Better images reduce returns for online retailers

The flood of retail returns happening now is partly a story of pictures gone bad – and ones that online merchants need to address to maximize satisfaction and minimize chargebacks. According to a 2021 to studynearly half (49%) of consumers who returned an online purchase did so because “item not as described,” and it starts with pictures.

In a conversation with Karen Webster of PYMNTS, Liz GiorgiCEO of a retail content creation platform soonsays she sees this as a two-sided question.

“How can we inspire action? How do you get people to imagine that they need this now and that there is urgency in this transaction? she said, adding that e-commerce done right “is all about being able to deliver on the promise of what’s going to show up on someone’s footsteps when the package finally arrives.”

Increasingly, this involves not static images but videos.

“Part of that is because of how we change all of our behaviors on our mobile devices,” she said. “We hang out on TikTok. We spend time on Instagram stories. YouTube is still the second largest search engine in the world. Being able to really move people to this moving medium is a really important thing for brands to prioritize in 2022 and beyond.

See also: Creative content platform soon declares that “nothing is sold online without an image”

Try this on for size

Physical stores give shoppers the ability to see, touch, and even try or try on products before buying. Online, these tactile and visual confirmations are absent. Digital merchants need to compensate.

Webster mentioned disconnects regarding the scale of items in e-commerce sales that can end in returns.

“Scale is one of those things that we as an industry haven’t done the best job of really prioritizing,” Giorgi said.

Digital renderings of mannequins are not enough because they are inaccurate.

“Do your customer a favor,” she said. “Show them a picture of a real person… [and] give them the context that allows them to really understand.

It’s all about “making the abstract clear to our traders,” she said.

The quest for clarity in e-commerce affects everything from refrigerators to designer clothes.

“I don’t think it’s for me so much what’s hard to photograph as what’s hard to show and inspire,” she told Webster. “Sometimes you can ask yourself, ‘How are we going to inspire someone to buy trash bags?’ which is a real thing that will happen all the time on our platform. I can’t say enough about the importance of clarity.

This is where “lifestyle visuals” are trending in e-commerce merchandising, Giorgi said.

“What kind of lifestyle could this person have? ” she said. “What kind of house could your client have?” When we see each other online, it just becomes easier to make a buying decision. Incorporating lifestyle imagery into your strategy really helps connect those dots in a meaningful way.

See also: Visual search drives new online sales for merchants

3 steps to better sales visuals

Data from the platform informs imaging and video decisions across different products and categories, with the pandemic again revealing some intriguing truths.

Looking at trends in soona’s data, Giorgi said, “A huge surprise for us last year was that bathrooms were the most commonly used type of lifestyle image across a variety of categories. , not just health and wellness categories as you’d expect, but in categories like fashion, in categories like homewares We’re seeing a huge explosion of bathroom images in the e-commerce. “

She added: “Our hypothesis is that we all spend a lot more time at home in our own bathrooms, so we become more aware of our own use of products in those places.”

Using this insight to improve e-commerce image-based marketing and merchandising results, she said she sees 2022 as a critical time for e-commerce sellers of all sizes to rethink visuals.

Giorgi said soona recommends traders focus on three key areas this year.

First, make sure the images match for consistency.

“For example, you might be selling on your own e-commerce store, but you’re also selling as a third-party seller on amazon.com,” she said. “Make sure those images match. Make sure you have a baseline match between those two things. This is really the year to start investing in that.

The second step for 2022 is to invest in video and mobile media.

“Your best-selling products should be the starting point,” she said. “Put video investments into it, because what you’re going to see is how much more lift, how much more leeway you have for growing these products.”

The third tier becomes active with social selling on image-based platforms.

“Have you invested in TikTok media?” she said. “Have you invested in creating your first Instagram ad? What we know from reviewing our customer testimonials is that customers who invest in balancing the basics with the fun elements get the best return on investment across their entire media library. »

See also: Visual Integrations Could Open Wider Adoption of Voice Commerce

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