How is the ecommerce industry in 2010 different than the ecommerce we knew in the early 2000s? The lines between social media and ecommerce are blending and the growing co-dependency on the content between the two continues to shift.
Due to the shift, shopping behavior is being triggered by visually appealing content that’s seen on social media. The buyer’s journey is taking place more and more on social media than ever before. The glue that holds the whole journey together is visual content, which gave rise to visual commerce and a new stream of content management tools that cater specifically to this shopping behavior.
As the name suggests, visual commerce focuses on creating engaging visual content for social media that helps consumers discover new products and brands and helps facilitate online purchases. At the heart of visual commerce is user-generated content that was created by consumers about products, brands and retailers and shared on social media.
Visual commerce merges consumers-made content found on social media with ecommerce, by facilitating the use of visual user-generated content in online selling. Visual commerce promises to increase engagement and drive higher conversion rate and average order value because consumers are receptive to original and authentic content created by peers than traditional advertising or content marketing. The end goal of visual commerce is to enrich the online shopping experience with unique, powerful and visually compelling content that inspires purchases and brand affiliation.
Savvy marketers recognize that user-generated content can bring multiple benefits to ecommerce. According to SEMrush, about 86% of businesses use UGC in some way in their marketing efforts. User-generated content is not only the life force of social media, but also a powerful influencer for consumers shopping online.
51% of consumers trust user-generated content more than product information found on a company website. 71% of consumers say that consumer-made product reviews make them feel more comfortable buying products. Companies utilizing user-generated content in their on-site and off-site marketing report showing an increase in conversions of 25% than when using generic visual content.
The pillars of visual commerce can be divided into two main streams: on-site implementation and off-site sources which enables UGC tools into their advertising and other sources. Visual commerce tools specializing in on-site usage mainly focuses on identifying, aggregating, filtering, managing, re-publishing and optimizing user-generated content for ecommerce.
Differentiation is a strong focus on content curation and enabling embedding of user-generated content on ecommerce landing pages. Examples include visual commerce platforms like Goodvidio, Pixlee and Curalate.
According to a report by L2, only a little less than 10% of top 250 brands feature user-generated content directly on their product pages. 31.7% of marketers report difficulties with manual content discovery and aggregation as the impediments standing on the way to a more widespread use of UGC. This is where visual commerce tools come in handy. Brands and ecommerce businesses will seek tools that enable automated approach to utilizing user-generated content for visual commerce.
The other branch of visual commerce tools focuses on utilizing user-generated content for promotional marketing activities. They enable businesses to collect, manage and curate user-generated content for the purpose of further promoting their brand in display advertising and email marketing.
The main premise of these tools is to amplify the effects of user-generated content for increasing brand awareness, engagement and audience reach. By collecting evidence of brand engagement in the form of visual user-generated content from social media, these tools offer social proof to further stimulate conversation about the brand.
An important differentiation between these types of visual commerce tools is automated rights management, in order to enable brands to re-purpose user-generated content for promotional efforts.
The visual commerce industry is rapidly growing and so are the software solutions for this key area of business. When researching visual commerce tools you will come across companies that combine both content curation and visual marketing capabilities, some focusing more on image-based content, while, others leveraging user-generated content. What’s important is to remember that a visual commerce tool should cater to the needs of your ecommerce business and what you aim to accomplish using visual consumer-made content.
The ecommerce industry will continue to evolve and finding the right software solution becomes more essential. Visit our free 10 Top Ecommerce Software report for more information.
[Image courtesy of fancycrave1]