Why customers need to imagine touching products (The Visual Depiction Effect).

visual depiction effect
GoGoChimp Blog – Conversion Rate Optimization & Psychology » Ecommerce » Why customers need to imagine touching products (The Visual Depiction Effect).

If you want to improve your Shopify conversion rates, then the Visual Depiction Effect might be the ticket you’re looking for.

As you may have noticed, our physical experiences shape the way we perceive objects and at times, influence the products we want to buy.


ecommerce psychology - product images
Does this Shopify store use The Visual Depiction Effect?

In their article The ‘Visual Depiction Effect’ in Advertising: Facilitating Embodied Mental Simulation through Product Orientation, researchers Elder and Krishna found that customers are more likely to buy products that they can imagine touching and handling.

Elder and Krishna refer to this phenomenon as the “Visual Depiction Effect“: how product orientation within product images boosts online sales.

If people visiting your Shopify store can imagine using and interacting with your products then more people will make a purchase (even if all you do is change the direction your products face).

If the product is something that people would hold in their hand, then orientate the product in the image to point towards the customer’s most dominant side (right-hand… unless the product is designed for left-handed users).

This is a very important discovery for ecommerce psychology.

The Visual Depiction Effect.

Video is an excellent medium for helping customers to imagine using products.

It isn’t like the old days when we would stroll into a DIY store, sit on a display toilet and imagine what it would be like to do our business in the comfort of our own homes.

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Nowadays we buy things online.

However, this makes it difficult for consumers to imagine what it’s like to own the product they’re looking at.

Overcoming this problem with your Shopify store is pretty straightforward when you consider the Visual Depiction Effect:

  • The physical properties of your product, such as its shape, texture, and size are important to consumers. Use close-up images and allow users to zoom into product images. You could also think about using product images that feature people interacting with the textures
  • Product images with people using or interacting with the product can play a significant role in shaping the customer’s perception of the product by helping customers to imagine what it would be like to touch and use the product.

    For example, if you’re advertising a new coffee mug, instead of simply displaying an image of the mug on its own, you could show a person holding the mug and taking a sip of coffee.

    This creates a more immersive experience for the customer and helps them imagine using the product in their own lives

  • Product descriptions have the potential to be more than helping customers to make more informed purchasing decisions. A creative copywriter can write product descriptions that help your Shopify customers to visualise touching and using products

In short, The ‘Visual Depiction Effect’ in Advertising: Facilitating Embodied Mental Simulation through Product Orientation highlights the importance of considering both the physical properties of a product and the way it is presented to the customer on your Shopify store.

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