Three Huge Statistics About eCommerce Product Photography (And What to Do About Them)
(blog cover photo is from efelle client Compendium whose new website is coming soon!)
The Numbers Don’t Lie: You Need Professional Product Photography for Your Online Store
Pretty much every single eCommerce project we take on at efelle is unique, though there are a few major common threads. One of those? We recommend to almost all our clients that they get professional product photography done before launching any major online marketing campaign. In most cases, they’ve already invested in their digital marketing assets by partnering with our team to put a freshly designed and developed website out into the world. At this point, not investing professional photography is like building a house from scratch and putting in used carpet.
In short, if you’re trying to sell something online, it’s an absolute necessity that you showcase your goods in the best light possible. Don’t believe us? Check out the stats below.
75% of Online Shoppers Rely on Product Photos When Deciding on a Potential Purchase
The alternate name for this section is “Conversion, Conversion, Conversion.” After all, the purpose of your eCommerce business is not just to get eyes on your website—it’s to actually sell your goods. Great SEO is nothing if you can’t get your visitors to click the “Place Order” button.
It seems trite to say that most users consider photos when deciding on online purchases. It’s almost surprising that figure isn’t higher. But considering this, it’s also surprising that so many businesses wing it when it comes to their product shots.
22% of Returns Occur Because the Product Looks Different in Person
The average rate at which consumers return items they purchased online is around 30 percent (it’s even higher just after the holidays). A number of analysts in the conversion rate optimization sphere estimate that 22 percent of those returns are the direct result of the received product looking different from the photos.
Getting professional photography done prior to launching your eCommerce website or a new product line can go a long way toward mitigating this problem. While it’s true that there’s a lot of variation among how different monitors and devices portray color, trained professionals are more likely to know what’s optimal for the highest number of screens.
Good Visual Content is 40% More Likely to Get Shared on Your Social Accounts
Visual content is king on social media, and these days, if you can’t win the social media game, it’s hard to win the eCommerce game. Getting professional shots of your products is not just about keeping that modern, high-end product appeal alive and well on your website’s store pages. It can also be part of a broader effort toward building community around your brand and sharing content that users will find aspirational.
Think of it this way: When you feature human-centered lifestyle imagery across your website and on your social media accounts, you improve your odds of viewers self-identifying as your target audience; they may aspire to have the same look or experiences as the models using your product. And some recent research suggests that featuring photos of people on your website can improve brand trust and increase conversion.
While it’s also a good idea to reshare community-created content of actual customers using your products on your social feeds, your own original content should always have as professional a sheen as possible.
Reasons It’s Hard to Beat Professional Product Photography
Not convinced yet? Here are some more reasons why you should go with the pros for your product photos:
Professionals Will Use Better Lighting
Your office’s fluorescent bulbs and your kitchen’s pendant lamp aren’t going to cut it when it comes to getting an accurate color and shadow balance on your final shots. Even going outside to take advantage of natural light may be tricky as it’s tougher to schedule, can result in consistency issues, and subjects you to the elements.
Professionals Will Have All the Right Equipment
Smartphone photography has come a long way over the years, but it still cannot compare to the equipment any good professional will bring to a shoot—this equipment may include a high-end camera, a number of lenses, tripods, grips, backdrops, brushes and air blower pumps (to keep dust off your items), multiple lights and lighting accessories, and more. Trained professionals also know their way around the critical functions that come with high-end camera gear and will be able to quickly nail down an appropriate aperture, shutter speed, etc.
Professionals Will Ensure All Catalog Product Shots Feature Consistent and Clean Backgrounds
A clean background on your catalog shots helps ensure that the focus always stays on the product, free of noise and other visual distractions.
Professionals Are Savvy and Efficient Editors
Typically, the photoshoot itself is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating polished product imagery—it’s the (very critical) photo editing stage that’s often the biggest time suck. A pro will have processes in place for making sure the editing process is smooth, quick, and efficient—and will also have the skills to digitally remove any errant blemishes from your photos (like flecks of dust or unexpected markings).
(photo is from efelle client KINONA)
Professionals Will Capture a Number of Different Views
Chances are, if you’re running an online store, you don’t have the time or resources to snap and edit product shots from every angle. But this is what professional photographers do—they know how to set up their shots and will have an efficient process in place for rendering each and every photo consistently. Many professional photographers can even take 360 degree shots of your products—and the more of your products your customers can see, the more you’ll increase their purchase confidence (and decrease the likelihood of a return).
Professionals Can Set Up Styled Photoshoots to Provide Visual Cues and Context in Relation to Your Products
Catalog shots are mandatory for any eCommerce business, but that shouldn’t mean you neglect getting hold of some high-quality lifestyle shots for use outside your main store pages. We already talked about the importance of shareable content, but here’s another consideration: Great lifestyle and/or well-styled shots can provide context about your products. Placing objects next to one another helps provide scale and removes some of the legwork the customer will have to do when determining if the size of your product is appropriate for them. The less work you make your customer do upfront, the higher the likelihood they’ll convert and be satisfied with their purchase.
Many Professionals Are “Flat Lay” Specialists
If you can’t find a good model or aren’t sold on human-centered lifestyle shots, here’s another idea: Ask your photographer for some flat lays—they’re all over social media these days. What’s a flat lay? In the words of photo blogger Fat Mum Slim, “A flat [lay] is basically when you’re shooting items from directly above. Usually those items will be arranged or styled on a flat surface.” Your photographer can use fun background patterns and/or scatter colorful, interesting, and relevant objects around your product to create both visual intrigue and a contextual reference point.
(photo is from efelle client See Kai Run)
You Can Use the High-Resolution Imagery for Many Different Brand Assets
Your professional product photography doesn’t need to live solely on your website or social media accounts. A professional photographer will be able to provide you with shots that are appropriate for landing pages, printed materials (like promo fliers, brochures, and booklets), and more.
Hi-Res Professional Photos Are Great for Product Zooms
Many of your customers are going to care a whole lot about the details of your products—if they can’t get an accurate impression of what your product looks like close up, they won’t have all the info they need to make a confident purchase. In other words, you need big photos. If there’s one thing that our team is a broken record about, it’s that you can shrink digital images with no quality loss but you can’t make them bigger. If you try to turn a small .jpg into a large .jpg, things will get ugly. Don’t worry, though—if you go pro with your photos, you’ll receive a database of image files that can be cropped to any required size—so your customers will be able to zoom to their hearts’ content.
Professionals Can Accommodate Design Requests
Got some website asset requirements in mind before the day of your photoshoot? Do you maybe need some shots to feature a certain amount of negative space above or below the subject so your design team can feature a legible text block on top of the final image? A professional photographer can take all of these needs into consideration and shoot accordingly.
(photo is from efelle client See Kai Run)
Your Competitors All Have Professional Photography
Alright, we can’t prove this. But we can guarantee we’re not the only digital marketing firm incessantly suggesting to our clients that they get professional photos done. With the data on online stores showing that 80% of eCommerce businesses fail, it’s more critical than ever that your business make a great first—and second and third—impression.
Not Sure How to Crank Up Your eCommerce Sales? We Can Help!
Here at efelle, we’ve been designing and building eCommerce websites for well over a decade. Not just that—we also help businesses develop and coordinate online marketing strategies tailored to their industries and needs. We can connect your team with all the tools and services you’ll need to get noticed on the web and convert browsers into buyers. Call us today at 206.384.4909 or reach out via our contact form and let’s start chatting about ways you can really rev up your online store.