The digital economy is driven by highly visual experiences. After all, viewers process images 60,000 times faster than text. Therefore, it’s no surprise that top-notch visual media has been an essential component of a captivating e-commerce experience for years. Nor is it surprising that visual media’s importance only rose during the COVID-19 pandemic, a reality for all retailers, including our client Levi’s.
During a recent webinar held on April 8 titled Why Effective Management of Visual Media Is a Must for E-Commerce, in which I participated with Retail TouchPoints, Levi’s shared insight into how they addressed that situation. Gaetano Curci, Levi’s® Footwear & Accessories; and Matteo Sangiorgio, Geos Consult, spoke alongside me about how they’ve mastered online management of media.
Nowadays, e-commerce is a golden opportunity for retailers to deliver even more compelling and engaging experiences than they can in person, especially if physical retailing is not a feasible option. A case in point: when the pandemic struck a year ago and restrictions were imposed worldwide, Levi’s wholesale distributors could not travel to review new collections and pick the merchandise to carry. Levi’s sought to offer them an immersive and visual experience that still allowed for effective merchandising—without their having to set foot on a plane or in a showroom.
What Levi’s did was create a digital showroom that displays 360-degree interactive product views of more than 40,000 items. With such a media-first approach, Levi’s captured orders despite the pandemic. You can learn more about the Levi’s showroom case study in our blog.
The great news is that retailers of all kinds can adopt a media-first approach. Below are five ways in which to effectively manage media online. For more inspiration, check out the above-mentioned on-demand webinar, in which we discussed twice the number of tips described here.
- Develop a media-first strategy: Make media a priority. To do so, follow these four steps:
- Take advantage of technology by choosing a solution that helps you optimize media while offering adaptability, scalability, and automation.
- Master the basics by deploying context-optimized images in real time.
- Empower your teams by removing barriers to the development of customer-centric campaigns.
- Fine-tune your new process based on the channels, devices, and operating systems your audiences embrace. See this whitepaper for more details.
- Optimize your images on social media: E-commerce is not the only visual platform; social media is another one. For optimal efficiency, automate the customization of your visual media for the social channels on which you expect them to be displayed.
- Ensure the security of user-generated content (UGC): If anyone can upload content to your site, its security is at risk. Some people might upload large images that can overwhelm your system’s vitals—a particularly daunting challenge if you’re dealing with millions of digital assets. To head off that issue and eliminate malware, never post the original assets. Instead, display a process asset to ensure that you’re not serving malicious content. See this post in our blog for details on UGC basics.
- Support microbrowser sharing: Microbrowsers offer miniature previews of images inside private chat threads like iMessage, Slack, and Facebook Messenger. Those previews are a huge opportunity for driving traffic to product pages—just think about how much more likely you are to click a link if it’s texted from a friend than you are a random post on Facebook. So, deploy technology that properly unfurls the link’s image or video along with a relevant description. See more microbrowser tips in this blog post.
- Leverage AI for automation: As you begin to take a media-first approach with images, you’ll likely find that the number of visual assets deployed on your site will grow exponentially. AI can intelligently optimize and manage a limitless library for all use cases and content with no human involvement whatsoever. Looking for the right tool to help? Check out Cloudinary’s Dynamic Asset Management solution.
As digital experiences become more predominant, placing visual media at the core of your e-commerce strategy is a must. After all, online shoppers make purchasing decisions based on the messages conveyed by images and videos.
Again, to find more tips on mastering online media, view the full webinar as a part of Retail TouchPoints’ Connected Consumer Series in our Resource Library. To get started with your strategy, contact us to learn how Cloudinary can help.