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The Future of Digital Content and Online Shopping

Posted By: SGK May 01, 2017

This blog was contributed by Lian Stevenson, Client Solutions Engagement Manager, SGK

The world of e-commerce is continuously evolving. Keeping up with the demands of the ever-sophisticated consumer remains the challenge for brand owners.

Online shopping has had a huge impact on e-commerce. 59% of traffic on e-commerce sites is from mobile devices in terms of browsing and research, however, conversion and revenue still predominantly comes from the desktop or laptop. This suggests that browsing is often done on the go and purchase is conducted later when the consumer has more time.

This omni-channel approach to shopping means giving consumers the best experience of an e-commerce store is even more important. We know that content sells, the more the better in fact as it can increase only sales by 58%. So what does this mean for you as a brand owner?

There is a shift occurring across the online CPG space. One that is developing from the traditional pack shot to what the industry is calling hero images.

As a consumer, have you ever bought a product online and when it arrived, it’s not been the size you thought it was? The reality is, the way consumers are shopping has resulted in pack shots not being enough to communicate pack information clearly and quickly.

If consumers have to work hard to identify the information that determines their purchase intention (size, variant, format), they are frustrated and can result in an abandoned purchase. Convenience and time saving is now more important than ever to consumers.

In truth, consumers can be quite lazy shoppers. They tend to only look at the images and they scroll very fast until they find what they believe they are looking for. Based on this insight alone, it’s clear that images need to work much harder.

Leading the way in hero images has been Unilever, who have conducted their own study on consumer behaviour on online shopping through eye tracking across all mobile devices. With the help of the Cambridge University Inclusive Design Group, they have developed the format of what we now refer to as hero images.

It’s clear to see how these are an improvement on the traditional pack shot.

Consider the screen size of the various devices. There is a limit to how big a pack shot can be depending on the size and shape of the product. The result is that the pack shot is too small within the screen size and consumers can’t read the detail on the pack — making shopping much harder.

How does it work? A hero image allows you to maximise the full area of the screen and pull out some of the key features that clearly defines the brand, variant, size and format.

Through initial testing on using this method on their laundry sector, Unilever saw an uplift in conversion of 2.6% and their other brands followed suit; Magnum (24%), Simple (19%) and Ben & Jerry’s (4%). What this shows is that hero images are making finding products easier for the consumer.

Unilever now has live hero images on 40 e-retailer sites across 20 different markets. Following in their footsteps have been the likes of P&G, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s and L'Oréal, who are now doing similar executions on the e-retail platforms.

This movement is not eliminating the pack shot; far from it as content is still a key driver in the purchasing journey. The more a consumer can see the better. Since 2014, the FIR EU 1169 Guidelines advises that consumer should be able to access the same information online as they have access to on the physical pack in-store.

In fact, there are other ways to enhance your traditional pack shot without moving completely to hero images. This can easily be done by adapting the artwork on your core packaging to pull out key information including the brand, size and format, which allows for the pack to stand out better in the digital window.

Whichever route you’re best positioned to deliver, the good news is that they can all be produced using the approved pack shot artwork.

The important thing to remember is that content plays in the consumer shopping experience, and how you present that content will ultimately determine whether consumers purchase from you or another brand. Doing a good job with your content has a direct and impactful affect on sales.

For more information on how to leverage your packaging artwork and maximise your digital content, download: The Connected Package: The Next Generation in Brand Efficiency, Interaction and Appeal