Picture walking into a big-box retailer in search of a product. Easy enough, eh? Well, let’s keep going. This particular trip has you seeking a non-routine product. So, you’re heading to the shelf in search of some information and clarity. Maybe you are a novice in the category, and you need a lot of answers. Maybe you’re familiar with the category, but you haven’t made your mind up as to which brand is the best fit for your needs today. Now, imagine you get to the shelf, and all the products are packaged in the same plain white box. So much for information and clarity.

This idea seems ridiculous, but if you shift your experience a few degrees, and add a pandemic, it suddenly feels all too familiar. More often than not, this is exactly what the ecommerce shopping experience feels like for consumers, a blank white box with minimal or no useful information. As a creative team steeped in home improvement packaging, the evolution of retail shopping is one we’ve been witnessing for a while. For years, we’ve encouraged clients to think about their ecommerce presence. But, given the events of the past year and the catapulting forward of online shopping, we feel it’s worth asking, “If you don’t have ecommerce standards in your hands or in process, what on earth are you waiting for? It’s 2021!” 

In a digital world, ecommerce imagery is the logical evolution of packaging design. Not that packaging is dead, but it’s simply not exclusive anymore. Over the past year or more, Porchlight has helped our clients translate their packaging and brand standards into digital standards, creating imagery optimized for ecommerce success. Here’s how we do it.

Porchlight’s 6 Tips for eCommerce Imagery:

Know Your Retailer Requirements:

Just as we would a packaging project, we begin developing ecommerce standards by getting to know the structure we’re working with and the setting in which it will appear. In other words, our first step is always getting to know the retailer, category and file requirements. What are the dimensions, quantities and composition rules to which we must comply? It’s good to know what you have to work with and working with an agency like Porchlight can help fill in a lot of the blanks quickly.

Focus on Composition and Quality:

Once you know how much real estate you have to work with, take full advantage of it. If you have a 1000 x 1000 blank canvas to showcase your product, how will you make it look amazing? We always recommend starting with a professional photographer, someone who understands product photography and can optimize lighting and capture essential product details in focus. It goes without saying that the quality of your photography says a lot about the quality of your product.

Don’t Neglect Your Brand:

Your brand conveys a certain quality and price point to consumers. It’s as critical to ecommerce imagery as it is to physical packaging and retail shelf presence. The actual placement or treatment of your brand is a matter of design and should be considered in the context of the individual product, the product’s position as part of a larger brand and the competition.

Establish Your Price Point:

When done well, imagery can communicate many of the same subtle attributes that packaging conveys. Price point is one such nuance that can be achieved through imagery. Composition, details and iconography can be used to help establish your product’s value proposition. It’s important to consider where your product sits relative to other products and to convey its position in terms of good, better, best.

Remember the User:

Since we’re talking about digital shopping experience here, we must take the user experience into perspective. What does your product do? Is it intuitive and foolproof? Or is it possible that someone could misinterpret the size, application or other functional aspect of the product? If so, it’s imperative that you help facilitate the shopper’s understanding of your product. One of our many goals when it comes to ecommerce standards is to ensure that anyone who buys the product knows it’s what they need, gets what they expect and knows how to use it. This practice is often aided with the use of props, models, custom illustrations or specially designed infographics.

Don’t Forget Dimensions:

This is a fairly obvious rule and has some overlap with the user experience tips above. But it’s worth reinforcing because it’s so often neglected in ecommerce imagery, even though we all know better than to rely on shoppers to read the product specifications. Consider it essential to your ecommerce standards to present your product in a way that helps consumers visualize its size, shape and features. Give your product a sense of scale using a model, a staged vignette or everyday items such as a coin, pencil or tape measure.

When it comes to ecommerce imagery, the ROI is pretty clear. Not only does imagery help communicate quality and value, but it also provides greater engagement. Enhanced, branded, art directed imagery can and does boost sales. It also increases consumer satisfaction and boosts online ratings. When ratings, satisfaction and sales go up, your relationship with the retailer also becomes easier. It’s a win-win-win project, and we’re here to help.

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