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Rich media ruining the online experience for shoppers

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2nd Nov 2010
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Despite the industry hype around adding interactive content to e-tail websites, rich media is in fact proving a turn-off to consumers in many sectors, with more than half abandoning purchases as a result.

According to a survey of 2,255 UK consumers undertaken by pollsters YouGov and commissioned by product data syndication specialists Brandbank, just under two out of five shoppers were put off buying goods if they had to wait too long for product images or videos to load.

A further 58% were not prepared to download additional software or plug-ins to view such video or images in the first place, while the same number were dissuaded by poor quality product images or out-of-date product information.

Rob Tarrant, Brandbank’s managing director, said: "Whilst rich media is, undoubtedly, highly effective in certain situations, at this point it’s not appropriate to every retail sector. Talking to people heavily involved in the retail side of things, it’s apparent that, in terms of sales, the most effective web features are still the more basic alternative views, conceptual imagery and additional product information."

The only two sectors in which rich media was popular were fashion and consumer technology. Around half of shoppers said they used image zooms when buying clothes (52%) or consumer electronics (48%), while 41% and 37% respectively employed 360 degree image rotation. A further 56% and 55% respectively were enamoured of having access to multiple product images.

A mere 24% thought zoom was useful when purchasing groceries, however, and a mere 17% when acquiring pharmaceutical products, while less than one in 10 found 360 degree image rotation helpful. Only 11% were interested in viewing multiple images when buying offerings in these areas too.

The single most persuasive factor in making a purchase, however, was having a lifestyle image to accompany a pack-shot, with 48% of consumers saying that they would not buy a product without seeing images of it being used in a real-world setting.

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