Technology can intelligently optimize both images and videos so consumers get digital experiences that are delightful and fast.

Tara Bartley, senior manager, industry marketing at Akamai Technologies

In today’s saturated ecommerce market, retailers face unrelenting pressure to deliver a customer and brand experience that continues to set them apart. To keep a competitive edge, retailers strive to remain agile and dynamic.

However, as a retailer’s online presence and the number of properties and products continues to grow, it is challenging and cumbersome to manage and update the multiple images and videos associated with many products and variations of those products.

Firstly, what does it even mean to “manage and update” images and videos? Let’s look at it from the consumer’s perspective.

Suppose you visit your favorite apparel site on your laptop and begin shopping for a new sweater. In that case, you expect to see multiple images (views) of the sweater, maybe in different colors, worn by separate models. The product page also might include a video of the product to provide a closer look—and you expect that the images and videos will load quickly and seamlessly. Then you look at a few more sweaters and you expect the same. Before you decide which one to buy, you want a second opinion, so you show your friend the options on your phone. Likely, you expect the photos and video to load quickly and seamlessly on your phone is the same as it was on your laptop. To make that happen requires either a lot of manual labor or robust technology rendering the images and videos to load and display well across devices.

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Here’s why you should consider technology:

Faster time to market

Marketers and visual design teams can spend an excessive amount of time creating derivative renditions of a single asset, not to mention developers’ effort to solve the puzzle of when to deliver the right version for every user. Retailers must automate the manual optimization effort to create, transform, and deliver derivative assets to quickly publish new and updated content at the speed of business.

Optimize for lighter and faster pages

Retailers need to figure out how to make their web pages lighter and faster because high-quality images and videos are proven to be effective in driving better engagement online. Web performance can easily get bogged down by digital assets that are too “heavy.” That means retailers need to reduce bytes for images, videos, and animated GIFs across desktop, mobile and apps for lighter pages that lead to better site performance and higher customer engagement.

Cost reduction and simplification

Given the ultra-competitive market, retailers must spend wisely and find opportunities to limit the rising costs of storage and delivery for their web properties. With the right technology, retailers only need to store the pristine assets and can offload and cache all derivative versions to the cloud for simplified publishing workflows that are flexible, cost-effective and operationally effective.

Optimize for quality without compromise 

Given the increase in mobile traffic, the ability to prevent over-downloading and maximize compression levels without sacrificing visual quality is critical. Technology can intelligently optimize both images and videos for the highest visual quality at the lowest bytes so that consumers get digital experiences that are delightful and fast.

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With COVID-19 lingering and online shopping on the rise for the foreseeable future, web and digital experiences will continue to be visually driven, perhaps more now than ever before, with so many consumers avoiding in-store shopping and so many being new to online shopping. If retailers haven’t optimized their web properties for images and videos, now is a great time to evaluate technology that can help eliminate laborious optimization tasks, reduce costs and deliver exceptional, engaging experiences to their new and existing customers.

Akamai Technologies provides content delivery network services to 305 of the 1,000 leading online retailers in North America as ranked in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000.

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