13 May 2016
As human beings, it doesn’t take much to lure us in. Historically, a quirky campaign and some titillating packaging was enough to seal a deal in the marketplace.
However, thanks to the market landscape shifting from shelf view to online, retail analytics highlight that imagery has never played a more vital role in final buying decisions.
Does imagery really influence the online consumer?
In a virtual environment, the inability to touch or experience a product means some kind of imagery, be it still or moving, is necessary – a recent report by Competitor Monitor found that web pages with relevant images had 94% more views than those without. It’s a bit like walking into a shop blindfolded and buying something anyway - you simply wouldn’t do it, would you?
Being able to visualise a product outside of its virtual environment is one of the key factors related to the use of online imagery that will affect a consumer’s decision to buy. Looking at this in more detail, some products also need to be seen to be working. For example, our ecommerce analysis shows us that cleverly staged images showing a person using a product are far more likely to sell than a static studio shot with a stark white background.
Food retailer, Schwan, has one of the highest e-commerce conversion rates online and much of that is down to the sensitive use of environment in their images.
How does imagery influence consumer behaviour?
Another important factor is emotion. Using a range of images, it’s possible to create a story and, in turn, an emotional link with a product. For example, when we look across the toy industry landscape and analyse online product listing strategies, you can see that retailers employ imagery tactics that are essentially selling an experience to consumers. Images include children playing happily with their sibling, having a great time in the back garden or educating themselves independently through play. These images portray something more to consumers than buying another toy, they offer something that will make their children’s lives more enjoyable and their lives a little easier.
A number of different brands in different industries have varying approaches to utilising imagery online. For example, a consumer electronics manufacturer like Sony might use a 360-degree panorama. This way, a consumer will be able to see a product in its entirety. With a lot of money at stake for, say, a brand new DSLR camera. It’s important the whole thing is available for inspection.
Despite this, bigger is not always better. The Competitor Monitor industry insights show that using too many images can result in the very real issue of information overload. Bombarded by images, consumers are likely to switch off and opt for another site. It’s all about striking a balance. If selling a product, the images need to be useful; maybe they’re conveying a lifestyle, maybe they’re demonstrating a product, either way, they need to be there for a reason.
Competitor Monitor’s unique industry analysis tool allows retailers and manufacturers to monitor competitor’s behaviour relating to imagery with instant access to every stock listing and its data.
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