Are Visuals The Key To High Sales, Great Reviews For eCommerce Websites?

First impressions matter. It’s true. People can make snap judgments about anything right away. In fact, it takes no time at all to gather an impression about somebody else. The same thing can be applied to websites.

Websites that delve into ecommerce will understand first-hand just how crucial first impressions can be. What exactly influences first impressions? Visual content.

Visual Content’s Effect on First Impressions

The very first thing that potential customers will notice on the website is the visual makeup. Without a proper design and layout, relevant product descriptions, and a mobile-friendly website, consumers may simply make a quick exit from your web portal. First impressions are everything.

In today’s digital marketplace, consumers are bombarded with an enormous amount of information and choices, whether it’s as soon as they enter the website or if they leave a product in their shopping cart. Due to the vast sum of information available, consumers want it fast, straight to the point and simple to understand.

Simply put: our attention spans are smaller – a 2015 report suggested our attention spans are even shorter than a goldfish! The attention span issue is more exacerbated for mobile users. Visuals are crucial, and a recent Hubspot report noted that 90 percent of information transmitted to our minds is visual, and processed a lot faster than text.

A Google report discovered that some consumers can develop an opinion on a website within 17 milliseconds. An important finding that is garnering the attention of many is that websites with low visual intricacy and high prototypically were determined as highly appealing. The primary takeaway is that your website design should be simple and familiar – forget innovation right now.

Digital marketers and website owners can’t afford to neglect the visuals in their campaigns. With the right visual aids, the chances of a better first impression immensely enhance.

In order to accomplish this, these are some of the most common visual aspects to focus on during the design process:

  • Logo
  • Navigation menu
  • Search box
  • Written content
  • Main image

Indeed, these are the rudimentary elements of visual installation. But what about some of the latest trends that are having a noticeable effect on our first impressions? If you were thinking of social media then you were correct.

Social Commerce is the Next Big Thing

Social tools have quickly become imperative to successful ecommerce websites. Whether it’s Buy buttons or user-generated content (UGC), ecommerce outlets will see an increase in their sales and glowing customer reviews. Of course, this is also known as social commerce.

The term “social commerce” has become the colossal buzzword for 2016. As social media continues to grow, ecommerce business keep looking for new and powerful social commerce trends to keep engaging their audience. Although social commerce represents just five percent of online shopping, it’s still a $15 billion industry.

Due to the fact that it’s still in its infancy period, this is your chance to enter on the ground floor.

Here are six features to consider using for your ecommerce website:

  • Taking Advantage of Vines
  • User Generated Photo Testimonials
  • Shoppable Images & Videos
  • Instagram – Your Powerful Shopping Tool
  • Pin, Plan & Buy: Pinterest a Valuable Visual Feature
  • Experiment With Visual Search Technology

Taking Advantage of Vines

Vine is Twitter’s short-form video sharing service where users can record and share six-second-long looping video clips. A lot of people have become famous online for their Vines. But did you know that you can also utilize Vines for your business?

Six seconds may not be much – remember earlier about our shorter attention spans? – but you will quickly realize how valuable those six seconds really are. Heck, brands and marketing firms are gradually embracing one-second ad spots!

How does a website take advantage of Vine? Here are a few ways:

  • How-to Tips: We pretend we know what we’re doing, whether it’s putting together an Ikea bookshelf or repairing a hole in the wall. As the Do it Yourself (DIY) niche becomes more prevalent, this is your time to shine by doing a Vine that offers tips on how to do something. Also, if you’re selling a product, you can show consumers the various ways it can be used, such as makeup, a piece of clothing or foods.
  • Product Displays: Most consumers are more likely to buy something after viewing a brand-created video. Indeed, Facebook and YouTube are destinations you’re thinking of, but recording a Vine can suffice because it offers a glimpse into new products. It’s a teaser of sorts, and leaves the viewer wanting more.
  • Your Personality: Everybody and everything has a personality, and yes including your brand. Remember, everyone goes to Vine to have a laugh, so by showing off your brand’s personality, you could perhaps make someone chuckle.
  • Coming Soon: Produce teasers of upcoming products or services you’re offering. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate trailer, but something akin to a coming soon teaser is a good marketing technique.
  • UGC Competitions: What better way to engage with your customers than through a competition? By encouraging customers to participate in user-generated content competitions, you’re communicating with your customers and proving just how fun your brand is!

Now, what should you record in just six seconds? There are a plethora of examples online of brands just raising the bar.

User Generated Photo Testimonials

Peer-to-peer influence is an asset that all brands crave for. This type of user-generated content is not only free advertising, but customers then act like brand advocates. Social sharing is akin to offline word-of-mouth promotion. Since we don’t talk in the real world anymore, this helps!

The most common type of social sharing category is a selfie.

Customers – if they like your product – are taking selfies with your products and sharing those photons on various social media outlets, like Facebook and Twitter. Your clients are visually referring your business. Of course, digital marketers are exploiting this to increase site conversions – Twitter finally realized in January how lucrative this could be for the website.

It should be noted that brand new customers trust user-generated visual testimonials far more than the antiquated online testimonials. In order to generate buzz and viral content, companies are now encouraging customers to publish their selfies with their purchases and then showcase it online with a specific hashtag. This then enhances user engagement, while lifting sales.

Your brand’s reputation will also witness a significant boost.

Shoppable Images & Videos

We have already expressed just how crucial visual content is to your business. However, the specific images can’t help much when it comes to converting visitors into buyers. What does this mean exactly?

If you find a fashion look that a friend posted on Facebook, you would be interested in purchasing that product directly by simply clicking on that image. You can’t do this on most websites. Well, this is your opportunity as a digital retailer.

Maintaining shoppable images or videos on your website makes it easier for a visitors to convert into a customer without having to take additional steps. In a lot of cases, extra steps can frustrate users and even prompt them to make a quick exit from your website.

In order to accomplish this, there are a couple of things to consider:

  • Online shoppers can hover over an image and be given a list of the merchandise showcased in that image. You could even have a “Buy Now” button to purchase the entire outfit, kitchen set or computer system.
  • Online shoppers may watch a video of, let’s say, an athletic outfit. On the side panel of the video, you can provide customers with a list of images informing the viewer of what the actor in the commercial is wearing.

Indeed, images improve the look and feel of your website. However, making your images shoppable helps your brand connect with its customers and facilitate them in interacting with merchandise. In the end, your sales see a jump, while customers are satisfied with the experience.

Instagram – Your Powerful Tool

Was Forbes magazine exaggerating when it called Instagram the planet’s most powerful selling tool around? Perhaps not.

The image-sharing social network has more than 400 million users, and the firm’s leadership understands just how important social commerce has become to its business model. Instagram has been installing call-to-action (CTA) tools that take the form of “buy now” or “shop now.”

By doing so, Instagram is inciting an intimacy and immediacy of digital commerce. Moreover, this level of authenticity drives higher engagement. Instagram is no longer just a marketing channel for brands and celebrities to showcase products to the world, it’s also become an important ecommerce platform.

Stephanie Trunzo, chief digital officer at the digital marketing agency PointSource, tells AdWeek:

“Personal recommendations and references, that’s nothing new, it just took a different form [on social]. We’ve seen this trend coming over the past decade and we just have more platforms where people are able to contribute, where before they couldn’t.

“You may do some pre-browsing or shopping on your mobile device and actually make a purchase in store. These ‘buy now’ channels actually give the ability, rather than just being a point in the journey, they actually become the point of conversion.”

If you’re just starting out on Instagram, how can you leverage the social network for your website? Here are a few tips to mull over when incorporating it into your marketing plans:

  • Use real people to sell your product than models or robots.
  • Connect Instagram Galleries to ecommerce.
  • Take advantage of hashtags’ full potential.
  • Respond to users who post photos of your brand on Instagram.
  • Be conservative in how much content you post – try a couple of times per day.

Pin, Plan & Buy: Pinterest a Valuable Visual Feature

Pinterest, despite its vast audience and incredible leadership, doesn’t get mentioned a lot when discussing marketing or social media in general. It’s usually the three main organizations: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

With that being said, Pinterest is a nirvana for ecommerce websites because it naturally helps sell products that its users share millions and millions of times everyday. This is why Pinterest is now making it easier for brands to sell and consumers to buy all within the ecosystem of Pinterest.

Late last year, Pinterest announced it would be adding three ecommerce platforms: Bigcommerce, Magento and IBM Commerce. At the same time, it’s bringing on board some major brand names: Bloomingdale’s, Steven Alan and Demandware merchants DVF.

And why not? The company confirmed that since introducing “buyable pins” it has seen its merchants sell million of products. In fact, the number of buyable pins has doubled to roughly 60 million, and they’re performing well; twice as many conversion rates as other mobile Pins.

By looking at these numbers, you’re already salivating at the notion of using Pinterest. Not so fast. You have to perform an array of tasks before becoming the best of the best on Pinterest.

First, the best way to be a popular brand on Pinterest is to showcase beautiful images that present great beauty. Have lovely photographs? Do a test on Pinterest using its analytics program to find out what’s working and what isn’t. Second, make sure your pins are helpful and can assist in solving some common, everyday problems. Third, install a pin it button on your website.

Once you have mastered Pinterest, you will have found that this is complementing all of your visual content on your ecommerce website.

Experiment With Visual Search Technology

In the last couple of years, ecommerce firms have started experimenting with visual search technology. Research has also found that visual search engines influence one-third of purchase decisions. Although it’s still in the beginning stages, visual search functions could be the next big thing in the world of ecommerce.

How does it? Well, it’s very different than the archaic keyword search. Instead of typing in a keyword, a visual search identifies the shape, color, size and text to locate a brand or product name from an image. These elements assist the search engine in presenting the precise product a customer is looking for.

Over the coming months, you’re likely going to see more and more ecommerce outlets encourage customers to upload photos of their own or link to an image URL to browse the website’s large inventory.

Final Thoughts

Visual content is key to higher sales, glowing customer reviews and impeccable user experiences. Visuals also help you establish a splendid first impression for users. This is done by being creative yet simple, technically-sound yet not overly complicated.

Visuals, like content, are king (or queen, if you will).

Vine, Instagram and Pinterest are tremendous social networks to complement your social commerce marketing strategies. Meanwhile, shoppable items, visual search and user-generated content will further improve upon your marketing endeavors.