Visuals, in an underlying way, have influenced consumer decisions — mostly within retail — as advertising dollars are disproportionately spent within that market. Psychology and shopping have long been connected, and new research has found connections between consumers and visual stimulants that imply the connection is stronger than originally thought. Regardless of the market, whether retail or B2B, visual assets continue to play a factor in the consumer purchase life cycle and plays a key role in creating an omnichannel shopping experience.
Appearance plays directly into a customer's sense of trust within a brand, with visuals often driving those internal impulse decisions that can lead to a purchase. Visual techniques implemented at the physical retail level can still pertain to and assist the digital market. For instance, with physical store locations, consumers are more likely to make an impulse purchase of a product if it's highly visible to them. The same concept applies to e-commerce, professors at the University of Miami and UCLA concluded through their studies that the better looking an image is, the more likely a person is to take action.
Their research, Using Aesthetics and Self-Affirmation to Encourage Openness to Risky (and Safe) Choices, focuses on consumer behavior and shows how a person seeing photos of something attractive, for instance images of their past purchases, “affirms” them because seeing something attractive triggers their personal connection to something good-looking." — Steve Olenski, 2014
Digital content that's treated in a similar manner as offline or print content creates a sense of brand loyalty and generates a higher rate of returning customers. Social media marketing has taken a pro-multimedia and visual approach and has seen the benefits in doing so. For instance, web users tend to spend exponentially more time on social media platforms that are more visual-orientated (photo or video) as opposed to those that are more focused on text.
Customer retention strategies benefit from a visually-driven business model as well. In the book "Brain Rules" by John Medina, he reveals if a relevant image is paired with a piece of information, 65 percent of that information is retained within a three day period, as opposed to 10 percent of the information being retained within that same period of time if an image is not provided. In the highly competitive and open market of e-commerce, consumers having a high retention rate for a company's product raises the probability that they will return to that particular site and follow through with a purchase.
The e-commerce market has played a role in the melding of physical and digital aspects to create the optimal omnichannel shopping experience for customers. Dirxion online catalogs place an emphasis on visuals as each PDF loads at quick speeds and is optimized to perform and look their very best. The online catalogs combine the appeal of the print catalog with the interactivity and integration possibilities of e-commerce.