If you’ve read any of our articles on ecommerce, you know that we’re adamant about the role of photography in the online shopping experience. High-quality imagery provides consumers with a pre-purchase experience. When that experience is positive, it can lead to sales, good reviews and even loyal fans.
Photography and video combined are what we refer to as digital assets. When done well, these assets work together as a persuasive, compelling library of consumer-friendly resources for your product. Your digital assets should clearly convey all the reasons to buy your product and anything shoppers need to know to use your product. That includes the product’s intended purpose, value, quality, competitive position, features and benefits, safety information, and, of course, the brand behind it.
As we work with clients to build out compelling ecommerce visual assets, there are six targets we make sure to hit. In doing so, we ensure that a product’s imagery is optimized for ecommerce success.
Six Steps to Enhance Your eCommerce Imagery
1. Know the Retailer’s Requirements and Plan to Use Them:
As with any merchandising project, we begin developing ecommerce standards by getting to know the retailer, category, product page layout and file requirements.
The two most important things to note are the required dimensions and the number of assets allowed. Fortunately, most ecommerce platforms have similar product pages and dimensions, which means that any assets you create for one retailer should work elsewhere. However, it’s always a good idea to note what other retailers are doing. The more universal your assets are, the easier it will be to expand.
How many assets can you submit? Most retailers have limits, such as 12 static images and three videos. Knowing quantities can help you create a product storyboard or narrative in which every image, graphic or video plays a part in telling shoppers what they need to know about your product. It’s important to emphasize that more isn’t better. Image pollution can confuse rather than inspire shoppers.
2. Don’t Compromise on Composition or Quality:
Once you know how much real estate you have to work with, take full advantage of it. However, we always advise clients to err on the side of quality over quantity. If you can only manage to produce three high-quality images, it’s better than 10 random ones. If you are given a series of blank canvases to showcase your product, would you choose to shoot them with an iPhone? Would you choose for them to be blurry, pixelated or obviously cropped?
We always recommend starting with a professional photographer. You need 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.
3. Include Your Brand to Back Your Product:
Brands legitimize products. Your brand provides a sense of quality and price point for 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 depends on your brand guidelines.
It’s wise to consider your brand and its potential placement in your imagery at the outset of the project. For instance, if your brand colors are red and black, you will want to include these colors in your props. Just as important, avoid including your competitors’ color palettes in your photography.
4. Keep Positioning in the Picture:
When done well, imagery communicates many of the same subtle attributes that packaging conveys. Price point is one such nuance that can be achieved through imagery. You can reinforce your product’s position and value with intentional decisions including composition, props, and iconography.
If your product is the opening price point, you will benefit from shooting it using props that share a similar positioning. Just as important, if your product is a category leader, your imagery should be just as high-quality and robust. Category-leading products should have category-leading assets, including high-quality graphics and video.
5. Always Start with the User:
Without a doubt, the end user is the priority audience for all ecommerce photography and video. Their experience, concerns, wants and needs should inform the narrative that your ecommerce imagery seeks to establish. When in doubt, pretend you aren’t familiar with your product. What would you need to see online to confirm that it’s the right choice for you?
What does your product do? Is it intuitive and foolproof? Or, is it possible that someone could misinterpret the product’s size, application or other critical characteristic? 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 by the use of props, models, custom illustrations, or specially designed infographics.
6. When in Doubt, Spec it Out:
This is a fairly obvious rule of thumb 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, there are just too many products for sale online that don’t do a good enough job of providing context.
Consider it an ecommerce essential 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.
From Best Practices to Better Sales and Customer Satisfaction
When it comes to ecommerce imagery, the ROI is abundantly 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 hope these tips help you see the benefit.