How to Leverage Visuals for Your eCommerce Business

By Simki Dutta - April 1, 2020
4 mins read time
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Being an eCommerce business owner, you’re sure to use product images to sell your products but are they enough? Not quite.

When customers walk into a retail store, they get to hold products, see them from different angles and try them out (depending on the category). Why not deliver a similar immersive experience on your eCommerce website too?

At a time when visual content has grown to become an integral part of marketing strategies, it’s important to think of creative ways to leverage it to lure customers and boost eCommerce sales.

You should use visual assets to inspire customers and motivate them to buy while showcasing your product and delivering a personalized experience. The idea behind using visuals is to bridge the gap between customer expectations and reality, resulting in an increase in conversions and sales.

So, go beyond the basic product photos (against white backgrounds) and take a look at these six smart ways to leverage visuals for your eCommerce business.

1. Lifestyle images

Product photos are about showing customers how your product looks and letting them dive into the details. However, when it comes to evoking emotions in customers and generating interest in them, it’s the lifestyle images that do the trick.

Lifestyle imagery consists of people (models) using your product. They tell a story and give customers a more lived-in feel, enabling them to imagine what using your product would be like.

Here’s a product and lifestyle shot of a pair of Bose frames from their product page – notice how both pictures incite different reactions.

While planning lifestyle imagery, make sure it’s in line with your target audience so that they’re able to relate to it.

2. 360° view 

Taking multiple static images a step ahead is the 360° view image. As the name suggests, this option is about letting customers understand what your product looks like from all angles.

This visual asset makes your page more interactive and gives customers a realistic picture of the product along with minute detailing. It’s interesting to note that 360° photography is known to increase online conversions by 47 percent.

You can either take multiple angle shots or create a GIF showcasing all the angles.

Here’s an example of 360°view integration by Made.com. All you have to do is click and drag to get a complete view of the sofa.

3. Product videos

One of the most powerful and engaging visual assets for your eCommerce website is product videos. Video lets you weave a story around your product, gives context and evokes emotions.

From educational and how-to videos to close-ups and lifestyle videos, there are various kinds of video content you can create to deliver value and connect with your audience.

Think of the benefits of your product or a pain point you’re trying to solve and create a video around it. What’s important is keeping it crisp, relatable and compelling.

Here’s an example of a product video by Glossier. This video aptly demonstrates how to use the product in a few seconds.

4. Product infographics

Most product pages display a series of images and go on to write a lengthy description explaining product features and benefits. How many people actually get down to reading that description? Not too many.

This is where product infographics come into the picture. They let you communicate the same message in a more visually-appealing manner that captivates readers and keeps them engaged.

So, if you want to explain key product features or even draw comparisons between similar products, consider using an infographic maker to create product infographics and deliver that information more effectively.

The key is to minimize text and use illustrations and icons to make it scannable and a more engaging read.

Here’s an example of an infographic from one of Dollar Shave Club’s product pages. It’s simple, clear and effective.

5. User-generated content 

Customers are growing wary of advertisements and promotional material. What they value is authenticity which is why user-generated content (UGC) has grown to become so beneficial for brands. They help build trust and influence purchase decisions — at little or no cost.

Merely collecting user-generated content is not enough. You need to optimize it to boost traffic and sales by integrating it into your product pages and leveraging it to grow your business.

For example, you can showcase individual UGC in the respective product pages, as one of the images. Another way is to encourage customers to review your product and share a picture of the product as well.

User-generated content serves as a powerful social proof, helping potential customers to trust your brand and encouraging them to make a purchase.

Take a look at how Quay Australia integrates user-generated content in their product pages.

6. Shoppable content

Picture this: you come across a product you love on a brand’s Instagram post and want to buy it immediately. Instead of searching for it on their eCommerce website, imagine being able to buy it in a few clicks?

That’s shoppable content for you. Considered to be the ‘future of eCommerce’, shoppable content blurs the lines between engagement and purchase. It’s the use of visual content to not only engage customers but also offer a direct opportunity to purchase the product.

Apart from Instagram, you can integrate shoppable content in blogs, lookbooks, catalogs, style guides and more. Make sure you place clear callouts (subtly) such as ‘add to cart’, ‘shop now’ or ‘buy now’ to emphasize that people can purchase the products showcased.

Here’s an example of shoppable content from Rad Power Bikes. They feature UGC images of real customers using their bikes, then add interactive shopspots to take people directly from the point of inspiration to the point of purchase.

As an eCommerce business owner, your goal needs to be to deliver an immersive online shopping experience and one of the ways to achieve that is with the use of strong visuals. They are a powerful asset to generate sales and grow your business.

So, get creative – move away from basic imagery and consider these six different ways to leverage visuals to showcase your product, improve user experience, attract buyers and boost customer loyalty.

Simki Dutta is a content marketer at Venngage, a free infographic maker and design platform. When she’s not working, she can be found refreshing her Twitter feed and binge-watching Netflix shows. Find her on LinkedIn and Twitter.  

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