Today is a very exciting day for everyone here at Edgecase. It’s the day we’re announcing to the world that we’ve launched our new Visual Shopping capabilities with Urban Decay, the beauty and cosmetics retail that stands for femininity, danger and fun, and that appeals to women who relish their individuality and dare to express it. Even more exciting are the results Urban Decay is seeing — 5X more products viewed per session, 150% higher conversion when shoppers engage with the technology, and 10% sharing to their social network or emailing items to themselves or friends!
The reasons for originally creating this technology were straight-forward. Consumers’ movement to do more of their shopping online is out-pacing retailers’ ability to innovate, especially for the mobile web. Research from IBM showed smartphones accounting for 40.6% of online traffic, but only 16.3% of online sales. Monetate research shows that compared to desktop visits, bounce rates on mobile are 50% higher and add-to-cart rates are 30% lower. And then there is the average mobile conversion rate of >1% versus desktop rates around 4-5%.
As any good technology company should do, we tried to get to the core of what’s broken and how can we best help. Here were our guiding principles:
Mobile shoppers are being forced to use text and menu-driven experiences originally envisioned for the desktop. Watch a shopper have to “work” as they pinch open screens to be able to tap small links, and then watch their frustration grow as they wait through page load after page load.
There are good reasons why mobile users spend an average of 14 minutes per visit on Pinterest and that Tinder users login in 11 times per day for an average of 7 minutes! These visually-immersive experiences where the shopper can explore in a non-linear fashion is obviously resonating with mobile users.
Our own consumer research found that difficulty browsing and navigating is the #1 reason causing mobile shoppers to abandon a retailer’s site.
We also found some headier inspiration in science. The “visual preference heuristic” refers to consumers’ attraction to the visual presentation of options. Images are processed in a gestalt (pertaining to “the whole nature” of something) manner that is faster, less deliberate, and thus feels easier than the processing that is associated with verbal stimuli. Images are also processed more quickly and automatically, and the connection between an image and its meaning is more direct than it is for words, triggering more emotional processing.
Now, we’re NOT saying that verbal processing and expression of preferences does not have a place. The research also shows that, especially with extremely large option sets, visual evaluation of options can be overwhelming and verbal expression is most effective. We think there is power in the play between both for retailers to create ways for shoppers to both verbally express what’s most important to them, as well as visually explore based on less deliberate preferences.
We’re incredibly excited and look forward to bringing this re-envisioned experience to more retailers, and to be part of evolving such a core component of consumers’ daily shopping experiences.
Contact us to learn more about our Visual Shopping capabilities.