How to Use Images to Boost Christmas Sales be seen.

be seen.
How to Use Images to Boost Christmas Sales
Quality product imagery is no doubt advantageous for online retailers in boosting conversions. After all, given the
choice between two identical products online, one with a picture and one without, wouldn’t you purchase the product
you could see?
Clearly, images drive consumer confidence. But with the rise of what industry analysts are calling “visually-driven
commerce,” sparked by the image-centric social networks like Instagram and Pinterest, and echoed in the website
redesigns and increased focus of product image requirements by both eBay and Amazon, images aren’t just a nice
addition, they’re a requisite for success.
As you prepare for the festive season, don’t forget about the presentation of your products. Use these tips to ensure that
you’re “looking good” for the wave of shoppers that’ll be hitting the web for your items over the next few months.
Invest in Quality Photography
This sounds obvious, but ‘quality’ is the important word here. Stock images or blurry photos you took in the
warehouse simply won’t cut it – at least not in the long run. Amateur images erode shopper trust and could
send them fleeing. Plain and simple, you’ll eventually need to invest in professional product photography. If
time or cost are obstacles, research low-budget alternatives. You might be pleasantly surprised at what the
iPhone camera, with the proper background and lighting setup, can produce.
Comply with Image Requirements
This year, Amazon, eBay and Google each announced updates to their images requirements that, if not
abided by, could keep your products from being listed. These changes were dictated by trends in consumer
preferences to digest mass quantities of content through large, clean images. For retail sites like Amazon, eBay
and Google Shopping, it comes down to an improved user experience. Make sure to familiarise yourself with
the changes and get your images up to par with requirements as soon as possible. Don’t risk being delisted
during the all-important holiday shopping season. Read up on the new requirements in this post on our blog.
Differentiate on Google Shopping with Unique Images
The fact that the majority of the real estate given to each Google Shopping PLA consists of the product
photo is evidence in itself that images are key for sales on this channel. What’s more, retailers who focus on
differentiating their product from the pack through photos will be a step ahead of the competition. To ready
yourself to convert the influx of holiday shoppers going to Google, consider A/B testing your PLA images to
see what performs better. If others are using the manufacturer image, it’s your perfect chance to stand out. You
can test by colour, angle, and level of zoom or product orientation. Decide what aspect to test on based on
what will make your PLA most distinct from the other ads that are commonly served alongside yours.
Prep Images for All Devices
Don’t be the retailer who spends time
and money on product photos, and
then fails to optimise them for multiple
devices. Mobile “arrived” in 2012
as a significant driver of Christmas
e-commerce activity, with 30.7% of
Cyber Five sales coming from mobile
devices1. And, according to Google, there
was a 173% increase in shopping via
mobile devices on Christmas Day2. With
this trend expected to continue this year,
it’s important to make sure your images
are serving up properly across devices.
Don’t stop at resizing your images; make
sure the entire visual product experience
is functional on smartphones and tablets,
such as zoom functionality and colour
swatching. ChannelAdvisor’s Rich Media
solution empowers retailers to manage and deliver the entire product media experience seamlessly across
devices, ensuring you wring as much as possible out of your product media investments while satisfying the
needs shoppers – however they’re shopping.
Strike a Balance Between High-Quality and Compression
Oftentimes retailers, for their website or webstore, are encouraged to compress images in order to avoid slow
page load times that can be caused by large images. However, it’s important to strike a balance when doing
so; don’t compress files so much that the quality of the photo is sacrificed. JPG files can often be compressed
without losing visual appeal; usually, only the details not easily visible to the human eye are omitted.
Use a CDN to Prepare for Holiday Traffic Spikes
A CDN, or content delivery network, provides content rapidly, and is used to cache and serve images to
end users. The use of a CDN ensures that your image-heavy website will load quickly even during surges in
shopper traffic, which are to be expected during Christmas shopping season. Without a CDN providing content
on these crucial shopping days, your page load times can slow to a crawl, causing shoppers to bounce. With
ChannelAdvisor’s Rich Media solution all images are automatically stored on a leading CDN for rapid delivery,
so your website will stand despite the influx of traffic, and you can worry about delighting customers after the
sale rather than scurrying to fix a slow website.
Get Social
Social media channels, once a novel consideration in terms of driving sales, are becoming equally as influential
for conversions as they are for conversations. Shoppers use social media to find out what their friends are
buying, and they’re increasingly purchasing directly through the channels, so you’ll want to empower them to
do both.
For example, on Facebook, consider overlaying a call-to-action to your website or information about an
exclusive discount to product images published to your timeline. Better yet, make your products purchasable
directly on Facebook. Also, don’t forget Pinterest, which now drives nearly 25% of all social commerce3.
Consider leveraging Product Pins, which use rich meta-data from retailers to help pinners understand what the
product is and ultimately drive action.
Use these tips to make sure you’re up to speed with the visual trends. Looking your best for the influx of Christmas shoppers
who are soon to flock to the Internet for presents will boost your chances of having your best year yet! To learn more about how
ChannelAdvisor helps retailers do just that, contact [email protected]
1 ChannelAdvisor SSS Data, 2012
2 Google Data, 2012
3 AddShoppers Report, September 2013
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