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Visual commerce – the power of visualization

Visual commerce is a valuable tool for brands to optimize user experience.
Image: © Pixel-Shot / Adobe Stock

Imagery in the age of Pinterest, Instagram and other social media

Particularly when it comes to the digital customer experience, images have a few advantages over mere text: they are grasped more easily, processed more quickly, and are better retained in the user’s memory. So it’s no wonder that visual elements are indispensable for any successful online marketing strategy.

  • People remember 80% of things they see or do. Whereas they only remember 20% of things they read and 10% of what they hear.
  • 93% of communication is non-verbal.
  • Visual elements are processed 60,000 times faster than text.

Even though the use of images is a long-established strategy, the opportunities presented by imagery and visual content have grown exponentially in the last few years. At the same time, the customer journey has changed through increased communication via social media channels – we’re made aware of new products via Facebook ads, our Instagram feed, and Pinterest boards. As a result, the importance and function of visualizations have changed. They are no longer just “accessories”, instead they are at the forefront, stimulating conversations and enticing users to click on the brand’s online store or website.

How visual commerce is revolutionizing imagery

Well-thought-out visual commerce is essential for brands that want to hold their ground against the competition. But exactly how can you optimize imagery so that it has even more emotional appeal to users? If you want to take your brand’s visualizations to the next level, it is basically a matter of supplementing simple product images with additional – and above all informative – image material. This shouldn’t just depict certain products, but rather integrate them in new contexts and therefore vivify, expand, and enhance the customer’s idea of the product.

In terms of customer experience, there are three basic steps for visualization:

  1. Product visualization: Before customers become active and invest in a product, they want to see what they’re buying. Product visualizations make this possible.
  2. Visual configuration: Many companies now use visual product configuration software. This lets users experiment with different colors or materials, for example while they are shown a corresponding image of the product.
  3. AR: The third step is the digital placement of a product in any environment using augmented reality. For instance, users can look at a new dresser in their own home and get an idea of whether the color and style actually go with the rest of their furnishings.

With the aid of visual commerce technologies, a whole range of possible concepts can be implemented, including:

  • Videos: Product videos are probably the most effective way to show products in action. The use of moving images considerably increases the probability that a customer will make a purchase. If a video is integrated into the website, sales rise by around 40%.
  • User-generated content: Another option for mobilizing potential customers to make a purchase is the use of images taken by the customers themselves, such as selfies that show other customers wearing the latest fashion collection. These may give a more authentic impression of the individual items of clothing than product images can. In addition, user-generated content inspires trust and therefore creates a further selling point (influencer marketing should also be mentioned here).
  • 3D visualization: With the integration of 360° views, users can experience products in 3D and get additional information to help them vividly visualize the product.

Visual commerce: how adidas utilizes imagery

adidas’ online store is a good example of the use of visual commerce. On the site, users can watch a range of videos depicting different athletes in action, clad in the latest adidas collection. Skillfully integrated buttons also give them the option of jumping straight to the presented products.

Visual commerce can be implemented in a wide variety of ways. adidas is just one example.
The example of adidas demonstrates that storytelling imagery is a potential strategy in visual commerce. (Screenshot: https://www.adidas.de/en/women)

Visual commerce and visual search

A key area in visual commerce is the visual search. In this case, the user takes a picture of something they would like and enters it in a search engine or online store – ASOS is an outstanding example of this. Then they are shown the same product or similar products. This means that the search is individually restricted from the outset and the user can quickly find what they are looking for.

Similar to voice search, it is conceivable that visual searches will also make up an increasing proportion of search queries in future – which in turn means a boost for visual commerce. Brands must then consider how they will plan their own content strategy to ensure that they can be found by artificial intelligence. One thing is for certain: Preparing your company and optimizing your content for visual search will offer customers added value – and create a market advantage.

Visual commerce is on the rise

Visual commerce is the future of e-commerce. This new level of imagery and visual content allows companies to present products in a customer-centric way. Products are no longer just displayed with simple product images, but are advertised as a 3D experience or projected directly into the user’s own home with AR. This will draw in potential customers even further and increase customer retention as well as trust in the company. Therefore, leverage the trend and lead your brand’s online business into the next chapter of e-commerce.

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