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Digitalization empowers people to shop and gain information instantly. However, more often than not, online product listings and information resources can be dull, plain, and unappealing; still the delivery of this information is vital for effective communication. So if viewers are not engaged enough to analyze static information, then is unappealing digitalization really an effective form of communication?
Displaying correctly presented digital content across your online channels is essential for engaging audiences. Viewers should be able to take in information without the engagement being too strenuous a task: this is enhanced content engagement. Visual and creative content communication will improve your digital media’s interactive qualities, which are highly appealing to passive web viewers.
Creating offline experiences within e-commerce
The offline retail environment allows shoppers to physically experience products. Digitalization does impede this form of interaction, but this area of consumer engagement can be achieved through the form of micro content.
Creating and using micro content, which promotes digital interaction, is far more relatable to the offline retail experience than static on-page product listings. It is the large ecommerce stores who usually fall victim to this product presentation. Some products require the potential buyer to receive a certain amount of reassurance and experience of the item to facilitate/lead to a purchase, it is important to compensate for the lack of these features of offline shopping in order to making it important to overcome this potential limitation that can be encountered within e-commerce.
If The Lid Fits, is a perfect example of how a small ecommerce store can offer an online product experience. The campaign gives graphic/detailed product context and information, which is visually presented in a way that allows viewers to experience the product’s intended purpose. The campaign is both interactive and informative, and mirrors the advice and information that are available when visiting the company’s physical store. Offering interactive on-site product experiences will give your online store a competitive USP, sites such as Amazon won’t be able to match to your level of expertise.
Defying static conventions
The presentation of information in a visual and interactive format can improve the communication of content that would conventionally be statically presented as text. Viewers enjoy passively engaging with content, like they would when sat in front of Netflix, and so creating dynamic visualizations of important information can be a successful approach. More beneficial still is the use of interactive media, which encourages the viewer to not only visualize and understand a concept, but to engage with this product or idea, and to form a connection that could ultimately lead to the desired conversion.
For example, Harvey Water Softeners created a visual campaign titled Interior Design by Decade, which allows users to experience and learn about developments in interior design between (1950) and (2010). The conventional way of presenting increments is the use of a timeline, however this format only provides viewers with an overview of information, as opposed to encouraging them to experience and interact with each significant time period. The campaign encouraged viewers to experience interior design of each decade, with the ability to gain more information when hovering over specific pieces of furniture. Creating a larger sense of interaction and engagement. Regurgitated content presented in a static manner can be easily ignored online, so it’s always important to give viewers the opportunity to engage with your content.
Transforming data into interactive campaigns
It is important to acknowledge, and reference, data that is relative to your company and your industry: it’s a way of positioning yourself as a trusted, leading authority in your sector. The majority of the time, industry reports containing this data aren’t easily accessible and you can use this to your advantage. By transforming insightful and relevant data into visual and interactive formats, you make this information easily ‘digestible’ for passive viewers and therefore gain their respect.
A good illustration of this idea is the above piece of content that was launched by Yu Energy and is titled The Journey of Energy. It effectively visualizes government reports and data on how to the UK sources energy to provide information an attractive and informative way. While the average customer wouldn’t interact with government data in document or spreadsheet form, the visual interpretation provides a potential customer with useful information that they may have otherwise ignored in a memorable way. This in turn makes them more likely to recognize and engage with the brand in the future.
The campaign was very successful and resulted in national recognition for Yu Energy; the UK government, the original source of the data, re-published the campaign on their website to allow passive viewers to easily access the information. Digital marketers would be wise to learn from this example of the visualization of publicly available information, who knows where your content may end up?!
Virtual reality within mobile gaming
The development of experiential features in mobile gaming is closing the gap between the sensory impediment that can be experienced in a digital world and the sensory empowerment that comes with an offline environment. Challenging digital mediums to bridge the gap between the virtual and the real world will broaden the possibilities available to the gaming industry.
The latest Pokemon go app encompasses this concept perfectly: it empowers users with an experiential experience presented on a digital medium. The game allows users to have full control of a virtual scenario, within the confines of the users actual surroundings, or their reality.
The game applies the same principles as the original Pokemon, however the information that is communicated to users is a revolutionary change for Pokemon. The transition from exploring within the confines of a gameboy to physically being challenged to explore your actual life surroundings has bridged the gap between gamings sociality and physicality. Communicating this information in such an interactive and engaging way challenges the norm of two dimensional gameplay.
Applying this concept on a budget
Creating exciting campaigns and content can be costly, and it may be hard to quantify a direct ROI. This is why the concept of creating experientially within digital mediums needs to be understood, and correctly attributed, to allow for a more enticing user experience that ultimately converts into sales and revenue.
Great Bean Bags applies this exact concept to their ecommerce store by taking site visitors on a virtual factory tour through video content on their landing page.Rather than pushing an interactive data campaign, or visualizing a journey through time, the company is simply enabling the site visitor to passively engage with the brand and its production process via video.
The use of this engaging content builds customer trust by reassuring customers that they are purchasing a bespoke product that is made to order: it gives them a behind the scenes look into a factory, or a shop, that they will never visit in person which relates to the traditional shopping experience of going to a shop or a factory.
Great Bean Bags’ on-site bean bag calculator allows users to input the different specifications they are looking for in a bean bag. This content aims to resemble the customer advisor experience available within offline stores and even presents personal recommendations to cater to each customer’s needs, just like a retail employee/shop assistant would in a physical store. Again, this serves as a trust signal for customers landing on their page.
How you Can do it
It’s important that your online media overcomes the communication challenges posed by digital mediums; indeed, as we see a decline in physical high street stores, reduced sensory interaction has a become result of the digitalization of our everyday existence.
We may be losing the ability to communicate, however it is still something that we crave as consumers. We want to know as much as possible about a product before we click ‘buy’ and we’d rather access this information in visual or audible sensory mediums, rather through text: they’re more human.
Therefore, by translating this sensory interaction that is experienced within the offline retail environment into a digital format, businesses can appeal to the ‘human’ side of prospective customers and increase the amount of trust that they receive from visitors to their site. The ultimate result of this improved digital engagement experience is more conversions and revenue.
It’s clear that the use of visual and interactive digital content to engage viewers can be highly successful, and fruitful. However, like all marketing strategies, it has its place and purpose and is not suited to all businesses and products. It’s important to evaluate whether or not this concept would be beneficial for your company as implementing this form of engagement strategy via your digital channels might not always be the best way of enticing and converting your audience.
Analyze the message that your content is trying to get across to viewers, consider the behavior of your audience and then assess which form of content would best convey your message to this group of people. Be it visualization or interaction, or perhaps neither, it’s crucial that your choice will speak to your visitors in a form that they can ‘listen’ to.