12 Oct DAM for e-commerce: product visuals at the heart of retail sales performance
At a time when the economy is being rocked to its core by the Covid-19 pandemic, the cards are being reshuffled and online sales – e-commerce – are booming at an unprecedented rate. According to McKinsey analysis, the US has vaulted ten years ahead in consumer and business digital penetration in less than three months during the lockdown, compared to normal times.
There was a 16.5% decline in US retail sales in April (the largest ever recorded in a single month). Meanwhile, 40% of consumers said they have switched brands or retailers. For retailers, it is more important than ever to know how to manage their web presence effectively and start to set up a DAM for e-commerce.
Careful management and optimization of all necessary assets will enable retailers to boost their e-commerce sales performance from end to end, from order to checkout: click and collect has become the norm during the lockdown. There is a solution to help them meet this challenge: Digital Asset Management or DAM for e-commerce and retail!
But what makes product visuals so important for specialist retailers? What are the issues around this type of content? How can a DAM for e-commerce help retailers sell their products better?
The importance of visual content in specialist e-commerce “Visuals sell emotions”
In e-commerce – and this is even more true in specialized e-commerce – visuals are a key component of marketing content and should not be overlooked because they have a real and direct impact on the brand’s image and on the company’s commercial performance. At a glance, a consumer must be able to recognize a product or the range to which it belongs.
Let’s sum it up as follows: visuals sell emotion and emotion sells the product.
Generally speaking, retailers have long understood this fact and are aware that visual content, which feeds into the user experience, is the cornerstone of a company’s business performance. From traditional “product” sales, we are moving more and more toward “experience” sales, which involve carefully designed and targeted visuals, to create a dream for the customer, stimulate their imagination, and generate an emotional response. The narrative of this experience feeds into all the brand’s communication assets: before selling us DIY products, Leroy Merlin invites us to think carefully about our habitat, not only for our own well-being but also for that of the planet. Before selling bicycle accessories, Decathlon helps us reconsider our relationship with urban mobility. This is all done via a wide range of content, much of which is of an inspirational nature.
It is precisely this emotion that triggers the act of purchasing. To this end, retailers produce content in large quantities, sometimes – as a bonus – with unexpected results.
Product visuals in e-commerce: major challenges to overcome
In fact, large companies have never produced so much content. As a result, consumers are being flooded with marketing content from all sides, to the extent that some refer to a “content shock.” So, certainly, producing content is good, but knowing how to manage and distribute it correctly, at the right time, to the right target, is even better. And this is where the problem lies for many large companies who are facing new challenges in managing their product visuals.
Among these challenges, four main ones can be identified:
How can we ensure consistency of visual content when we are faced with the increasing multiplicity of formats, channels, and markets?
In fact, every product, every medium, every channel, and every market requires a tailor-made visual. This very quickly requires managing a large number of visual variations to allow the brand to maintain visual consistency across all the media, channels, and markets it addresses, whether online or in-store.
How can we handle the new types of media that are increasingly popular with consumers?
With 360° product visuals, interactive videos, stories, etc., the range of visual content available is constantly growing with new technologies and ever-increasing consumer expectations. Appropriate management of this media represents a real challenge for retailers, not only to generate more sales conversions but also to differentiate themselves from the competition by providing their customers with ever richer and more varied product experiences.
How can we customize our content by channel and target?
To optimize sales, it is important to be able to personalize the content offered, not for each individual, but for each audience segment, based, for example, on geographical location, for the local market – and therefore local regulations, language, and also culturally specific factors. For example, the contract between Nespresso and George Clooney does not authorize them to distribute their content in which the actor appears inside the United States.
How can we monitor and analyze content effectiveness?
Knowing how to create and disseminate content is a good thing, but it is also important to know how to measure its impact in order to improve future content production. Knowing that a certain type of content works better in one particular market than another allows you to optimize your content strategy to best meet the expectations and needs of your target audience.
In order to meet these challenges while preserving the brand’s image and optimizing its sales, you need to have perfect control and management of your visual content and all its variations. How can this be achieved?
DAM for e-commerce, the solution for efficiently managing visual content in online sales
The good news is that there is a solution, Digital Asset Management – DAM for short – which allows you to manage this avalanche of content without any risk to brand consistency and at the same time improve sales performance.
Digital Asset Management (DAM) enables a company to group together all its marketing assets, i.e. its graphic content (photos, videos, presentations, etc.) in one place for internal or external use. The DAM manages and stores the company’s digital assets and enables each employee to access the content they require.
In the case of retail, and particularly specialized retail, there is a clear benefit from DAM. As we know, the choice of visuals is crucial for sales performance. Being able to push a specific visual with DAM is the best way to develop sales and margins using increased personalization. And for further enhancement of the customer experience, the retailer can, in addition to the DAM, opt for a DXM (Digital eXperience Management) module. This kind of module offers personalized content adapted to customers and browsing contexts, and also makes it possible to measure/monitor the success of particular content so as to expand the use of the content most likely to convert into sales. Many major retailers are now adding a digital experience management strategy, DXM, to their DAM.
DAM for e-commerce, an essential element for sales performance optimization
PIM (Product Information Management) centralizes product metadata, i.e. specific characteristics of the product (size, weight, packaging specifications, etc.) in a single location. It is the most suitable solution for managing product metadata.
As for DAM, it is the most suitable solution for managing the product’s visual content, which in this case is also called Product Asset Management.
All major specialist retailers rely on a PIM to manage large volumes of product data. On the other hand, not everyone has yet realized the benefit of a dedicated DAM for managing their product visuals.
A successful shopping experience on the Internet is based on the harmony between product visuals and the accompanying written information. And using a DAM, ideally complemented by a customer experience management solution, enables you to offer Internet users a unique and memorable shopping experience, thereby maximizing the conversion rate. This is known as a Product Experience Management (PXM) strategy.
In concrete terms, a company that chooses to enhance its e-commerce with full-stack marketing, including DAM and a digital experience management (DXM) solution, can offer its customers an exceptional product experience thereby consolidating the customer experience. The result: increased sales, increased customer loyalty, a lower product return rate as good visuals reduce customer errors, time savings for the product teams, etc. – in short, a real godsend for retailers and e-commerce!