ecommerce marketing visual content visual marketing header wide

Written by:
Emil Kristensen

10 Clever Ways to Use Visual Content in Ecommerce

ecommerce marketing visual content visual marketing header wide

Want to make your product stand out?

Then you need to use visuals that make it pop.

If you’re serious about creating an ecommerce brand or product that sets itself apart from the crowd, you need to create powerful visuals.

But how?

A picture is worth a thousand words, and the data seems to back that up.

According to 2018 research, product images were the single most influential feature for smartphone owners’ digital purchases.

ecommerce marketing product detail page features statistics

Field Agent's report on "The Digital Shopper"

Today, you’ll learn about 10 eye-catching image types to create visuals that bring your ecommerce brand into the foreground. You don’t need to hire an expensive designer or top photography team for them either.

A few passionate fans and a clever campaign might be all you need for a visual ecommerce marketing strategy that skyrockets you into success.

We’ll cover the best strategies for ecommerce marketing by creating visual content that helps your brand and products stand out.

Let’s get started!

 

Spice Up Product Photography with Creative Renders

A basic product photo is front and center in most ecommerce stores, and for good reason. A clear, illustrative image of exactly what you’re selling makes it more enticing to the buyer.

But can you make those images more interesting?

The answer is that yes, you can. To stand out, you can add some uniqueness to your standard product photography to make it pop even more.

Here’s how...

 

Infographics

If you’ve been in the field of online marketing for any length of time, you know infographics—statistics, tips, or data displayed through an image—can generate huge amounts of traffic.

But did you know they can also help sell your product?

Product infographics have become increasingly popular on third-party platforms like Amazon, where sellers have limited control over the layout and details on the description page.

To explain a product in ways a text description never could, consider creating an infographic that highlights primary features.

This infographic from HiCoup maximizes the format to show close-ups on key features and explain the high-quality materials used in the corkscrew.

Needless to say, the combination of imagery and explanation makes for a more striking presentation than a simple photo of the product by itself.

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3D Videos

When it comes to visual content, few strategies are as powerful as video for showcasing your product.

In April 2017, video was shown to be the most important social media content format for purchases, with 86% of respondents saying that video influenced their buying decision.

And one of the best types of videos to use? Gorgeous 3D renders.

If you’re thinking about using video for your ecommerce marketing, it’s a good idea to use a 3D digital render. A digital version eliminates any imperfections, dust specks or smudges.

It’s no wonder that awe-inspiring 3D product images are at the heart of iPhone release videos every year. They present the product in ways that no other medium can.

Plus, it lets you capture unique angles and zoom magnifications that wouldn’t be possible with actual product photography.

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iPhone XR's 3D render video

 

Exploded and Cutaway Views

If you have a technical product, there’s a good chance many of your selling points aren’t actually visible to the customer. What makes your product great are components kept out of sight.

If that’s the case with your product, consider an exploded view. This unique and stunning visual content style allows a customer to peek inside your product and see exactly what makes it work.

For example, this exploded view of a Chopard L.U.C Full Strike minute repeater on Quill & Pad makes you appreciate the intricacies and detailed craftsmanship of the timepiece in ways no other photography could.

A related type of render is the cutaway image. It’s similar to an exploded view, yet differs in that pieces of the product are trimmed away to let the viewer see inside.

A great application of the cutaway view is this render of the Casper Wave mattress. Each layer is cut back and labeled, explaining what each component is for.

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Cutaway view of the Casper Wave mattress

Educating the customer is one of the best ways to generate trust and brand loyalty and showing what’s under the hood can help potential buyers see why your product stands apart from competitors.

 

Encourage User-Generated Content

If you’re looking to build up the authority behind your product, one of the best ways to do it is to start using user-generated content, or UGC.

By including authentic user photos as part of your marketing strategy, you can show that your product is popular with real people.

 

Tagged Photos

One of the simplest, yet most effective strategies for promoting your brand with UGC is using tagged photos on a platform like Instagram.

While there are as many ways to run a UGC campaign as there are brands, the typical strategy is to create a branded hashtag and encourage users to post their own photos or videos with that hashtag.

To be truly successful, it’s a good idea to choose a theme (other than just the brand itself) to use in the campaign.

Also, you need to encourage users to participate; offer some kind of incentive. It could be obvious, such as a chance to win a giveaway or get featured on your website. Or it could be subtle, such as showing support for a cause.

A great example of a UGC campaign in action is with clothing company Aerie with the hashtag #aeriereal.

While subtle, the hashtag indicates taking a stand against photoshopped models and ads, instead of putting “real women” at the forefront.

 

Unboxing Videos

One of the unique developments of video in the last few years has been the raging popularity of what are known as “unboxing videos".

Just like the name suggests, these are clips of someone (usually YouTube celebrities or reviewers) opening a new product for the first time.

For example, video game site IGN recently released a Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice game unboxing, where the host revealed and explained each collectible piece in the package.

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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Collector's Edition unboxing video

As you can imagine, these are a goldmine for ecommerce stores. While sponsored content can look obvious and out of place in other types of user-generated content, it’s a core component of unboxing videos.

So, how can you get it to work for you?

First, you can encourage users to post their own unboxing videos. While you likely don’t have major YouTube stars in your audience, each video will target a close-knit circle of that customer’s friends.

If you’re looking for a more surefire way to get a hit (and are willing to spend some money), you can contact a YouTuber to set up a sponsored unboxing video.

Or if you’d prefer a less direct (but also less guaranteed) method, you can simply send a free box to a publicly-listed address of a celebrity and hope they decide to unbox it on camera.

 

Tattoos

No kind of user-generated content conveys a commitment to a brand like a tattoo does. But if the concept of someone getting a permanent image of your logo sounds too crazy to be true, think again.

Major brands like Harley-Davidson and Domino’s Pizza have developed such a loyal following, fans willingly do just that.

But it’s not just for giant brands, either. Even small startups—with the right engagement and passionate fan base—can do the same.

For example, dozens of people have Johnny Cupcakes tattoos, inspired by the T-shirt company of the same name.

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Fans tattoo Johnny Cupcakes' logo on their bodies

What started out as a simple commerce concept has turned into an underground phenomenon, and along the way it has created lifelong fans willing to promote the brand on their own bodies.

 

Experiment with Interactive Imagery

If you really want to make your ecommerce brand stand out, you need to think even more outside the box with your image strategies.

In this final section, we’ll show some of the most cutting edge image strategies you can take advantage of.

With the advent of machine learning, augmented reality and personalization, the future is already here.

Want to create interactive visual content in a few minutes?

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Shoppable Product Images

We’ve already mentioned Instagram for its incredible ability to market visual products. But recently, a new development called Instagram shoppable photos has added an entirely new dimension to the platform.

ecommerce marketing visual content interactive imagery instagram shoppable photos

Shoppable posts on Instagram

With shoppable images, you can tag products and allow users to buy what’s on display with just a click. But this is only the beginning.

The newest development in e-commerce shoppable images is just around the corner. Soon, customers will be able to photograph products in real life and immediately be taken to the checkout page for that product.

The best way to prepare for this future? Start experimenting with Instagram’s shoppable images now.

 

Virtual or Augmented Reality

While ecommerce has revolutionized the retail industry with its focus on convenience, it has left out a key element many of us took for granted—physically being able to see the product before buying.

Sometimes, it’s hard to visualize what something looks like, which is why the ability to see a product at different angles was the second most important feature for ecommerce apps in 2017.

The modern solution to that problem? Augmented or virtual reality.

Using modern smartphone technology, we can now let users see exactly what a product would look like.

A great example of this is the IKEA Place app, which lets users place and view virtual IKEA furniture around their living area before buying.

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IKEA's augmented reality app

It’s the perfect way to bring back the real-world feel of shopping even for products purchased online.

 

Gamification

Product placement in games has always been hit-and-miss for most product manufacturers. That's because most customers tend to be averse to too much advertising in entertainment.

But in recent years, the opposite has suddenly become much more normal—branded games designed for products.

Games like LEGO Star Wars have become bestsellers, despite being product advertisements themselves.

Another development has been the dominance of mobile devices in the gaming world and their low cost compared to traditional gaming consoles.

For example, Macy’s Wish Writer created a powerful experience for children around the holiday season, yet the entire app was branded for a retailer.

ecommerce marketing visual content interactive imagery gamification macy's wish writer

Macy's Wish Writer app

If you’re willing to invest in a creative ecommerce marketing strategy for your brand or product, consider creating a branded game to appeal to a new audience.

 

Custom and Personalized Images

Finally, one of the more recent developments in advertising strategies is to include detailed personalization.

This can look very different depending on the type of product being promoted, but the one constant is that the marketing imagery is tailored to the user.

An excellent example that includes both personalization and augmented reality is the newest Warby Parker app.

The app uses facial recognition technology that recommends glasses based on your facial shape and lets you virtually “try them on".

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Warby Parker's augmented reality app

These personalized images bring the consumer closer to the ecommerce store or product and build confidence around your brand.

By using images that adapt to the user, you can draw him or her in and create unique, one-of-a-kind experiences.

 

Boost Ecommerce Marketing with Creative Visuals

Want to grow your ecommerce store?

Then these image designs are exactly what you’re looking for. You can create a unique look and feel for just about any type of ecommerce brand.

Want to use creative graphics? Try explaining the story behind your product, showing a 3D view of your product or letting potential buyers see under the hood of just what makes your product great.

If you have a passionate fan base, you’re in luck. You can quickly and relatively easily get people excited about your product and show it off.

From simply tagging your brand in a social media campaign, filming the unboxing process or even getting a tattoo with your logo, the possibilities of visually promoting your brand and products are endless.

Finally—and most adventurously—you can step out from the crowd with interactive images customized to what the user is looking for.

Whatever strategy you’re most interested in, there’s a way to start using creative visuals to up your ecommerce marketing game.

 



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About the Author

Emil Kristensen is the CMO and co-founder of Sleeknote: a company that helps e-commerce brands engage their site visitors—without hurting the user experience.

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