Often times when considering ecommerce development, the ideas of photos are overlooked. This is a HUGE mistake.
Everyone has heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”. The truth when it comes to online sales however is that a picture is worth far more than a thousand words. Pictures for an ecommerce site can mean the difference between sales and no sales, ranks and no ranks, and profit or no profit when it comes to the online bottom line.
Another great saying that holds true is “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. Nowhere does this hold more true than how you represent your products online.
If you talk to many self-important designers, they will tell you the trend is minimal. It should be noted few people find success by following the crowd. There is a reason why there are leaders and followers in life. Inevitably you decide through your actions which class you are in.
Having over two decades direct experience in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and consumer research I can personally attest that what motivates people to move from looking to buying. I can also unequivocally tell you other’s “opinion” about minimalism is built on minimal thinking.
Is this to say there is no place for minimal design? No. What we are saying is that with design, like most things in life, there needs to be balance. If someone is going for minimal simply to meet the goal of minimal when it comes to your website, you can also expect this will translate into minimal sales.
So, what drives the idea of minimalism? Having dealt with tons of brands, stores, buyer, sellers, designers, marketing directors, promotionalists, etc. we can say the primary driver of the idea of minimalism is laziness. Designers do not want to design, marketing directors do not want to think, administrators do not want to work, and so on. That means if you truly are the creative type you are often left carrying the dead wood of others. The final result in an un-motivational 2-dimensional flat product that is cut out and dropped on a blank white background. Congratulations all the brains in the room have developed less than inspiring stock photography. What did that cost and what are the true costs overall included in lost sales opportunities?
Minimalist will excuse their laziness by saying things like, it helps you focus on the product. Honestly? If the image does not draw you in, capture your attention and motivate your interest the only thing that you are focused on is “everything else”. That will drive sales through the roof – NOT.
Let’s be clear here. There is a difference between clean and minimal. Yes, you can have a plain white background still if that strikes your fancy. So how do you do this? How do you make a product shot on a white background interesting? Easy. Add dimension and perspective. With a little extra work, you can go from drab stock photos to inspiring, attention grabbing, sales driving, drool-inducing, got to have it promotional pieces. Take pictures at an angle showing your products curvaceous beauty. Use closeups to highlight desirable elements. Take advantage of shadow to add depth. Use background blurring techniques to capture interest. All easy ideas to literally take your product perspective to the next dimension.
But all this takes time, when I can simply download stock from the manufacturer. Yes, this is true. On average there are approximately 59,500 Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders on a monthly basis. If you are in the business of firearms sales you can choose to go all stock if you like and you will get the same kind of attention and interest as the bulk of these do (virtually none), or you can stand out, be unique, do things differently and set yourself apart both in terms of recognition and bottom line sales.
Once you have the interesting product on a white background mastered, kick it up a notch and start going for staged shots. What are staged shots? These are images taken in environments and situations that range from authentic to fantasy driven. Think about it this way. If you were interested in a product what would help you better imagine or even fantasize yourself holding or owning it? For example, a firearm in an open safe, a pocketknife stuck in a log, a rifle against an animal pelt, a steak knife beside a beautiful mouth-watering cut of meat. MMMM!
Interesting is only limited by one’s own imagination. So, put yourself in the mind and fantasies of your prospect customers and this will encourage them to put your products in their hands.
Ease of use!