When it comes to buying auto parts online, you would think that brand, specs, and quality are what matters most to buyers. While it’s true that these things are important, the thing that sells the most auto parts on eBay isn’t always your advertising budget or even your prices: It’s your product photos. Image optimization is vitally important when looking to increase your eBay sales.
Taking photos of your parts may not be your favorite task in the world. You may not think much about ‘beautiful spreads’ of photos featuring auto parts. But any business hoping to attract eBay buyers on the thriving online auto parts market, needs to put in the extra effort for professional-grade product photos. Wondering why and how to do it? Don’t worry, that’s exactly what we’re here to explore with today’s 2019 eBay Photo Guide.
Why Photos Matter on eBay
The trustworthiness of Professional Photos
Why do buyers care so much about pretty pictures of auto parts? To get the importance of photos (and to take great photos), it helps to understand where the buyers are coming from.
There are A LOT of scam sellers selling car parts on eBay. Chinese knock-offs, broken used parts sold as new, open boxes with missing part-accessories: Users have to constantly be on guard. However, scammers tend to be lazy and their listings tend to be shoddy, incomplete, or clearly copied from somewhere else. This means that buyers have needed to rely on a quick visual test to tell if they’re (most likely) looking at a real reliable seller or a scam.
Buyers inherently associate ‘real brands’ with quality product photos. Photos with good light, shot from several angles, with a close-up on the specs. While scammer photos are more likely to be stock photo of a closed box, or a shadowy pick of a used part. Putting in the effort shows that your listings are legitimate and worth investing in.
For selling auto parts online in particular, photos also matter a great deal. Many buyers don’t have the original box for their part. They have the part, and are trying to match it based on brand, shape, and a few integral markings instead of with its official name and size.
Detailed and well-lit photos can help your buyers be certain they have found an identical match to the part they’re looking to replace. With these priorities in mind, it will be much easier for you to design your product photos for the benefit of the customer. Both their ability to trust you and their ability to buy the right parts with confidence.\
eBay Product Photo Tips
Bright Diffused Light
First, know your lighting. The best lighting to show off auto parts is white diffuse light. Direct lighting will shine on boxes, plastic, and metal obscuring detail rather than highlighting it. Diffuse light, on the other hand, will offer illumination without direct rays that will reflect into the camera. Light can be diffused by shining it through frosted glass/plastic or by bouncing it like a professional photographer does.
Make sure the light is coming from above and behind the camera so that the product is fully illuminated in the camera-facing direction.
The leading trend in eCommerce photography is to be completely background free, sans one classy shadow. The easiest way to do this is to use an all-white drop cloth background or a green screen color that can be fully cut away during the editing process. You want your products to look as close to ‘floating in the void’ as possible. As if there is nothing in the virtual product dimension but white light and the product itself.
In fact, having a background is now considered a sign of amateurs or artists. Only use backgrounds if you’re taking artistic shots or photos of the part installed.
The one exception to the no-background rule (other than artsy shots) is size referencing. Many people have difficulty visualizing how big or small a part is until they see it next to other real-world objects. One of the best things any eBay or Amazon brand can do is provide a standard size comparison image with every product photo shoot. Show it held in a hand, next to an apple, or placed next to a standard auto part like a tire to show how large or small the item is in the real world.
Background trends vary with size reference shots. Some remove their backgrounds, some leave them in for reference.
Every Angle and Detail
Buyers always prefer more detailed photos given a choice. The more angles and details you can photograph, the better. Put some effort into showing off the part upright, upside down, what it looks like peering through the part, and any important details of the part. You might offer a close-up on the specs printed on the part, the shape of the aperture, or the electrical component ports to help buyers confirm exactly what they are looking for.
Close-Up on the Specs
Buyers also want the specific details both on the box and printed on the part. Give every angle fo the box and provide a high-definition close-up of any details that will help buyers match their needs to the product you are selling. Think the same way that many foods sold online have a close-up of the nutrition panel.
Edit to Create a Professional Photo Collection
Once you’ve taken the photos, it’s important to craft them into a professional-looking collection to build the product gallery. Use tools like Canva to pull the backgrounds, add borders and shading, and any overlay details that will enhance each photo. This work is what will tell buyers that you’re not just some at-home seller with a garage full of spare parts. You’re a real brand with a photo standard that is upheld and consistent from one product to the next.
Unfortunately, building the collection is the single most time-consuming part of this process. It’s also the most outside the wheelhouse of your average auto-parts professional, but it’s also what shows buyers that your store is legit and to be trusted.
When building your images, don’t forget the incredible value of info-graphic panels. Just a few colorful arrows, labels, and details added to photos after-the-fact can help buyers considerably. One panel that lists the part compatibility, another that gives the measurements of apertures, these are the things buyers want to know. With a little infographic crafting, you can offer those answers quickly and visually.
Finally, don’t forget your watermarks. Scammers have been known to fully steal quality product images from legitimate sellers to spruce up their scam listings. A watermark is how you both stop them from doing this and prove that your images were stolen if a foolish scammer tries to steal watermarked images. Watermarks are a simple necessity of selling on the open market and can be added during the editing phase.
Make sure all your brand watermarks are the same on every single product image.
Listing your auto parts for sale on eBay is the easy part. Actually crafting detailed and image-rich listing pages, running and optimizing ads and staying up-to-date with eBay’s algorithm, is the part that eats up back-office hours for even the most dedicated online parts sellers. If all this sounds like way too much work for your in-store, team, the good news is that you don’t have to take it all on yourself. Here at OEM Interactive, we offer an array of eBay marketing and management services tailored to help you sell more parts online.
Let us worry about buyer psychology, best practices, and advertising so you can do what you do best: Sell high-quality parts to your customers. Contact us today to find out more!