How Brands Can Use Visual Commerce Strategies To Better Connect with Consumers

Augmented reality representation, avatar for trying on clothes

How can you get consumers’ attention and grow your brand as the e-commerce industry becomes increasingly crowded and competitive? As consumers are shifting to new channels and shopping on their smartphones and social platforms, brands need to adapt to reach them where they are, with the right content, at the right time. Leveraging visual commerce strategies focused on mobile is key to achieve this. 

The term “visual commerce” refers to the strategies and tactics around using pictures, videos, animations, and even augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) to better engage and connect with consumers as they learn about your products and brand. Let’s dive into why you should integrate visual elements into your shopping experience, what the best visuals are, and what benefits they bring.

Why Visual Commerce Is Essential to Your Digital Strategy

Since the pandemic shut down in-store shopping, the e-commerce industry has grown tremendously and continues to see consumers stay and shift online. Global online sales reached an astounding $4.97 trillion this year, up from $3.3 trillion in 2019, according to Statistica. 

To use the increased online traffic to your advantage and attract and retain shoppers, it’s crucial to create a personal connection with them as soon as they enter your digital storefront. Enhancing your shopping experience with attractive, welcoming, and immersive designs has proven to help build familiarity and trust with customers and foster brand loyalty. 

Visual assets, such as 3D or animated images, videos, AR, and VR, are thus integral elements to building a memorable ecommerce experience and getting consumers’ attention in a world of content and information overload. When putting visual commerce at the core of your digital branding and marketing strategies, you’ll see incredible results in regards to customer engagement, conversion, retention, and ultimately sales.

The Top Visual Elements to Optimize Your Shopping Experience and Engage Consumers

Images and videos are the most widely used and most accessible visual assets you can easily integrate (today!) to enhance your digital storefront’s aesthetic and better market and sell your products. With mobile devices limiting the size of landing pages, you must be selective with what elements you include. Images not only “speak a thousand words” but are also, like videos, more engaging than pure text. 

According to a study by WyzOwl, 84% of consumers say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a video. More recently, images and videos have even evolved further to be three-dimensional — and customers are twice as likely to purchase a product if it has a 3D product image rather than a flat image. Remember these stats when creating and designing your next landing page. 

Beyond these more traditional visual elements, AR and VR have become increasingly popular among brands as a new, innovative way to connect with consumers on a more personal level. These technologies either add digitally-generated simulations to the real world (AR) or entirely replace reality to create a virtual world (VR). According to Statista, the worldwide AR and VR market size is forecasted to grow up to $209 billion by 2022, while global AR and VR application downloads are expected to hit the 5.5 billion threshold next year. 

Here is how you can take advantage of this fast-growing trend to stay ahead of the game and engage with your customers on a new level.

[Read more: Nike Doubles Down On Digital Experimentation]

When it comes to AR, we’ll likely see more brands implement AR glasses for shopping on social platforms, such as Instagram, or letting consumers explore how a new couch would look in their living room. Thirty-five percent of consumers said that they would be shopping more online if they could virtually try on a product before buying it. Additionally, 22% would be less likely to visit a brick-and-mortar store if their favorite brand would offer AR within their online shopping experience. 

Besides allowing customers to see 3D models of your products to recreate the in-person “feel,” the biggest benefit is that they can experience how your products would look on themselves, in their homes, or any other applicable environments. Of course, some industries and products, such as apparel, furniture, and kitchen appliances, are more suited to use AR technology than others. Determine if AR is the right fit for your brand, audience, and business objectives, and integrate it — as appropriate — in ways that optimize your overall shopping and product education experience. 

Finally, let’s talk about VR. With the latest, widely-discussed example of Meta’s Metaverse, VR creates a new digital world where brands and consumers can connect and engage on a palpable level that aims to closely mimic the in-person experience. You can use VR technology to create virtual storefronts which consumers can explore using a headset. In your virtual store, they can browse products, interact with other shoppers, and request help from a virtual assistant — just like in a “real” store. In this virtual reality, consumers can even create their own avatars and personal identity. 

As VR becomes more widely accessible and cost-effective, market research from Oberlo reveals that from 2020 to 2027, the compound annual growth rate for the VR market is 21.6%. Are you ready to explore how you can build your own brand’s reality? Look into how VR could support your marketing strategy and consider leveraging it to boost customer engagement and build long-lasting relationships.

With e-commerce booming and showing no signs of slowing down, especially on mobile and social media, visual commerce is no longer a nice-to-have — it’s a must-have for brands. If you want to stand out from the crowd, get your unique brand story and value across, and connect with your audience on a personal level to create meaningful and long-term relationships based on trust, you need to integrate at least some of these key visual elements in your shopping experience. With limited mobile screen sizes and overwhelming amounts of information online — among other distractions and challenges to reach and engage customers — visual content enables you to touch and captivate consumers on a deeper level through beautiful, aesthetic designs and memorable storytelling.

—Laura Haines is the chief product officer of Famous, a mobile ecommerce design platform helping anyone easily market and sell products online. Based in Australia, she helps drive the company mission and leads the cross-functional teams in product design, development, and strategy. Prior to Famous, she was the general manager of global partnerships and products at the leading design platform Canva, where she oversaw the entire product and partner portfolio, set the company’s mission, strategy, and goals, and managed a variety of teams across sales, marketing, engineering, operations, and product.

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