Team eCommerce Next interviewed Jehan Hamedi from Vizit to get more insights on the increased exposure that consumers are having with images on a daily basis and what that means for consumer expectations, brands, and retailers. Following is our interview with him:
We probably all know from our daily experiences that images are everywhere, but how many images exactly are people exposed to on a daily basis?
Every day we’re bombarded with images. According to Ogilvy’s Creative Director, the average person scrolls through 300 feet (or one statue of liberty) of mobile content every single day. There are other stats out there that are telling us that the average person is exposed to 6-10,000 ads each day. This is really creating a dynamic where people don’t read anymore, they recognize. And this exposure to imagery is creating an unconscious internal bias that motivates people to have positive and negative responses to specific visual elements.
So it sounds like images are more important than ever?
Well, we certainly think so – but the data is there as well. Whether consciously or unconsciously, shoppers want highly relevant and engaging experiences – this makes them more likely to visit your ecommerce marketplace, click on an item from a search result page, buy products, and become loyal to a retailer and brand.
And not only do images have a massive impact on consumer perception they are the single most important factor when it comes to making a purchasing decision online:
- 93% of consumers say visual content is the key deciding factor when making a purchasing decision.
- 76% of consumers say they’ve purchased a product or service after watching a video.
- 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.
How are brands and retailers responding?
The explosion of ecommerce and social commerce in general has ramped up our demand for, and expectation of, images – while 20% of marketing budgets are already consumed by visual content today, next year it’s predicted that there will be an additional 20% growth in visual needs & spending.
This growth is spurred by:
- The need for more content for more online audiences
- The growth of additional channels for visual content like tik tok, instagram, and the metaverse
- The generation of more customized segments and markets
- Highly variable consumer preferences and trends
What are the costs of not getting your imagery right?
When it comes to this question of what imagery will be most effective for a target audience – it’s one thousands of brands and retailers are asking themselves. We know the cost of imagery that isn’t aligned with your audience can be very high. According to our partners at Salsify, 30% of U.S. shoppers say they will not purchase a product if images are missing or low quality, while 70% say they are more likely to buy a product from a personally relevant product page. So even if you’ve nailed your description, search, reviews, inventory, and pricing – the wrong visual content can mean millions in lost sales every year.
We also know brands are spending millions on content and advertising yet still have limited insight into how potential shoppers will perceive their visual brand and products along the path to purchase. This spans from packaging to in-store displays, to product photography and videos, to social media content, digital ads, and finally on the digital shelf itself.
When we talk about highly tuned and customized imagery, it obviously means you need a lot of data, and you need it quickly. How are brands and retailers adapting their insights and analytics capabilities?
AI has had such a major impact in many facets of retail – from demand forecasting, price optimization, digital advertising targeting and spending but image measurement has been conducted through traditional panel-based research methods or live A/B testing. In the era of ecommerce and social media these measurement tools have been costly, bias-prone, and too slow to adapt to changes. So, brands and retailers are taking the learnings from other parts of their business and integrating in AI to help them get a granular level of understanding into their consumers’ visual preferences like never before.
At Vizit we have taken an AI-based approach to understand how consumers perceive visual content – and what motivates them to respond and convert.
The first step of this Artificial intelligence-based understanding is to really understand your audience’s profile and digital scroll. The visuals your audience interacts with and are organically exposed to online are obviously very different based on where they go – the brands they are influenced by the sites they shop on, and the content they choose to consume.
Vizit gathers this information and analyzes this image content at a massive scale – breaking each piece of visual content down into 15,000+ visual components. And we do this in order to find patterns in engaging visual elements. These elements include things like composition, layout, color schemes, scenery, model usage, and hundreds more.
Once we’ve run this analysis, we then use this data to simulate the visual preferences of an audience and generate Vizit Scores – a rating which predicts how likely an image is to capture the attention of and elicit a positive response from a given audience.
What is the impact you are seeing with customers?
We’re seeing marketing, creative, ecommerce, and insights teams all leverage VIZIT to inform and accelerate their workflows, drive more online sales, save time, streamline creative decisions, and deliver new efficiencies across the organization. These new efficiencies span the creative development process to new product concept development to consumer research and testing and we’ve documented exciting results in all of these areas including:
- Online sales upticks of up to 32%
- Conversion rate upticks of over 100%
- Glance & page view increases of up to 28%
- Cost savings of up to 90% (Compared to traditional research and testing methods)
- Time savings of up to 20x+
- Find time on shelf decreases of up to 20%
We’re also seeing Visual AI help brands get even more value from their entire ecommerce tech stack and workflows –
- Creating more impactful product detail pages with hero and carousel imagery tuned for traffic and conversions
- Giving design teams and ecommerce teams a single source of data-backed truth as they are creating new imagery
- Ensuring that you are syndicating the most impactful imagery from your PIMs
Pinpointing specific SKUs that could benefit from improved imagery making your digital shelf monitoring solutions more powerful
For brands and retailers not using any AI or technology to optimize their image content for the digital shelf – where would you recommend, they start?
This is a really great question and frankly one we get all the time. What this comes down to is understanding your audience, your category, and the visual trends and elements within your category that visually engage your audience.
The ideal place to start when it comes to understanding the performance of your visual content – and ultimately how you can optimize that content – is by first, honing in on your audience, or the buyers of your product.
It’s important to start with an understanding of your audience because this is ultimately the perspective that matters most when it comes to choosing the content used to promote and sell your products online. At Vizit we work with our clients to first define their target audience – through a mix of demographic, psychographic, and behavioral elements, we narrow down the description of a target audience – these can be as broad as “U.S. Women 18-34,” or as narrow as “Men 45-54 who live on the west coast, make over $100K, have an interest in golf, and recently bought a luxury vehicle”. Once we have a target audience description, Vizit discovers the visual content and trends that influence them which is ultimately used to generate an AI simulation of the audience.
Once we have that crucial understanding of an audience – not only who they are – but what their visual preferences are – we can start applying that perspective to an entire category of imagery (for example carbonated beverage visual content on Walmart’s digital shelf) to really start to surface the trends and design elements in your category that visually engage them. With this new understanding we can begin to apply these learnings and visual insights to evaluate and create higher-scoring product hero and carousel imagery on the digital shelf.
Learn the impact that imagery is having on your bottom line
Request a complimentary image analysis for one of your key Amazon or Walmart search terms to understand how likely your imagery would entice traffic and conversions against your competitors.
About Jehan Hamedi
With more than a decade of experience in computational social science and artificial intelligence, Jehan’s 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, Jehan 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.
Vizit is the visual brand performance company. Designed by leading experts in AI and computer vision, Vizit’s revolutionary Visual Brand Performance Platform helps companies measure, understand, and optimize their Visual Brands to drive more sales, engagement, and connection with their target consumer audiences. Powered by patented visual AI technology and a proprietary database of 1+ Trillion visual cues that influence consumer behavior, The Vizit Platform enables the world’s top brands to “see through the eyes” of their consumers in real-time to create the most powerful Visual Brands and Visual Experiences. Vizit is headquartered in Boston, MA.