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March 19, 2019

315 Q&A Tuesday: Product Photography for Amazon Sellers

Today we have a Q and A Tuesday. Every so often we get some questions from the Facebook group that I think would be good to share with you. If you’d like to join us, please go to the Facebook group.

Today’s Question

Today’s question comes from Craig, and it is about product photography:

Hi All – any advice on specific tactics, tools, outsourcing, etc on getting the proper creative help needed to ensure product photography is a complete success? At first, I was considering getting the photo light box and trying that on my own; or maybe should I ask the China supplier for what images they can provide? Or is it best to look for external creative help to really nail this? Thanks in advance.

It Depends on the Current Business Phase

First thing of all is: have a clear objective for every tool you use in every part of your business. Including Photography.

So before you worry about photography, be clear minded.

Which phase of business development are you in?

Selling a Generic Product for Less than $1,000

If you’re trying out a generic product for <$1000, it MAY make sense to do a lightbox yourself. But that said, if your photos look terrible, you’re testing whether you can sell a product with terrible photos. These days, the answer is usually “NO!”

In that case, your suppliers’ photos may be the answer. Depends on quality. .

If You’re Private Labeling

If you’re private labeling, ie bulk order, don’t even think of doing your own amateurish shots. Get a fully fledged pro involved.

The maths of great photography is messy in the precise numbers but the principle is easy:

Crap photos cost £100 maybe or even free if you do it yourself. But if you convert at say 5% with rubbish shots and 15% with great ones (and yes it does make that kind of difference) and say you’re spending $1 per click – you’re going to spend $1000s wasted on rubbish shots.

Decent shots are generally WAY better value.

Working With a Photographer

When you engage a photographer and are private labeling, you still need to be clear-minded.

Who is your target customer? What exact pains are you solving for them?

How are you differentiated exactly from the competition?

What infographics do you need to get your points across?

In terms of more detailed guidance, Rob Sleath is a fantastic person to help with this since he is not only an Amazon seller himself and is currently the director of ecommerce for a medium size company, he has years of product photography experience behind him.

It gives him the perspective to put photography in a strategic business context. So check out the interview I did with him in episode 255 for more information.

Another DIY Option

There was another comment in response to Craig’s question:

Find a friend with a DSLR. Take a picture of the product in a bathtub with good lighting. Play around with the aperture

My Response

Sure, you can do that if it’s for a generic test launch. But if you’re going to Private Label, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to work with a REALLY good pro photographer.

Amateurish photos are just death to conversions. Not worth it.

Apart from product spend on a quality product, THE top priority for spending is quality images.

**Just make sure it DOES make sense for your business!**

Looking at the Numbers

If you’re spending say $5,000 on your first private label order, you should be looking to spend 5-10% of that on images. If you spread that cost over multiple units over 2-3 years, it’s usually not that much per unit, and it is way outweighed by the increased conversion rate.

If you can only afford say 5% of that on images because of cash flow, so be it. But spending even say $3000 on product and nothing on images makes ZERO sense in my book.

Here’s Why

Amazon IS 80-90% image marketing. The words do make a difference but they can’t compensate for substandard photos.

I can’t emphasize this enough. It is critical to create fantastic shots because that’s MINIMUM standard on Amazon now.

Think this through

  • Shoppers don’t buy products on Amazon. Ever.
  • They buy an OFFER, and the majority of the impact of that offer is image and price.
  • Image is #1 thing you control. By FAR.

Price is ultimately up to the market. Or rather – you can price as high as you want, but you can’t make the market buy at a given price! So sooner or later, you HAVE to balance price with volume.

Therefore, after you’ve picked a niche, the most important possible action, apart from sourcing a great product, is getting GREAT images.

Again, to join a community of over 1,400 sellers, be sure to join the Facebook group.

Watch Q&A Tuesday: Product Photography for Amazon Sellers

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Michael Veazey

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