Visual commerce: the power of social proof to drive eCommerce sales

Jul 8, 2022 | Customer Journeys

To some, “visual commerce” might sound like just another buzzword. In reality, it’s a powerful conversion and sales tool that’s rapidly transforming the eCommerce landscape. If your eCommerce brand has low add-to-basket rates and even lower conversion rates, use visual commerce to increase sales in a meaningful way.

Visual commerce: an innovative tool to overcome buyer hesitation

What is visual commerce?

Visual commerce is when brands use images, videos, and virtual reality to help consumers learn about, connect with, and purchase their products. Visual commerce works incredibly well because we are visual beings. In fact, more than half of our brains are dedicated to processing visual information. And we can process images 60,000 times faster than text. By including visual content at each stage in the buyer’s journey, brands can guide consumers through their entire shopping experience – from awareness to purchase. 

Why visual commerce is critical to eCommerce success

With eCommerce, you can’t touch a product, try it on, or test it out, so it can be hard for consumers to decide if the product is right for them. And it doesn’t help that eCommerce sites are designed with conversions in mind, making it difficult to enjoy the shopping or browsing experience.

This is where visual commerce really shines. By using images, videos and virtual reality throughout the buyer’s journey, you’re helping to replicate the in-store experience for your eCommerce consumers.

How visual commerce goes beyond engagement to impact sales performance

In an eCommerce business, engagement is great – but it doesn’t always translate to the sales volume you want or need. There’s nothing more frustrating than a customer leaving with a cart full of unpurchased items. But visual commerce can provide the social proof buyers need to hit “Buy now” and checkout with confidence. Here are a few stats that show just how powerful visual commerce is:

  • Visual commerce boosts conversion rates by 5 to 7% on average and CTRs by 15 to 20%.
  • 84% of millennials report that user-generated content on a brand’s website has influenced the way they shop online.
  • 93% of customers believe user-generated content is very helpful when making a purchasing decision.

Gain insights into what type of content helps shoppers make positive buying decisions

More often than not, brands have no way of really tracking if their Instagram posts or TikTok videos actually generate sales. Typically brands measure the success of this content based on engagement metrics, such as likes, comments, or shares and not on sales impact.

However, if brands use visual content throughout the buying journey, they can specifically identify what type of content (whether that be a video, an Instagram post, a blog post, etc.) actually helps move the needle for shoppers and makes them more likely to buy.

The power of user-generated content in visual commerce

Many companies and brands still regard positive user-generated content (UGC) as a peripheral to their marketing strategy. Some brand managers view it primarily as organic product or brand awareness. It isn’t always seen as a call-to-action sales collateral. But some of the world’s most recognizable brands are using UGC to amazing effect. Think Glossier, Pantone, and Airbnb, for starters. Brands like these prove that exponential sales growth is proufoundly affected by inspirational visual content – brand- generated, influencer-generated and user-generated. 

Glossier is knocking it out of the park with its visual commerce strategy

Cosmetics giant Glossier is well known for its enviable visual commerce game. Its visually stunning, image-rich website is only the beginning. The brand’s social media, like its TikTok, YouTube and Instagram content, for example, also set the bar high. Glossier’s TikTok & YouTube feeds features beautiful visuals that highlight their on-trend aesthetic, but it also prioritizes “insider” content (like behind-the-scenes tours of company headquarters and peeks into their product development) and value-adding tips for consumers (like beauty hacks and tutorials). Glossier also takes advantage of user-generated content from YouTube micro-influencers under the “Get Ready With Me feat.” title, who advocate the brand’s products.

Glossier "Get ready with me feat" campaign

Photo source: Publitas

Glossier also taps into brand advocates for word-of-mouth marketing

Glossier’s use of UGC and their attention to consumer feedback are also key parts of their eCommerce strategy, helping to build a genuine connection with it’s digital community of customers – customers who have also become brand advocates. 

When you make a purchase, you almost never make that decision in isolation. Statistics show that word-of-mouth marketing influences the purchasing decisions of 54% of consumers. In fact, a full 92% of people make purchases based primarily on the recommendations of family or friends. Glossier has long nurtured (and leveraged) its digital community, ensuring their customers feel valued, empowered, and represented in their visuals – and ensuring they have word-of-mouth marketing on their side. 

For example, when Glossier launched its Mega Greens Galaxy Mask, users shared selfies of themselves in the mask with the hashtag #maskforce, which Glossier reposted on its own social accounts.The #maskforce selfies are right on brand for Glossier and gives every user a chance to be the face of the brand.

Glossier #maskforce UGC campaign

Ready for a visual commerce platform?

If you’re thinking about adopting a visual commerce platform, there’s lots to consider to make sure you choose the best fit for your eCommerce goals. Here are a few things to keep in mind: 

Automation: By adopting a platform which eliminates manual efforts (such as tagging and indexing content, tagging products, personalization), you can reduce costs and resources at the same time as scaling your visual content across more pages and journeys.

Conversions and sales performance: Lots of platforms may seem to offer the same things, however only a few platforms have advanced capabilities related to targeting, real-time decision making, and machine learning that deliver exceptional results and a greater ROI.

The future of intelligent, responsive eCommerce

Knexus visual commerce platform automatically adds personalized and shoppable influlencer, user-generated (UGC) and brand content into shopper’s buying journeys, inspiring confidence to buy. Knexus is the only fully automated, fully scalable visual commerce platform, collecting, tagging, product matching, disrupting and optimizing social proof and validation content. Book a demo.

Recommended Reading