16 Jan 2008

Make me want to buy your goods-Part 1

This is the 1st blog of hints and tips on how to make your items appealing to online shoppers. Whether you have an online shop on a site of your own or a host site like Mintd, Dawanda, Trunkt or Etsy etc you need to grab the buyers attention and keep it long enough for them to make a purchase. So how do you do that?

Firstly you need to have great pictures. You cannot under estimate the power of great photographs. Customers very often pick items to buy in seconds flat just from that first view they get of the goods. So you only have seconds before they move on by to the next shop. You have to grab them and draw them into your shop before they go.

To achieve great photographs you need a fairly good camera. With the recent digital camera revolution, these thankfully do not cost the earth any more. Look for one that has macro/super macro settings. This is an investment in your business so take your time finding one that suits you and makes taking great pictures of your goods easy.

Try to take your pictures in natural light. Defused light is best as it will cause less shadowing. You can achieve this by either setting up next to a bright window that isn’t in direct sunlight or a bright space outside that again isn’t in direct sunlight. If you are photographing smaller items and you live in a place where it can be a bit dark and grey for 6 months of the year, as I do, it might be wise to invest in either making or buying a light box. Strobist explains how to make a light box on a budget. Well lit photos are key to getting that great shot, so spend time on getting the lighting right. Do not use the flash! Flash lights adversely affect the colours of your photographs and mess with the natural shadows an item casts. This will make your items looks somewhat unreal.

Backgrounds to Photos are also important. If the background is too busy it can detract from the item you are selling. The background colour can affect the way the item looks, so try your items on a variety of colours to find out which one really makes the item stand out/pop from the picture. Too many props in a picture can also be a distraction. Remember that if the customer can’t work out which item in the photograph is for sale they will probably move on somewhere else to shop.

A customer’s perception of your cleanliness is very important. If you’re photographs include pet hairs, toenail cutting (Yes, I have seen this. I won’t name the shop) fluff, cigarette butts, litter etc inadvertently in shot there is no bigger turn off for most people. Make sure your work space and photography area is clean, tidy, hair and litter free.

So how many shots of each item do you need? Imagine you are in a shop and you want to buy your item. Think of how you would pick it up and what parts you would look at. Those are the photographs you need to show. Close ups on details like stitching, welds, clasp, fabric, gem stone, button hole as well as back, front, side, top, bottom. Your customer can’t pick up the goods and look at them so you have to do it for them. If you mention a detail in the description of the piece be sure to have a photograph of it.

Scale or size of a piece can also be shown in photographs by using items in one of your shots that are of an internationally recognisable size. This, for me, means not using coins. Coins can be all shapes and sizes around the world so if you truly want to sell globally I suggest use a ruler with both inches and centimetres on for tiny items, or a hand and for larger items a person or a mannequin work well.

Lastly I’d say, try to make all your photographs have an overall vibe to them. If you do your shop will have a cohesive classy look to it rather than a look of a garage sale or flea market. Again customer perception of your goods and you is very important, so spend time perfecting the look of your shop.

All the photos I’ve placed in this piece are from people I consider have got it right. Take a look around their shops by clicking on the photos.


  1. Wonderful examples and advice!

  2. Good advice, I'm glad I haven't seen any nail clippings yet! Wonderful selections of items too, just gorgeous!


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