The number of online shoppers worldwide - estimated to be 2.64 billion - is vastly outweighing those that still peruse the high streets for their next purchase. It’s no surprise that eCommerce is well and truly the present and the future.
Photography and eCommerce
The seemingly scary and competitive world of eCommerce presents ample opportunities for businesses to create innovative online stores to showcase their products. Not only that, but the internet is brimming full of impressionable and interested shoppers that need convincing and nurturing towards buying your excellent, high-quality items.
But is creating an online store and targeting your audience through marketing campaigns enough? In 2023, far from it.
The crucial ingredient to making your eCommerce store perform, by way of online sales, engagement, clicks, impressions, and reputation, is high-quality product photography. This photography supports your professional branding and aesthetics and gives online shoppers that virtual experience of seeing a product’s intricate features and benefits, and how it can make a difference to them.
While this sounds easy to achieve in principle, the reality is anything but. Creating unique and professional eCommerce imagery is no easy feat, and businesses often risk becoming lost in the proverbial noise of the bustling world of online shopping if they don’t make their imagery stand out. Remember that online shoppers do not have the luxury of seeing, touching and testing their desired purchases in person, so you need to make sure your website product photography accomplishes that goal as much as possible.
How eCommerce Product Photography Can Help Online Stores
As far as eCommerce photography goes, the sky’s the limit. A commercial product photographer will take photos of physical products - which can be anything from food hampers and gardening tools to microSD cards and books - in the best light so they resemble how the product appears in person.
The goal of product and eCommerce photography is to make the imagery attractive and engaging for the business’s target customer. The beauty of this type of photography is that the finalized, edited, high-resolution images can be used for printed material, website product pages, social media posts, and digital marketing campaigns, among other things.
As said above, online shoppers don’t have the privilege of seeing the product in real life, so rely on high-quality images to decide whether to buy a product. This is where experimentation with natural or artificial lighting, lens filters, backgrounds and setups can also add depth or intrigue to standalone eCommerce photography.
Why is Professional Product Photography Important?
The reasons outlined below should explain how photography can help eCommerce performance in terms of a store’s estimated KPIs and metrics. Of course, each business will measure success differently and use various KPIs, but these benefits below should give you food for thought.
Improves Conversion Rates
Photography is integral to boosting conversion rates by roughly 30%, which is a high priority for many eCommerce sites. Professional product photos go a long way in helping push customers further down the proverbial sales funnel ultimately towards converting.
If a product listing has a description of text and no photos, this will drastically hinder conversions, and by extension, conversion rates.
Drives Website Traffic and SEO
Many marketers create targeted digital marketing campaigns to drive more traffic to the eCommerce website itself. With engaging content, link building and technical SEO - coupled with high-quality photography with relevant, optimisedalt text and filenames - search engines will begin to recognise an eCommerce store for its relevance, authorship and reputation.
Over time, as rankings improve for relevant search terms, monthly visitor numbers will rise, and imagery is an aspect that many marketers overlook, and it can have a profound impact on search engine visibility. This can be particularly helpful during seasonal peaks like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other eShopping days.
Product photos can be used in a variety of social media marketing campaigns and posts, whether as sponsored ads or as organic content that’s shared via your page. Shares on social media are generally much more likely if the original content contains photography or imagery in some way.
With this in mind, and provided that you write relevant content alongside it, your posts or ads can reach a wider audience, drawing more eyes to your products and wider brand.
Strengthens Brand Identity
A business’s brand identity is one of the few aspects where it can differentiate itself from the competition. While it is difficult to measure brand identity effectiveness, it’s undeniable that it has a firm place within a company’s marketing strategy. Product images help to reinforce and add value to a brand at various touchpoints, whether this is in the form of PPC campaign landing pages, social media content, mailshots, or industry events or conferences.
Companies can establish themselves as demonstrators of numerous qualities or superlatives - whether it’s sustainability, friendliness, proactiveness, cost-effectiveness, or anything in between - and photography is vital towards proving this to customers.
Encourages Email Marketing Sign-Ups
Email marketing continues to be an effective channel that works alongside eCommerce sales, particularly when it comes to generating repeat business or branching out to new audience segments. Similarly to driving website traffic, the aim of email marketing is - generally - to encourage sign-ups to your mailing list, even if they are not quite ready to make a purchase.
Awareness and recognition may be the primary goals, depending on the stage that a customer is at in the sales funnel, and photography is vital in helping them remember important details about your business.
Stronger Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) CLV measures the total amount that a business earns from an average customer over their lifetime. In other words, it calculates the total amount of transactions that a typical shopper makes throughout their time as a customer.
Many eCommerce businesses measure CLV as a way to benchmark their average expenditure to acquire customers, and the effort involved to retain them. Normally - although not always - improving average order value is a way to encourage customers to spend more, or alternatively, fostering increased loyalty with existing customers.
As a whole, photography and imagery go a long way in helping achieve either of these goals, whether it’s in the form of helpful push notifications, webpage design, mobile advertising, or similar.
Many businesses turn to retargeting ads as a way to lure customers back to their stores. Perhaps a customer has abandoned their shopping carts, or spent time browsing product pages and not made a purchase. Remarketing to these customers is valuable, as a customer is more likely to remember a brand and product if they are reminded of them through ad imagery.
Creating ad images with specific goals in mind can, in turn, increase conversions. Imagery can be used to trigger an emotional response, show multiple products through carousel ads, or show the benefits of a product. Remarketing warrants greater research to get right, depending on your marketing channel, however, photography remains at the center of these types of campaigns.
Investing in product photography for your eCommerce targets is undoubtedly one of the best decisions you can make. You’ll see improved conversion rates, website traffic and marketing campaign performance, whatever KPIs you are measuring.
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