alone on a store shelf.
First, while it’s true that physically holding an item increases the likelihood of projecting oneself as the owner of the item, research shows that viewing high-quality photos of the product has the same effect. (https://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty/suzanne.shu/JCR%20touch%20ownership.pdf)
When it comes to inspecting a product in detail, we must quickly accept that the digital format still does not allow us to touch the objects. On the other hand, the digital format provides us with an extremely versatile and effective space to share the benefits of our products in a creative way. Whether it is by offering personalized advice, technical zooms, animations, videos, personalized configurable variants, etc.
It is even possible to integrate 3D viewers for complex products. It will be more and more common to have augmented reality tools to project the product in its own environment.
It is essential to understand the information that is essential to the decision making process and find the most effective graphic means to illustrate it. Is it relevant to see a very close-up of the product in order to understand its materials and texture? Is it relevant to include the product in a context to get a clear idea of its dimensions? Is a video necessary to understand how to use an object? Should we provide a size guide?
Let’s take a dog toy as an example.
In the store, the only information about the product is on the packaging. A store clerk might offer additional information, but this is variable.
It is therefore impossible to understand how it works, to break it down into steps or to see it in action with a dog.
Online, when exposed to this single photo in the product sheet, one quickly notices the lack of information. There is little chance of converting a new user this way.
Alternative sources of information such as third-party sites, Google image or video searches, and third-party user-generated content will allow for more images of the product in action, a detailed description, expert recommendations, etc. If your user finds their answers elsewhere than on your eCommerce site, the chances of them returning to your site to complete the purchase are very slim.
Answering a user’s questions and expectations accurately and completely through your content is an effective way to build the trust needed to create a transaction.
Let’s now consider a competing product with an exemplary product sheet in terms of its visual content, called THE GAME: https://fablepets.com/products/the-game?variant=32129258324086
- The photos and videos make it possible to understand at a glance how to use the product (for the owner and the dog) and how it is made.
- The card allows you to see the product in context and to better imagine a dog interacting with the product.
- The pictures in context combined with the information on the dimensions of the product allow to understand the scale of the product.
- The FAQ section lists all the most frequently asked questions.
- The comments and photos submitted by users of the product give an even better idea of the product.
For this product, the observation is clear, the product sheet offers us access to much more relevant content to convince consumers to go to the checkout than the same product in store.
So, sometimes, a good product sheet is even better “than being able to touch it” and investing in its images is an essential strategy to increase the success of your e-commerce strategy.
Other references: https://cxl.com/blog/how-images-can-boost-your-conversion-rate/
Do you want to apply these tips to your eCommerce? Contact an expert at Novatize