The Role of Visual Content and How to Leverage It

Role of visual content in the purchase journey featured image

This blog post is the first in our series of key takeaways from the keynotes and breakout sessions from the 2017 PowerReviews Digital Commerce Summit.

Last week, PowerReviews hosted our first annual Digital Commerce Summit in Chicago. It was a great time — with tons of opportunities to network with other industry professionals and hear from a great lineup of speakers on various topics related to building trust with consumers.

During the Summit, I had the opportunity to present to attendees on the growing role of visual content on a consumer’s path to purchase. Shoppers are increasingly turning to visual content to help them make purchase decisions. And more and more of them are specifically seeking out photos and videos submitted by other consumers like them. Our recent research found that 88% of consumers specifically look for visual content submitted by other consumers before making a purchase. Providing shoppers with the visual content they crave helps brands and retailers build trust. We also found that 65% of shoppers are more likely to trust products that have user-submitted photos or videos in their reviews.

It’s clear that visual content has become an important part of the purchase journey. So how can brands and retailers collect and leverage user-generated photos and videos to attract and convert shoppers? Here are five tips I shared during the PowerReviews Digital Commerce Summit.

1. Request Videos and Photos Directly from Your Shoppers
In a perfect world, your customers would automatically submit a review with a great photo or video of your products. But the reality is, most customers need a little nudge. The best way to provide that nudge is by sending a post purchase email, asking shoppers to submit photos and videos along with reviews of the products they’ve recently purchased.

Use a direct, compelling subject line with 55 characters or less to entice recipients to open your email. And make sure the email itself is short and sweet, with a clear call to action. Finally, be sure your post purchase email is mobile friendly, since more and more consumers are opening their emails on a mobile device. evo, a leading online retailer of outdoor gear and fashion apparel, experienced a 23% increase in reviews written on all devices after switching to a mobile-friendly post purchase email.

2. Capture Visual Content Natively
In order to generate more visual content, you need to make the collection process as simple as possible. Rather than requiring consumers to take the extra step of first uploading content to a third party service such as YouTube or asking your internal teams to curate visual content by combing through millions of photos on social media sites, allow shoppers to natively submit their photos and videos through your website. Capturing this content natively will also allow future shoppers to find all the product information they need right on your product page, which means they’re more likely to stay on your site and make a purchase.

How to collect customer visual content

3. Prominently Display User-Generated Visual Content on Product Pages
Once you’ve generated consumer-submitted photos and videos, display this content where future shoppers can easily find it. A great way to do this is by showcasing consumer images in an engaging gallery on your product pages. If you’re a PowerReviews customer, the image gallery is available out of the box.

User Generated visual content

4. Enhance Other Marketing Initiatives with User-Generated Photos
In addition to displaying user-generated visual content on product pages, think of ways you can include this powerful content in other marketing initiatives, too. For example, include user submitted photos on other areas of your website, including your homepage, category pages, and campaign-specific landing pages. And consider ways to integrate these images into other digital marketing initiatives, such as email, display and social campaigns. Finally, don’t forget about traditional marketing campaigns, too. For example, Apple does a great job integrating photos taken by their customers on their iPhones into their billboard advertising.

A UGC billboard from an IPhone

5. Keep Your Visual Content Authentic
Professional photos of your products are important. But more and more shoppers are specifically seeking out photos and videos submitted by other consumers. This user-generated content adds a level of authenticity and builds trust between consumers and the companies they do business with. Our research found that 65% of consumers are more likely to trust products that have user-submitted photos or videos as part of reviews.

Preserve the authenticity of user submitted visual content by avoiding editing or otherwise altering this content. However, it’s also important to make sure you have measures in place to make sure no inappropriate or fraudulent content makes its way on your site, which can break down the trust you’ve worked hard to earn with your shoppers.

Want to learn more about the role of visual content in a consumer’s path to purchase? Download this PowerReviews study on the power of visual content.

Arit Nsemo

Arit has a background in client success in the online space. Currently, Arit is based in London, England where she is responsible for the success of PowerReviews clients in EMEA, taking a consultative approach to relationship management.