Jehan Hamedi of Vizit: Why Images Are Essential for Best-In-Class Digital Experiences
Written by: Satta Sarmah Hightower
"The role of the image as the first moment of truth in the gateway to consideration has never been more powerful." — Jehan Hamedi, Founder and CEO, Vizit
Product detail pages (PDPs) feature vital information customers need to make an informed buying decision, from product descriptions to pricing details.
Many of these page elements produce data that helps brands move customers further down the path to purchase. However, there’s one aspect of the PDP that’s an untapped goldmine for rich customer insights, says Jehan Hamedi, founder and CEO of image analytics provider Vizit.
"They [brands] have lots of data about a lot of different elements of their PDP, but there is one last lever on that PDP that people don't have real-time data and insight into," he says. "And that is images."
Hamedi joined a recent episode of the "Unpacking the Digital Shelf" podcast, "Scroll, See, Click," to share how brands can unlock the power of imagery and improve the performance of their PDPs at scale to deliver best-in-class digital experiences.
The New 'See, Click, Scroll Universe'
Consumers’ viewing preferences and habits have changed, and they now typically buy based on what they see, according to Hamedi.
Vizit recently conducted joint research with the Path to Purchase Institute, which revealed customers spend at least five hours a day looking at images on social media platforms.
"What it has created is a new 'see, scroll, click universe' that we all live in and need to compete in," Hamedi says. "What that has also created is a new dynamic where consumers on ecommerce sites are now conditioned to not necessarily pick products based on where they sit within search results, but based on the appeal of the hero images that they are scrolling through at an incredibly rapid rate. So, the role of the image as the first moment of truth in the gateway to consideration has never been more powerful."
Bringing AI Technology to the PDP
As important as images are in the shopping experience, brands still don’t have enough insight into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to this aspect of the PDP. They need real-time analytics about what drives better performance on the page. Vizit closes this gap.
Hamedi says image optimization can drive PDP optimization that increases a brand’s competitive advantage. Vizit uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help brands boost image effectiveness.
"The fundamental premise of our technology is beauty in the eye of the beholder," Hamedi says. "If you want to know how effective something's going to be, you need a way to see through your audience's eyes, literally, in real-time."
The traditional methods for achieving this, such as surveys and A/B testing, are too expensive and don’t scale, so Vizit uses AI-driven audience lens technology to simulate a brand’s audience and better understand what images will compel them to buy.
This vision technology allows Vizit to gather data on different image elements and assess how likely they are to convert a brand’s target consumers. Vizit then codifies this information into metrics it calls Vizit scores.
The company has found that if a brand has Vizit scores 15% higher than its competitors, it can unlock up to 30% more conversions.
Driving Greater Image Effectiveness
Brands currently use Vizit’s technology to achieve several objectives. Hamedi says one of the main use cases for Vizit’s visual AI is testing image effectiveness before going to market.
Before launching a new product, automotive manufacturers used Vizit to test colorways on motorcycles.
Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies have used the technology for pre-item setup, product appearance, and packaging design.
One of Vizit’s customers, a global snack brand, recently used Vizit’s visual AI to overhaul its packaging. The brand could automatically analyze dozens of image examples and test and compare them against different demographics, target interest groups, and markets.
The snack brand ultimately identified a set of packaging that would garner the greatest attention from consumers. With the help of data from its retail partner, the brand later discovered the new packaging contributed to a 55% lift in sales and a 20% decrease in find-time on the shelf.
"Starting from a better place helps to advantage basically the entire content creation process and the product development process," Hamedi says. "Both of those journeys have a critical dependency on image effectiveness."
"One size fits no one," he says. "We've seen across our customers that our lenses for different retail shoppers produce different Vizit scores all the time. I can tell you right now that one of the largest food companies in the world is creating different content for different retailers. One of, if not the largest beauty company in the world, is creating different content for different retailers."
Perrigo, a leading manufacturer of private-label over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, is following in this same vein. Using Vizit’s computer vision AI, the company discovered Walmart shoppers were unique from its other customer segments, so it has developed a content creation process tailor-made to attract these consumers.
The Perrigo example shows how using innovative technology to optimize their PDP can position brands to be better partners to retailers.
"The relationship-building you'll do with the retailer by coming with thought leadership — and with data that you’re designing for their shopper to help them be most successful — that's just going to put you in another echelon compared to every other manufacturer that's trying to sell them something," Hamedi says.
Connecting Online and Offline With Compelling Imagery
While the PDP is only online, digital product imagery creates a powerful flywheel that can connect the physical and digital shelf and help brands develop best-in-class digital experiences, according to Hamedi.
"People buy based on what they see. They remember things in images. They share images. We speak in images today. That sort of ‘scroll, see, click’ continuum pervades the online and offline worlds." — Jehan Hamedi, Founder and CEO, Vizit
For CPGs, this is an invaluable opportunity since many shoppers often browse their branded apps while shopping in-store — a fact that Walmart shared during its most recent earning call.
There’s also an opportunity to use digital imagery for in-store activations and marketing, such as content for end caps, circular ads, packaging, and other shopper marketing materials.
"Digital product imagery is your most effective sales device, period," Hamedi says.
Harnessing the Power of Visuals To Win on the Digital Shelf
Images are powerful, but brands aren’t yet fully harnessing these powers to create best-in-class digital experiences and product content for consumers.
Most companies are sitting on a gold mine of content within their digital asset management (DAM) systems that are just waiting to be unlocked. As Vizit shows, AI can help them tap into this resource, see through their customers’ eyes and create visuals that will capture their attention — and hard-earned dollars.
Hamedi says brands need to start looking at content not as an expense, but as an investment that can drive their goals. Today, creating more compelling brand images is one of the best content investments they can make.
"In this world, whether you're selling software, cat food, dog food, shampoo, motorcycles, or treadmills, the best image is going to win," he says.
To hear more of Hamedi’s perspective on how brands can optimize their PDPs, check out the full episode.