Online storefronts allow anyone with access to the Internet the ability to purchase just about anything from just about anywhere in the world. This convenience, however, has one major downside: Visitors to your site can’t touch, feel or hold your products. How can they be sure your business is legitimate and your products are high quality? How can you convince them to make a purchase?
One common solution proffered by the industry is to make sure your website features a bounty of images to increase your conversion rate, but in fact adding the wrong images can actually hurt your reputation. Luckily, there are a few simple guidelines for which visuals to add to your website:
Appeal to Emotions
UCLA researchers studying marketing discovered that advertisements targeting consumer emotions are more effective than ads that appeal to logic, so when taking photos of your products, aim to capture a feeling. Does your business sell furniture? Don’t just show a recliner – show someone curled up in the recliner, enjoying an evening at home. Does your business sell electronics? Show a laughing child with a tablet in hand because your product is that simple to use. These touches personalize products and make the consumer want that feeling too.
Offer Detailed Views and Multiple Angles
Online shopping doesn’t allow customers to experience a product in the same way brick-and-mortar stores do. Fortunately, virtual tools are the next best thing. Make sure every product has at least one image, but don’t stop there. The more angles of each product you can offer the better.
Pottery Barn, for example, provides not only a sleek rollover zoom feature for this lamp but also offers images of the product in three different settings. As a result, customers are able to picture the lamp in their own home and are therefore more likely to move forward with a purchase.
Include Security Badges
If you’re a small- or mid-sized business, chances are that the majority of people visiting your site for the first time don’t know much about your brand, and if they don’t trust you – trust that you’re a legitimate business and that your site is secure – they won’t buy from you. If you secure your site with an SSL (secure sockets layer), don’t forget to display a trust seal to let people know. In fact, research firm TNS found that 79% of online shoppers expect to see a security certificate on a site’s home page. Even if everything is secure on the back end, people need validation on the front end.
Another way to build trust with visitors to your website is by including testimonials. Coming from a third-party source, product reviews and other forms of feedback can assure newcomers that you provide high-quality products and good customer service. For example, WikiJobs saw a 34% boost in conversions after adding customer testimonials. Including a face to these testimonials will help catch people’s gaze and add even more credibility.
Consider a Mascot
Ronald McDonald. The Geico Gecko. Such characters add personality to a company and make these corporations seem friendlier. But mascots can work for small and mid-sized businesses too, and there are plenty of graphic designers willing to design a custom mascot for your company at an affordable price. Perhaps your mascot won’t be as recognizable as McDonalds’ or Geico’s, but it will help make your brand more recognizable and stand apart from the competition.
Avoid Cheesy Stock Photos
Lastly, avoid the standard stock photo. Many businesses that don’t have the infrastructure to hire a professional photographer believe stock photos are the best alternative. Of course, not all stock photos are bad, but most are easily recognizable for their cheesy, unoriginal subjects and will cheapen your brand. Professional-looking photos don’t have to be taken by professionals. With the sophisticated smartphone cameras available these days, almost anyone can take a high-quality picture that will look more authentic than a generic image of two people shaking hands or someone giving a thumbs-up.
Have Any Tips?
Have you tried any of these tips and noticed a change in your conversion rates? Do you have any other image suggestions that have worked for you or that you’re interested in? We’d love to hear from you!