Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

Using Images To Sell – Immersive, Interactive, Information-Rich Images in Ecommerce

Steven Alan cover photo

Have you ever looked at picture of a fabulous looking model and thought, “I would totally buy what he/she’s wearing… if I only knew where it’s from”?

Yeah, us too. Unfortunately for whoever’s selling that stuff, such thoughts fade quickly. We’re fickle and impulsive like that. Lots of people who think “I’d buy this!” DON’T end up buying anything at all, because identifying the product and making the purchase was simply too much effort.

Identifying products from images is a tedious process.

It involves some serious guesswork, sleuthing and crowdsourcing. Only the most engaged and intensive shoppers (fashion bloggers, tastemakers and trendsetters) take the trouble to do it. These people make up a very small percentage of shoppers, and have more ambitious motivations than the rest of us.

Most of us aren’t interested in doing all that work. We’d buy something that looks good to us if it were easy to do so, but we’d move along in a fraction of second if it weren’t.

The easier it is for customers to buy a product, the likelier it is that they will.

This is a no-brainer, especially when you flip it on its head: We can’t buy something if we don’t know where or how to buy it. Put it right in front of our noses, and we’re infinitely more likely to do it.

Some retailers make an admirable effort to do this. They include product page links in captions, image descriptions and comments.

Unfortunately, this can look rather spammy and uninspiring, especially if there are multiple products being in the single picture. Nobody really wants to click on a bunch of links, it’s too much effort and not very enticing. More often than not, we’ll just move along to the next picture. The sale is missed.

Wouldn’t it be so much classier if you could simply add mouseover links to specific parts of the photo?

These could give customers an immediate visual of the corresponding product pages, allowing them to buy the product without even leaving the page. Wouldn’t it be even cooler of these “tagged images” worked on social media platforms, so that they can share and discuss their purchases with their friends?

It’s already possible. The future is now, ladies and gentlemen:

Enter the age of interactive, shoppable photos.

Interactive photos with PICT

PICT allows you to upload photos and tag featured products within the image itself. Words really don’t do justice to this. The image essentially comes alive. Detailed product information is automatically retrieved from your store and embedded in the image itself. The interface is rather reminiscent of “inventory” screens in video games. These ‘shoppable’ photos can be shared across all popular social media platforms in a single click.

Once these photos are pushed out on social media platforms, consumers will be able to obtain product information on the spot when hovering their mouse cursor on the image. A direct link will be placed together with the product information, which makes purchasing the product a seamless process.

If that wasn’t good enough, PICT has built-in analytics that track the virality of each photo and the revenue generated from it. A dream come true for eCommerce retailers that have been struggling to track the conversion rates of their social media marketing efforts!

Did we mention that it syncs with Shopify, Magento, Etsy and other platforms, and it’s totally free?

You’re missing out if you don’t at least try it out.

Interactive photos with Stipple

Stipple transforms static photos into interactive experiences. Tags can be added to specific parts of an image, much like tagging your friends on Facebook. You can add product information, video links, additional images and even location details. You could tell an entire story with your photos, and it’s easy to imagine artists coming up with creative ways to use such technology. This means you can now “add a story” to your photos, by tagging interactive content related to the product all within the same space.

These interactive images can also be shared on social media, and you can even embed them on your eCommerce storefront with a few lines of code. By incorporating relevant content with your product photos, engaging visitors to your site is now made even simpler.

Interactive photos are a whole new level of “targeted ads”.

According to Stipple, consumers are exposed to brand images shared on the Internet more than official sites and advertising content combined. [1] This makes sense. There’s more content creators online than there are advertisers.

Interactive photos give you the best of both worlds. They take targeted ads and affliate marketing to a whole new level. “Here’s a picture of something possibly cool. Don’t like it? Scroll on. Like it? Hey, why not buy it?” It’s non-invasive. It’s win-win. The potential for engagement is massive.

They’re not just for retailers, too. Bloggers and publishers can earn commission by embedding eCommerce in their photos. Interactive photos boost reader engagement, which is a key metric that every publisher wants to improve. Everybody wins.

Perhaps one day we will have augmented reality in our glasses or implanted in our eyes, allowing us to identify real life products in real time, and make purchases instantaneously. See a nice picture of Oreo cookies, and feel like having some? Click on the picture and have it delivered to your doorstep. Probably by an unmanned drone.

Interactive photos are a step towards that exciting future. They remove entire steps from the “from-discover-to-purchase” process for your customers.  It’s a matter of time before responsive, information-rich photos become the norm, integrated seamlessly throughout the internet. Commerce is going to be a much more immersive experience.

Get on board while it’s still fresh, and delight your customers! How could you resist such a competitive advantage?

[1] Marketwire.com – Stipple Launches E-Commerce in the Facebook News Feed

Images Credit: PICT, Stipple, Steven Alan



Aaron is an intern at ReferralCandy. He loves travelling.


  • Very cool stuff, Aaron. At Publitas, we try to bring the same engagement and interactivity you describe to digital catalogs for retailers. For example, we make sure consumers can click or tap on a model in a catalog to view the entire look. And if they like a product, they can just buy the item from the retailer’s online store.

    Anyway, I didn’t know other businesses were doing similar things. So it was good to see that they too are coming up with innovative tools for turning static photos into shoppable experiences (I really like what PICT has come up with). 🙂