When it comes to selling products online, having an image of the item is essential. But how much importance should be placed on imagery in the entire eCommerce picture and what’s the right approach for your business?
Unless you sell a large volume of branded items that have product imagery available for you to use on your site, you’ll need to think about how to get imagery of your products online. Employing an in-house photographer or hiring a freelance photographer come with pros and cons, so it’s best to decide which option fits the needs of your business most
In an attempt to create a point of difference and reinforce brand identity, location imagery is the preference of marketing teams everywhere.
For a swimwear brand selling bikinis, for example, it makes perfect sense to take the key pieces off to a beach location and get some aspirational shots.
The collateral from a location shoot is ideal to sell your brand via homepage content, social media and lookbooks, but is it suitable when it comes to directly selling your items on the product list and product detail pages?
The main purpose of a product image is to give the customer the best view of the product to aid conversion.
There’s an argument that, as glamorous and aspirational as location imagery may be, it does more to distract the customer from the purchase than it does to convert them.
Consistency can also be an issue here – unless you shoot the entire range on location, you’ll risk having a mix of products in a category with only some leading with location shots.
Apart from looking disjointed on your site, location imagery can also present problems in social, shopping and marketplace feeds.
Amazon in particular is quite stringent about its product image requirements, so if you plan on selling any of your products on this channel, you’ll always need to factor in a plain white background.
If you have access to an A/B testing tool, it would be a good idea to test the effect of location v studio imagery on key metrics like click through and conversion, before investing heavily in this area.
It’s become standard to see images of products shot in a variety of ways, including still life packshots and model shots, but the rise of social media has also led to a surge in user generated image content being used by brands to sell their products.
With developments in technology, the debate over choosing in-house v freelance photographers could be a thing of the past.
Companies like StyleShoots have developed technology that lets eCommerce teams control and manage their product photography process in-house, without the need for a photographer or retoucher.
The location debate could also be over with the rise of augmented-reality imaging capabilities, where customers can drop product imagery in to their bedroom or living room via their mobile phone. Early-adopters like Asos are making use of this technology with a virtual catwalk feature, where its product imagery is transported to a location of the customer’s choosing at a touch of a button on their app.
The influence of AI and AR will continue to impact all areas of eCommerce, so it will certainly be interesting to see how it shapes the product imagery of the future.