Have you ever ordered something online that looked AMAZING on-screen only to be disappointed by how the item appeared in real life? This has happened to me before. Considering the massive quantities that I purchase online, such an incident is a rare occasion, but still worth elaborating.
The key to selling online is excellent photography. You don’t just want decent pictures: you want AMAZING pictures. The more fantastic the better; the better they will reflect in your sales.
The same wire-wrapped necklace displayed in a blurry photograph on someone’s carpet can snatch twice the price if it is displayed artfully on a crisp backdrop with an interesting angle and immaculate visible detail. Artful imagery can really boost the portrayal of the worth of an item, especially if said item is handmade.
Think of clothing ads. The prettier the model the more you are going to want to buy the dress. It’s the same dress regardless, but subconsciously you are going to think that it will make you as pretty as that model appears. If the same dress is only displayed on a headless dress form, you probably won’t feel the urge to purchase it as much. Same dress laid down flat on a bed spread? You’ll feel the urge to buy even less.
Those of us who are trying to make sales online strive to make better and better product photos. The more enticing the photos, the stronger the urge to buy. But what about when it goes too far?
Case in point: I wanted to buy some corset-style fingerless gloves to wear at my wedding. I found some online that looked elegant and beautiful and AMAZING in their gorgeously taken photographs. The price was a bit higher than I was hoping, but they were so perfect looking that I just HAD to buy! I eagerly ordered and waited the 2+ weeks for the gloves to arrive. When they did I was so excited to try on my beautiful wedding gloves! I opened up the package and thought… “Oh, dear. They look like they are made out of recycled pajama material. There is no way I can wear these with my wedding dress!”
The gloves were no where near as fabulous as I had thought they would be. The pictures didn’t exactly lie… they were just so beautifully portrayed and modeled that my expectations were set too high. I still left the seller positive feedback (everything with accurate in the description, etc.), even though I was disappointed with my purchase. I went on to buy an alternative pair from a different seller. The photographs were not as stunning, but good enough to give me a solid representation of what I was buying. They were also much less expensive. When these new gloves arrived I thought to myself (and explained as much in my feedback), “These are so gorgeous! The pictures did not do these gloves justice!”
As an online seller, I sense a lesson in this experience. Of course I am constantly working towards better photos. When people aren’t able to look at something in real life, pick it up and hold it, try it on, etc., I really have to make up for it with decent enough photos to show what it is they will be getting if they purchase. I try to ensure that the colors on the monitor match the colors of the pieces in real life. However, I would never, EVER Photoshop out a flaw within the product in the photos, or attempt to deceivingly portray proportions. I try not to get too crazy with the sparkle brush (although I love me some sparkles!) I resist even though I feel like my current line-up is pretty plain in appearance.
It’s a delicate balance, to make good photos without being deceiving or accidentally misleading. It is definitely something to keep in mind when running the latest-and-greatest Photoshop filter on your newest item!