Monday, June 10, 2024

Post Brand Selfies in Highly Positive Reviews

It’s just common sense that online shoppers feel more comfortable with a prior customer’s product review when there’s a product image in the posting. But common sense often is less than universally true when describing consumer behavior. Studies at ESSEC Business School and University of Maastricht provide guidance for when product images are most helpful. In the studies, review helpfulness was defined as the shopper finding value in the review because it reduced purchase uncertainty.
     Based on their findings, the researchers recommend that online retailers especially encourage customers to include one or more images in a review when the item is one that promises value primarily from the pleasure of use rather than the practical utility of the outcome of use and when the review is otherwise extremely positive. These are circumstances where the review reader is most likely to consider the inclusion of the image to have made the review more helpful.
     The researchers also suggest the image show the product in use. This is consistent with findings from another study about product images: Researchers at University of Hamburg, Vienna University of Economics and Business, and Columbia University compared three formats: 
  • Pack shot. A standalone picture of the item with the brand logo clearly displayed 
  • Consumer selfie. Like a pack shot, but the face of the selfie poster or item user is also in the frame 
  • Brand selfie. Like a consumer selfie, but rather than a face, only a hand holding the item is shown
     The brand selfie format produced evidence of the highest purchase intention by social media viewers. The explanation is in the ability of the viewer to imagine themselves holding the item. The pack shot doesn’t do as well in getting the viewer in touch with the item. And the human face in the consumer selfie directed thoughts away from the brand, toward the person shown.
     It’s on the idea of drawing attention in the wrong direction that studies at University of Maryland caution about the use of images in comparative advertising. Showing pictures of people using the product leads shoppers to start thinking about using the products themselves, and when they do this, they put too much mental energy into thinking about just the recommended product. They forget to pay attention to the comparative advantages. But an exception to this exception is when the comparative shopping decision is quite complex. Then an image helps.

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Lend a Hand to Brand Selfies 

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