If you're involved in running an e-commerce site, you already know the importance of presenting your products in the best light possible. However, the visual experience you offer your customers goes far beyond mere aesthetics; it plays a pivotal role in building trust with shoppers, driving product purchases, and ultimately reducing return rates.
The findings of a recent study conducted by Cloudinary highlight why prioritizing the visual experience is so important for attracting consumer attention, converting website visits into sales, and limiting product returns. Let’s take a look at the data, and then explore some of the most effective ways to promote sustainable e-commerce success with great visual media.
Build Trust and Inspire Confidence
With millions of brands to choose from and many available channels, it’s important that you do all you can to stand out visually. This starts with providing a top-notch product gallery that features high-quality images and branded product videos. But that’s not necessarily enough anymore.
More than 50 percent of shoppers report being more likely to buy a product they had abandoned in their cart if they had access to immersive media formats such as 360-degree images and 3D models in the product gallery. What’s more, this finding isn’t conditional based on age or digital savviness. In fact, detailed product galleries were a top consideration for purchase decisions across both Gen Z (52 percent) and the Silent Generation (67 percent).
By investing in these unique features for the product gallery, digital brands can duplicate the impact of in-store interactions and significantly increase conversions.
Harness the Power of User-Generated Content
Incorporating user-generated content (UGC) into your visual strategy can be a game-changer. UGC, including customer reviews, social media posts, images and videos, adds authenticity and credibility to your products.
Cloudinary's research highlights that 57 percent of shoppers rely on UGC with realistic images to make purchase decisions. Moreover, 47 percent of consumers have placed their trust in a previously unknown brand solely due to UGC. Access to authentic, visual-supported peer reviews is particularly influential for younger shoppers, who consider visual and social media testimonials to be decisive factors in their purchasing choices.
Reduce Returns and Protect Your Margins
Returns can be a significant drain on resources, both financially and logistically. Poor visual experiences contribute to this issue. In fact, 30 percent of shoppers have reported returning products because they didn't match what they saw on the seller’s website.
However, by providing unique and immersive visual content, such as 360-degree images and 3D models in your product gallery, brands can significantly increase conversions and minimize returns. These captivating visuals enable consumers to make more informed decisions, resulting in increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Use Automation to Improve Content Speed and Quality
Staying nimble is a business requirement in an industry like e-commerce with such fast-changing demands and where even one second of improvement can mean millions of dollars in revenue. While introducing new products rapidly can give you a competitive edge, every new product launch has traditionally required costly photo shoots and extensive website development.
Thankfully, artificial intelligence-driven tools make it possible to automate some of the most important but tedious and time-consuming parts of the visual experience workflow. For example, AI can swiftly remove backgrounds from product images, replace them with branded and aesthetically pleasing backgrounds, and even handle complex video tasks, including cropping and captioning. These automations empower you to incorporate new products into your assortment quickly, without compromising on quality or performance.
Prepare for the Future of Visual Experiences
When it comes to e-commerce success, mastery of visual media has become non-negotiable. Prioritizing the visual experience can help you build trust with your audience, reduce returns, and ultimately boost profits.
Just follow these three steps to get there:
- Leverage UGC. Encourage customers to share their experiences through images and videos. Peer reviews and real-world visuals can have a massive impact on purchase decisions, particularly for younger shoppers.
- Embrace AI and automation. To enhance efficiency and customer satisfaction, utilize AI-driven tools that automate visual experience creation. Say goodbye to lengthy manual processes and say hello to quick and seamless updates to your product assortment.
- Embrace next-generation technologies. Invest in new technologies that bring products to life, such as 360-degree images and 3D models in your product gallery. These unique features will make your brand stand out and keep customers coming back for more.
If you’re ready to future-proof the e-commerce journey and take advantage of great customer experiences, it’s time to start incorporating high-quality visuals — and the cutting-edge technologies that enable them.
Genevieve Haldeman is vice president of corporate marketing at Cloudinary, a single source of truth for managing the entire image and video lifecycle.
As the Vice President of Corporate Marketing, Genevieve Haldeman is responsible for all the elements impacting Cloudinary’s brand representation to the market. She leads the teams responsible for the strategy and execution of programs to support brand awareness, thought leadership and the overall digital experience for customers. Genevieve brings more than 25 years of experience in marketing and communications at major technology brands including Twilio, ServiceNow, Symantec and SAP.