We who sell to the public on-line are constantly working on many aspects of our virtual shops to be visible to the greatest number of people possible, and we must constantly re-evaluate any strategies that we use to gauge their effectiveness. When you sell on-line, your most important tool is the photographs of your items.
Taking great photographs, as I have learned the hard way, is not simple. You have to consider staging, lighting, which features to highlight, and how to fix bogus colors in photography editing software.
The following photograph consists of screen shots of my Sold! Set on Flickr. It provides a visual history of my photographic learning curve and lets me draw some conclusions about my photographic choices and their affect on sales.
Images below the green line were taken over a period of 41 months and an average of 3½ sales per month of photography. As you can see, I was mostly trying to photograph against a white background, but was having difficulty with the white balance and getting true colors. I experimented with scrapbook paper backgrounds, different objects around the house (a bunch of crystal grapes, book covers, a leather box, an iron cross, etc.), and even built a light tent and later bought a whole light box set up. As you can see, there is no consistency in these photographs, and consistency is crucial to building a brand. Simplified, this means when buyers see a photograph of one of my items, they easily recognize it as my work and not the work of a different artist. Something is needed to give this cohesion.
Above the green line was my attempt to create a cohesive brand using a fairy forest background, and it failed miserably. For the 8 months that I struggled with this set up, sales per month of photography dropped to 1.6, a problem I might have recognized earlier if I had compared a few months of sales from the “green” period to the earlier period.
As I have blogged before, I decided to undertake a complete overhaul of my boutique, starting with the photographs. These photographs are above the grey line in the historical record above. These images were all taken in a one month period against a dark background and document an increase in sales of 14 items per month of photography. The dark background provides the consistency and cohesion I previously missed, and the new images ZING!
The moral of this post?
While you must look at sales, revenue, and traffic as guidelines to the success of changes that you make to your shop, these are not the only indicators that can, and should, be used. Although it seemed to me before that sales were slow, this photographic history, with the two evaluations of the aforementioned factors, provides ample evidence it is untrue.
How encouraging! I think it’s time for a happy dance…