The key to winning in ecommerce, especially on Amazon, is to make your conversion rate as high as possible. That means if someone lands on your product page, you want to maximize the odds that they’ll purchase. One of THE most effective ways to do this is by having amazing product photography.
One of Massview’s core competencies is getting products noticed, such as launching a product to the top of Amazon search results. We can get a product to page one, but the hard part for many of our clients is maintaining that ranking.
A killer conversion rate is what keeps a product at the top once it gets there.
Some Amazon sellers spend tens of thousands of dollars or more investing in advertisements, promotions, and other attempts to get their product ranking higher. This can help you reach the top, but without a good conversion rate, you won’t stay at the top.
What most of them neglect is their product photography. Amazon product photography is crucial to having a successful FBA store, but the same rule applies for any online store. Yes, you might be doubtful: does product photography really help you sell your product that much? Does it really have a big impact on your listing? Is it really worth investing in?
The answer is YES! I cannot type this loudly enough!
A low price, Prime shipping, and great sales copy in your listing are a great start, but your photography is absolutely essential.
But of course, any smart seller is going to want evidence. That’s why we decided to devise a little test.
While you can save money in the short term with “do it yourself” (DIY) photos, the long term profit increase from professional photos makes them more than worth the extra cost.
To show you the massive impact quality product photography can have, we decided to run an experiment for one of our clients with the help of Product on White Photography, otherwise known as POW.
We’re leaving the rest of the listing alone, only changing our photos, and seeing what happens.
Before we dive in, here’s a caveat: working with a professional photography service can make a huge difference, but your results may vary depending on what kind of direction you give them.
Some (more expensive) companies may handle all the creative direction for you, but the more affordable services require you to give them some detailed instructions to work with. Once you tell them exactly what you want though, the results are impressive.
So let’s address that first: what makes good photo direction?.
We consulted the professionals at Products on White Photography to learn what photographs for a product should look like.
You might think that snapping a quick photo of your product with the white background would work. But it’s more complicated than that.
To do a photoshoot well, you have to consider the angle, the background and the lighting. Which view of your product will demonstrate to the customer why they should choose it? You want the photos to tell a story, to quickly educate shoppers about the product.
You may want to check POW Photography’s website and watch some of their videos to learn more about how to get the best results for your photos.
To get some great ideas, look at your most successful competitors and see what their images are doing to stand out. Don’t copy their design, but use this research to get a sense for what a great photo can look like.
How could you differentiate yourself on the first page? How do you stand out even more? How can you use graphics or words in your photos to help explain what makes your product better? (Remember, you can’t have a bunch of text in your first photo though).
The pricing for an ecommerce listing photo will range from $20-50 per photo, and can total around $300 to create a full listing. However, the price range depends on a few factors: how much is the photographer also acting as a consultant (providing their own creative direction, etc.)? How complex is the photoshoot? Does the photographer have a strong reputation in the industry? What other overhead expenses are there?
Bear in mind that to create a more full-service, custom photoshoot, businesses can often expect to spend anywhere for $500-3000. Going through POW however, you can expect much more competitive pricing (note that we may receive a small commission for this referral). For this case study, our charge came to just $377.
A few weeks have passed with our “control group” photos, and we have now gathered enough data from a listing that’s as updated as possible, aside from the old photos.
Before we start the next part of the experiment, let’s go over some metrics for the control group.
First, the Clickthrough Rate (CTR). Unfortunately, we still had a bad CTR (less than 0.2%) for these targeted keywords and conversion rate. A more acceptable CTR would be between 1-3%, so this is not good!
Meanwhile, our Conversion Rate (the percentage of people who purchase the product upon reaching the listing) was just over 2% before updating the copy, and about 8.8% once we’d set up everything except the new photos.
Remember, when running a test, you want to minimize the number of variables as much as possible. This means we’re not going to change the price, copy, or the current advertising strategy anymore. The only thing we’re changing is the images on the listing!
The starting photos that we have right now on the listing is pretty plain and we will be switching them out for the photos we got from POW, which turned out awesome, and exactly what we envisioned for the product. We also had them take the product and put it on a lifestyle photo.
By creating a photo of someone using the product, you help your target customers visualize how they’d use the product in their lives. This helps position your product with your audience, so they know how to think of it.
Lifestyle photos are extra helpful if your product is wearable, or if your product is a bit different than what’s currently on the market, or if some of your customers haven’t used it before.
Typically there are two common types of lifestyle photos: professional and user-generated.
Neither is uniquely better than the other, but you may want to test different platforms and audiences for each. For instance, some sellers find that user-generated photos and videos perform better with Gen-Z and millenials, while professional photos have more influence with older audiences.
Also, instead of taking an individual shot for each color, we have one of our designers do a hue shift wherein you only have one photograph and you can change the colors that you wanted.
We talked with POW for many hours just to get the photos we wanted. Communication is key here, because these photos are one of the most important investments you’ll make for your product.
At the end of the day, after changing the photos on the listing, we hope to optimize our CTR and Conversion Rate for this product.
The results are in! We ran into a small snag because the merchant involved in this case study had some inventory issues with FBA, so our data set is a little smaller than we’d hoped.
That said, the Conversion Rate difference speaks for itself. Remember, before we switched out the photos in November, our CR was just 8.79%. We changed the photos mid-December, and after a week the CR more than DOUBLED to 22%. After Christmas, the results grew even more, to 31%.
Notice that with these results, we haven't changed our marketing strategy just the photos on the listing. And these are some great results: that’s 31 sales for every 100 page visits.
Even if your target keyword had only 1000 searches a month, a 3% CTR would get you about 10 sales a day for that keyword alone, which is enough to put you at the top of search results for most niche keywords, and improves your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) drastically.
If you’re ready to upgrade your product photography and massively improve your business online, go check out Product on White Photography today.
If you don’t have the budget for this yet, you may want to learn more about taking your own ecommerce product photos. It might not be the same professional quality, but putting in some time to improve your photos can help you in the meantime until you have the budget to get it done professionally.