Visual commerce, as the name suggests, is a way of using visuals to promote your products and services. But why is visual commerce important for your online store?
That’s exactly what we’ll answer through this post.
It’s all too common now to see images and videos of products and services on social media platforms like Instagram, isn’t it?
And given the rise of social media marketplaces like Instagram Shop and Facebook Marketplace, visual commerce is only becoming more popular.
So, why do you, as a retailer, need visual commerce for 2023?
Let’s find out.
Reasons to Use Visual Commerce
Here are the reasons why visual commerce is important to eCommerce businesses and why you should be using it.
1. Drives Greater Engagement
One of the best reasons why you should use visual commerce for eCommerce marketing is that it tends to drive more engagement than other forms of content.
In fact, videos tend to generate twice the number of shares as any other form of content, including social media posts, product pages, and blogs.
Given the visual nature of most social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, you must create images and videos to promote your products and services.
And the best part — videos have a positive impact on your SEO, helping drive your awareness.
2. Improves Product Understanding
A visual can communicate a lot more than text can. While it’s completely possible for you to describe your product or service using text, visuals can take it a step further. Instead of leaving the looks of your product to their imagination, visuals can give an accurate depiction of what it looks like.
You can showcase the product from various angles and also add text to the visuals to display its features. Similarly, you can create a video of the product using a content creation platform and explain all its features to your audience with ease.
Your audience won’t have to scroll through walls of text to understand your product. Instead, they’ll just need a minute or two.
Needless to say, customers prefer it too. In fact, 73% of people say they’d watch a video of a product or service over any other type of content to learn about it.
3. It’s Cost-Effective
Creating videos and getting product photography done can be costly. We get it. But given the fact that visual commerce generates better engagement, it can lead to more conversions. This can greatly increase your ROI — meaning you’ll earn more even though you’ll spend some amount to create the content.
But here’s the thing.
Visual commerce doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you don’t need to click a lot of photos of a product to showcase different colors or sizes. By using visual eCommerce tools, you can easily change the color or size of a product with a click of a button.
If your products have become fairly popular, you’ll likely start getting a lot of user-generated images and videos of the product.
These visuals will automatically drive your target audience to you as they’ll see what the product looks like in the hands of a customer. So, you’ll essentially spend nothing to promote your product or service in this case — a blessing for online retailers that want to manage business expenses.
For instance, see how Daniel Wellington has millions of user-generated posts on Instagram. These posts help generate a lot of engagement for the brand. This gets it pretty much the same results as you’d get by adding Google reviews to your website — a lot of social proof.
Image via Instagram
4. Gives an Immersive Customer Experience
Unlike text, visual elements can give your customers a more immersive shopping experience, especially when combined with some latest technological advances. Visual commerce can help you showcase how a product would appear in use. It’s also possible to educate customers on how they can use your product through visual commerce.
When paired with modern tech like AR/VR (augmented reality and virtual reality), you can deliver a more immersive shopping experience to your customers through visual commerce. They’ll be able to try out your products, see how they look, and more before making a purchase.
Case in point — Ikea has a VR app on the Oculus store through which their customers can visualize how their products would look in their homes.
Image via Ikea
5. Increases Your Sales
The goal of any eCommerce store is to generate sales. Engagement, reach, and lead generation won’t matter if you can’t reach this goal.
So, it’s clear that a marketing strategy that can help deliver this goal of conversions is one you should look to adopt. And that’s where visual commerce does extremely well. In fact, 86% of people say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.
And this shows in the results too. 81% of marketers say that they’ve increased their sales through video marketing.
It’s no surprise that 86% of businesses have incorporated videos and product videos into their marketing strategies.
Image via Wyzowl
Visual Commerce Strategies
Now that you know about the importance of visual commerce, let’s take a look at some tips related to it. These can help you make the most of your visual content.
1. Leverage User-Generated Content (UGC)
Creating visuals all by yourself can be time-consuming and fairly expensive. You’d have to hire a team of creative experts, designers, and video editors to create compelling visuals that can make an impact on your audience.
These visuals also need to be published regularly to ensure that your brand appears active to your audience.
In such a case, how do you go about scaling your visual commerce?
The answer lies in UGC. Your customers may share images and videos of your products on social media. You can use this visual content by taking their permission and sharing it on your social media account. This way, you won’t have to put in a lot of effort into creating visual content.
This content will appear more authentic as it comes from your customers and not the brand itself. As a result, you’ll have social proof through it too.
And given the fact that 98% of consumers read online reviews before they make a purchase, you’ve got a strong reason to leverage UGC.
Image via BrightLocal
You can encourage your audience to share images and videos of your products or services and tag your brand or use a branded hashtag. In return, you can give them a friendly shoutout when you share their content on your account.
Case in point — WeWork regularly uses content created by its customers on Instagram. Note how their hashtag #WeWork has over 560K posts. This also contributes to their brand awareness.
Image via Instagram
2. Set Your Brand Apart with Visuals
Visuals have the power to shape your brand identity. From your logo to brand colors, everything influences the way your brand appears to the public. This helps you create a memorable brand image for your audience.
Think about it. The yellow “M’ is so ingrained into our heads that we instantly link it to McDonald’s. The same also goes for the font used by Dunkin’. Bringing consistency in visuals can help shape your brand identity and help your audience remember it.
So, irrespective of the channel you use to distribute your visuals, make sure that you have consistent brand colors, font, and other elements. This can ensure that your brand image becomes strong across all channels.
3. Use Engaging Visual Formats
Visuals don’t necessarily have to be simple images and videos. You could instead, use more immersive forms of visual content. This includes interactive images and 360-degree videos.
As mentioned earlier, with the advent of VR/AR, it’s now possible to give your audience an immersive experience through your videos. This can further improve your chances of making an impact on your audience.
A great example of a more engaging visual format here is shoppable posts and videos on Instagram. Your brand or influencers you partner with can tag your products in the content published on Instagram.
Your audience can then see the product being used and simply click on the image or video to purchase it right away. This ensures a smoother and more straightforward shopping experience.
Take Your Store to New Heights with Visual Commerce
Visual commerce has the potential to increase your reach, engagement, lead generation, and sales. It boosts your ROI, improves user understanding of your products and services, and is cost-effective. This marketing strategy also helps you create an immersive shopping experience for your customers when paired with AR/VR.
But above all, it’s the type of content that consumers prefer, which makes it a must-have for your eCommerce business. Whether you use visual commerce for eCommerce email marketing, on product pages, or social media, it’ll help you drive great results. So, go ahead and start using it to grow your online store now.
About the Author:
Gaurav Sharma is the founder and CEO of Attrock, a results-driven digital marketing company. Grew an agency from 5-figure to 7-figure revenue in just two years | 10X leads | 2.8X conversions | 300K organic monthly traffic. He also contributes to top publications like HuffPost, Adweek, Business 2 Community, TechCrunch, and more.