What is visual commerce?

Jun 18, 2020 | Visual Marketing

Visual commerce is about getting content to sell.

It helps you educate, inspire, and influence the buying decisions of your customers by delivering personalized content during their shopping journeys. And it enables you to deliver authentic, contextually relevant buying experiences that win customers for life.

Instead of greeting people with the same old static content, visual commerce uses intelligence and personalization to engage each shopper with your most relevant, inspirational, and educational resources they need to make buying decisions.

Visual commerce unlocks the sales potential of all your videos,
articles, images, social posts, influencer collaborations, and user-generated content.

By showing every shopper the content they need when they need it, you create positive experiences that not only influence purchases but also increase trust and loyalty. 

Which means heartier sales, happier customers, and a healthier brand. 

How visual commerce makes buying journeys easier

There’s a problem with the way we’ve been taught to market content online – it no longer matches with how people buy things. Think about it.

When was the last time you bought something from a new brand with no research?

Your customers are the same. The path to purchase is not linear, and it hasn’t been for quite some time now. Instead, there’s a complicated web of touchpoints that changes from person to person.

Here’s what the buying journey looks like these days:

People go back and forth between different areas of their thought processes as they decide whether or not to buy – something known as the messy middle.

And decision-making is only getting messier. 

In fact, “digital disruption has brought about so much change that a single customer journey that encapsulates all shoppers does not exist – and the industry must adapt.”

The fix?

We need to make shopping feel personal again.

Visual commerce ensures that only your most relevant, engaging, and influential content is shown to the right individual at the right time. Every time.

How to (actually) do visual commerce

Implementing visual commerce doesn’t mean that you have to blow everything up and start from scratch. Rather, it’s the easiest way to make your content work harder across more buying journeys and marketing channels.

It’s a bit like turning on a new content channel that complements and strengthens your existing marketing efforts. So, we’ve boiled it down into a simple framework for you.

The Visual Commerce Framework involves four steps:

  1. Understand
  2. Personalize
  3. Monetize
  4. Optimize

Let’s break down each one.

Step 1: Understand all content that can be used across buying journeys

Trying to find the right content to use in personalized campaigns is hard. For most brands, it sits in silos across many different marketing channels, social media profiles, content platforms, and other digital asset systems.

But that’s barely scratching the surface. It takes even longer to sift through, organize, and tag content so that it’s fit for personalized marketing purposes. Not to mention that the moment you select and group content together, it’s no longer up-to-date.

Now, imagine that you have one complete view of every piece of content that can be used to support buying journeys, automatically updated with your latest creations. And that each piece is tagged and categorized without disrupting your current approach.

That’s the first step in the visual commerce framework.

Using content intelligence, visual commerce unlocks all your content from channel silos, giving you a dynamic view of every piece that can be used across buying journeys.

So, if you were to upload a video to YouTube today, it would also appear in the live view without any extra work. This approach eliminates the need to change how you create and store content, which means no disruptions to your existing processes.

To understand your content further, visual commerce categorizes each piece with relevant tags and additional intelligence – so that the most relevant and influential content likely to sway a buying decision is always selected. 

Content intelligence isn’t only present at the start though. It continues throughout, enriching your assets with additional intelligence to improve its performance over time – but we’ll circle back to this a bit later.

Step 2: Personalize content to each visitor and customer

What happens when you give your shoppers individualized buying experiences, instead of serving the same content to everyone? For most brands, it means higher conversion rates, better engagement, and improved customer retention.

When a visitor sees content relevant to her needs, she feels supported and can move confidently through her buying journey. The presence of personalized content enables her to transform from shopper to customer in a much more seamless fashion.

Through content personalization, visual commerce enables you to deliver your most relevant videos, articles, social proof, and any other useful assets across each individual buying journey so that you can influence their behavior.

By combining a dynamic understanding of each shopper with a dynamic understanding of every asset, visual commerce ensures that your latest and most relevant content is always presented to the right shopper, at the right time, and in the right context.

Step 3: Monetize your content by making it shoppable

Your content is powerful. Every piece has the potential to be used as a discovery tool for your products, engaging more people in buying journeys. Pairing relevant content with the right products isn’t rocket science, but it is manual, static, and labor intensive. 

Think about it. For every product you sell, you need to find the most effective content assets to pair it with. But how on earth do you go about that? And how do you test and optimize its placement? What works for one person won’t work for everyone. 

Visual commerce monetizes your content by matching it with the right products based on relevancy and direct sales impact. This ensures that each visitor is presented with personalized content and product pairings most likely to lead to a sale.

Making content shoppable shortens the path to purchase, transforming your visitors into customers in an easier and simpler fashion. And through machine learning, visual commerce quickly uncovers the content and product pairings that win the most sales.

Step 4: Optimize your content’s performance across buying journeys

Delivering personalized content to support each and every shopper is one thing, but how do you ensure that the assets selected are the most effective at increasing sales?

With visual commerce, you get a dynamic and intelligent view of your content and customers. Which means that both your existing content and latest creations can be used to support individual buying journeys in real time. 

Built on machine learning from the ground up, visual commerce automatically strengthens its intelligence around your content, products, and customers. Which means it optimizes the selection and placement of your latest content after every visit.

Not only does this ensure that you show the most relevant and influential content at the right time within each buying journey, but it creates a continuous loop of testing and optimization of what works best for each visitor and where.

As a result, you can pinpoint the precise content driving the most sales for each product and cut back on what’s not working. Having direct insight into how your content impacts your sales means you can make smarter content investments in the future.  

Providing contextually relevant, one-to-one content experiences helps each shopper move independently through their buying journey. And it connects content to sales for good. This is one of the key differences of visual commerce vs traditional content.

The 5 key benefits of visual commerce

You’ve already read about some of the positive results many brands have been able to achieve through visual commerce. But they aren’t the only benefits you can expect.

Here are the five biggest benefits of visual commerce:

1) You deliver meaningful moments every time

With visual commerce, your website no longer feels like a static brochure with a one-size-fits-all approach to your content and audience.

Now, you can personalize the buying experience to each shopper’s needs, delivering contextually relevant content – alongside your products – that not only engages but influences buyer behavior too.

And with a dynamic view of all your latest creations, you can greet each returning shopper with fresh, relevant content to keep them engaged and coming back for more.

2) You achieve higher conversions

By integrating fully personalized content across each and every buying journey, you support and influence the decision-making process of your customers – achieving more sales and conversions in the process. 

Visual commerce ensures that you deliver the right content, at the right time, to the right person. For real. Each asset is selected in real time for every individual  visitor based on relevancy and sales impact, not just clicks and likes. 

Since implementing visual commerce, Johnson’s Baby has seen a sales uplift of 237%, while engagement is better than ever. And it’s still driving results for the brand today.

3) You improve content ROI

Visual commerce enriches your content with intelligence so that only the most effective assets for each customer and buying journey are selected. 

It also monetizes your content by pairing it with your most relevant and best-selling products, turning content into a discovery tool for your audience. 

And it enables you to make more informed content investments based on direct sales insight. Which means you can strengthen the content you create, impact even more buying journeys, and cut out any types of content that don’t resonate. 

4) You make personalized experiences scalable 

Turn content into sales for one customer or one million.

As every step within the process is automated – from content discovery through to delivery and optimization – an advanced platform such as Knexus ensures that you can scale your approach to content personalization for every customer.

5) You achieve greater cost savings

As machine learning does all the heavy lifting, you can eliminate repetitive and time-consuming tasks related to delivering personalized experiences for good.

That not only includes selecting and categorizing content with relevant tags, but also the delivery of the most effective content to each shopper.

In fact, visual commerce platforms like Knexus continually test and optimize the selection and placement of each content asset across different buying journeys, making decisions and evolving its intelligence at a capacity no human can compete with.

Visual commerce makes content sell

As decision-making continues to get messier – and expectations evolve – so too must the way you design and deliver engaging experiences across your owned channels.

Visual commerce enables you to make your content work harder across more buying journeys and present your shoppers with contextually relevant experiences that sell.

Book a Demo

Recommended Reading