I design and sell beautiful clothing inspired by my travel experiences for women who seek adventure and who want to be comfortable while pursuing it. I don’t have a ‘brick and mortar’ store where people can walk in, touch the fabric and admire the colours in natural light. I sell everything online. And that means the images I choose for my website are crucial to drive sales.
My online store has to convey to my customers the quality and spirit of my designs through words and pictures alone. Over time I’ve learned some hard lessons about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to the images you use on your website. So here are the five best pieces of advice for anyone with an online store.
Choose images that are not artificial or photoshopped. Customers today are very sophisticated and familiar with all the tricks. They will spot a “fake” immediately and that will permanently tarnish your image.
As Fiji is my home away from home, I now use it as the backdrop for all i ALLURE’s photo shoots. Customers really respond to the natural beauty of these images.
For instance, the Elements Collection was shot at Natadola Bay, which in my opinion is one of the most magical places on earth. The location was of utmost importance as it needed to be visually appealing and almost dreamlike to our customers. They needed to be able to envision themselves there and clad in one of our kaftans.
So seek out a natural settings that will augment your products and people will be drawn to it.
Your images shouldn’t just showcase the product line and spice up your store’s image but also inspire your customers by helping them see the possibilities. So select images that show your products’ usage and value.
For example, I always photograph each of my kaftans from different angles and in the different styles in which it can be worn. I want to show my customers everything they need to know about my product even if they didn’t think of it themselves.
When photographing your products always arrange for multiple angles, backgrounds, and compositions (close ups, medium shots, long-range shots). You want your images to be flexible enough to be used in a variety of mediums beyond just your website.
I usually have a ‘dream shot’ in which the model is photographed amid beautiful scenery. Then I remove the backdrop and photograph the kaftan on a blank background from various angles. This gives customers a true picture of what they are purchasing.
Using similar photos for all your promotional material will tie everything together, and having different versions means you’ll always have the ideal image for each aspect of your marketing initiative.
One of the first things you learn about online images is that most are of low quality because desktop screens have a low resolution. The majority of online images are just 72 DPI which is really very low. Don’t limit your photos to this size! Start off with high-quality shots which you can scale down for the web instead of being stuck with low quality images that you can’t upscale for printed material .
Whether you’re using models or inanimate objects don’t repeat the same poses or arrangements over and over again. The human eye gets easily bored so hold on to your customers’ interest by highlighting the individual selling points of each piece. Mix it up and be creative in the styling of every shot. Surprise your customers!
Christie-Ann Williams is the creator and director of i ALLURE beach and resort wear.