In a World Where The Way We Shop Is...

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In a world where the way we shop is fast changing and we buy more online than ever before, that tangibility of walking into a shop and triggering the senses is becoming more elusive. There’s nothing like feeling some soft fabrics, smelling that specialist coffee or seeing the setup of how a room in our own home could look with some fancy looking furniture. 

To be able to compete with the high street, sellers need to pull out all the stops to make their online products stimulate the five senses, just as if we are there in person. It’s easy to sell online, but have you really thought about ‘how’ to sell successfully online? 

The magic combination of words and images needs to step up a level. With so many online competitors, you need to stand out from the crowd.  With companies such as Amazon now specifying exact photography standards in order to advertise, it is becoming increasingly important to focus time and effort on getting the images right. 

Pictures paint a thousand words and nothing is truer than in the ecommerce industry. It’s easy to take a photo of a pretty bottle of essential oil for example, add a description with how it will soothe or maybe invigorate you and boom, it is in your online store within minutes. But have you really thought about how that bottle of oil will communicate its benefits visually? Will it have a vibrant or peaceful background, do you incorporate softened background images to enhance the message or will they distract the buyer?

When pitched up against all the other essential oils available on the market with hugely varying price tags, how will yours stand out? Will your buyer readily understand the value of your oil over the 

competition when they see the image? Have you given your buyer an image that enables them to clearly see the value of your product and make them want to buy yours over your competition? 

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Great photography and composition are key. They not only represent the product, they are also a foundation of your brand. 

Of course, I would say that, with me being a photographer and all, but I am not alone and many online ecommerce providers such as Amazon are becoming more attuned to this concept and have actually now imposed more stringent controls on image use on their site. 

When we purchase online, we get such limited information but ultimately the consumer will make an instant decision whether to ignore your advert or not within seconds of seeing your post. 

You need to capture that moment, that swipe of the screen, that scroll past - and the image is the only way to do that in an instant. 

Just think to whenever you have browsed eBay and seen two identical products but one is photographed on a kitchen table with a coffee cup and left-over toast in the foreground, the other is in situ on a clean worksurface with the focus on the actual item you want to buy – which do you go for? Now for the extra bonus psychological part – the items are identical, but our aspirational triggers mean that in the vast majority we will happily pay more for a better perceived value.

So, getting your online shop images right from the off should be a top priority, not only do they encourage the sale, they also represent your brand, and that is what you really want people to buy into. When they trust you and what you sell, they become repeat purchasers and, hopefully, brand ambassadors. 

My top tips for product photography 

  1. Think about your target audience and what will they value

  2. Make sure the composition communicates the benefits of your product and stimulates the senses

  3. Ensure the photography is in tune with your brand 

  4. Hire a professional – unless you are really great at photography and have the right equipment, the chances are you will pay out more through costly mistakes than it would cost to get some great quality shots. 

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Hopefully I’ve given you some food for thought. If you feel you could benefit from updating your product photography, then let’s have a coffee and chat. After all, great business starts with a coffee.