The demands of the modern customer are changing, and you need to keep up with them. These days, the average Joe expects to be informed, entertained and astounded by a dynamic web experience — and e-commerce websites are no exception. Jump on the digital bandwagon and learn how to employ visual content to boost the conversion rates of your online store and catch the attention of mobile device users. Here’s how.
Develop And Showcase Your Brand’s Story
To be honest, anyone can open an e-commerce store these days. But not everyone can make it a success. Visual marketing is a really important requirement for anyone wishing to stand out from the crowd, increase conversions and foster meaningful relationships with their customers. That ‘About Us’ section on your shopfront is just crying out for some visual content.
Here are some tips about what you should include in your brand story:
- Highlight your people: recognize the talent behind your brand and the work that you do. Give them recognition and show customers who will be responding to their emails
- Pepper your content with some hard facts: a simple ‘fact’ section or a few funny or informative bits of information about your product or service will offer to page visitors something memorable and shareable about your company
- Use your company’s natural voice in all communications: your story, support emails, and social media posts should all follow a similar vein and use the same voice. Don’t let the voice you write in contradict other pieces of content
Case Study: Wildfang Clothing
Wildfang is an e-commerce store specializing in clothing for the ‘modern-day, female Robin Hoods’ who feel more comfortable wearing clothing with a masculine aesthetic.
Their brand story is big, bold and really captivating. Here’s what’s great about it:
- The unique choice of graphic design here with a bold font and character spacing sends the strong message that this brand is all about making a statement
- The narrative relates to the customer well as it discusses the lengths some women have to go through to dress the way they want. Wildfang presents itself as a solution to this problem
3. The Wildfang team identify themselves as being akin to their customers. Wouldn’t you trust a company run by people like you over complete strangers?
Give your brand a human face by creating original propaganda to showcase your brand story. Are you a stay-at-home mom working hard to make a name for yourself in an industry you’re passionate about? Or an experienced artist trying to gain some exposure? Tell the world about what you do and explain how and why your brand was conceived to stand out from the crowd.
Give Your Social Media Some Clout
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are places where visual content should be the top of your agenda. The users of social media are increasingly using mobile devices and their attention span is forever waning. So, what does this mean for you?
Firstly, you need to cut through the noise of other social media posts. The research of John Medina has revealed that, when people hear information, they remember a mere 10% it 3 days later. However, if this information is paired with a relevant image, people retain 65% of the information 3 days later.
It is advisable to rustle up a strong multi-channel social media strategy to ensure that you are targeting the right audiences in the right way. Consider using a service such as Visual Edge to gain expert knowledge of what content engages readers the most on Instagram.
Linking up your social media accounts to your e-commerce store is a great way to make your store look lively, creating a sense of community and a buzz around your brand. Don’t be afraid to include social media on product or sales pages. Using an all-in ecommerce platform enables your selling and social to marry in perfect harmony, or you can use social media plugins and add-ons provided by other CMSs like Drupal and WordPress.
Videos and Images
Videos and images are the name of the game on Instagram, but are also really important for text-based platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Videos and images are a great way to show off your products or services, and are great at capturing emotions and stories to catch the attention of the mobile scroller generation.
Jamie Oliver has transitioned from TV celebrity chef to one of the leading food bloggers on Instagram. With 5.5 million followers, he must be doing something right. Here’s how Jamie has amassed such a vast following and how he engages with them on this platform to generate sales of his publications:
- The food is the star in every photo and video: everything else in the post, from the background to the text, plays second fiddle to the offering in his dish
- Every image post and video are consistently themed and branded to create a great first impression with page viewers. This includes everything from the font used, to the wording of the caption. Everyone knows that this is Jamie and his brand
- The images and videos have been retouched to studio quality to show his food in the best possible light
- If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video can be worth a million. Jamie’s recipe videos show a sneak-peak of his TV shows and leave the viewer wanting more. Getting to grips with video editing or perhaps outsourcing to a video production team would be a great way to showcase what your ecommerce store sells
Pro tip: Create a strict set of guidelines for your visual content to stick to, and do not publish anything that does not meet these high standards. All of your visual content, no matter how big or small, should present your brand in a consistently professional way.
Social media is rife with infographics. Why? Because your competitors have realized that this type of content is a fantastic way to inform, inspire and entertain page visitors. Offering quality content is the key to success for your e-commerce store.
As a general rule of thumb, infographics are not used to directly promote a brand. This type of content should be created with the intention of offering value rather than receiving it.
Vegan Outreach produced a very successful, albeit rather polarizing infographic designed to educate the world on how many animals are slaughtered for the meat industry. Though controversy can be damaging, in this instance it was a roaring success and amassed shares and likes on Facebook, gaining the Vegan charity a lot of exposure.
Would an infographic work for your e-commerce store? Give it a go, but ensure that it is both relevant and shareable.
Protip: Infographics or not, sharing needs to embedded into your store. Don’t just focus on shares on big content pieces – give people the option to share all your pages and blogs.
Optimize Your Store for Mobile Users
If you haven’t already gathered, mobile optimization has been an overarching theme of this article. Social media and e-commerce platforms are most successful when they are optimized for viewing on a mobile device. Here are some things to make sure that you do when making your store mobile-friendly:
- Keep text to a minimum: as discussed, mobile users are less likely to read big blocks of text these days, particularly on devices with smaller screens. Consider using images, video and infographics instead
- Get a fixed navigation bar: Vital information will always be accessible at the top of the user’s screen. You should always include a home button, a checkout link and a sticky ‘add to cart’ button to create a great customer experience whilst boosting your conversion rates by constantly encouraging your page viewers to make a purchase
- By positioning product photography front and center, or using a grid to keep your product pictures looking professional, your store will look great regardless of what device is used to view it
Optimizing your store for mobile devices is actually pretty easy to do, and definitely worth it for the boost in conversion rates that you will receive in return. Many e-commerce platforms automatically optimize themselves, or you could build your website with a responsive design.
The modern user is a needy character. However, all it takes is a little TLC and visual marketing prowess to make your e-commerce store suited to all devices and audiences. If you’re in a hurry, here are the main points from this article:
- Showcasing your brand story is a really useful way to make your e-commerce store stand out from the crowd. Consider using bold visual content to give a human face to your company and engage more with your customers
- Investing in your social media strategy is a sure-fire way to have an impact on your target audiences through visual content such as images, videos and infographics. But, make sure that you create a set of guidelines to adhere to in order to maintain high standards and a consistent brand image
- Optimize your store for mobile users and ensure that your site can adjust itself visually to cater for screens of any size
Will you jump on the digital bandwagon? Were these tips useful for your e-commerce store? Let us know in the comments.
Patrick Foster, e-commerce entrepreneur & writer
I am a freelance writer and contributor to multiple marketing and e-commerce blogs. I’m passionate about business, startups and all things social.