Using photography to boost sales
Pretty vs. Perfect: It is important to strike a balance between creating an image that looks good and editing to the point of being unrealistic. People want to see an image that is appealing to the eye, but they also want something that appears real. So, best practice number one is to create an image that is the best and most beautiful version of itself because ultimately what is beautiful is what will sell. This is incredibly important when showcasing product photography on your e-commerce site, when the customer only has the images to rely on. It photography's responsibility to convey all features of a product to give the customers as accurate a look and feel as possible short of being in the presence of the product.
Interactivity: A second best practice in retail photography is incorporating interactive elements to the photo. While adding elements like video to your site can entice customers, interactive elements like 360 product rotations allow the customer to experience an emotional connection with the product and have more control over their online shopping experience. The more time you get your customer to spend interacting with a product online, the more likely they are to purchase it. Soma Intimates is one example of how a retailer is effectively offering 360 product views. The retailer offers a variety of views of the product on a model and select products on the site offer a 360 button where the customer can view the product from all angles to get an accurate look at the fit of the undergarment. However, make sure you also retain some control over how your products are viewed. For example, you can put limits on how much a customer can zoom in on or enlarge a product. This allows you to still ensure a quality customer experience while providing enhanced ways to view.
Don't Ignore Color: Color is extremely important in driving conversion in several ways. First, the more accurate the color, the fewer returns. How many times have you fallen in love with an outfit online only to be heartbroken when it arrives at your doorstep? The color you saw and bought didn't match what arrived at your doorstep… so back to the store it goes. Smart phones, tablets, PC's and TV all shift color, so perfecting it before you distribute is critical. The color never gets more accurate once it's deployed. Also, if the product itself is offered in multiple colors, make sure to offer the product in every color on a model, and not just a swatch. Customers want to see all of the colors offered for quick and easy comparisons, as well as the ability to click on individual colors for a full product image. Finally, be aware of how lighting affects the color and overall look of the photo. For example, your brand might typically utilize white backgrounds. However, shooting a certain product on an all-white background might not work with the color and could cheapen the look. So, make sure to explore other options, such as a different background or softer lighting, to ensure that the final image presents the product in the most desirable manner possible.
Customers often visit a retailer's website before they visit the brick and mortar store, so it's important to effectively use photography to put the best image forward. With the right photography, retailers can increase customer time on site and ultimately boost sales.
About Brad Tuckman
Brad is founder and president of KSC Kreate, a provider of visual content and software for the nation's top retailers and consumer products groups.