The Financial Impact of Images on the Digital Shelf

Vizit Team
Visual Performance
5 min read
Despite the critical role images play along the path to purchase, many brands have no way of knowing which images will have the biggest impact on their audience.

The adage “image is everything” has never been more true than in online retail today. The jumps we’ve seen across the ecommerce landscape are staggering, with the global ecommerce market estimated to hit $5.5 trillion in 2022. Along with this massive increase in online sales comes added pressure for brands and retailers to optimize for digital channels.

Major lifts in the ecommerce industry translate to massive growth opportunities—as long as brands know how to capitalize on the moment and create visual experiences that motivate shoppers to move seamlessly along the customer journey.

Decades of wisdom have shaped product presentation in-store. In the wake of the recent commerce surge, brands are having to figure out how to do the same in the digital world.

The Financial Benefits of Effective Imagery

In today’s fast-paced digital retail environment, the power of your images is unparalleled. As attention spans shrink, image recognition is overtaking read time and playing a critical role in purchasing decisions. Brands often have a fraction of a second to stop the customer’s scrolling thumb before he or she moves on to the next option.

Consumer behavior trends underscore just how significant your images are when it comes to driving online sales. Studies have found:

  • 93% of consumers say visual content is the key deciding factor when making a purchasing decision.
  • 95% of purchasing decisions happen when the subconscious brain is processing visual information.
  • 95% of consumers who click on an image carousel look at every image.

Not only do images motivate shoppers much faster than text, but leading brands are leveraging multiple images to deliver measurable results. In fact, the #1 ASINs (Amazon Standard Identification Numbers) for the top 500 search terms on Amazon have an average of 5.64 images each.

The Challenge With Current Research Models

So how do you know which images are most likely to motivate your customers to move forward along the path to purchase? The visual assets used across the digital shelf are often decided by creative departments or outside agencies, with little input from the ecommerce or insights teams. Most images are chosen on gut instinct and come with zero testing to determine how effective the image will be with the intended audience.

Even if your ecommerce team wanted to take a more scientific approach and test the images being used, existing research processes are slow and cost-prohibitive. By the time you recruit a focus group or research panel, conduct surveys, and analyze the results, consumer sentiment toward the image likely has already shifted.

To remain competitive, ecommerce teams will require agile, data-driven processes to select the most effective imagery across the digital shelf and react in real time to quickly evolving consumer sentiment patterns.

4 Questions to Guide You to Your Most Powerful Imagery

Often, ecommerce teams put all their energy into tactics like site search capabilities, stock inventory updates, pricing optimization, on-platform ads, and product ratings and reviews—all details they can control directly. While these are crucial ecommerce levers, none offer insights into whether or not the images being used are optimized for maximum performance.

To put a focus back on images, ecommerce teams need to consider the following four questions when choosing brand imagery:
1. What are the visual elements most likely to resonate with my core consumers?
2. Which visual assets are preferred among my target audience?
3. How can I optimize my imagery to gain more stopping power and lift conversions?
4. Which of my images will outperform the visuals used by my competitors?

These four questions help clear the path when it comes to choosing the most effective visual assets and creating impactful visual experiences.

AI: The Key to Getting to the Right Image Faster

The shift to ecommerce has unleashed myriad sources of previously unavailable data on consumer preferences. Just as brands and retailers commonly use data to develop new products and optimize marketing campaigns, they should take advantage of its proliferation online to optimize visuals. To truly win the screen and remain competitive across the digital shelf, brands will need AI-based predictive visual intelligence insights to choose highly relevant imagery that motivates consumers to click the buy button.

Of course, creative professionals continue to play a key role in visual production and optimization. It is they who will experiment with aesthetics and ultimately create the visuals that will send products flying off the digital shelf. But without data, a brand’s creatives are operating at a major disadvantage, as they cannot identify the trends proven to move the brand or retailer’s customers.

Artificial intelligence that thinks, acts, and learns in the same way your consumers do, and sees the world the way your customers see the world, empowers you to choose images based on actual data in real time.

No more going on gut instinct or waiting weeks for insights based on traditional research methods. Vizit’s platform gives brands the visual intelligence data they need to choose the right image faster, accelerating creative design times and greatly increasing the competitive edge.

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