A brick-and-mortar store’s ability to connect with shoppers is a main draw of shopping in person. On the other hand, e-commerce requires an understanding that online shopping differs from physical retailing, calling for proactive steps that mimic in-person experience as much as possible through sight and sound. Since the in-store experience extends beyond merchandise to ambiance, decor, and lighting, let alone the presence of sales associates, it makes sense that retailers are leveraging imagery, video, and other graphical elements to make shopping online similar to buying in store.
To effectively engage with today’s digital audience, websites must be extremely visual. Even though high-quality images and videos play a key role in attracting and retaining visitors, those media assets also add to the page weight, load time, and bandwidth. Unoptimized content can result in performance issues, causing visitors to bounce off.
User-generated content (UGC) took off with, first of all, the advent of the internet and, subsequently, social networks. Everyday consumers were given keys to the kingdom, so to speak, so that they, too, could compose and post content, simultaneously engaging with others online. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok—the networks through which we can create and publish content have grown exponentially, and brands are becoming aware of the benefits of tapping into the gold mines offered by those networks.
With the digital world brimming with content, opportunities abound for brands and retailers to capitalize on it. Complexities have emerged, however. The ultimate question to answer is how to monetize and personalize digital content while also staying ahead of the competition.
Consumers expect modern websites to be mainly visual. But, the more compelling and complex the related media is, the more data is involved, compounding the site’s weight. In today’s content-craving world, delivering unoptimized media can cost you because it leads to sluggish page loads, resulting in visitors abandoning your site in search of a faster alternative. In fact, a page load that takes more than three seconds can cause as many as 40% of your visitors to bounce. Given this competitive, digital-first environment, you can’t afford to lose page views, for time is of the essence.
Cloudinary’s Product Gallery widget, which launched in 2019, has enabled many brands to effectively and efficiently showcase their products in a sleek and captivating manner, saving countless hours of development time and accelerating release cycles. By adding Cloudinary’s Product Gallery widget with its customizable UI to their product page, retailers reap numerous benefits, often turning visitors into customers in short order.
Most business buyers prefer to research purchase options online, as do many shoppers. No wonder online retail sales in the U.S. rose by 32.4% in 2020—an impressive gain of $105 billion.
For B2B and B2C businesses, text-heavy websites are no longer adequate in attracting shoppers. Instead, engaging visual media—spin images, videos, 3D models, augmented reality—are becoming a must for conveying eye-catching details and differentiators about products or services.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers had high expectations for digital experiences. They now expect nothing less than seamless, intuitive, and engaging experiences regardless of the channel or platform they are on. The Cloudinary product team is well aware that meeting those expectations has created new challenges for retailers and brands, especially those that relied on in-store sales before the pandemic. To understand the challenges so we can better solve them, we recently worked with Meet the Boss, a business-collaboration partner, to host three virtual roundtables with brand leaders.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation for businesses and customers alike. Across verticals, brands were forced to evaluate their digital strategies and the ways in which they connect with audiences and customers. To explore brands’ visual media challenges, changes, and opportunities, Cloudinary recently cohosted a virtual roundtable with six leading brands from the Brand Innovators community on the topic, Brand Visualization in a Post-Pandemic Environment.