Designing Digital B2B Catalogs to Boost Sales and Reach

Over the last decade, the migration from print to digital catalogs has transformed B2B platforms. Most modern buyers expect digital solutions, and the rise of e-commerce has also ushered in the necessity of easy, convenient browsing and purchasing. The writing is on the wall: you need a high-quality, descriptive, polished digital catalog to build sales and increase the visibility of your brand. In this write-up, we’ll look at how experts in the B2B industry are designing digital catalogs to boost sales and reach—and how you can do the same for your business.

How Digital Catalogs Increase Your Sales

A well-designed digital catalog is convenient, accessible, and engaging and offers significant advantages over traditional print catalogs. Below, we’ll look at some of the main reasons you should consider investing in a digital catalog. 

Streamlined Shopping

It might go without saying, but paper catalogs lack one of the greatest advantages of a digital catalog: built-in purchasing features. Digital catalogs remove this friction by letting users quickly research products, access customer support, and check out without ever leaving your site. This makes for a smoother customer experience and significantly reduces the amount you need to invest in processing orders. 

Accessible Purchasing

According to Gartner, 77% of B2B buyers say their latest purchase was complex or difficult, demonstrating the necessity of a seamless and straightforward customer buying experience. Well-designed digital catalogs can ease many of the pain points experienced by B2B buyers, making it easier for them to say yes.

Engaging Content

Digital catalogs allow you to add robust, engaging features for your visitors like expanded product information, video content, zoom-in functionality and detailed product views, FAQs, and more. With a print catalog, space is at a premium—but with a digital catalog, you can give your buyers as much content as they need to feel confident in purchasing from you. 

Why Are Digital Catalogs a Good Fit for B2B E-Commerce Sites?

There are several reasons why a digital catalog is essential to the modern B2B business and why it’s a natural fit for boosting your sales and visibility.

1.    Multi-channel compatibility

You need to ensure your catalog is available and accessible wherever your customers are: on their smartphone, on a tablet, or on desktop. Digital catalogs are versatile and flexible, which makes them highly competitive in the B2B market, where customers expect to have their purchasing options only a click away.

2.    Increase sales

With a digital catalog, you make the buyer journey easy and comfortable. A digital catalog allows for many different shopping experiences, from casual browsing to searching directly for the desired products, and it’s also discoverable via many channels, from social media to search engines. By simplifying the browsing and buying process for all your potential purchasers, you encourage visitors to turn into loyal customers.

3.    Showcasing products at their best

Creating digital catalogs allows B2B companies to present their products in unprecedented detail. Captivating detailed product photos, engaging video content, and reviews from satisfied customers are all displayed with your product listings, making for a thoroughly enticing shopping experience.

How to Design a Compelling Digital Catalog

Despite the many advantages of a digital catalog, designing a catalog that stands out from the pack still requires a deft touch. Below are some of the most important considerations for creating your catalog.

1.    Analyze buying patterns

Before building a B2B catalog, you must understand your customers’ buying patterns. Leverage this data analysis to organize your catalog, prioritizing your customers’ time and presenting them with the most relevant products and information. What kinds of information do your customers seek out before they choose to buy? Ease their decision process by making that information highly accessible.

2.    Categorize products

For this section, you’ll need to put yourself in your buyers’ shoes. How can you make it as easy as possible for them to find what they’re looking for? Take time to ensure that your navigation is logical, easy to understand, and geared toward your unique collection of products. Sub-categories should be related to your top-line categories so that users never question where to find what they’re looking for.

3.    Arrange products by brand

Many buyers will have preferred brands. Make it easy for them to find products by the brand as well as by category. If you offer your own product line, this also allows you to highlight your products and distinguish them from other brands you might offer.

4.    Sort products by season

Anticipate the needs of your customers and their buying patterns by offering up the most seasonally relevant products in their own categories and promoting them at the appropriate times of year. This is also a great way to promote sales for off-season products.

5.    Include product images

As many as possible! You don’t need to cover every millimeter of your products in the photos, but having a variety of accurate, high-quality images gives your listings credibility and a professional shine. You can employ AI-powered editing tools for perfectly styled product images.

6.    Use relevant headings

Build out the pages for each product category by including relevant headings and subheadings. This is a chance to show your knowledge of the products you offer and lets buyers know that they are purchasing from a business with a thoughtful, human touch.

7.    Structure product descriptions

Structure your product descriptions consistently and logically, allowing buyers to find all the relevant information in one place. A thorough product description can also prevent accidental or unwanted purchases, reducing returns and frustrated buyers.

8.    Invest in search functionality

Make sure it’s simple for customers who know what they want to find it right away, skipping straight from browsing to buying. Intelligent search algorithms, advanced and customized filtering options, and sort options will all help your buyers locate their preferred products easily. For example, if you operate an outdoor recreation supply business with a category for shoes, allowing customers to filter by shoe size and width will prevent them from needing to click into product listings, only to discover that the sizes they need are not offered.

9.    Use e-commerce integrations

Use integrations to make implementing your catalog easier while increasing convenience for your customers. Consider integrations for necessities like payment handling, inventory management, customer relationship management, and accounting.  

Bottom Line

Digital catalogs are an all-in-one solution where customers can

  1.     Find all the information they need to make their purchases
  2.     Place orders
  3.     Access customer support
  4.     Check out directly from the catalog

These catalogs hold all the information you’d find in a print catalog, plus much more. They provide buyers with an easy, convenient shopping experience and give B2B retailers a chance to promote their products far and wide. As a B2B business owner, a well-rounded and customer-oriented digital catalog is a tool you can’t afford not to have in your kit.

Product Images – Best Practices for B2B E-Commerce Sites

As a B2B retailer, product images might be the last thing on your mind when you’re building out your e-commerce business. How much could using a few stock images harm your brand? What’s the benefit of investing time and money in fancy photos?

You might think that it’s what on the inside that counts—i.e. the most important thing is the quality of your product itself, not the packaging. But even the highest-quality products won’t turn a profit if potential customers are turned off by a low-quality website. When shopping online, buyers are already taking a leap of faith by ordering a product they can’t hold in their hands, and that goes double for savvy B2B customers. In order to make sales, you need to increase their confidence in your business. A slick, professional web presence will go a long way, and images that capture your brand and highlight the best of your products are a vital part of that.

So where should you invest your efforts when it comes to images? In this post, we’ll take a look at best practices for capturing images that will boost your conversions and keep your customers coming back for more.

Basic Requirements for Product Images on B2B Platforms

Every sales channel has its own specifications. Generally, you’ll find these requirements for product images:

1.    High resolution

Blurry and low-resolution product photos will drive customers away, full stop. Worse, they signal a lack of professionalism and hurt your brand in general. Make sure your images are crisp and high-quality.

2.    Minimalism

For many sales channels, plain white backdrops are required for product images. In general, it’s a good idea not to distract your products with zany patterns or special effects. And you can always start with a white backdrop and add a custom background in post-production if you want to experiment with colors and branding.

3.    Cropping

This may seem obvious, but the consequences of poor cropping can be painful: off-center images in product galleries or products that appear far away because the photo isn’t cropped close enough to highlight it. Make sure your photos are centered and cropped close to show off the product.

4.    Multiple angles and styles

Consider capturing interesting angles to show off every aspect of your products and dressing them up with accessories that help to showcase how customers could style or use them. This helps the product feel real and three-dimensional to your buyers.

Pro tip: Highlight all the unique aspects of your products and be sure to include the details in closeups.

Implementing Best Practices for B2B Product Images

1.    Take a photography course

While it may be tempting to save money by diving straight in without training, remember—buyers can differentiate between amateur and professional shoots, so the quality of your photos will impact their perception of the quality of your goods. You’ll always get the best results with professional guidance. Even a basic class can teach you the essentials of proper lighting, camera settings, and backdrops.

2.    Place your hero images on white backdrops

Always shoot your hero images against white or neutral backdrops. This eliminates visual distractions, intensifies the vibrancy of the colors in your images, and creates a clean look. If you can’t use a crisp white background when capturing your photos, consider editing them with background customization.

3.    Let the product fill 85% of the frame

You don’t want your product to be adrift in a sea of white space or swallowed up in the backdrop. Remember, each product photo represents the chance to communicate with your audience. What are you saying when you let your products be overwhelmed by the background, barely catching the viewer’s attention? Follow this rule to make sure you’re giving your audience the right impression: make sure that your products fill roughly 85% of the frame.

4.    Add zoom-in functionality

This is another feature that you might not think is important for the user experience, but it can significantly enhance their perception of your products. Highly detailed, high-quality images invite your audience to look closer, which in turn helps them feel confident in purchasing from you. Your goal should be to keep your customers from having any doubts about the quality of your products, and a seamless zoom-in feature makes it easy for them to say yes.

5.    Capture your product as it would appear on a store shelf

This goes hand in hand with previous tips about making your products feel real and ready to sell. Your products are being purchased for a retail channel, so help your customers picture how the goods will fit into their physical store. This is a great place to show off the packaging for your products. 

6.    Use lifestyle imagery to tell stories

Showcasing your products in use is a great way to connect with buyers and stand out in the B2B industry. If you have the budget, shoot your product in scenic locations with well-staged props. If this isn’t doable, try using stock photography to create dynamic custom backgrounds for your photos.

7.    Create infographics to keep your buyers on the page

Make it easy for your buyers to quickly capture the information they need from your product gallery. Include logos, key ingredients, dimensions, size charts, etc., as infographics with your product photos. This is just one more way to keep customers on the page and reduce the time it takes to convert each sale.

8.    Optimize your product images

You don’t want to chase your visitors away with poor load times—most buyers won’t hang around for photos to load. Make sure your images are optimized to balance quality with fast load times. This will also boost your SEO for Google image searches.

Why Invest in Product Images?

If you’re still unsure about allocating resources for product images, consider the following:

·   They draw attention

How often have you heard the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words”? Your product images are likely the first thing your customers will see of your brand. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. 

·    They build your brand presence

Fact: People can remember the contents of 2500 pictures with over 90% accuracy after viewing them for only 10 seconds, even 72 hours later. — Crockett, 2010

That’s fantastic news for your branding—but only if you show your customers something worth remembering for the right reasons. You don’t want to leave them thinking your business is unprofessional or forgettable. Take the opportunity to wow them.

·    They help build sales and avoid returns

Good product photos mean more sales conversions because customers feel they can trust your products. Likewise, when your photos cover every angle, you’re less likely to have returns cut into your bottom line and you’ll avoid angry consumers who feel misled by your product imagery.

Remember:

·    Your B2B website needs high-quality images. Not having them is hurting your sales.

·    Having at least one product image is better than nothing, but wherever possible, invest in multiple angles and lifestyle images to fully showcase your images.

·    High-quality images can be a crucial differentiator in establishing a good brand presence.

Bottom Line

Choosing how to allocate your business resources is one of the most important decisions you can make. Naturally, you want to cut corners where possible to keep your expenses low and profits high. But one place you should never cut corners is high-quality images because they will be your brand ambassadors everywhere your products appear. Since digital buyers commit to products without seeing them in person, product images are an essential aspect of establishing yourself as a trusted brand.

The Ultimate Guide to Shopify Images: Sizing, Optimization, and More!

The Ultimate Guide to Shopify Image Size

Shopify is an incredible platform for e-commerce retailers. With multiple payments and shopping cart options, a variety of pricing plans for retailers of different sizes, and flexible options for sales channels, it’s a great place to launch a business. But to make the most of your Shopify store, you need to make it look irresistible to your customers. No matter what you’re selling, stunning images are a must. 

From gorgeous landing page images to conversion-boosting banners, there are a variety of images you’ll want for your Shopify store. And it’s not only about the aesthetics: you’ll need to consider page load times, zooming functionality, and Shopify compatibility.

This quick easy handbook will tell you everything you need to know about Shopify image sizes, formats, and optimization so you can start selling ASAP.

What is the Best Image Size for Shopify?

First off: there’s no one-size-fits-all golden rule for Shopify images. Shopify requires photos to be at least large enough to work with its zoom-in features—but very large images can slow load times on your Shopify page, potentially reducing the number of visitors who stick around to browse your products. Below, we’ll address the use cases you should consider when building your Shopify store.

General Specs for Product Images

Shopify permits a wide range of image sizes. If you’re a business owner or marketer there, you likely already know you can upload up to 250 images for each featured product. But all the images in the world won’t entice buyers if those images aren’t optimized for the platform.

Here are the general Shopify image size recommendations:

i)     Maximum Size: 4472×4472 pixels

ii)   Minimum Size: 800×800 pixels

iii)   Recommended Square Image Size: 2048×2048 pixels

iv)   File size: Maximum 20 MB

v)    Image Resolution: 72 DPI

Attempting to use images larger than 20 MB will affect the speed and scalability of your store. This could result in increased bounce rates. On the other hand, photos less than 800×800 pixels don’t work with Shopify’s zoom-in functionality. 2048×2048 is the ideal size for both desktop and mobile screens. This size ensures a store that is both attractive and has reasonable load times for most shoppers.

General Specs for Favicons

A favicon is a small icon that appears in the URL bar next to the URL. It might seem trivial, but don’t overlook it—your favicon can go a long way towards creating robust brand awareness. The best image size for favicons on Shopify is 32×32 pixels.

General Specs for Logos

The ideal logo size will depend on your Shopify theme, so be sure to follow the recommendations for your specific theme. For example, the Turbo theme suggests a 400×100-pixel logo image for the main menu and 250×200 pixels for the footer. For site optimization reasons, it’s best not to exceed 450×250 pixels. Square logos with a 1:1 ratio work well with most Shopify themes.

The ideal size for featured images and shop backgrounds, which will be very large in most cases, depends on your theme—so make sure to follow Shopify’s guidance for whatever theme you’ve selected to avoid awkwardly sized images. The best aspect ratio for banners is 16:9, regardless of your theme. Overall, you’ll want to opt for images that are at least 1800×1000 pixels.

General Specs for Shopify Login Page Backgrounds

Have you ever noticed that some Shopify stores have beautiful backgrounds on the login page? It’s a great opportunity to keep your brand in front of customers and make their shopping experience more visually interesting and memorable. These images should be 1600×1000 pixels in size. Keep in mind that the background image size may differ depending on your theme. With image optimization software, you can resize the photos to make them web and mobile compatible.

General Specs for Shopify Slideshow Images

The Shopify slideshow feature lets you display multiple photos and videos that can be swiped through, dragged, and played. When done right, a slideshow can be one of the most eye-catching and engaging features of your store and is the perfect place to use your most glamorous product images. The recommended dimensions for the Shopify slideshow are 1200 to 2000 pixels in width and 400 to 600 pixels in height.

It’s always better to categorize images into different segments to facilitate easy navigation. Shopify gallery photos must not exceed 800×800 pixels.

Which Image Formats Can Be Used on Shopify?

1.    JPEG/JPG

JPG or JPEG formats are widely used in online marketplaces as they boast impressive color quality and small file sizes. It’s also easy to further compress this format if needed. Experts highly recommend JPEGs for seamless loading. However, note that JPEGs are a “lossy” format, meaning that compression will degrade the image quality somewhat. This format cannot support transparency, although it can be made to mimic a transparent image format if the background of the image is set to the same color as the page.

2.    PNG

PNGs are popular among Shopify vendors as they offer more control when it comes to editing the background, colors, and other aspects. PNGs can also be made transparent, unlike JPGs and JPEGs. The only issue with this format is that the image sizes are larger, potentially affecting load times. 

3.    GIF

Did you know you can spice up your Spotify storefront with GIFs? It’s a great way to add liveliness, movement, and even humor to your shop. GIFs can be transparent and are a lossless format, so the quality will not deteriorate with compression.

4.    BMP

BMPs are graphics that are versatile and compatible with both mobile and desktops. Usually, this format is not compressed, so the image quality is excellent. Like most of the formats on this list, BMP supports transparency. A BMP can display monochrome and full-color photos, which allows for different color variations.

5.    TIF/TIFF

TIFF is a high-quality, lossless data compression format, meaning TIFF files can be edited without deteriorating the visual quality. The TIFF format also supports transparency. However, TIFF files are very large and will result in less ideal load times.

Shopify Image Best Practices

Best practices differ from platform to platform, but all Shopify retailers must follow these three rules of image optimization to set up their businesses for success.

Use the same style of thumbnail for all your primary product photos

Thumbnails are a great opportunity to establish your store’s visual style and brand your business. It’s worth investing some time in choosing a style for your thumbnails. Having visually consistent thumbnails and primary images ensures a polished, professional look for your website. This strategy also provides uniformity in search engine results.

More is better for product photos

Just because you have stunning primary images doesn’t mean you’ll have a lot of sales, especially if your shoppers don’t have enough information to feel confident in choosing your products. Confidence increases conversion. It also significantly reduces the rate of returns and exchanges when customers know exactly what they’re buying. Make sure your product photos cover all the angles and details of your product.

Test to optimize

Maybe model photos are more effective at selling your products than flat-lay photography, or maybe images with funky backgrounds get more clicks than those with plain white backdrops. The only way to know what works the best for your brand is by performing split tests. You can try the Neat A/B app to find what gets you more clicks and conversion. Selling successfully online is both an art and a science—so don’t neglect the science side of things, and make sure you’re gathering as much data as possible!

Types of Photo Content for Your Shopify Store

Before you pick up a camera or hire a photographer, make sure you know what kinds of images you need for your website. That way, you can anticipate all your photography needs and expenses upfront and make sure your photo content works together for a polished, consistently branded user experience.  

●     Product-only images are often shot against white or neutral backgrounds. These images mostly appear in search engines and are required by some retailers.

●     Product-in-use images might feature a model twirling in your couture or people drinking the drink you are selling. These types of images convey the value of the product and are a great opportunity to add a human touch.

●     Photographs with text overlay combine the best of two worlds: showing off your products and providing useful information or promotional text. You might use these as social media graphics, sale announcements, and more.

●     Graphics are often used for informational images like size charts, accents or decorations to your site theme, and social media. You can hire professional designers to help with designing graphics or create your own using free tools like Canva.

Conclusion

Starting a Shopify store is easy, but optimizing your images for a perfect user experience is tough to master. But don’t be tempted to skimp on presentation—think of your website’s visuals as akin to decorating a physical store. The environment should be welcoming, enticing, and uniquely branded to draw your customers in and keep them coming back for more. The great news is that it’s not as tough as you might think to build a beautiful website. All you need is the right tools and a willingness to put in the hard work. So what are you waiting for?

8 Post-Processing Secrets from Professional Photographers

The Secrets of Post Processing Revealed For Professional Photography

Every job has its secrets, and photography is no different. Pro photographers might make it look easy to capture dazzling shots, but in reality, there are years of experience and technique behind every picture. Great photography is much more than shutter speeds and aperture settings.

So what makes the difference between your regular old vacation photos and the glamorous travel photos snapped by professional photographers? Even better—what can you learn from them? In this blog, we dive into the post-processing secrets of the pros to find out what makes their photos click.

The 8 Secrets of Professional Post-Processing

1. It takes more than good equipment

Just because the pros have shiny DSLR and mirrorless cameras doesn’t mean they spit golden photos with every click. In the hands of a professional, even a cell phone camera can capture incredible images; conversely, all the good equipment in the world can’t save a poorly composed shot. The real secret to success lies in the photographer’s technique and a skillful hand in the post-processing stage. Remember: without you, the camera is just an arrangement of metal, glass, and plastic.

2. It’s not all about the photos

We tend to believe that photos represent reality—after all, how can an image lie? But if you’ve ever spent an hour trying to find the perfect selfie angle, or fixed a mediocre photo with a snazzy filter, you already know that reality sometimes needs a little sprucing up. Even the pros sometimes rely on movie magic to fix an unflattering or uninteresting photo. What you might not realize is just how much can be done to elevate your photos in the post-processing stage—everything from simple fixes like lighting and color balance to changing or removing backdrops and more. Sometimes what makes a great image isn’t the original image itself, it’s the effort poured into making it great in post-processing.

3. Simplify, simplify

Reducing clutter in your shots is essential to sharpening your focus on the elements that matter. Learn to style, stage, and frame your photographs with a “less is more” approach and don’t overcrowd your subjects. It’ll make your photos cleaner and easier to edit later. 

But wait, what if it’s too late to declutter—the photos have already been taken? In many cases you can fix it in post! Post-processing can include tidying and even completely removing the elements you don’t want, whether it’s flyaway hairs or random objects you thought were out of frame.

4. Taking the right photos saves a lot of time

Okay, so it’s possible to fix a bad photo. But no one likes to spend hours in post-production, trying to save a mediocre image. You’ll save yourself time and improve your photography skills by taking the time to eliminate distractions, practice your composition, perfect the lighting, and take the best photos you can. Why spend hours removing an element in the post-processing stage when you can do it before hitting the shutter? 

Think about taking photos and post-processing as part of the same flow. Investing more time in one area reduces the time you’ll need to take later. Plus, developing an eye for issues that you’ll need to fix in the post will make you a sharper photographer.

5. Establish a workflow for every photo

It’s easy to get carried away in editing one element of your photos, but there are many steps that you should include in the post-processing workflow for each image. Following a checklist will help ensure a balanced and consistent output and prevent you from fixating on any particular issue.

Everyone’s process looks a little different, but these are the 7 core steps any post-processing workflow should include:

  1. Cropping & straightening
  2. Checking white balance
  3. Checking the exposure
  4. Fixing vibrance & saturation
  5. Checking for unintended noise
  6. Adjusting sharpness
  7. Editing the backdrop

6. Don’t overprocess your photos

It’s easy to go overboard with post-processing. Particularly when you’re learning new techniques, you might think you’re fixing a photo when you’re really ruining colors, destroying textures, or spoiling the exposure. Our advice? Make sure to give yourself time to review each photo. Walk away from the monitor and come back with fresh eyes or ask a trusted colleague for their opinion. You might find that you want to make subtler, softer changes that preserve the character of the original image. Remember, post-processing works best when it allows you to draw out the best of your photos, not cover them up. 

7. Don’t bother with watermarks

Everyone loves a time-saver, and this is one post-processing step you can almost certainly skip. Watermarks distract from your images and, in many cases, do not meaningfully protect your work from copyright infringement. These days, it’s possible to remove watermarks with only a few clicks with the right technology. If you’re concerned about the security of your photos, you can get a valid license from the US Copyright Office.

8. You don’t have to do everything yourself

Plugins and editing services can help simplify post-processing by making certain steps in the process easier or even automatic. But if you can do everything yourself in Photoshop, why bother? Simply put, time is money, which is why the pros consider it a smart investment. Why go through the hassle of editing countless images when an editing service could do many of the edits in bulk in minutes? Plugins and integrations can help you get value for time and money by accelerating the editing process. After all, the time you can spend investing in other areas of your business is time well spent.

Bottom Line

You might not be a pro photographer, but the great news is that you don’t need to be—you can still benefit from the same post-processing magic that the professionals do, all while brushing up on your photography skills. With a good eye and a willingness to practice, you can be well on your way to capturing eye-catching, highly marketable images with your own two hands.

How AI Technology is altering the E-commerce Shopping Experience

how is AI–technology altering the e-commerce shopping experience

Customer experience is the name of the game in e-commerce, and AI can help you take it to the next level. Take Amazon, for example, the world’s premier online retailer recognized the benefits of AI technology years ago and uses machine learning to improve user experience and optimize logistics. They collect user data to predict a customer’s buying patterns, so customers who buy a specific brand of shampoo every month might receive personalized offers for their preferred products. The retailer might even use machine learning algorithms to recommend a conditioner that goes well with the shampoo.

The next wonders of the e-commerce world, e.g. AI-enabled digital assistants like Google Duplex, will come with new capabilities like creating grocery lists to place orders on behalf of the customers. As an e-commerce business, you need to keep up. So what are some ways AI can help you out?

 Here are 6 major applications of AI for e-commerce businesses.

1. AI Copywriting:

Gone are the days when e-commerce stores hired copywriters and ad agencies to write all their intros, headlines, and product descriptions. Today, with AI-powered writing tools, retailers can generate marketing copy within seconds.

These writing tools leverage advanced AI language models to create social media content, digital ad copy, and more. Some of these copywriting services may still require manual editing to ensure that the resulting copy is high quality, but the efficiency of AI copywriters is hard to beat and can help you deliver content to your users quickly and easily.

2. Personalized Recommendations:

Personalized recommendations are nothing new for e-commerce websites. Many companies use machine learning algorithms or AI filtering systems to recommend products to buyers. Sellers apply filters based on best-selling product data, viewing history, and other aspects of buyer behavior. AI also creates a customer-centric experience using keyword tags or visual similarity to generate recommendations, helping customers discover complementary products. This greatly improves customer experience and retention.

3. Automatically Retouching Images:

How many times have you looked at a product photo in your store, only to realize it’s not quite right? How much money have you spent on photo editing to glam up your images? What if we told you that AI is also revolutionizing image retouching? Yep, it’s true! Today, you can automate up to 100% of your image editing process with a few clicks by leveraging AI-powered tools.

Automation tools exist for almost every editing need, from skin retouching to background removal to generating clipping paths. Tools like autoRetouch even offer automated creation of ghost mannequins. Using machine learning algorithms and AI features, e-commerce AI support tools enhance the quality of product pictures and much more. A consistent and high-quality visual approach for e-commerce products makes a big difference to customers browsing online.

4. Virtual Assistants & Chatbots:

One of the biggest advantages of shopping in person is the ability to get help and advice from knowledgeable shop assistants. We all miss that personal touch when we’re shopping online and don’t have a friendly employee to answer questions and help us choose the best products. While e-commerce stores often have customer service representatives to provide phone support, it wasn’t until recently that AI came into the space as well. The introduction of voice chatbots and virtual assistants for immediate assistance is altering the way we shop online. Despite the question, customers can receive support 24/7.

Voice chatbots are programmed to interpret voice-based interactions through natural language processing to provide personalized recommendations. However, the best part is these chatbots can learn over time to better address customer needs.

5. Pricing Optimization:

AI-powered dynamic pricing allows marketers to change their product prices based on supply and demand. With access to the correct data and programs, AI software can predict when to offer discounts, when to increase the price range, and which products are trending in the current market. This helps you stay competitive with other retailers and offer the best prices to your customers.

6. Better Search Results:

At least 35% of online shoppers use the search function when shopping online. While a human clerk can quickly help customers find what they’re looking for, search algorithms aren’t quite so reliable. Currently, most search algorithms on e-commerce websites do not have any practical intelligence.

Integrating websites with AI and machine learning can enhance results for user search queries. AI services can generate search rankings that allow any site to sort results by relevance instead of keywords, helping customers find exactly what they’re looking for. Similarly, AI integrations can analyze product copy, product photos, and more to generate better search results.

Bottom line:

The term ‘artificial intelligence’ might remind you of rogue androids and sci-fi dystopias, especially if you’re not used to having AI as a tool for your business. But in the world of e-commerce, AI presents an opportunity for businesses to create a deeper, more personalized experience for every customer. E-commerce websites and brands across the world are turning to AI to improve their competitiveness, therefore, AI technology will have an enormous effect on the e-commerce industry in the future. To stay ahead of the curve now is the perfect time to integrate AI-enabled software into your business.

Tips & Tricks to Ace Ghost Mannequin Product Photography

Ghost Mannequin Product Photography

When it comes to selling clothes online, the conventional methods don’t cut it anymore. Smart sellers are constantly innovating, seeking the latest strategies for crafting a brand identity that stands out from the crowd. If you’re in search of an enticing new way to represent your apparel to shoppers, the ghost mannequin effect might be just what you’re looking for.

If you’re not already familiar with the ghost mannequin effect, it’s a technique that involves photographing apparel on a model or mannequin, then erasing the mannequin to produce sophisticated, realistic 3D product images. It can be tricky for beginners since it requires some advanced photography and editing skills, but never fear—this guide is designed to help you master the art of ghost mannequin photography. 

Tips to Ace Ghost Mannequin Photography

1. Choose the Perfect Fit and Pose

Whether you’re working with a model or a mannequin, you want your garments to look runway-ready. Make sure your garments fit as well as possible (though don’t worry if it’s not picture-perfect—we’ll cover tips for perfecting your fit in step 4!). 

Resist the urge to give your mannequin or model a natural or relaxed pose. Uneven, comfortable poses don’t work well for ghost mannequin photography—everything must be symmetrical, taut, and stable for the best results.

Pro Tip:

i) Select mannequins with removable arms and shoulders for a better, more customizable shape.

ii) If a garment has sleeves, make sure they drape downwards.

2. Choose the Right Camera and Equipment

You can try out ghost mannequin photos with almost any camera, but if you’re looking for that extra polish, here’s what experts in the industry recommend:

i) Canon 6D Mark II –- suitable for all kinds of product pictures.

ii) Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens – for taking pictures without distortions.

iii)  Well-built tripod to ensure the stability of the camera.

Optimal lighting will be soft and evenly distributed. It must be sufficient to create a depth of field on your products.

For the background, it’s always best to go with a plain white backdrop. Unlike colorful or complex backgrounds, white backdrops are easy to erase in the post-production stage.

Pro Tip:

i) Do not place your mannequin or model too close to the backdrop, as it will create harsh shadows.

ii) Conduct a test photo session to ensure the lighting is even.

iii) For best results, use the following camera settings:

  • ISO:100
  • Aperture: f/8
  • Shutter Speed: 1/125
  • Flash Power: 3.0
  • White Balance- Auto

3. Shoot for Symmetry

When capturing ghost mannequin photos, symmetry is your best friend to ensure an easy editing process later. This is easiest when photographing from shoulder height, as other angles can be unflattering or distorted—not what you want when introducing potential customers to your apparel!

It’s difficult to measure exact symmetry with the naked eye, so use the grid overlay on your camera to make sure that the hems and other lines of your garment are straight. 

4. Stock the Studio and Accessorize 

Not every garment will fit your mannequin perfectly—but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a less-than-perfect photo. Make sure you have plenty of pins and clips on hand and use them to style your apparel. You can clip up the back and armpit areas of your garments to make them look sleeker. However, try to avoid pulling the outfit too taut as it will emphasize the shape of the mannequin instead of the apparel. Try the following tips to further level up your style game:

● Use crepe paper to stuff areas that need to be emphasized or shaped.

● Add belts, scarves, jewelry, etc. to make your mannequin’s style pop.

5. Take Your Best Shot

When shooting shirts or dresses with collars, ensure the camera is at the garment’s chest height. For bottoms, position the camera at hip height to capture pants, skirts, shoes, etc. 

Make sure to keep your camera steady with a tripod to avoid odd angles. Photographing your attire at an angle will cause the garment to look tapered, which will make it very challenging to edit the photos together properly later.

Don’t forget to rotate the mannequin and take pictures from different angles. You want to capture the back and front of the garment, but you’ll also want detail shots of the fabric, lining, zippers or buttons, and other standout elements of your apparel. Remember, customers want to shop with confidence, and detailed product photos help them choose your apparel over the competition.

Pro Tip:

Use a telephoto lens to reduce distortions and capture intricate details.

Why Choose Ghost Mannequin Photography?

By now you might be thinking This sounds like a lot of work. Why go to the trouble of mastering ghost mannequin photos when you could hire a model or choose a simpler approach to capturing your apparel, such as flat-lay photography? It’s a good question—as a business owner, you want to choose the most effective and cost-efficient approach. Here are a few reasons why ghost mannequin photography is worth the investment.

  1. Clarity and Focus

Don’t let anything distract from your products—even the best model can steal the focus from your attire. Meanwhile, flat-lay photos don’t capture how your garments fit, so they aren’t as helpful or representative for customers. Ghost mannequin photos are the best of both worlds, placing the focus on your products while representing their shape and style on the human form. 

  1. Increased Professionalism

Make it as easy as possible for customers to have faith in your brand. Using 3D images that fully capture the fit of your garment makes your products look compelling and trustworthy. The sleek ghost mannequin effect looks sleek and modern and emphasizes your professionalism. 

  1. Consistency

Ghost mannequin images remove the inconsistencies that can come with model photos and create a uniform visual style regardless of the style or type of garment being photographed, helping you brand your e-store across all your products. 

  1. Time & Budget Efficiency

Although it requires some investment upfront, the process for creating ghost mannequin photos can be streamlined to make it just as efficient as other types of product photography. And when it comes to your editing budget, there are some great options available to keep time and costs down, like autoRetouch’s ghost mannequin tool, which can automate the entire post-production stage and generate finished images in just a few minutes.

Bottom Line:

Impressing your customers with high-quality images is essential to capturing their attention in the online space, and ghost mannequin photos are both striking and beautifully detailed. There’s no better way to represent your apparel online

Like everything else, ghost mannequin photography requires practice. Start by ordering a good-quality mannequin and play around with the basics until you feel confident in taking the next steps. Ultimately, ghost mannequin photos are a cost-effective and exciting way to promote your products.