Today’s consumer looks beyond the ordinary. They seek out meaningful and engaging content that is relevant to their needs and goals. Providing personalized, contextually relevant online buying experiences is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a must-have.
The good news is that there is a solution – it’s visual commerce.
In fact, data-driven visual commerce platforms give brands a way to stand out and resonate with their shoppers, accelerating website conversions in the process.
In this guide, we’ll touch on what visual commerce is, and share five ways how such a solution can become a conversion powerhouse for your brand.
What is visual commerce anyway?
Truth be told, visual commerce isn’t anything new.
Stripped back to the basics, it’s the concept of enriching the customer experience with rich, meaningful and inspirational content that sways a shopper to buy from your brand.
“But we’re already producing lots of content across our channels,” we hear you cry.
And we don’t doubt it.
Visual commerce, however, takes this one step further.
It gives your content assets a more prominent role on your website – evolving from aesthetic appeal to acting as ‘conversion magnets’ that help shoppers discover new products and ultimately purchase them.
However, as there are no big players owning the space, visual commerce is often used as an all-encompassing term to define many different visual marketing capabilities.
You will have no doubt heard of shoppable content, social proof, user-generated photo galleries, influencer assets, and more.
But effective visual commerce isn’t just the manual use of visual content across your website.
Nor is it embedding static social media feeds across your homepage. And no, it’s not personalized product recommendations or offers either.
It’s a lot more intelligent and conversion-focused than that.
The emergence of data-driven visual commerce
As marketers, we know the value of being active across many different channels. YouTube, Instagram, our own website, other websites. You name it, we’re on it.
And we also know the impact that great content has on our audience. Core brand content, social proof, user-generated content, influential assets. It’s all important.
But there’s something missing.
We’re forgetting to bring this content in, right when it matters most. At key buying moments, when our shoppers need that extra push to buy.
Instead, most websites are ‘static brochures’ that make engaging content hard to find.
Even if you do start adding content manually across relevant pages, managing and building this process out can seem impossible. Especially when you’re a large brand.
Data-driven visual commerce changes that.
It unlocks all of your assets across your existing marketing channels and customer data sources in order to determine which content is the most relevant, profitable, and engaging to present to each of your website visitors.
It connects your content into each individual buying journey, enabling real sales insights.
And it does all of this automatically, enriching its content intelligence and building unique customer profiles to strengthen its decision-making and uplift your sales. Continuously.
No human input necessary.
How visual commerce boosts website conversions
Strengthen trust and credibility with your shoppers
Every year, you spend many marketing dollars on content that communicates your narrative, messaging, and products. Connecting with your audience on a deeper level.
It’s these powerful videos, images and other core brand content investments that deepen positive emotions with your shoppers – justifying the value of your brand.
But, rather than placing these valuable assets at key buying moments to reinforce your values and messaging, your website visitors have to trawl through your social media profiles and any other marketing channels you may have used.
As a result of your core content not being at the fingertips of your new shoppers during their decision-making, conversion rates are affected and sales opportunities are missed.
Thing is, your shoppers crave content that engages, excites, and ultimately sways them.
People don’t want to shop online forever. They have a need and they want to fulfil it.
Yet, you probably already know this. It’s nothing groundbreaking, after all.
And you may have taken the decision to improve some of your website pages manually with videos, articles, embedded social posts, and more.
But it’s impossible to do so at scale. Especially when you have lots of products and content assets already, and even more are added with each passing month.
Through data-driven visual commerce, however, all of your existing content assets and channels are unlocked and automatically categorized with relevant tags.
Advanced solutions use algorithms and machine learning to scan your content, tag it and pair it with the right products, at the right time, in the right place, to the right person.
That’s not all though.
Visual commerce platforms build out unique customer profiles to gain a deep understanding of each shopper, combining content intelligence to pinpoint the assets most likely to influence sales based on each product and shopper. In real-time.
As a result of continuous testing and optimization, your sales will keep growing.
Create contextually relevant buying moments
In fact, almost two thirds of shoppers (63%) agree that personalization is now part of the standard service they expect from a given brand.
That’s a prime finding from a RedPoint global benchmark study – surveying more than 3,000 consumers from the UK, USA and Canada in 2019.
Yet, consumer pessimism around personalized experiences remains high.
More than one in three (37%) will stop doing business with a company that doesn’t offer a personalized experience, while close to 50% are frustrated when companies fail to deliver relevant, personalized shopping experiences.
What’s more, a recent study by Accenture that surveyed 25,000 consumers has found personalization failures cost US brands $756 billion – a total of $2.5 trillion globally.
So, what’s going wrong?
1. People look beyond personalized product offers and recommendations and over to many different forms of content to build trust, gain confidence and establish a positive relationship with your brand (Journal of Interactive Marketing)
2. Customer data alone is worthless. Personalization requires content intelligence. Without strong content data, it’s impossible to deliver contextually relevant experiences for your shoppers (Forrester)
3. Brands struggle to manage their content effectively. Disorganized folder systems, multiple content locations and insufficient tagging and categorization of content impacts the delivery of personalized experiences (Forrester)
4. Personalization has historically been driven by segmentation, largely providing an inadequate experience for your shoppers. Single data points are often used to personalize the entire customer journey – but a holistic view is key (Forrester)
Through a data-driven visual commerce platform, you can deliver contextually relevant, one-to-one buying moments that accelerate your conversion rates.
An advanced solution unlocks your assets from your various marketing channels and automatically tags and centralizes it into one content repository, so that it can select the most relevant and profit-inducing content to show to each shopper.
So, how does a visual commerce platform decide which content to show?
By combining content intelligence with dynamic customer data.
Data-driven visual commerce platforms build and evolve individual profiles, holding demographics, behavior, attitude, wants, life events, and customer journey data.
Such platforms use these insights to create rich, contextually relevant pairings between the content and each individual. In other words, it decides which of your hundreds of assets is most likely to resonate, create a faster path to purchase, and drive sales.
And, thanks to machine learning, the placement of new and existing content is continually tested to create meaningful moments that convert.
Without you needing to A/B test a single thing.
Speed up the path to purchase
Your shoppers want to feel confident in their purchases.
Which is why content that builds trust, positive emotions, and credibility is key.
Problem is, while brands are great at producing this content, most forget to embed these assets at key buying moments when new visitors need an extra push to buy.
For example, product pages are often dull in comparison to other areas of a brand’s website. Yet, they play an essential role in fuelling its online sales.
At the same time, if content is manually placed across your website, rarely is it paired with relevant products to support product discovery and influence buying decisions.
Another issue brands face when they manually place content across their website is that they can end up directing shoppers off the website and over to the likes of YouTube or Instagram. Even further away from completing a purchase.
The good news is that data-driven visual commerce solves these challenges.
And in doing so, it accelerates the path to purchase for each shopper.
For starters, it automatically decides in real time which is the most useful, profitable content to show across a product page to an individual to support their decision-making.
Across your homepage and other key pages, it shows dynamic content blocks, which upon clicking will activate a pop-up box with the relevant content (e.g. an Instagram post) juxtaposed with the most relevant product to that post with a call-to-action.
Not only does this process keep visitors engaged on your website, but it fast tracks the buying journey by using content-as-product-discovery for your audience.
Pinpoint the content driving revenue
A big headache for brands that invest in content is tying it to revenue.
In fact, CMI’s 2020 Content Marketing Report found that generating sales and revenue through content is one of the most common struggles within the B2C industry today.
And that’s largely because of how we’re measuring the effectiveness of our content.
Through soft metrics, like reactions, shares, comments, clicks, and engagement.
Content insights that dip deeper are essential. Especially in today’s competitive market. You need to know what content works best, what to make more of, and what to cut out.
In other words, guiding content creation based on customer data and vanity metrics is no longer enough. Proving the financial return of your efforts is essential for success.
Without content intelligence, it’s impossible to deliver personalized content experiences that directly impact conversions.
Sure, you may have a lot of customer data – demographics, attitudes, behaviors, sentiments, affinities – but it’s useless if you don’t do anything with it.
Just as a 360° view of your customer is paramount, so too is a 360° view of your content. By pairing this intelligence together, you can create better buying moments that are more relevant and valuable to each individual shopper. In turn, your sales will accelerate.
A visual commerce platform enriches the buying experience by ensuring that the right content is shown at the right time in the right context to the right person.
That means that you can go beyond engagement metrics, and delve into exactly which content is increasing conversions for each of your products.
Not only will you be better able to prove the real financial value of your content, but you can guide future content based on actual sales impact – and not just soft metrics.
Keep building on your results
The beauty of a data-driven visual commerce platform is that it is fully automated.
Advanced solutions, such as Knexus, are built with machine learning and artificial intelligence from the ground up. As a result, the platform will automatically learn and improve its decision-making around the best content to show to each shopper.
Data-driven visual commerce continually enriches its customer intelligence and content intelligence in real-time to deliver better results, without any human input necessary.
The longer the solution is in operation, the more intelligent and effective it becomes.
In short, data-driven visual commerce platforms are powerhouses for conversions.
Enrich the buying experience with visual commerce
As consumer expectations and buying behaviors evolve, so too must the way you design and deliver engaging experiences across your website.
Data-driven visual commerce enables brands to deliver meaningful, contextually relevant content that enriches the buying experience for each individual shopper.
And that’s not all.
By combining rich content intelligence with dynamic customer profiles, advanced solutions quickly become conversion powerhouses for brands.