How to Take Product Photos for Your Store Like a Pro But on the Cheap

As online shopping continues to grow market share, the sense of touch has been removed from the buying process, making visual appeal more important than ever. According to ecommerce consultant BigCommerce, two-thirds of consumers rate image quality as “very important” when it comes to online purchases.

Before you rush out and hire a pricey photographer, check out these great tips for cost-effective and professional-looking DIY photos.

1. Technique Is More Important than Equipment

Don’t let anyone talk you into dropping hundreds or thousands of dollars on a state-of-the-art camera. If you can afford it, then by all means, but modestly priced cameras and even smart phones are capable of producing high-quality photos. Decisions such as lighting, staging and processing play a more significant role.

2. Create Your “Studio”

• Set up a table as close to a window as possible without getting into the shadow cast by the windowsill.

• Use poster board or mats to create a generic white background, “sweeping” it from the horizontal tabletop to the vertical wall to provide a seamless look.

• You’ll need at least two lights. Clamp-style is preferable as they stay in place but can be easily moved around. Make sure to use identical light bulbs with a cooler shade.

3. Include Action Shots When Appropriate

In many cases the white background will be sufficient, but some products have more appeal when shown in use. For instance, a picture of a person wearing sunglasses can be more attractive to potential customers.

4. Don’t Stop at One

Take a number of pictures of your product from a variety of sides and angles. Multiple views are the best way to overcome the two-dimensional aspect of online images.

5. Keep It RAW

For best results you should shoot in RAW format, which captures all of the visual data and gives you greater latitude in editing. In addition, changes don’t affect the original file so you won’t have to worry about losing data.

6. Evaluate and Adjust

After every session, review your work with a critical eye to see what worked and what didn’t, and then apply your findings to future photo shoots.

Ecommerce Fulfillment Services for the Busy Entrepreneur

Are inventory, order processing and logistics taking valuable time away from the business of driving sales? Contact Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics to learn more about our comprehensive ecommerce fulfillment services.

A Quick Fulfillment Guide to Happier Customers

Operating as a team to boost your success.

It takes a village to make your customers happy. At every point in the supply chain, there is an effect on customer satisfaction. At Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics and Sprocket Express, we call this the satisfaction chain.

Along the way, there are basic principles that you can use to specifically encourage higher consumer confidence. For happier customers, we recommend these six strategy points.

1. Always Be Accurate

Mistakes stick out and they hurt a brand’s reputation. No matter the size or severity of the error, there is an impact. Adhering to the highest standard of accuracy and insisting upon the same level of accuracy from business partners creates a supply chain with fewer weak links. If each vendor has this priority on accuracy, there will simply be less mistakes.

Fewer errors means fewer returns, less special handling charges, higher customer retention, better overall satisfaction, and less headaches for you.

2. Transparency is Solid

Recently, customers became more interested in seeing real-time inventory levels. To some businesses, this was not only intrusive, but unimportant to the selling process. However, Business Insider recently reported that 66% of customers prefer a business with transparent inventory across digital platforms.

Both the shopping cart software and fulfillment coordination must operate correctly and in tandem to provide this result. We recommend discussing this with a Medallion or Sprocket sales rep more information.

3. Just Ask

Your customers have opinions and they are the best source of constructive feedback, but they won’t always make the first move. Make sure to ask for reviews and feedback with language such as: “We invite you to contribute online feedback about our products/services.” To build a stronger relationship, show appreciation with customized promotions and offers. Customers will be happy both to be asked and to be rewarded.

There are many ways to encourage more reviews for your business, but the most important is to simply ask. Millennial consumers have made it clear that they are more likely to buy products that have been recommended by friends and even social media influencers, though they might not be personally acquainted.

4. Speed is Needed

Fast, faster, fastest are the new categories. Consumers have no time or patience to wait for packages because the normal lead time is now just two days. As automation of last-mile delivery increases in prevalence and capability, we expect to see more same day deliveries.

Keep customers happy with expedited shipping options (most are willing to pay extra for this perk) and quick fulfillment. Logistics providers who are not offering same day shipping are falling behind in the market.

5. Bend and Flex

No one likes a strict rule when it works against them. Although it is clearly necessary to have protocols and schedules, a little flexibility goes a long way towards customer happiness.

Do you offer a generous returns policy? Are customers able to make last minute special orders? Your customer service agents must be empowered to offer compensation and special arrangements as they are in the trenches speaking with the consumers themselves.

Consider compensating negative feedback as heartily as positive feedback. Those that have a really memorable experience with your company can become its biggest champions.

6. Be Partners

Your fulfillment provider can be an integral part of your success if you choose the right one and allow them to be partners. A logistics partner can help your business flourish and you will benefit from their years of experience. Whether it’s shipping options, e-commerce packages, returns, storage, or even custom packaging and labeling, a true partner will have positive input to improve your processes and keep your customers happier.

In Closing

Not every fulfillment house is a match for every brand. We invite you to read our guide to choosing the best fulfillment partner for your business and encourage you to phone us for a free price quote at 800-260-8250.

Limited Time and Limited Stock Offers – Why Scarcity Gets Shoppers to Commit

Are you creating the sense of urgency necessary to cinch sales? Turns out, losing the lollygagging looky loos and getting shoppers to commit may be simpler than you think.

Urgency & Sales Motivation

To prevent people from “thinking about it” and possibly forgetting about it   scarcity is key to taking advantage of the buyer psychology not to miss out. Limited time offers and limited stock prevent pesky procrastination.

How Much Does Scarcity Affect Buying Decisions?

In a study by WhichTestWon, a simple countdown timer resulted in nearly 9% better conversions than a product page without a timer. Another retail study conducted by Digital Commons at the University of Nebraska indicated consumer competitiveness, in-store hiding and hoarding, and urgency to purchase in stores using perceived scarcity strategies including limited quantities and limited time sales.

What Types of Perceived Scarcity Tactics Can You Put to Work for Your Business?

• Limited time offers
Time restricted sales, such as holiday and game-day themed offers ramp-up the psychological trigger to avoid loss.

• Limited quantity
Use limited stock to your advantage, showing scarcity to boost perceived value. Advertising real-time stock is a great way to accomplish this.

• Limited quantity/limited price
Airlines use this all the time, boasting “only 3 seats at $50.” The rest may be $51, or $40, but since they don’t show availability – the buying public remains unaware.

• Flash sales
Very limited time offers on hand-selected items.

• Product page countdown timers
Rather than simply posting the date, countdown timers ticking away the sale offer a visual reminder of product scarcity.

• Timed shopping offers
Express and free shipping deals for those that act fast are another super incentive.

• Copy-writing tactics
The language you use can also create urgency, such as “Going fast!” or “Supply is limited!”

The Devil in the Details

Remember, the goal here is to motivate purchases – not lie to customers, which creates a bad image for your brand. Base all scarcity tactics on something – a need to make room for the upcoming season’s inventory, overstock. Don’t just toss a timer on a page and expect a sales boost. And don’t overdo it. Encourage procrastinators – but don’t pressure customers and incite buyer’s remorse.

Getting shoppers to commit is easy with rapid response and delivery. Make things happen with the help of Medallion Fulfillment and Logistics for you order processing and fulfillment needs. Learn more today.

Don’t Burn Up Profits Using Discounts & Specials

Using discounts and specials to drive traffic to your site can be a double-edged sword. Used properly, such sales offers are a powerful tool for boosting conversions. Used haphazardly, however, they can eat-up profits and burn your brand. Effectively utilizing discounts and specials without damaging your brand takes a bit of finesse.

Step-1: Brand Strategy

Brand strategy is essential in choosing the best type of sales offer(s) for your biz. For brands boasting deep discounts and healthy margins, daily or weekly sales may be better for boosting sales. Higher-end brands with slimmer margins, however, do better with customer loyalty-type offers. (This prevents driving in non-loyal/price-driven shoppers.)

Step-2: Selecting a Discount-Type

Popular options include:

  • Percentage off.
    Most common with sub-$100 sales, these range from overall, small 5-20% discounts to larger 50%+ single-item liquidations.
  • Dollar value discounts.
    Most commonly used with sales over $100, pair these with a minimum purchase.
  • Free shipping with minimum purchase.
    Shipping is the #1 reason for cart abandonment!
  • Free gift.
    A great incentive – and a way to rid product that’s not moving.

Step-3: Determining Timing

  • Go weekly or monthly to drive sales and help meet revenue goals.
  • Use pre-launch offers to drive traffic and boost interest in new items/businesses.
  • Take advantage of holidays and seasonal milestones to stretch revenue.

Step-4: Converting Missed Opportunities

Sales offers can also help you nab looky loos.

  • Abandoned cart emails bearing free shipping/discount offers are a powerful conversion tool.
  • Social, email, & newsletter subscriptions offers help you broaden your customer base.
  • “Like”, “follow”, “share” & other referral promos are a wonderful way to widen word-of-mouth.
  • First-time shopper offers are a great nudge.
  • Customer loyalty offers keep shoppers coming back for more.

Struggling to keep up with packaging and shipping needs after using discounts and specials? Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics can help. Contact us today.

$0 to Decent: How to Jump Start Ecommerce Sales

Did you assume that sales would come rolling in once you set up your virtual storefront? People can’t just magically sense that you’re ready to sell them the product or service they’ve been looking for. You need a proactive strategy to drive traffic to your “door” and convert viewers to customers.

Your marketing plan doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Once you get people to your site, their activities will let you know if anything needs to be tweaked or revised. Here are some tested methods for driving traffic, moving from basic to more sophisticated.

Take Advantage of Free Networking Channels

• Spread the word about your business to all your contacts via email and social media accounts. Even if your friends and family don’t make a purchase, they can share a link with members of their network which can be just as valuable.

• Share a link to your store in online forums and communities where your target audience is likely to congregate. Offering discount codes will pique interest and help you track where the customers are coming from.

Create Paid Advertising Programs

• Online advertising is more cost-effective than you may think. Most channels charge per click only, and you can get started for as little as $10.

• Each platform has its own pros and cons. Do your research and choose ones that are likely to attract your target market.

Tap Into Existing Audiences

• There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Develop synergy through strategic partnerships with companies that are non-competitive but have overlapping target bases.

• Reach out to bloggers who may be receptive to writing a review or news story highlighting your product or service. Another possibility is writing guest blogs to position yourself as an expert in your field.

The best marketing programs are fluid, not static. Using these methods will give you solid feedback you can use to evaluate and refine strategies.

Save Time and Money with Ecommerce Fulfillment Services

Put your time and energy where it belongs, in developing marketing plans and generating sales. Our ecommerce fulfillment services can handle all your needs from inventory management to order processing and shipping. Contact Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics to learn more about our services.