In “The Datacrushers Guide to eCommerce Visual Marketing” we will explain visual marketing tactics and methods for eCommerce Merchants, from start to finish. Whether you are a marketing novice or veteran, this guide has something in it for everyone – regardless of budget or technical knowhow. Everything discussed here plays a role in the fight against cart-abandonment, and the revenue recovery process. This guide will cover:
- First Steps: What is Visual Marketing and Where Does Branding Come in?
- On-Site Images and Videos: What to do, and how to do it.
- Off-site Images and Videos: What to do, and how to do it.
- Email Marketing.
- Social Media.
- The Future: VR/AR and 5G.
Right there, we have six topics as they relate to visual marketing. According to research conducted by LivePerson, 56% of abandonment is caused by a lack of product information – specifically with regards to product images. We will discuss this in depth later on. But to really master this subject, we must start from scratch:
First Steps: What is Visual Marketing, and where does branding come in?
Marketing can be found both in and on nearly everything we see on a daily basis. These days, it is hard to find something that does not incorporate some form of marketing in its design or functionality. This is not a critique of that fact, it is just a reality that business has learned to capitalize on – and the world is a better place because of it.
Marketing is often subliminal, in the sense that it exists to remind us of who or what a product is. Practically speaking, it has one purpose – to distinguish brands and products from one another. Take a second and assess your immediate surroundings – there are easily 5 – 10 items you can instantly associate with a specific company or retailer, without even checking for a logo or model name. This is an immediate effect of visual marketing.
But why is this the case?
Well in some cases, it is as obvious as a brand/product name or logo emblazoned on an object. In other cases, it is the element of style whereby a product is designed so astutely that even without any indication as to the maker, we immediately know its name and who makes it.
Now in some cases, we couldn’t name a company behind a product to save our lives. Consider the following cases:
Dishware: Forks, knives, spoons, plates, pots, pans etc. Odds are you cannot name the company that made them, even though they have a logo or company name etched into them.
Bedsheets and Towels: They have tags, but have you ever paid attention to them long enough to really, truly recognize the company behind the product?
Why is it that these items, despite their importance to us, and daily use – do not elicit any sort of recognition in terms of their unique brand?
It is not because we do not consider these items to be important to us – on the contrary, try eating pasta without any sort of utensil and within seconds you will experience instant regret. Simply put, these products (houseware in general) are fairly generic, and they don’t have immediately visible branding on them serving as a daily reminder to the user.
This is where branding comes in.
For the purposes of this guide, we will focus on three specific aspects that are typically involved in branding. This is because many products incorporate at least one of or a combination of the following branding aspects.
- Design: This means the actual design of the product. What is the design like. What elements make it unique and easily distinguishable from the competition.
- Functionality: What does it do differently from the competition – or the same? Does it incorporate this functionality into its name?
- Symbolism (Logo’s, Colors, Names): What symbolism does it use? What color scheme does it rely on? Are the product names recognizable and easy to remember? Are the themes and copy used consistent across products and retail channels?
When products incorporate the above aspects of branding, they become instantly recognizable and distinguishable from their respective competition. This is something that fast-food chains have gotten down to an exact science. These aspects of branding are not limited to products – they can easily be applied to services (including SAAS) and both physical and eCommerce retailers. In turn, shoppers become increasingly likely to remember a specific brand, especially as they come to increasingly associate it with a part of their daily routine.
This brings us to on-site imagery, and how eCommerce retailers can make the most of it.
Visual marketing consists of two components, the first is branding, and the second is the product showcase. The junction of these two components is where the term “visual marketing” comes into play – what people see, how they perceive it, and most importantly – what it is that they remember.
The Product Showcase:
First impressions are what matters most when it comes to sales. Therefore, you must understand what the shopper is seeing on their end of the screen, and how much they can truly understand the product based on the images that are immediately presented to them. As a general rule, shoppers prefer to buy items that feature at least 3 images on the product page.
The problem in the above example is that it does not provide enough information to shoppers. Now consider the example below.
In this example, shoppers have many viewing angles to choose from with this specific product. They can scrutinize it from nearly 360-degrees (and in some case, actually view it in 360-degrees). Every element and feature is distinguishable.
(These two examples were taken at the same time from one specific retailer and were not selectively edited or manipulated in any way)
Oftentimes retailers will rely on “stock” images for their product showcase. These are pictures that the company or manufacturer has taken of the product and formatted to be used in a “one-size-fits-all” scenario across web pages, emails, and ads. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with using these photos, as they often serve their purpose well. But what happens when you want to add some spice to the arrangement?
Distinguishing Your Product Showcase: Is It Worth it?
The alternative is for retailers to stage product photo shoots, and then perform the arduous and intensive process of editing the photos. It costs and time and money to do this, so unless you are selling truly unique products that cannot be purchased anywhere else, there is little need to use original pictures when it comes to product pages. But, and this is a very big but!
…When it comes to product marketing, Millenials love unique, high-quality product images.
And with an estimated $1.4 trillion dollars in spending power by 2020, eCommerce retailers are going to make sure they are prepared to snag some of that by differentiating themselves from the competition.
This brings us to another important aspect of visual marketing that eCommerce merchants should start implementing on their product pages – videos.
The first thing you must know about on-site videos (or on-site music) is that, no matter what you do, never set them to autoplay as soon as the page loads. Absolutely not. Do not do this. Autoplay guarantees an increased bounce-rate from any site that uses it. Just say no to autoplay.
Instead, allow visitors the option to view the video at will.
With generic products, it’s fine to use the manufacturer’s product videos if they are provided for use or available on YouTube. In which case you should be able to embed them on the product page.
What About Custom Product Videos?
That depends a lot on the product on offer, the more unique it is – the better it is to invest in creating custom product videos to aide your visual marketing efforts. But it also depends on the resources available to you. If you can afford to create custom product videos, it is certainly worth doing.
Now all of that was just in reference to products themselves – what about banners, popups, landing pages, and other site-specific prompts that are designed to engage shoppers? What kind of imagery should be used? How should these images be applied?
Earlier within the context of branding, we mentioned “symbolism” and what it consists of – symbolism should always be included in all the above. Simply put, banners, pop-ups and landing pages should keep the same color scheme and logo/company name across them.
However, what should not be the same across all of them? The copy used, the offer presented, or information conveyed. Those elements should vary depending on where they are used, and what information you want the viewer to absorb.
The following examples can be used for reference.
Push Notifications (Messages/Chat):
So, now that we have covered on-site marketing, the next step is to move on to off-site visual marketing efforts for eCommerce. A topic we will discuss in part II of “The Datacrushers Guide to eCommerce Visual Marketing”. Stay tuned!
Founded in 2015, Datacrushers uses Machine Learning and A.I. along with NLP to identify and recover revenue loss, cart abandonment and discover new revenue sources across any site. The revenue discovery platform completes the deep ongoing analysis of eCommerce websites by monitoring the three main focal points of any site: The User, Site, and Product.
Unlike traditional “cart abandonment platforms,” Datacrushers does not require shoppers and customers to be logged-in to conduct both on and offsite campaigns. We use a wide range of data-driven and analytics based conversion tools to target the shopper at the right time with the most accurate and effective campaign to drive the sale.
Datacrushers is platform, language, and currency agnostic and requires only a few lines of code to get started therefore delivering an ultra-fast go-to-market with minimal set-up time and tech intervention.
Based out of Jerusalem, Israel, Datacrushers has clients worldwide including, The US, China, Russia, UK, Germany, and more.