More than one in two consumers abandon sales from websites as a consequence of having to download additional plug-ins to view rich media features, according to new research.
The 2010 Brandbank Retail Media Report found that despite many industry voices calling for a move towards rich media capabilities in eCommerce platforms, without careful planning these features can be detrimental to sales.
Get the basics right
The research, which polled 2,255 UK consumer with research group YouGov,
Found that rather than demanding more interactive experiences, consumer’s main priorities when shopping online are seeing multiple product images and correct, comprehensive product information.
Over two thirds (67%) of consumers say that they are put off buying a product where no product image is given and 61% are put off buying a product with limited textual information. Other top consumer gripes include poor quality product images (58%) and out-of-date product information (58%).
Having a lifestyle image to accompany a pack-shot is also important with almost one in two (48%) consumers saying that they would not buy a product without seeing images of it being used in a real-life setting.
Compared to these basic priorities, rich media features such as zoom, 360-degree image rotation, video and audio come further down the priorities list with consumers and can actually give rise to negative experiences and loss of sales.
39 percent of consumers are deterred from buying by having to wait a long time for product videos or images to load, while over half (58%) are put off by having to download additional software or plug-ins to view product images or video.
Rob Tarrant, Managing Director at Brandbank comments: “I think everyone in the industry is excited about the move towards media-rich features like 360 degree spin and at Brandbank we’re gearing up for this in a big way. However, whilst rich media is, undoubtedly, highly effective in certain situations, at this point it’s not appropriate to every retail sector. Talking to people heavily involved in the retail side of things, it’s apparent that, in terms of sales, the most effective web features are still the more basic alternative views, conceptual imagery and additional product information.”
Fashion and technology consumers, more media ready
The only two sectors where rich media is notably high are fashion and technology. Around half of consumers state that they use image zoom when buying clothing (52%) and consumer technology (48%).
This is more than double those who said zoom would be useful for buying pharmaceutical products (17%) and groceries (24%). 41 percent of consumers also find 360-degree image rotation useful when buying fashion products and 37 percent for consumer technology.
This compares to less than one in ten consumers saying that they would find 360-degree image rotation helpful when buying entertainment products, cosmetics and groceries, and only 4 percent when purchasing pharmaceutical products.
The biggest difference in consumer expectations between sectors is the demand for multiple images of a product. Whilst only one in ten (11 percent) consumers claim that they would use multiple images when buying pharmaceutical products, a significant 56 percent would like to see multiple images of a product when purchasing clothing and accessories online and 55 percent for consumer technology.
Tarrant continues: “The key issue for a retailer is striking the balance between design creativity and bottom-line sales. The time will come when widespread, sophisticated multimedia features will result in great conversion rates for retailers – and indeed this is already the case in the fashion and technology sectors. However, it’s not always appropriate – a tin of beans, for example doesn’t really need a video. It’s really a judgement call and consumers require different features from different verticals.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2255 adults. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
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