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Visual content will drive online commerce


Micke Paqvalén, CEO and Founder, Kiosked explains why images and video-led content will drive online shoppers to purchase in 2014.

Last week research from Ofcom revealed that the UK leads the world in online shopping, with spend more than double the average £560 spend per person. For British people time spent shopping has increasingly shifted towards the PC, mobile and tablet and with so many shoppers swapping the high street for hi-tech, it’s important that retailers are aware of the different content strategies that are now driving sales, in line with their customers’ changing shopping habits.

The rapid adoption of mobile and tablet devices in particular has completely revolutionalised the way consumers not only shop, but interact with online content altogether. The focus has moved from text to the visual. Images are now central to e-commerce, from photos of products being shared across social networks to experiential and interactive marketing videos.

Images are transforming online retail across multiple channels and visual content is now a key driver of online sales for retailers. The rise of tablet shopping where the experience is highly visual and more interactive than on a PC has been a key reason for this; and whilst the desktop share of shopping is down from 84% in 2010 to 49% in 2013, the shopping experience across tablets is proportionally rising. Tablet devices are well-suited to shopping due to the smooth and seamless retail experience they provide in terms of pictures and video. In addition, they are convenient and portable making them a fun device for browsing and buying products in the comfort of the living room.

Retailers can take advantage of consumers’ warm reception to the tablet by offering unique visual content. Unlike static text-based campaigns, images and video encourage emotion in shoppers. When the Internet first came to the mainstream, it was largely text-based due to the amount of bandwidth required for hosting images. Today, the Internet is highly visual, with more people viewing videos and images than ever before. By creating exciting visual content for tablet and mobile, retailers are moving towards engaging directly with consumers.

Consumers are looking for more from their online commerce experience and retailers need visual engagement to capture their attention. Video is an incredibly effective way to do that; Forrester Research found that a one-minute video equals 1.8 million words and a single video frame can deliver the same amount of information as three pages of text! Video features and 360 degree product views encourage shoppers to stay on sites for longer. Sight, sound and motion appeals to people’s emotions and entertains in a way that static or text-based online advertising is unable to do.

As a response to this visual landscape, ‘smart content’ is now engaging shoppers online. Smart content allows brands to turn their online visual content into a useful service, serving relevant and interesting product information to shoppers through entertaining formats. For example, when consumers see a celebrity wearing a dress in an online news article, they can instantly click on the image and buy it. If they are watching a music video on YouTube then they can click and buy the song immediately from iTunes without even having to leave the page they’re on. The popularity of online video today is particularly associated with always on-demand content, meaning that people can engage with video content at anytime. It’s this factor of convenience and a non-intrusive experience that will win over shoppers in 2014.

Although we have seen a boom in mobile and tablet shopping of late, the retail experience we will see in the coming year is not about which device but the impulsive way in which people shop and the excitement they feel because of it. Retailers can use images to appeal to the ‘see it, want it, buy it’ mentality in order to make shopping online an engaging experience. Instantly shoppable content is the future and those brands that create memorable experiences for shoppers with visual content will reap the rewards online in 2014.

Published on Thursday 19 December by Editorial Assistant

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