The money flowing through e-commerce is expected to grow to $6.5 Trillion globally in 2020 even though it will reach only 10% of US retail sales.
To attract and engage online shoppers and to compete in this digital marketplace with other retail e-commerce stores, you need to assess your website. Paying particularly close attention to your product images.
Why? Because consumers shopping online essentially depend on photos to help them decide whether to make a purchase. In fact, 93 percent of consumers consider visual appearance to be a key factor in a purchasing decision.
To avoid being overlooked by an online shopper or overshadowed by a more conscientious seller because you failed to weigh the importance of your website’s photography, consider these five reasons why it matters and tips on how to make the most of your product imagery:
1. Photos give shoppers a complete visual package.
Online shopping relies solely on a shopper’s sense of sight, which is why photos should be clean, clear, and of high-quality resolution. Photos need to include various angles of the product and offer users the ability to zoom in for a closer inspection, all of which helps them visualize the product as if they were holding it in their hands.
Besides product shots, it’s smart to have the item photographed in environments that best show its benefits. For example, an article of clothing such as a scarf can be photographed on a model or an organic skin-care cream can be staged on a bathroom vanity with some of the ingredients included in the photo. Lifestyle photos as they are called help the shopper visualize how products are used and create an emotional attachment to the item, potentially motivating the buyer to seal the deal.
2. Shoppers depend on photos to solidify a sale.
According to Bigcommerce.com, 78 percent of online shoppers are looking for a visual experience when browsing products. Without a photo, they’re not likely to investigate further.
The ability to touch and handle a product before buying it is simply not doable in the digital market. You can’t smell the leather, touch the silky-smooth fabric, or sample the sweetness of a delectable dessert. All you have as a consumer is the imagery, and that better be paramount if you’re the seller.
3. Photography is the face of your brand.
You might have just a few seconds to engage an online shopper. Because the human eye typically scans content and latches on to relevant visual aids on a website, the images on your site need to be captivating, crisp, and of superior quality.
If your site displays low-quality, pixelated or blurry images, or if it lacks a variety of product photos, you can be sure online consumers are quickly moving on to sites that offer a more professional presentation. Quality product photos are critical in securing a sale.
Poorly presented photos can create distrust of your site and cause the prospective buyer to question your professionalism. If they can’t depend on a photo when considering a purchase, they certainly won’t feel confident about shopping your site.
For a polished visual presentation that’s easy on a shopper’s eyes, have products photographed in the same light, with the same background (preferably white), and similarly sized for a consistent and clean look.
4. Shoppers are sharing photographs.
One of your pristine product photos on your website is more likely to end up on social media, and that my friend adds value and reach, increasing visibility and potential sales. In this social-media-crazed environment in which we live, users are posting photos to their accounts, soliciting friends and family for input prior to making purchases, and sharing about their buying experiences.
For a better chance of having your product images shared, ensure they look professional. Although smartphones have decent cameras, they truly can’t compete with a professional camera and photo shoot. Consider using a professional camera, or better yet, hire a professional photographer to shoot your products. That way, you have a trained eye who’s using professional equipment to ensure quality workmanship.
5. Photographs can boost search rankings.
Although webpages are optimized with keywords in the content, a photograph’s file names and alt-texts provide opportunities to include SEO value. Using keywords in these strategic places to optimize your images actually improves your SEO rankings as potential buyers shop for products online.
Bottom line: Product photos matter when it comes to online shopping. A successful sale could hinge on just how pretty, useful, and professional your product images appear to the shopper. Something to keep in mind when you’re eyeing the ecommerce financial pie.