As an ecommerce vendor, you know there are limitations to the ways customers see and experience your products. Unlike visiting brick-and-mortar retail stores, ecommerce shoppers cannot hold items or try them on before buying them. Thus, the onus is on e-sellers to provide as much context as they can to help the prospective buyer make their decisions. This is accomplished through merchandise photos and videos, product descriptions, customer reviews and, the focus of today’s article, modeling.
Below we will discuss ecommerce modeling tips you need to know. Yes, there are right ways and wrong way to employ models.
Create a Reasonable Budget for Modeling Services
One of the first questions people have about modeling is the cost, which is a reasonable question for any business practice. Unfortunately, this can be hard to answer with strict certainty because each model will charge differently depending on the types of products they are modeling, their status or tenure in the industry, their years of experience, the location of the photo shoot and the like.
While these details might seem dizzying at first, it does provide a wide array of price points for you to work with. If you run a small operation selling cosmetics from home via Shopify, you can probably find a model on Craigslist in your area who charges form $30-$50 per hour. If you run a large operation selling swimwear or lingerie, hiring a model for a daylong shoot could cost up to $1,500. If you know what to expect, you can create a reasonable budget ahead of time to save yourself a lot of stress.
Hire Models That Reflect Your Audience & Your Brand Identity
Of course, you shouldn’t just hire any model (if you can help it). You should hire models that reflect your audience and your brand identity.
Let’s say you sell Victorian gothic-style clothing and steampunk accessories. Does it make more sense to hire Rob, the 40-something buff male with a conservative crewcut and strong jawline? No. In this case you’d be better off hiring Elvira, a 30-year-old tattoo artist with purple highlights and facial piercings. The reverse is true if you are selling watches for the affluent businessman or protein supplements.
The key here is to understand your audience, their likes and their motivations. Once you’ve got that down, find the model that exudes that energy in product photos.
Avoid Controversies If You Can
Some ecommerce websites prefer to use stock images of models and superimpose brand merchandise into the photos. You’ve probably seen images like this without even knowing it. An example, might be T-shirt customization website. The default image might show a picture of a smiling model with a grey T-shirt. But when you enter your order request it updates to a blue T-shirt reading, “Happy 31st Birthday, Rick!”
While this is admittedly an inexpensive way to circumvent hiring models, it can land you in hot water if you aren’t careful. Consider Zazzle, a popular purveyor of customizable products. In 2017, a company called Black Girl Magic was lambasted on social media for featuring a white male wearing a top reading “Strong Black Woman.”
Obviously, the company didn’t mean to offend anyone, but in the age of social media mistakes such as these get a lot of play. BGM failed to hire models that reflected their audience and were upbraided for cutting corners.
Don’t let the same controversies hit your ecommerce website; do your due diligence in the hiring process.
Source Images from Customers Too
While hired models are great, don’t forget to source images from your customers too. Social media is a wonderful place to engage buyers; and what better way to do that than ask your fans to post images in which they are using your wares?
Perhaps you have an extra creative social follower who uses your cosmetics to produce crazy makeup tutorials. Why wouldn’t you want to show off what they can do? It’s your products making the magic happen, after all. The same thing goes for cute outfits. Maybe a social media fan has found a very unique way to accessorize your offerings.
Invite and encourage submissions. In addition to being a cheap way to source images, it keeps your customers engaged.