Attractive photos and compelling product descriptions are critical components of your shopping cart module, and can make a drastic difference to your conversion rate. When putting your content together, a shopping cart owner's aim should be to use words and images in their various modules which provide a customer experience as close as possible to buying in a physical store-a successful physical store that is. If your ecommerce site has tiny images which don't show the item off to its best advantage, or descriptions that don't match the image, leaving doubt about whether the product solves their problem, the customer could soon be clicking away empty-handed.
The combination of the shopping cart module's words and images is essentially an automated salesperson for that product. So it's worth taking the time to make sure the "cyber sales team" is trained to be as effective as possible. Here are some things to keep in mind when developing the content for your shopping cart module.
Effective photos and well matched copy can make your products seem almost as tangible as they would be in a bricks-and-mortar store - and a well-written description can have SEO benefits for your shopping cart module too.
Once the images are ready, make sure you upload them to your shopping cart module at high enough quality that when the user zooms in, they can see all the details of the product in really sharp detail. This of course will have to be balanced for fast downloading which tends to reward smaller images. Most image editing programs will have a "save for web" or similar feature which optimizes the quality versus size of an image for posting on the web. (A fully featured shopping cart program like UltraCart will feature modules which automatically generate a smaller "thumbnail" from this larger image, eliminating the need to create and upload two versions of the same image.)
Depending on the number and variety of images, production efficiency can be achieved by using standard "stages" or setups for photography. For instance, creating a set that includes the appropriate lighting, backgrounds and other effects and reusing this many times can lower costs and increase the number of images available. In this case, establishing a file naming system that helps to not only link the correct product image to its stock number, but also can assist in gaining search engine recogintiion (search engine optimization) is possible. For example, creation of a "box-car" type of file name that includes both an identifying number and search engine term is possible:
You may also wish to "protect" your images a bit from other's potential piracy. While there is no total solution for this, here are some concepts that can help gain a bit more of an upper hand:
1. Place the name and/or website of your store over the photo in a watermark (see through image) or more boldly in a less important part of the photograph (be careful not to obscure important portions of the photograph, or place the identification in an area which an be easily cropped or edited out)
2. Do the same website indentification in the file name if it doesn't hinder your posting efforts, for example:
3. Place a copyright claim on the photo in a small but visible area
4. Specify your terms for reproduction or reuse on your website (if you wish to allow this) including specific crediting of your name, specific backlinks to your website including anchor text, not using a "nofollow" tag and the actual landing page for your site
Again, it would be a breach of copyright to just take these images from someone else's website. Instead, you should use a service like iStockPhoto which provides royalty-free stock images for commercial use. You can search their collection of millions of images, then pay a small one-time fee to use it in your shopping cart module as many times as you want.
A free alternative would be to use Flickr, which is the world's biggest collection of user-submitted images and photographs. You can't just use any image from Flickr, but by using the advanced search you can find images for which the artist has assigned a ‘creative commons' license for commercial usage.