This Product Listing Mistake Could Cost You Sales And Bad Customer Reviews

Have you had one of those moments where you’re getting your product listing together and you’re about to upload your photos only to realize you didn’t take the right photos for your listing?

I know, I’ve been there before.

Then you think, “Do I have any photos I can reuse instead so I don’t have to set everything up to take photos?”

Yup, I’ve been there too!

It can be really tempting to cut corners when it comes to product photography, but it can backfire on you.

Recently I was browsing shop listings on Etsy and noticed a number of sellers reusing the same product photos for listings. You may wonder what’s the big deal? The problem was I was seeing product photos that were not matching what was being written in the product title or the description.

Here’s an example of the kind of listings I was seeing.

As you can see one bottle is the blue glass bottle dropper which is described in the listing title. The other one is an amber glass bottle with a sprayer.

Does this look confusing to you? The photo isn’t reflecting the title properly because it’s showing 2 different types of bottles and not 2 of the same bottle.

Here’s another example. Let’s say you were looking to buy washi tape and you came across this listing for 5 rolls of color washi tape.

The listing says it’s for 5 rolls of tape but the photo is showing 6 rolls. Wouldn’t it make you wonder as a customer why there are 6 rolls of tape shown instead of 5? And if you were to buy it, wouldn’t you wonder what colors you’d receive? Would you end up with the 6 shown?

Were these sellers thinking, “Oh, the photo has the product I’m selling in it. It doesn’t matter what’s in the photo. Customers will figure it out because it’s in the description.” Or were they being lazy? Whatever the reason is, it’s not ok!

As consumers, we assume what we see in photos when shopping online is what we’re going to get, right? Yes, people read but not everyone does. So even if the product title and description say one thing, but the photos are saying something else, people are more likely to assume what they’re receiving is what you’re showing them in your photos.

This is why it’s so important to think out what type of shots you want to take for each of your products. You want to make sure what you’re photographing is what a customer is going to receive and it doesn’t leave any room for confusion or misunderstanding. 

It’s also a good reminder that the product your selling has to be the star of the photo. Remove anything else that can distract or take away from your product, including other products if needed! You need to make it easy for your customer to understand what you’re selling in each listing.

If they’re confused, they’re going to leave your shop or website and go to another business that has their act together. If they do purchase from you, it could result in an unhappy customer saying they didn’t receive what was shown in the listing and leave you a bad review. And who wants that??

Your photos (and description!) need to accurately represent what you’re selling and what your customer will receive. Yes, it can be a total chore photographing your products, especially if you have a lot of products to list, but the last thing you want to do confuse and drive away customers from your shop because you weren’t being detailed-oriented with your listings.

So how do you avoid this?

Organize your product photos

Make sure you have a folder for each product you sell with all the images for your listing. This can make it easy to locate the photos you need when you need to create a listing.

Make a shot list for your products

Note what shots you want to take for each of your products and as you complete each shot, check it off! This way you know you took the photo and you can move on to the next shot or the next product.

Focus on one product per listing

Only show one product per listing. If you offer variations of a product such as other colors or sizes, make sure it’s reflected and clear in your photos and is available for purchase in your listing.

Double and triple check your listing

Make sure your photos, product title, and description are all communicating the same thing. Is there anything that’s not clear? Is what you’re saying in your description and title reflective in the photos and vice versa? You can always see if a friend or family member can look over your listing to make sure it’s clear and easy to understand.

Taking the time to be thoughtful and detail-oriented when it comes to your product photos can really pay off big time for your business. It can result in communicating the value of your work, increase your views and sales, attract new opportunities and features, and build trust with your audience.

About the author

Imelda Jimenez-LaMar is a product photography coach and former Etsy seller, who said goodbye to her corporate job to create a business teaching photography. She is on a mission to demystify product photography for makers who want to create product photos that sell their handmade products online and grow their handmade business.

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