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Wednesday, Apr. 1, 2009 at 6:54 am

Want Me to Show You the Money? Show Me the Pics!

By Jeff Sexton
April 1st, 2009

Pears Example BHolly Buchanan taught me that reviews help sales not only by offering more credible information (than the biased marketing copy), but also by answering questions that the copy fails to address.

Her favorite example is a review on a pair of Reef’s Fanning flip flops.  Holly needed to know if the bottle opener was sunk far enough into the sole to prevent it scratching floors, boat decks, etc.  The website copy had nothing on this, but one customers review provided the answer – leading to Holly’s successful purchase of arguably the coolest flip flops going.

I feel the same way about product pictures.  Product pictures don’t just show me “what it looks like.”  Hi-res, multiple angle pictures answer questions:

Show me the back of the product
so I can see the connections for electronics, and so I can see if the charm is hollow or solid, or so I can see if the sweater pattern is continued on the back, or if the jacket is gusseted to allow movement, etc.

Show me how big (or small) the product really is.  Do this by showing it worn by a model or placed next to another object of known size like a playing card or a quarter, etc.

Show me a side view so I can gauge the product’s “heft.”  Show me the top of the kitchen knife and I can see if it’s made of thick stock or if it’s a super slim slicer.  Show me how thick the watch is and how it’ll sit on my wrist.  Show me how bulky that fishing sweater is.

Show me the bottom so I can see the treads of the shoes.  Or I can see if the electronic box has rubber feet or not.  Or I can see what kind of access to the electronic gizmo provides me.  Or I can see how the attention to detail has been lavished on the fit and finish of the item.

Show me the item in action. Either with video or through action shots, show me how the thing works, or at least what it looks like in action.  Bryan Eisenberg has a great comparison between a static picture of a pear and picture of a juicy succulent scoop of pair flesh recently scooped out and offered to the viewer.  It’s the action shot that’s always preferred by pear lovers.  And that’s just freakin’ fruit for god’s sake.  Show me the water seal beading water.  Show me the one-coat paint covering over a red wall in one smooth brush stroke.

Product videos have gotten a lot of press about their ability to boost product sales.  But it’s not about the magic of video.  It’s about the magic of answering customers questions and concerns through pictures.  Moving pictures just help you capture more angles and to better capture motion/action than still pics.

So don’t skimp on the product photos.  Show ‘em the pics, and your customers will show you the money.

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Comments (22)

  1. Great article. This reminds me of a lady who talked to my old boss about how she wrote a blog post describing an X-Box 360 in full detail including every vent, etc. and how she had hordes of traffic.

  2. [...] The original article – “Want me to Show You The Money? Show Me The Pics!” can be found here [...]

  3. Recently I gave a lot of though on how product images can affect sales. And during my research I found which offers 360 product view photography. I think it is a viable solution for e-commerce and it’s not expensive. I couldn’t find this technique in too many stores but I liked how various products can be shown using this method. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any serious case studies too see if it does any good for online shops. Anyone knows if this will help?

  4. Great article Jeff. Though the fact that you know what a gusseted jacket is frightens me a little.

    (but I guess a stylish guy like you is up on these things :)

    I’ve found that women especially respond to multiple and quality product images. they can be pickier shoppers with more criteria that matters to them, so anything you can do to address her questions can only help increse conversion.

    Think of what she’d do if she were looking at a product in a store – what would she look at? How would she examine the product? Try to recreate that online.

    Good stuff as always


  5. [...] Want Me to Show You the Money? Show Me the Pics! [...]

  6. This post reminds me of the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”. It’s true! A have a few blogs where I post a lot of pics to attract visitors to read my posts.

  7. [...] Want Me to Show You the Money? Show Me the Pics! [Grokdotcom] [...]

  8. Did you say flip-flops with a bottle opener in the sole? Sure would like to see a picture of that!

  9. Susan,

    Click on any of these products and you’ll get the traditional Zappos-360 shots:

    - Jeff

  10. Yes, a picture is really worth a 1000 words. Especially when making a purchasing decision online.

  11. Do pictures submitted from “owners of a product” in addition to the pro-shots give any more credibility or conversion boost(in the same fashion as reviews)?

    I would assume it would depend on the product (and the photos). I’ve been on sites where they include links to user submitted galleries of the products in action, but most of the time the photos themselves are poorly taken (cell phones etc.)

    Was curious if you had any info on studies of the positive or negative effects businesses have had doing this.

  12. [...] been reading a post on the Future Now blog where Jeff Sexton explains how effective use of product images can answer questions and ease a [...]

  13. [...] as I’ve previously written, question-answering content isn’t just copy. High quality pictures answer questions and concerns. [...]

  14. [...] is very similar to my post on “Show me the pics.”  People want to see what they are buying.  Not only do the pictures answer questions, but [...]

  15. [...] within your regular Website copy. You don’t necessarily have to do it with copy, as pictures, testimonials, videos, user reviews and other site elements can also address these concerns, but [...]

  16. Thinking of images have you had any success with any of the photo sites like flickr for seo purposes?



  17. [...] more about optimizing photographs at Grok. tweetmeme_url = [...]

  18. Quality photography is essential to any form of advertising.

  19. Great points, thanks.

  20. Hey man what you mean actually i didn’t get you from this scare data.

  21. Sounds like showing the pictures of your previous work.

  22. Jason, there are another good solluton for creating 360 degree view, it’s called , take a look.

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Jeff is a Persuasion Architect, Web copywriter, blogger, and instructor of FutureNow's Persuasive Online Copywriting workshop. Follow Jeff Sexton on twitter

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