At the eBusiness Institute we are dedicated to helping our clients capitalize on the latest innovations in the world of eCommerce. With the number of smartphone users expected to reach 2.5 billion in 2019 and an ever-increasing number of consumers adopting a “mobile-first” mindset, it has never been more important for brands and eRetailers to offer consumers the best possible mobile shopping experience. With this in mind, we have made some important changes to our mobile hero images guidelines and template which are available free of charge on the eBusiness Institute’s website.
What are mobile hero images and why do they matter?
Mobile hero images are basic product images that are suitable for mobile screens. They amplify and simplify the key information on packaging, making it easier for consumers to make an informed choice when shopping on their mobile phones. Mobile hero images are particularly important given that today over 50% of consumers are using their mobile devices to browse for products or do their research online and the standard pack shots used for larger screens are much less effective on a small mobile screen. When scrolling on their mobile phones, consumers struggle to identify the basic features of the product they are browsing or wanting to purchase and consequently often end up buying the wrong size or the wrong variant of their desired product. Mobile hero images, which are also suitable for laptop, desktop and tablet screens, provide an effective solution to this problem by amplifying the four key elements consumers need to make a choice: brand, format, variant and size.
GS1 mobile hero images with size call-out
Mobile hero images are particularly relevant to products in tall, thin packaging. Tall, thin packs pose a particular design problem as there is not much canvas on which to communicate the four key elements. Following years of research and also work in partnership with GS1 and the University of Cambridge, we designed a solution that uses a variant bar and a size call-out.
Left: image without a variant bar and a size call-out.
Right: image with a variant bar and a size call-out.
Source: eBusiness Institute Tall Thin Packs Guidelines
The variant bars and size call-outs, which are particularly relevant for the soft drink’s category, make it easier for consumers to spot key information about a product which are not obvious from the product image alone.
Mobile hero images not only improve the mobile shopping experience for customers but can also have a positive impact on sales. When Unilever, in conjunction with Cambridge University, conducted a trial using mobile hero images for its billion-dollar global brand, Magnum, sales of the ice cream increased by 24%. And it’s not just sales that can benefit from mobile hero images. In an interview with The Grocer Magazine, co-founder of Virtualstock, Ed Bradley, highlighted the positive impact mobile hero images could have on returns, “If you create images that mean users pick the right product and you are having to deal with future returns, then that’s very valuable in its own right.” Given that returns can be a significant cost for brands and eRetailers, this is a very important benefit of mobile hero images.
Modifications to mobile hero images
At the eBusiness Institute, we are constantly striving to follow best practices and to improve the user experience for our clients and their customers. While the mobile hero images above successfully convey the brand, format, variant and size of the products, we noticed that syndication services, such as Brandwatch, and eRetailers were adding an additional frame or margin on top of the image which was reducing its size and making it harder for mobile shoppers to see. For example, images as large as 600 pixels were being reduced to as little as 90 pixels when delivered to mobile phones which was negatively affecting the clarity of the image. In order to overcome this problem, we have reduced the top and bottom margin of our template to 0 pixels. This makes better use of the available image size on eRetailers’ sites to display the product.
At the eBusiness Institute, we appreciate the vital importance of an optimized consumer experience in order to drive your brand’s sales. Contact us to find out more about how we can help you grow your business online and offline.