Most online shoppers have to rely on product images when making a purchase if there's no way to see the item in person. That's why good product photography that accurately reflects what an item looks and feels like is so important.
In this post, learn tactical ways to use product photography to grow your business and tips to ensure exceptional photos every time (even if all you have is an iPhone).
How to take better product pictures
Can you keep your customers and Google both satisfied without having a professional photographer on your staff? Yes, of course, you can. Here’s what you need to do to SEO-friendly, social media ready, and most importantly, eye-catching pictures.
1. Give shoppers a detailed, 360˚ view of each product
As we mentioned earlier, if you don’t own a physical store, there’s no real way for your customers to get a feel for your products.
- Take multiple product shots from multiple angles
- Allow your customers to zoom in on small details
- Make sure that the product is properly lit and positioned
Your main objective is to give your customers a chance to see the product in its entirety. A single photo won't convey everything your customers want to know.The total number of photos you need will depend on what you’re selling.
2. Show products in natural light
The biggest mistake merchants make is going overboard with filters. Using too many filters will only make your product photos look less realistic.
If you make your products look too different from how they look in real life, you run the risk of alienating your audience. Around 22% of people who regularly return products say that the main reason for doing so is the difference between product photos and the actual product.
3. Use stock photos wisely
If you’re just starting out, stock photos can be fine for adding professionalism to your home page and collection pages. But, the sooner you can get real product photos or photos and photos of your customers using your product, the better.
How great product photos impact your business
One photo with an all-white background doesn’t cut it anymore. Online shoppers prefer stores that have multiple product images. Less than 1% of consumers want to see a single product photo, 33% prefer to see multiple photos, and about 60% prefer to have a 360º view of the product.
We know some direct ways that product photos can increase your conversion rate and profitability, but what else can they do for your store? After all, product photography can get expensive fast so quality images have to come with at least a few perks.
1. Reduce customer support tickets
Images showing how the product is used can reduce support tickets post-purchase. Questions like “How do I open this?” or “How do I install it?” can be prevented with a descriptive photo. Check out this floating bookshelf for instance. You need to tuck the bottom book, in a way that may not make sense out of the box. Avoid your team having to answer the same ticket from customers who don’t read the instructions.
Tip: Review your most commonly asked product questions ahead of your next photoshoot. You can view this data in our advanced analytics section.
2. Reduce pre-sale inquiries
As the Pandemic shifted consumer shopping behavior, more support agents were transitioning to virtual sales staff. Sometimes you need to see something in person to really get a feel for it, especially the size. Imagine thinking you were buying a chair for your home office, but it turns out it was actually for a dollhouse?
Review your pre-sale tickets to see what questions people are asking your team. Use that data to update your product images to feature things like product sizes. This will also help you reduce your return rate down the road. Artiplanto does a great job of this.
3. Reinforce your brand image
Your website design isn’t strictly there to satisfy search engines and ad networks. A well-developed visual style can help you stay in your consumers’ minds even long after they leave your store.
Visual styling should be important to every store owner. If you’re an upmarket brand, you need professional photos. If you’re a dropshipper, don’t use the same supplier photos everyone else is using.
A good visual identity will help customers - even the ones that shop regularly at competitor stores - remember you better.
You can get started by doing your own photography. It’s more cost-effective, and most importantly, quick.
If you’re going to do it in-house, you need to be creative and technically sound. That means you’ll have to learn the basics of good photography and understand web design. Here are a few product photography tips:
- The customers need to be able to see everything, so size the pictures properly
- All of the product images on your site need to have a uniform look and feel
- The resolution needs to be high and consistent across all product images
- You don’t want large photos to slow down your site too much
4. Help guide customers
As we’ve already established, high-quality images can, in fact, help you turn random store visitors into loyal customers in seconds. They guide the visitors through the conversion process.
First off, you can use an image of an ordinary person to guide your customers’ eyes to the main conversion point. This can be a product image, form, or even a purchase button. See how the key text on the Beardbrand home page is in the direction Eric Bandholz is looking
Marketing professionals refer to this image as the “hero shot.” The image usually features an “average Joe” pointing or looking at a particular part of a web page, where the customers need to go in order to make a purchase. Pretty amazing, right?
Here’s Beardbrand’s customer support hero Sylvester acting as the hero in this image. It brings it to life much more than a standard product shot with a white background.
Start using product photos to increase your conversion rate
It takes a lot to get someone to come to your product display page, PDP. Regardless if you’re on Shopify, Amazon, BigCommerce, Magento, or any other platform. It may have even been a photo someone saw on a display ad, or from an influencer (or better yet a customer) that brought them to your PDP. You can’t afford them to be disappointed when they get there.
You can’t expect to have steady cash flow without making sure that the people who visit your store make a purchase! The problem is, most ecommerce stores have huge bounce rates. That means most people don’t make it past the first page they land on.
Shogun did a great job breaking down the bounce rate by industry. As you can see, it gets pretty high.
You need to catch your customers right away. One of the fastest ways to do this is to create an emotional reason for spending money on a certain item. Making a connection on an emotional level can be done through eye-catching product images.
Professional pictures need to show that your product will provide a fantastic user experience for the customers. Appealing to the consumers’ emotions will keep your engagement levels high and help you improve conversion rates as well.
A case study conducted by the A/B testing giant VWO discovered that even a simple thing like changing the resolution of images can improve conversions. In fact, the store in question saw a 9% jump in sales over a period of a single month, simply by enlarging product images.
Professional doesn’t need to mean expensive. Make your photos consistent across your site in the style, lighting, positioning, etc. For extra consistency, you can even use CGI mock-ups.
To really connect with your customers at an emotional level though, show people your customers identify with using your products. The easiest way to do this is to ask for them.
Gorgias Tip: You can collect great User Generated Content (UGC) from Gorgias.
- Create a rule in Gorgias to open a ticket asking for permission to use a photo when someone leaves a positive review
- Create a view of anyone you’ve identified as a great photographer and ask them for a photo
- Run a giveaway on Facebook encouraging customers to post photos in the comments, and collect them through Gorgias
Improve images, conversion rate, and customer satisfaction
High-quality images are better than old, low-res ones. Better product images have a better chance of persuading your customers to buy a product from your store. They can also help you build a distinctive visual identity and differentiate yourself from your competitors in the market.