The Rich Get Richer: A Guide to Interactive Visual Content

Linc Wonham
by Linc Wonham 04 May, 2012

Over the past couple of years, there have been major shifts in consumer purchasing patterns. New technology has made the buying experience more interactive more often.

With more touch-points come more opportunities to create an engaging experience with the consumer, but it also means there are more pieces to take into account. Consumers expect to be able to engage with a brand consistently through every channel, all the time. They want to be able to shop online via computer, smartphone, tablet, as well as in-store, and have a universal experience.

How do you create engaging content?
With all of these moving pieces, how do you keep your brand consistent across all channels while keeping up with the continuously evolving consumer? By keeping them engaged no matter what channel they're using.

Utilizing rich media content such as photography, 360-degree views of the product, and online video are ideal ways to achieve consumer interaction. On average, consumers spend 48 seconds on a website with only text. But add video to the mix and the consumer spends up to five minutes and 50 seconds - making video more than five times more effective than text.

Having a consumer spend more time on your site is fantastic, but the ultimate goal is conversion. When selling products online, it's important that the consumer feels comfortable and confident the product is what they are looking for.

Providing images, more views, demo videos, and different color options is one way to increase the consumer's confidence and decrease the number of returns. Take Zappos, for instance: By using video demos of items on product pages, the online retailer was able to increase sales by 6 to 30 percent.

Why is consistency important?
Since consumers aren't just making online purchases from a computer anymore, it's important to ensure that creative content is compatible and consistent from mobile devices, tablets and laptops. Over the last three years, mobile video traffic has increased 5,000 percent, providing great opportunity for online retailers to remain competitive with compelling visual content.

One best practice for creating engaging visual content is to shoot the products once and use that content across several platforms. For that reason, online retailers should consider creative agencies that have the capability to shoot high-quality content and repurpose it for multiple deliverables including still images, 360-degree product views, interactive catalogs and online video.

This strategy helps to create a consistent brand message while also reducing the cost of production, as online retailers aren't required to pay a separate fee for each set of visual content they have created. This approach also provides a one-stop solution for online retailers who are then able to use the same imagery and content for direct mailing campaigns, email blasts, marketing collateral and even social media campaigns.

Another approach is solving the issue of device compatibility. Some devices aren't compatible with certain software such as Adobe Flash, so it's important to find a creative agency that also understands the technical concerns that go into offering rich media content. In this instance, HTML5 is often the best solution for cross-device compatibility.

How do I know if my strategy was successful?
The final component of a successful ecommerce strategy is measurement. The digital content is brand-consistent and the video and imagery is compatible on all devices, but are the customers making the purchase?

Conversion is measurable by comparing visits per product before visual content was added with those after. For the products that included 360-degree photographs, were fewer products returned? If so, it's safe to assume that the ability to view the product from multiple angles allowed the consumer to better decide that the product fit their needs.

Or, did demo videos better explain a product, leading to an increase in the number of purchases? All of these factors help online retailers create an emotional connection between their products and the consumer, as well as increase confidence in their purchases.

Whether you're working in luxury brands, women's clothing, consumer electronics, home goods or food products, interactive visual content is necessary to drive the website user to purchase your products. By creating consistent and compatible multimedia content, online retailers gain the interest of the consumer as well as increase their confidence in the product and brand.

About the author: Jason Arena is the vice president of brand strategy and marketing at KSC Kreate.