How To Use Visuals In ECommerce
Visuals create a far bigger impact on your customers than text or other forms of content. One study found that just over ten percent of people remember what they hear. In comparison, text was far more effective with over twenty percentage of people remembering what they read. What was most impressive was that when it comes to visual content, nearly 80% of people remembered what they saw.
This is extremely vital for an eCommerce business, especially lifestyle focused products. Visuals are, without a doubt, far more effective in communicating features and benefits compared to text. But the benefits from visual content do not stop with the use of images in product pages. In this article, we are going to take a look at every step of the customer lifecycle to see how visuals impact your conversion.
The AIDAS LifeCycle
The average customer goes through five distinct stages before they turn loyal to your business. This is neatly summed up what is known as the AIDAS cycle. AIDAS stands for
Attention – The first step in any marketing process is to catch the attention of your prospective buyer. This may done through attractive advertisements, or with the use of inbound marketing strategies like content marketing, email newsletters, etc.
Interest – Once you have got your customer’s attention, the next step is to create interest in your product. There are many ways to do this. When it comes to eCommerce, the most popular way to do this is by creating attractive product pages that neatly explain what your product does. You may also make use of advertorials or infomercials to create interest among your audience.
Desire – At this stage of the process, your customer is already aware of your product and its many benefits. This is often insufficient to create the burning desire to own the product. Without this component, customers are not likely to convert. There are many ways to create desire among your buyers. Testimonials and customer reviews are the most popular elements to create desire among prospective customers.
Action – This is the stage when the prospect finally turns into a paying customer. With a strong desire to buy, the use of effective Call-To-Actions are important for your visitor to make the leap towards paying for your product.
Satisfaction – As an eCommerce store owner, your job does not end with selling your product. It is important to make sure that your buyer is happy with the transaction. For this to happen, you will have to invest in a support team that will take care of your buyers’ issues. An unsatisfied customer is likely to either return your product, leave a bad rating, or never come back to your store again – none of these options are good from a business perspective.
Visuals In AIDAS
Visuals create a lot more impact than text or other forms of content along every step of the buying process. Let us go through each of the AIDAS stages to see how visuals can help.
Catching the attention of your prospective buyer can be done in two ways. Outbound strategies mostly refer to advertisements while inbound strategies include the use of content, email, SEO to mention a few.
Visual banners are an integral component of outbound advertising. Over $14 billion was spent in the United States alone last year on banner advertising, and this figure is expected to rise to over $17 billion by the end of this decade. Here are a couple of tips to make sure that your banners are effective in catching attention.
No bling – It may seem like a good idea to have lots of moving components and bling in your banner ads. The idea is to draw attention to banners even if the viewer is not interested. But they do not serve the purpose. Firstly, such ads bring down the perceived value of your business. More importantly, ad blockers are pretty mainstream today and a distracting banner could trigger more viewers to block your ads altogether.
Context – It is not a good idea to create one banner for use across all your different advertising platforms. Understanding the context of the viewer is extremely important. A customer viewing your ad on Facebook is in a different mindset compared to one on Snapchat or Google. Design a banner that is contextually relevant on this platform. The size and message is important too. An image size of 600 px X 900 px is most ideal on Pinterest – but this image could be a little too big for Twitter. If you are sending out remarketing ads, make sure that these banners are designed keeping in mind the fact that these viewers are already partly aware of your product (depending on the context, these viewers could be in the Desire stage of buying).
A picture is worth a thousand words. But bigger images do not always mean better results. In one study, researchers studied the average time a viewer fixates on a page when they were shown a large or small product images. While a bigger image improved the fixation time for products like hard drives and headphones, it brought the time down for a shirt.
What matters more is the way visuals are used in educating your readers. You could, for instance, make use of interactive graphics to communicate the product benefits to your viewers. Infographics are a popular visual tool to not only generate interest among your viewers, but also as a link bait to build visibility from blogs and websites in your industry. This may help further with your marketing outreach.
How do you make a viewer desire for your product? As noted earlier in this article, reviews and testimonials help viewers read about the experience other customers have had with your product and thus desire to buy it themselves. There are many ways to do this. A very common, but often unethical, way to do this is the use of advertorials and infomercials. These are advertisements masked as legitimate content pieces. These advertisements serve to educate the viewer about the product while also generating the necessary desire for them to act.
Another way to make use of visuals in generating desire is the use of user generated content. A lot of eCommerce stores publish product photos and videos that are contributed by past customers. In addition to helping the customer understand what the product looks like in real, such user generated images also help generate the desire to own among customers. As a matter of fact, one study shows that nearly 82% of shoppers find user generated content useful while making purchasing decisions.
ECommerce storefronts routinely deploy carousels to show a handful of different product images to the customer. The idea is to give a bunch of different product perspectives to the prospective customer. However studies have shown that regardless of how many images you show, the ‘hero image’ is the one that matters the most. These images play a major role in triggering action.
Visuals do not always mean pictures and videos. In the case of triggering action, even minor tweaks to the shades and gradient on your CTA could effect massive improvements in conversion. For example, the color blue is considered to evoke trustworthiness, loyalty and sincerity while yellow evokes emotions of youth, optimism. Using CTA buttons with the right shades can be instrumental in pushing your conversion up.
Repeat purchases and word of mouth marketing depend to a great extent on how well your business has been able to satisfy your current customers. One of the biggest impediments to this is customer support. A Microsoft study found that nearly 97% of customers believed that good support was critical to their being loyal to a brand. Another study found that over 91% of consumers would use an online knowledge base if it were available and tailored to their needs.
Visual content can be a great asset to a business in creating happy and satisfied customers. An engaging video demonstration of product use can often be more effective in reaching the customers than a technical manual. The use of images and videos in supporting your customers can thus be extremely effective in resolving their issues and thus creating happy customers.