Great photos sell more products! Your product photos are crucial to your success when selling products online using your own eCommerce site. Customers expect to find high quality, high resolution images of your products from varying angles and perspectives, highlighting details and features. Images are powerful; we remember what we see more than what we read. Here are my top eight (8) insights — and TWO bonus pro tips — for shooting great product photography.
From 2009 – 2014 I owned and operated a web agency called Artsmith Media. In 2014 Artsmith Media merged it’s team into the xTuple team in Norfolk, Virginia. For five years Artsmith Media was a team of web enthusiasts, designers and Drupal developers specializing in building large, conversion focused Drupal sites for many customers in the non-profit and small/medium sized business sectors. Our team also built a distribution of Drupal called Code Driven Drupal (CDD) that was focused on building Drupal systems in a Code Driven Environment. It allowed us to build Drupal sites in dev, stage, and production environments and by keeping all configurations out of the database we were able to quickly move code between the three environments and use Github repositories to manage branches of the sites. The system increased our development time drastically. Suddenly projects that used to take about 500 hours could be completed in less than 150 hours. The extra time allowed our team to focus more heavily on project planning, requirements gathering, user experience, design and discovery work. This led to a lot of growth in both project size and number of customers.
In 2013 we partnered with xTuple, an open source ERP company, to help them build a B2B eCommerce system using Drupal. They had been working on the system for about a year and a half and were building it using Drupal Commerce. Our team stepped in to help them finish the product in preparation for a demo at an upcoming conference. In the Fall of 2013 we presented the B2B eCommerce platform at an xTuple user conference and the feedback we received was incredible. It quickly became obvious to myself and the CEO of xTuple that we were onto something big. After several months of conversations and negotiations we worked out a deal to move the entire Artsmith Media team into the xTuple team which became xTuple’s new Web Services Group.
Let’s start by defining what Omnichannel is. It’s a current buzzword in the eCommerce world and isn’t that familiar to everyone. Omnichannel refers to the shopping experience that is created by the seller. Customers today are seeking a seamless buying experience with multiple purchasing options whether they are on a desktop computer, a mobile device, in-person at a brick-and-mortar store or on the phone. The key here is the integration between all these shopping experiences. If a user is shopping on their desktop computer, they should be able to continue the shopping experience on their mobile device. Perhaps the online customer can view inventory levels that represent a store location, then they can decide to purchase the product at that location or even purchase online and retrieve the product in-person from the store. Additionally, if the customer has made purchases in the past then their account information, past purchase list and buying preferences should be as easily accessible by the buyer and the customer representatives alike.
In the B2B world it is not uncommon for customers to have customer credit or an authorized purchase amount. You need to offer multiple payment options to allow customers to checkout in the best manner for them. This is especially helpful for customers that are making significantly sized purchases. For these large purchases your customer may not want to use a credit card.
In these cases you can associate customer credit with a customers account in the ERP and that credit will allow them to make a transaction on the eCommerce site without processing a credit card.
After they add items to their cart and proceed through checkout they will have the option to either “Pay by Credit Card” or “Pay with Customer Credit”.
As a large scale business, you want your customers to have the flexibility to build orders over time and not lose their work. Imagine that your customer builds up large orders over time before processing an order. We have built multiple tools for quick order entry that allow your customers to easily manage the purchasing process. Below are several examples of how these tools are used in the B2B eCommerce world via xTupleCommerce.
Saving your cart for a future purchase
Let’s imagine that you are selling building materials to construction companies. It would not be uncommon for the customer to log onto the site and begin adding required products to a cart but not be ready to process the purchase until a future date.
With our Saved Carts feature a customer can build one or several saved carts to their profile. This means that they can add multiple items to a cart and save that cart to their profile with a name that they choose. They can even save several carts in their profile.
So often, when people are discussing their company website they are often only thinking about the design and the user experience. Those are 2 very important topics of conversation in the planning phase, but they are not the only important aspects to cover. When planning out a new site, ensure that you cover plans for the following.
Mobile responsive design
The term “Mobile Responsive” refers to how your site looks on mobile devices like phones and tablets. A mobile responsive site will recognize what kind of device the user is using to view your site, then it will adjust the layout of the site to be displayed in the most optimal manner for that device.
If you’ve ever worked on an eCommerce project you’ll know how important content is for increasing conversions. The art of fine-tuning marketing content, campaigns, keywords, and product descriptions is essential for ensuring customers find your products and make purchases. Ensuring that content management is fluid, easy, and non-technical was incredibly important when our team was building xTupleCommerce.
Unfortunately, most eCommerce systems are built to handle products and shopping carts well, but they are not good at building marketing campaigns and various other content types like testimonials, blogs, reviews, and company news. We’ve overcome this problem by building xTupleCommerce on top of the Drupal Content Management System (CMS). The Drupal system handles both eCommerce and content marketing very well. With Drupal we can build content types and make it incredibly easy for customers to manage large amounts of content on their website (blogs, news, marketing pages, landing pages, etc) as well as managing internal ads, promos, homepage carousels, etc.
This article references the use of Content Types. I covered the concept of Content Types
Page Tables are a concept that is built on top of content types. If you’ve never heard of content types you should start by reading the article listed above.
Page Tables are simply the definition of each content type offered to the content manager that will be collecting content. Once they have the content types, they then have a template for exactly what information they need to gather when developing content for the website. This enables the team member to begin collecting, organizing and formatting content before the project is even in the design phase.
The term “Content Types” is a technical term that I’ve adapted from the Drupal world. Content Types simply refer to types of content that could be on your site. For example, News could be a content type on your site. This is a type of content that appears over and over again and always has the same structure. For instance, when you are on most websites and are viewing the News you’ll notice that the structure of the news is almost always the same.
Offering the ability to work with pricing schedules on B2B eCommerce sites turned out to be one of the most desired features from potential customers when our team was building xTupleCommerce. Not familiar with Pricing Schedules? Let me explain. Imagine that you are a wholesale distributor and you had many “Partners” that bought your products to then turn around and resell them. The partners will expect a price break on your products and as the wholesale distributor it’s worth it to you to negotiate a rate at which you will sell products to this partner versus other partners or customers. If this partitular partner will possibly bring you a lot of business, you might be willing to give them a great rate. If the partner seems to be a newbie and might not bring a lot of business, you might not give such a great rate. So on and so forth. Those special rates are called Pricing Schedules.