Are you proud of what you sell? Then show it!

Having got my rant about “lightweight” product pages off my chest, I’d like to move our discussion of the perfect product page on to illustration. While a picture can substitute for a thousand words, it’s really a separate, and equally crucial element of the page. I’m quite aware of how unexciting springs, software boxes or K-type thermocouples can look, but to the potential customer, a picture proves that the product exists.

If your product is quite different from anything else on the market, of course you’ll want to show it. But equally, if it looks the same as everyone else’s, a photo is just as important, because your prospects will probably want reassurance that they’re not buying something which is weird.

And great photos sell products. I worked in the electronics press for a short while in the late eighties, and the manufacturers there were masters at taking great photos. No editor was going to publish a photo of a little black microprocessor sitting on a plain background. Boring! But on a bed of colourful Smarties? Now that would make the readers look.

Sadly, too few manufacturers exercise any creativity in their product photography, which is a shame. It doesn’t have to be silly, just eye-catching while remaining informative. However uninspiring the product you sell, type it into Google Images and see what other people have done with their product shots.

And do give the photo (or even better, photos) room to be seen properly. Look in your website analytics and you’ll probably find that 95% of your visitors have screen widths of 1,024 pixels or higher, and 80-90% have at least 1,280 pixels. Your website pages ought to be designed to fill this space, so there’s no reason to shrink your photo down to a tiny 200 pixels wide. Show the photos nice and big, and allow people to click on them to see them even bigger. Be proud of what you sell. It might not be as glamorous as manufacturers selling cars or jewellery, but it’s what your prospects are interested in.

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