The Product Image Opportunity

Upgrade imagery to overcome challenges in personalizing the shopping journey, says Vizit's Jehan Hamedi.
a man wearing a blue shirt and smiling at the camera
Jehan Hamedi, founder and CEO of Vizit

What are you doing to drive conversions on the digital shelf? For many e-commerce and commerce marketing teams, the answer is a complex mixture of tactics and technologies aimed at delivering maximum traffic to product detail pages (PDPs) with the hope of that traffic turning into sales.

But I’m willing to bet that very few of these efforts and resources are devoted to measuring whether the images on those PDPs and retail media ads are actually motivating specific audiences to buy. That’s the first mistake.

Images are the first and most effective way of getting a consumer’s attention on the visually crowded path to purchase, and they add even more value along the shopping journey. Whether in ads, on product description pages or on physical packaging, the images you use convey important messages about your brand and product. They also offer an untapped avenue for emotional connections and increased conversions. 

The Vizit and Path to Purchase Institute’s survey, “Impact of Imagery on Consumer Purchasing Decisions,” confirmed that consumers want some level of personalization in product images. This isn’t a whim: According to a McKinsey study, 71% of consumers today expect personalization across their marketing interactions, and 76% of those consumers get frustrated when brands and businesses don’t deliver personalized experiences. 

What does personalization mean for the digital shelf? We’ve seen clothing retailers deploy augmented reality-based shopping experiences and furniture brands offer 3D looks at what redesigned spaces could be — but few have taken steps to truly personalize something as ubiquitous as product images. That’s the second mistake. 

According to our survey, more than half of Amazon shoppers said they look at all of a product’s carousel images. We know they’re relying on those PDP images to understand product features, color options, quantity and size. But they’re also seeking validation for their purchase — they want to know precisely how that product will fit into their lives and enhance their lifestyle. That’s why stylized images of the product being used and images of real customers using the product both ranked as important visuals for shoppers. Although it’s not the personalization most marketers think of, it’s a one-to-many tactic to humanize the shopping experience.

Unfortunately, images are often relegated to an afterthought in the personalization process, with the bulk of resources directed elsewhere. Not only are teams not optimizing images, but they also aren’t measuring the effectiveness of their visuals at all. This is mistake No. 3.

Brands are blind without industry benchmarks or a formal competitor analysis that’s updated and refreshed in real time. Traditional testing is time-consuming and expensive, and until recently there hasn’t been technology capable of applying different audience preferences to image selection. The result is marketing and e-commerce teams leaving one of the most critical components of PDPs and conversions to gut instinct and chance. 

If you’re making these three common mistakes — most brands and retailers are — there’s a huge opportunity to upgrade your imagery and increase conversions. As you’re striving to achieve ambitious goals, cut through the noise and get the most out of first-party, data-rich retail media targeting, consider the impact your visual content has on your efforts. Small, strategic changes in how you’re presenting your products and brand can have a significant impact.

About the Author: Jehan Hamedi is the founder and CEO of Vizit. He has more than a decade of experience in computational social science and artificial intelligence. His innovations have led to important advances in AI and computer vision, consumer insights and e-commerce, resulting in eight patents and an award-winning software platform. Before launching Vizit, Hamedi led growth and innovation for Crimson Hexagon (acquired by Brandwatch), working with leading global brands, retailers, technology and media companies, including Google, Twitter, Walgreens, Toyota and Paramount Pictures.

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