This post originally appeared on startupnation.com/grow-your-business
The human brain is hardwired to process visual information. In fact, we respond to visuals 60,000 times faster than we do to text. It’s no surprise, then, that 65 percent of us are visual learners, meaning that we assimilate information better through visuals than through audio or the written word.
This is crucial information for startups looking to grow market share. If you’re hoping to win over new customers, one of the most important things you can do is provide adequate visual communication. This is especially important for e-commerce startups, since customers rely heavily on visuals.
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Here’s a look at why that’s so important and how you can make it happen with your e-commerce startup:
Today, we see more visual content than at any time in history. In Q3 of 2019, mobile data use increased at a year-over-year rate of about 70 percent. Mobile video consumption accounts for the vast majority of that growth.
One fascinating result of being inundated with visuals? They make us want more of what we see. That’s what researchers studying the effects of “food porn” found: the more food images we see, the more we want to eat.
So, startups can potentially increase demand for their products simply by showing potential customers more visuals of said products. But how much is enough? And how can startups go about producing all this visual content to stay ahead of the competition? Follow these four key steps.
Include eight images of every product
A recent survey found that online shoppers in 2019 expected five to eight images of every product they considered buying. If that sounds high, you’re not wrong: as recently as 2016, shoppers were satisfied with just three images.
And this isn’t a case of survey results differing from real-world behavior: a 2018 eBay study showed a correlation between the number of images per product and profits. The results held constant for items across all industries.
So, if you’re looking to increase profits, one simple way to do that is to increase the number of images you offer of every e-commerce product you sell.
Offer interactive images
Of course, not all images are created equal.
One study found that the more shoppers could manipulate an image (by zooming in/out or changing a product’s color, for example), the more they trusted the seller.
Another study, which focused on Gen Z shoppers (those in their teens and early 20s) found that, while 75 percent of this group preferred to shop online for most purchases, 65 percent also expressed a desire to “touch and feel products before making a purchase.”
Interactive imagery can help: 360-degree rotating images and interactive 3D both let shoppers not only zoom, but also virtually “turn” an image to see all sides of the item they’re considering. Interactive 3D is about as close as online retailers can get to evoking the confidence that comes with picking up and examining merchandise in a store.
Choose the right type of image
I mentioned 360-degree images and interactive 3D; but entrepreneurs should also consider 2D images. But what about video? And what about augmented reality, which lets shoppers view 3D configurations superimposed on real-life settings?
While every situation is different, these general guidelines can help you choose the best image type for representing your products:
- Highly configurable or customizable products: Interactive 3D, which can create real-time renderings of custom designs.
- Products with limited configurations (furniture, clothing, etc.): 2D images, which can be created ahead of time for maximum resolution. These can be supplemented with pre-rendered 360-degree rotations to show every angle of a product.
- Products that require some expertise to use: 2D images or 360-degree rotations supplemented with video tutorials can be wildly effective (think: power tools, makeup, assembly-required toys or furniture, etc.).
- High-cost and large products: 2D images supplemented with AR (usually powered by interactive 3D) can help shoppers see how products would fit in their homes or lives, which reduces the anxiety around making a big purchase online.
Understand the ROI of better images
However you create your product images (whether with software or through traditional methods), you’ll have to make an investment. To understand what’s a reasonable amount to invest, it’s important to understand the ROI of better images.
As you improve images, you can expect the following:
- Better engagement on social media. Visual content is 40 percent more likely to be shared, which leads to greater top-of-funnel awareness.
- Longer dwell time on your website. Site visitors only read 28 percent of a page’s text, and 57 percent of site users jump immediately to images when visiting a product page. Better images mean more engaged visitors.
- Better conversions. Sites that upgrade to interactive 3D imagery can expect up to a 30 percent increase in conversions, which offers an immediate boost to the bottom line.
- Fewer returns. As many as 22 percent of returns happen because products look different in person than they did in online images. Indeed, brands that upgrade to 3D imagery report up to 50 percent reductions in product returns.
Create a better customer experience
In an increasingly visual world, startups that want to connect with their customers have to make buying from them a visually appealing experience. And customers are becoming more demanding: 57 percent admit cutting ties with a business because a competitor offered a better experience.
And this isn’t just true in B2C; 82 percent of B2B buyers say they increasingly expect a visual-first buying experience when shopping for business purposes.
The message for e-commerce startups is clear: offer more images. Luckily, the benefits are also clear, because with more images, you’ll enjoy more engaged customers, better sales, fewer returns, and greater relevance with today’s evolving shopper.
The post How E-Commerce Startups Can Win in the Visual Economy appeared first on StartupNation.