A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. That definitely holds true in selling fashion online. As customers, we tend to see first before we read. Which is the very reason product photo is the single most important element driving conversions.
Over the years, online fashion product photography evolved from a simple and small photo into larger, richer and more vivid photo experience. Technology ad broadband have enabled multiple views, color change, zoom and video. In the future, more and more product images such as 3-D images from enterprise product development an merchandising systems will be leveraged for selling purposes.
Today, some retailers posses competitive advantages in photography. Cataloguers such as Victoria's Secret have rich catalogue libraries to leverage; Internet pure plays such as Net-a-porter and ASOS have the opportunity to build a robust photography and video process and system from the scratch. More and more service providers are entering this business, providing photography services from shooting, to retouching and image library management.
For most retailers, when creating photography either in-house or externally, you want to consider the following principles to optimize the effectiveness of product page selling photography:
- Bigger is indeed better. And getting bigger and bigger over time. Maximize the product image size. And let the image to do the selling.
- Let the customer look at each color. Allow customers to click on each color swatch and view each color.
- Show the customer all the colors at once. For styles in multiple colorways, it can be a challenge for customers to compare and make a color selection. Browsing through color swatches one at a time does not allow for comparison. Provide a group shot image to assist the customer in the color selection process. If budget is a constraint, invest in the key styles at a minimum.
- Show the size. Dimension and proportion is especially crucial for handbags and accessories. Photos are more effective than numbers to communicate size. This can be achieved through the use of graphic illustration, mannequins, or a live model.
- Show all the points of interest. Many retailers implement a standard cookie-cutter approach and select the same views across al product categories - sometimes due to budget constraint but often due to the constraint of an overly rigid process. Photography requirements should be determined at the product category and for key items. Categories such as shoes may require more views than basics such as t-shirts. key item should always be supported with more images.
- Show the details. Allow the customer to zoom, see and inspect every aspect of a garment, just as you would turn an item over to inspect it in a store. Provide a larger viewer for the zoom output.
- Ease of use. The zoom or enlarge feature must be easy to use, allowing the customer to toggle back-and-forth among the different view and colors. The pop-up window should also fit onto the screen for ease of browsing.
- Justify it with video. Especially for luxury fashion. Use fashion to best showcase the product in every view and every use. Broadband adoption is the enabler that will make video more and more relevant.
- Emphasize the selling point. They key selling point of each product must be called out through photography. Only the merchant will know this. These requirements must be communicated to the photo studio.
- Test. test and test. Conduct on-going version and multivariate testing to figure out what type of product photos work for your brand an customers.