You’re taught when you are a little to not judge a book by its cover. You see people or things and instantly form opinions. Its wrong.
We know we shouldn’t do it. Not only shouldn’t we do it, we have been proven wrong many times.
I’ve done it myself and feel terrible about it. Unfortunately appearance is everything online.
My Embarrassing Screw Up
About 10 years ago I was getting gas late at night. I ran inside to grab an ice tea. When I came out, there was a guy sitting on the curb outside of the convenience store.
He looked disheveled and I thought he was homeless. As I came out of the convenience store, I handed him my change. He politely took the money and then looked at me with a face of disgust.
He said “I’m not homeless.”
I shrunk to about 6 inches tall and apologized to him. I quickly made my way back to my car and told my wife.
She thought this was hysterical.
Here I am trying to do a nice thing, and I completely insulted this guy. I made an assumption based on his appearance.
I will never forget that day and my wife continues to make sure I don’t.
Its Wrong but Appearance Is Everything
So regardless of experiences like this, we continue to make opinions and assumptions. We see things and people, and judge them based on how it looks.
We can’t stop ourselves.
Its human nature.
So its wrong, and we know that. I may be able to change myself but I’m unable to change other peoples habits.
The Internet Give Us No Choice
When meeting people, you have the opportunity to get to know them further before judging them.
The internet is different. Honestly, if I’m looking to by inserts for my shoes, I don’t really need to date the company.
I want to look at the product, look at the site, and make my decision. Sometimes this is a 5 minute relationship.
I have no option but to judge by the sites looks. Appearance is everything. Right or wrong.
I Have To Embrace The Mantra
Although its wrong, its what people do. We are trying to sell more products or services.
That means our first impression has to be dead on. It has to look great. Regardless of what you are selling, appearance is everything.
If we’re selling a software solution, you have to match your message with your demographic.
Who are your shoppers and what are they looking for?
What solution are they looking for and how are you going to solve it?
The Appearance of Our Software
With our form solution for Colorado Real Estate Brokers we wanted to stress simplicity. We felt from looking at competitors solutions that they were overly complex.
They offered just about every feature in the world.
Unfortunately people aren’t looking for every feature in the world.
We decided we would strip out the nonsense. We would stress the simplicity of our software.
We wanted a brand that was approachable and software that felt friendly. See our post on getting your business online with a name that works.
We think we have done this and it has worked great for us.
But not everything should show the same message or convey the same feelings.
No Two Sites Are The Same
Our software needed to look and feel friendly and approachable. But my wifes online store offers trendy fashion jewelry.
Her site and images need to look high fashion and sophisticated. Not only does the feel of the site need to be professional, her images need to be high quality.
In our comprehensive book on Starting an Online Business, I go into this in detail.
I believe strongly that imagery on your online store is one of the most important factors. Its one of a few factors in decision making process.
In my wife’s case, she is selling jewelry. People are spending a lot of money. The products need to look fashionable, and beautiful.
Additionally people need to be able to imagine or visualize the jewelry on.
Consistency with your images can differentiate your from your competitors. I don’t like the sloppy look of mis-sized images with different backgrounds. You need high quality images of your products.
The 4 Buying Decisions Factors: Spoiler Alert (appearance is everything)
People are basing their buying decision on three or four factors.
- Who you are and the image that you present as a brand
- The product and the images of the product
- The description of the product
- Reviews if available
That means that imagery accounts for 50% if not more of the buying decisions. Appearance is everything.
You Must Play Into The Appearance Game
Give people what they are looking for.
Many brands will provide high resolution imagery and model shots for various products. Some photos you are going to have to take yourself.
If you are sourcing your own products or making your own products then you are on your own.
You may not have the budget to hire a professional photographer.
In another post I will write about how we take photos for our online store. For this post, lets assume you have images.
I understand you may not be a Photoshop wizard.
GOOD NEWS: There are some simple image editing tools online. Additionally some online ecommerce platforms have built in tools. I discuss some of my favorites in my post on 20 Free Blog Graphics Sites if you are interested.
Additionally you can get our free resource guide here. This lists many of these free tools to help you edit your images.
Keep It Clean Buddy
While these tools are helpful for resizing and creating marketing images, they are cumbersome to remove backgrounds.
One of the easiest ways to make your products pop is to place them on a clean white background. Look below at the difference in these two.
You must have clean bright images. You don’t want anything to detract from the product itself. We currently use a service called Pixelz.
Up untill last week Pixelz was known as Remove the Background. A simple name but one that clearly defined what they did. They have rebranded in an attempt to offer extra services.
Regardless they are an incredible tool. (disclaimer if you do sign up, they will give us a little something for it. Thank you 🙂 )
What Is Remove The Background (AKA Pixelz)
Pixelz or Remove the Background allows you to upload your images. Once uploaded you define the specific dimensions you want the images returned in. They then remove the background.
It’s that simple
I believe that all images on your site should be the same dimensions. Its up to you but consistency looks clean and professional. If appearance is everything than this matters.
In addition to the dimensions of the picture, you can define the amount of padding you want around the images.
Besides shadows, they remove colors, blemishes, tags, and other items that detract from the product.
All this for $1.45 an image and turned around in 24 hours.
Bonus: If you can wait 5 business days they will take 20 cents off each one.
Appearance is Everything But Time is Money
I know the cliches are a little much but I had to.
When first starting out, my wife would edit the images herself or I would help. It was labor intensive but we were watching the bottom line.
We didn’t want to spend on anything that we didn’t have to. Our time was valuable but didn’t actually mean cash out of pocket.
Maybe this was foolish, but my wife got to profitability in months instead of years.
Watching expenses allowed her to pay back her startup capital and start making money quickly.
It was an ends to a means and once the business could support using services to free time for us, she did. These images are no longer done by us at all. We use Pixelz for all images.
The opportunity cost of doing them ourselves doesn’t make sense at this stage of her online store.
Just like her Thank You notes, once you can afford to and it makes sense, you can start outsourcing various parts of your business.
You Don’t Have to Be Superficial But Remember The Herd Is
Consistent image sizes or high res images may not be important to you. Maybe you don’t care or see the point in stressing over it.
Remember its not about you. You are selling to a picky audience with lots of options online. Appearance is everything and you don’t want to give any reasons for people not to buy.
Make it look professional. Spend the time or the money to make your images give that incredible first impression.
It may be all you get. Appearance is Everything
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