Define design and implement a winning Visual Content Optimization strategy

A truly experiment driven Visual Content strategy can generate both double digit conversion lifts as well as a substantial drop in returns. Often times though, Conversion Rate Optimization teams find themselves struggling with the feasibility of the necessary Visual Content experiments. We offer a range of solutions to help overcome this struggle so you can define, design and implement a winning Visual Content strategy.


We offer three efficient solutions to help you design your own Visual Content Optimization strategy. 

  1. VCO Training
    A high-paced training during which you’ll learn what VCO is and how you can apply it to your own business
  2. VCO Workshop
    A workshop for up to 8 of your team members in which you get to work on VCO using your own e-commerce site
  3. VCO Experiment
    A custom VCO Experiment including hypothesis, all test content and configuration of your experimentation platform

 

The truth is, “3D” is not new. Most of us have had enough experiences with 3D, even just in having tried on 3D glasses that make images come closer to life, to have at least a basic understanding of what it is. 

But its application in e-commerce, while there have been dabbles for a while, is only just catching on like wildfire. And much of that has to do with increasing consumer demand for platforms to employ the latest technologies to allow them to have a more realistic online shopping experience.

That said, let’s back up for just a moment and make sure we’re all on the same page with a definition of terms:

In this context, 3D refers to e-commerce content that is interactive. The interactive content is created by constructing a three-dimensional model of a product on a computer. You can subsequently use this to enable:

  1. 3D web viewers or configurators
  2. CGI (Computer Generated Images); and
  3. AR (Augmented Reality).

What does all this mean for e-commerce? This is where these applications can give your visual content strategy a boost:

  1. Webviewers and configurators, such as those from Expivi, allow customers to view all angles of a product in their browser. These tools also allow product configurations, such as new fabrics on furniture, features in their car interiors, etc. One major advantage of configurators is that product personalization, a major trend in online retail, simplifies the purchasing decision. A major advantage of configurators for brands and retailers is that it can save them from having to produce showroom items in different versions and have these in stock. This enables efficiency increases in the ordering process.
  2. CGI, or Computer Generated Images. If the level of detail in a 3D model is high enough, the model can be used to create renders that replace photographs that are shot in an actual studio. These images can save costs, increase flexibility and increase process efficiency. Plus, nowadays CGI is surpassing the quality of traditional photography and has fewer technical limitations.
  3. AR, or Augmented Reality is used with mobile devices and soon, with AR glasses. Essentially, 3D models are placed into the viewer’s reality through a phone, tablet or other AR hardware. AR offers customers a digital Try Before you Buy experience, allowing them to see how big an object actually is in their environment and by doing so ‘picture’ the product in their situation.According to Michael Valdsgaard, Leader Digital Transformation at Inter IKEA Systems,
    “Augmented reality will be a total game changer for retail in the same way as the internet. Only this time, it will be much faster, and accessible to billions of customers using smartphones and tablets.”

This is essentially why so many experts are talking about a 3D “revolution” in e-commerce.

See for yourself:

Armchair_Velvet (1)

The image represents a product photo of a chair from a popular Dutch furniture label. It’s 2D, meaning that the potential buyer can see only what the photo allows.

Now check out the image below, showing the same chair, but this time in a 3D configurator.

ezgif.com-video-to-gif

 

As you can see, you can move the chair around and see it from all sides as well as change the color, fabric and legs. A great example of product personalization.

Effectively, a consumer will probably have an easier time getting a realistic, total picture of the chair than he or she would with simple photography.

The 3D image answers a whole lot of questions consumers have up-front, visually – and helps them know, realistically, exactly what they are getting. It doesn’t mean they will buy that chair – it means they will have the right tool to buy the right chair.

Ultimately – it empowers your customers to buy what they want from you. And intuitively this makes it less likely that the product will not meet expectations and be returned.

If an image is worth 1000 words, imagine the worth of a 3D model.

Ready to learn more about the possibilities of 3D product visualization? 

One of the biggest opportunities for e-commerce today is to offer an online shopping experience that convincingly replicates or even improves upon in-store shopping. Coming up with innovative ways to present the product, and in doing so offering the client an extra level of interactivity, should really be a top priority for online retailers. 3D and it’s many applications provides an abundance of opportunities to do just that.

The Future Shopper report, done by Wunderman Commerce, shows that 72% of consumers are likely to shop with retailers that are digitally innovative. They favor brands and online stores who provide them with new and exciting ways to interact with the product online, giving the in-store experience found in brick-and-mortar stores a real run for its money. This requires brands to embrace advanced technologies like 3D to boost their site merchandising strategies.

Trump the in-store experience
Through browser-based configurator solutions like Expivi, online shoppers can now experience the product in a way that in some cases trumps the in-store experience. As customization is becoming the new standard, a 3D configurator gives shoppers the ability to first create ‘their’ specific product, view it from every possible angle and even zoom in to appreciate important details. This helps to mitigate perceived risks of buying online which leads to increased conversion.

Big impact
Of course, at the end of the day, all that matters is how adding 3D to your visual content mix impacts conversion rates. Large bodies of scientific research prove the role of visual content in e-commerce. It is the only tangible representation of the product, therefore in a way, it is the product. Adding 3D models, render spins or 360-degree photos can have a material impact on increasing conversion and lowering returns. For example, since the implementation of an augmented reality tool to help customers visualize furniture and decor in their home, technology-home-design company Houzz’s customers are 11 times more likely to make purchases on the website.

Lower return rates
But it is not just conversions that benefit from the application of 3D. Properly managing buyer expectations at key stages in the buyer journey can dramatically lower return rates. Build.com, for example, found that the return rate for shoppers that use augmented reality is 22% lower than shoppers who didn’t use the tool when buying the same product.

Don’t be left behind
Brands who don’t take the necessary steps to align their visual merchandising strategy with fast-changing consumer expectations run the serious risk of being left behind. 3D product visualization in all of its many forms can help you transform your channels into the interactive online shopping experience your customers have come to expect.

If you would like to know how we can help you achieve this, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We would gladly tell you more about implementing 3D product visualization into your digital merchandising strategy.

To support the innovation-driven growth Bright River proudly presents a new Advisory Board. The Board consists of several representatives of shareholders and three external advisors, each bringing a wealth of relevant and complementary experience to the table. “We couldn’t be happier with the addition of such capable and knowledgeable professionals to our Advisory Board. They provide us with new and sharp insights, offer strategic guidance and give us access to invaluable contacts” says David Jonkers, CEO at Bright River.

The advisors:

Maurits Teunissen
Founder and CEO of StyleShoots, manufacturer of ‘Visual Content Production machines’; a range of innovative devices geared for highly automated photo and video production. StyleShoots and Bright River recently launched an integrated solution for their mutual clients, resulting in a streamlined and highly efficient visual content production process. Maurits started his career in Desk Top Publishing and content production at Apple – when it was yet to grow into the massive entity it is today – and witnessed the rise and coming of age of the industry.

Deborah Nas
As a professor of ‘Strategic Design for Technology-based Innovation’ Deborah’s teachings cover the latest insights on technology and innovation methods. In her capacity as strategy and innovation consultant she gained massive experience by leading hundreds of corporate innovation projects.

Hans Jansen
Originally a programmer, Hans went on to become an entrepreneur. Today, he is an investor and advisor. He founded Woodwing Software, a company that develops software to help companies develop and publish content. Hans understands the challenges and complexity of visual content large ecommerce players deal with on a daily basis better than anyone.

‘Strengthened by such an Advisory Board, we are convinced we will increase our innovation rate exponentially” concludes Jonkers.

Bright River receives investment from Pride Capital Partners, (formerly known as Main Mezzanine Capital) to enable ambitious growth in visual content optimization

New York, NY, and Amsterdam, Netherlands – February 12, 2019: Bright River, recognized as a global leader in visual content solutions for e-commerce brands, announced today that it has received substantial investment in the form of a mezzanine loan from Pride Capital Partners to realize its ambitious growth strategy. The investment will enable them to make significant leaps in bringing innovative, data-driven visual content optimization (VCO) solutions to market.

“Visual content optimization plays a critical role in e-commerce by influencing and generating consumer confidence and buying intention,” said David Jonkers, CEO and co-founder of Bright River. “We are thrilled to be able to bring visual product content to the next level and beyond with this investment.”

Bright River is committed to offering visual content optimization that is data-driven by leveraging the most cutting-edge technologies available to e-commerce worldwide. The company plans to use the Pride Capital Partners investment in three main areas:  3D product visualization; automation of image editing using machine learning; and advanced visual content optimization (VCO).

“Visual product content is an area where there is enormous growth potential for e-commerce,” said Lars van ‘t Hoenderdaal, managing partner at Pride Capital Partners. “We found Bright River’s plans to enable brands to make data-driven decisions using visual content well-positioned to lead this growth. We’ve been consistently impressed with their vision for visual content optimization, their management team and their notable global client portfolio.”

“While we’ll be sharing more of our plans at a later date, I will say that we are making significant strides in applying advanced and emerging technologies to image editing, 3D product presentation, and data-driven decision making,” hints Jonkers. “There are exciting things on the horizon and this is a space to watch.”

 

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About Bright River

Bright River helps online (r)etailers optimize their visual product content mix, enabling them to create rich, engaging online shopping experiences that result in higher conversions and lower return rates. E-commerce success increasingly depends upon visual content optimization (VCO). Bright River applies machine learning and advanced technologies to increase efficiency in image editing, video editing, and 3D modeling.

Bright River was established in 2006 and is headquartered in Haarlem, the Netherlands with a second head office in New York, NY. With 750 people employees in five offices across three continents globally, Bright River serves customers worldwide with a strong foothold in the United States.

For more information about Bright River, please visit www.bright-river.com.

For press and media inquiries, or to learn more about VCO, please contact Susanne Roelle: susanne.roelle@bright-river.com, +31 (0)23 542 1530

 

About Pride Capital Partners
Pride Capital Partners is a specialized private debt company, formerly known as Main Mezzanine Capital, the financing activity of Main Capital Partners. Pride Capital Partners provides mezzanine funding to profitable and growing companies in the software and ICT market in the Benelux and DACH region. Active companies in the portfolio are for example OnGuard, KAIROS, COYO, DataManagement Professionals and Spotzer. For more information, please visit www.pridecapital.nl.

Using the right sort of image can have a huge effect on your Google Shopping conversion rate. We take a look at 6 things you can do to increase the chance of successful click throughs

1) USE THE RIGHT IMAGES

When we say right images we don’t just mean the right resolution and dimensions. It goes without saying that meeting Google’s specifications is a must. But it takes something more than just meeting specifications.

A good Google shopping image needs to be presented on a white or soft gray solid background. Using patterned, multi coloured or dark backgrounds is a no-go, just like watermarks, embedded logos or text overlays.

Although your product might look good in a certain setting, these types of photos don’t hold up well when they are displayed as a thumbnail in the Google Shopping search results.

Clipping the image and displaying it on a white background will increase the chance of a click through considerably.

2) THINK DIAGONALS

All Google Shopping results are displayed in a square frame. The competition is fierce so grabbing the attention of the customer is no easy task. Using the maximum available space is key if you want to stand out.

During the photography process you should try as much as possible to focus on the diagonal of the images. Products like shoes which are shot from a side view will not use the available space optimally.

The left shoe is shot from a side view while the right one is shot from a diagonal view. This way it shows more detail of the product and fills the available room much more efficiently.

3) CROP SMARTER

Standard eCommerce images are generally not maximally trimmed and will appear too small when used in your PLAs.

A good Google Shopping image should fill at least 75% of the image, but no more than 90%. Cropping excessive white space can do wonders for your conversion rate.

The left example of the red bikini clearly shows the impact smart cropping can have on your image and can be done quite cost effectively.

White space is not only found on the edges but can also take up a lot of valuable space in the center of your product images, as clearly shown in the example on the right. By cropping and re-positioning the top half the image can be displayed much bigger and clearer in the available space.

4) CREATE AN OPTIMIZED VIEW

Smart cropping will get you great results. But you can take the process one step further and optimize the view of your product image by focussing on the most important part.

As the example below clearly shows, focussing on the most important part of your product can really make it stand out. The third and fourth image use optimized focus and can be A/B tested to see which scores the best.

 

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5) USE YOUR OWN IMAGES

With competition as tough as it is, simply competing on price alone is not enough to stand out in Google Shopping. Set yourself apart by not using the images supplied by the manufacturer but by using your own images.

For a vast range of products, many e-tailers use the same product image. Although convenient, it does not set you apart from the competition. By shooting the product yourself in a different angle or adding something to it in post production, you can make your product really stand out.

6) BE CONSISTENT

Being consistent with your product images is very important. Consistent high quality images improve sales. This is true for your webshop, when you submit them to an eCommerce marketplace like Amazon or eBay and it is very true for Google Shopping.

The recipe is tried and proven. Use a white or light gray background, make sure the lighting is even and clear and always make sure the product is free of blur, noise or other pixelation. Be consistent in the use of shadows and reflections and make sure you use a consistent angle within the same product category.

Online purchases continue to climb at a massive rate. In order to win the favor of the customer, online retailers continually search for new ways to impress. But as new technologies and user experiences make their way across the web, shopper expectations continue to rise.

Although new and improved technology always does well when it comes to wowing the customer, one basic ingredient for online success remains unchanged:

the right product images.

According to a study by Live Person, 56% of online customers abandon the buying process due to a lack of product information. High quality images play an important part in providing customers with all of the necessary information to make a buying decision.

On top of that, images can have a significant impact on the credibility of a site. The Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab showed 2,440 participants several websites and asked them how they evaluated the credibility of these sites. Almost half (46.1%) said that the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the presented material was the web site’s design. The quality of images can make or break the design of a site – having a direct effect on the brand’s credibility.

What makes a good image?
Defining the quality parameters of such an image is a complex process. Composition, clarity, brightness, resolution, strong contrast between foreground and background as well as a clean and uniform background are just some of the factors that need to be analyzed. However, the biggest names on the web like Amazon, Google Shopping and eBay have some serious minimum requirements for an image to qualify as good.

Google Shopping dictates that products should fill 85% or more of the image frame and need to be at least 800 pixels to make sure they are optimal for high resolution displays. Amazon has a similar policy, with 85% of the image frame and a minimum product height of 500 pixels, all on a clear white background. These guidelines should serve you well when analyzing your own images.

Multiple shots
Making sure you have multiple high quality shots of an image is a wise investment, as long as you make sure to keep a close eye on the consistency. Online shoppers value websites with high quality product shots as long as they are shot and presented in a consistent manner. Products presented on a clear white background are most common and still outperform products that are not.

 

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Follow the big brands
A white background provides the perfect contrast for almost any product. This is especially true in the fashion industry. Nearly all of the biggest brands present their products in a highly consistent manner, using mainly white backgrounds. Shooting clothing lying flat simply doesn’t cut it any more. Natural shadows or reflections are the industry standard for shoes, bags and accessories while the Invisible Man technique can be an incredible conversion booster for items like shirts, coats and sweaters. Removing wrinkles, reshapingand color correction can add even more punch to your images.

The post-production image editing workflow needs to be well specified and executed to ensure a consistent look throughout the site. If volumes are low, these images can be edited in house. For higher volumes where speed, consistency and quality are essential, outsourcing can prove to be a very cost efficient solution. If you want to know more about implementing such a workflow click here.

The right image does wonders for your search engine rankings
Persuading your online customer to buy is only possible if they find their way to your site in the first place. Optimizing your images for search engines is crucial for e-commerce success. Making sure you name your images descriptively is just the beginning. Using the right alt tags is often overlooked and can cost you high rankings.

Another critical factor for SEO success is image file size. Page loading times can make or break your site as both Google and the customer will punish your site if it takes too long to load. Especially with the dominance of mobile devices loading speed simply can’t be ignored. Thumbnails are notorious for causing slow performance as they are often overlooked when optimizing image file sizes.

Conclusion
Investing in high quality product images definitely has a positive effect on your e-commerce success. Online customer expectations are quickly evolving and having the right images on your site is essential. Making sure they are high quality, presented in a consistent way and are optimized for SEO is no longer optional but mandatory.

We can help you optimize your images for your website. If you would like to know more about our workflow solutions or image editing solutions please click here to contact our support team.

In a recent post, we talked about how image quality can affect e-commerce success. But now images are also getting bigger. Large, hi-res images are taking over e-commerce sites across the globe. Not only do bigger images make sites look significantly better, but more importantly they enhance the shopper’s experience, leading to more conversions into sales.

Recreating the offline shopping experience online
According to a study by Forbes, 50% of online shoppers say that large, high-quality product images are more important in their buying decisions than product information, descriptions or even reviews. This is great news for online retailers. For years now, e-commerce sites have been trying new ways of recreating the offline experience online. Though there will always be a gap between the two, most e-commerce sites are now trying to close it by using:

• larger product images

• 360-degree product shots

• product videos

If you offer thousands of products, large hi-res images from multiple angles prove to be the most cost-effective solution.

It’s all about the detail
Increasing the size of product images is a great first step, but successful brands don’t stop there. Zoom functionalities are increasingly popular and really boost the overall customer experience. In addition, multiple shots that show particular details of the product are becoming mainstream. As results show, products with multiple views available simply get more favorable ratings and reviews.

 

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Product and category pages
The effect of larger images is noticeable on both product and category pages. Category pages usually cram tiny images onto the page. By increasing image sizes, customers can see details early in the browsing and comparison process, making the overall shopping experience much more pleasurable. In a test carried out by Optimics on Mall.cz, the Czech Republic’s second largest e-commerce retailer, the product pages with larger product images resulted in a 9.46% increase in sales.

Big on mobile
As mobile data usage now accounts for more than 50% of all internet traffic, brands are providing high-quality images optimised for mobile devices. While the dreaded ‘fold’ still plays a role in desktop viewing, mobile users can be persuaded to swipe down to get more information if a large product image is the first thing they see. Furthermore, zooming in on mobile devices has become second nature so providing the highest resolution possible is absolutely essential. However, speed also plays a vital role in e-commerce success, so retailers must walk a fine line between speed and quality. Using multiple optimized versions of the same image in a responsive design has proven to be a winning strategy.

Retina or not
Retina displays are on the rise. Providing crisp and detailed images for these screens can really boost sales conversion rates. This calls for an optimised post-production workflow, since you will need to consider multiple factors before uploading the images to your website. We help our clients enhance that workflow because we can optimise images for all screen sizes. Through our AFP with MultiFile solution, we can help streamline your workflow by up- and downloading images in your selected folder structure, providing multiple versions of the same image.

Conclusion
Quality images have always been important for e-commerce success. But now, size does matter. And it is changing the look of sites for the better and driving up sales conversions. Ensuring your images look good on all screen sizes is increasingly important as more customers shop via mobile devices. This translates to an increased need to optimise image editing workflow. We can help you streamline this process, especially when dealing with high volumes.