Nearly 30 Swedish companies from the grocery industry were in attendance when Julie Millar from Coca-Cola European Partners came to GS1 Sweden to share their experiences in Mobile Ready Hero Images – product images adapted for mobile.

Julie Millar
Julie Millar from Coca-Cola UK

During the meeting, conclusions and lessons from Coca-Cola’s recent research were presented and five strong recommendations for suppliers and retailers who want to start their journey with optimized product images for mobile.

More purchases nowadays are made on mobile phones as a first device. This means great opportunities for retailers and brand owners focused on online and e-commerce, but also certain business challenges.

Mobile shoppers often fail to read products’ fine print, which often leads them to choose products with the wrong brand, variety, format, and size, says Julie Millar, Digital Marketing & Innovation Manager at Coca-Cola European Partners in the UK.

Mobile shoppers do not see the text on packaging

Visual elements that emphasize e.g. taste and size help the consumer

The product’s authentic shape should be displayed to enhance recognition

Visual communication is key

In the UK, as many as 50% of all transactions occur on mobile devices, which gives strong incentives to improve the on-line experience on mobile devices.

Coca-Cola European Partners is part of a global GS1 work group that works to develop global guidelines for product images on mobile phones. The objective is to help suppliers and retailers in the CPG-industry by providing an effective presentation of key product details.

By finding the right visual language (image, layout, icons and symbols), the industry can win both sales uplift and consumer trust.

Our focus in this work is not primarily on creating sales uplift. We need to prepare for a future in which consumers are mobile, says Julie Millar.

Two-and-a-half years ago, Coca-Cola began their own research work in the Mobile Ready Hero Images (MRHI) focus area, testing 80 creative concepts. In August 2018, the results of the study were published. The research was divided into six phases.

Phase 1: Optimizers

Find out what the consumer is primarily looking for

In the first phase, four different optimizer solutions were tested featuring visual elements that emphasized the volume using illustrations of sizes small, medium and large in the water and soft drinks categories.

Here, consumer behavior was tested using eye-tracking tests. The conclusion from Phase 1 tests was that the test subjects did not look primarily at the size of products using small, medium and large. They preferred sizes in milliliters and liters. Another lesson was that they looked at images first and titles second.

Key Takeaway: If you want to highlight size then you should find out if your shopper actually looks at it.

Phase 2: Medium Zoom

Redesign & Medium Zoom means scaling down certain parts of your product to highlight the label. Qualitative tests were done in focus groups. It turned out that this solution was not successful because the products did not look authentic. The consumer is looking for the product / bottle shape within the beverage category and since the product was too heavily cut, the consumers lost brand recognition.
Key Takeaway: The product should look authentic, just like on the store shelf.

Phase 3: Final Re-Design & Testing

Schweppes-flaska
Enhancement of brand, variety and taste lead to more purchases and better recognition.

In the third phase, visual enhancements were tested for the Schweppes brand, which was undergoing a redesign. The new design meant recognition challenges for online shoppers.

The new Mobile Ready Hero Images worked better than the old images and the company saw a measurable sales increase. Adding visual elements over the bottle describing brand, variety and taste, seemed to have a positive effect.

Phase 4: Store rollout

Once Coca-Cola settled on working designs within different categories, the images were published by several retailers. Here it was important to stay consistent with visual communication within the category since these images are disruptive from the usual online images.

Phase 5: GS1 global guidelines for MRHI

In collaboration with other brand owners and retailers, Coca-Cola participated in the development of global guidelines for Mobile Ready Hero Images.

Phase 6: Launch of Mobile Ready Hero Images

Collaborate within the category to present consistent visual communication.

In the process of rolling out Mobile Ready Hero Images, Coca-Cola has collaborated with some of its competitors in the water and fizzy drinks category. The images were tested using eye-tracking at one of UK’s largest retailers between July and August 2018. Several UK retailers are now willing to test Mobile Ready Hero Images.

5 top tips to get started with Mobile Ready Hero Images

  1. Understand your competitors approachCollaborate within the category and be consistent with visual communication, as mobile-adapted hero images are divergent in comparison to standard online images.
  2. Strive to maintain product authenticityShoppers want online imagery to represent the physical product
  3. Understand your shopper, is medium zoom right for them? Shoppers use the full size and shape of the product to subconsciously identify the product even without any branding
  4. Always stay within the boundaries of the pack if you can.Communicate brand, variant and size within the pack without having to add anything additional.
  5. Communicate with your customers Suppliers need to understand the retailer’s perspective on mobile-redy hero images and collaborate on solutions. As a retailer, it is a good idea to work with your suppliers when testing new images.

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