Complexity or simplicity? Designing product pictures for advertising in online marketplaces
In online marketplaces, many sellers highlight product and service information directly within product pictures for advertising purposes. Such a strategy increases the visual complexity of the picture and provides more information to support buyers’ judgment. However, when other sellers adopt the same method, a given picture will not be conspicuous enough to be noticed. To address this issue, the concept of complexity contrast is introduced. No prior attention has been paid in literature to the interplay between visual complexity and complexity contrast. This research proposes a theoretical model to explain the influences of visual complexity and complexity contrast on buyers’ pleasantness in shopping, while perceptual and conceptual fluency act as mediators. Results from a lab experiment suggest an entangled effect of complexity contrast and visual complexity, indicating that buyers are influenced more by the conspicuousness of a product picture, rather than the information conveyed by a product picture when it is visually overwhelming.