How to Add a Drop Shadow to Your Product Images – [Video Tutorial]

Happy Friday! Today we have another tutorial for you. In this video you will learn how to create a simple but realistic drop shadow to enhance your product photography. This is especially useful when creating a catalog or enhancing product shots. All the steps are listed below.

 

Steps:

Open a new document and place your image (file > place) on it. You’re going to want to make sure the image has a transparent background.

Next, make a white background layer by clicking file > new layer and then make it white with the paint bucket tool.

Create the drop shadow by making a very short but wide sphere (about the width of the image) with the circle tool. Change the color to dark grey and remove the stroke around the circle.

Make sure this layer is below the product image layer.

Apply a blur filter > gaussian blur

Rotate the shadow and place it under the image. You can change the size to perfect it to look natural in this step.

Change the opacity of the shadow in the layer panel (around 70% should be appropriate).

How to Increase Your PPC Engagement Through PIM

PPC Engagement Through PIM

Every marketer knows that pay-per-click or PPC is a major indicator of the success of a campaign. While other metrics matter, like your click through rate (CTR) or your search impression share, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how well an ad is designed if people aren’t clicking on it. What many marketers don’t know, however, is that product information management (PIM) is rapidly becoming a major success factor as well, even in marketing.

A study by FitForCommerce found that roughly 80 percent of successful e-commerce companies identify PIM as the best starting point for other online businesses. As such, “more companies are addressing PIM as a strategic asset and as an important prerequisite for evolving retail business models, data governance initiatives, and real multichannel strategies.” In other words, PIM enables PPC, and the best PPC campaigns rely on PIM.

Here is what you need to know to increase your PPC engagement through PIM:

Synchronicity

In regards to PPC engagement, PIM is all about synchronicity. It affects two main pain points. The first issue is how the same content can be used on different platforms, while the second is how that content can be synchronized. It’s important that both the image and the information the person receives when they click through the ad is current. For example, if you are selling a pair of tennis shoes, you want the image you use in your PPC campaign to be up to date and for that ad to link to the right product listing.

Alignment

PIM also allows you to make sure that your PPC is targeted. “Using a furniture example, if someone is searching for a sectional sofa, and you’re sending them to your overall sofa category and you have sectional sofas, you could be losing out on shoppers who are either too lazy to search for those sectional sofas or simply cannot find them on your site,” writes Search Engine Journal. “Do not leave it to chance. Do not assume your shoppers are in the mind frame to buy. Get that interested shopper in front of the right landing page and you will begin to see an uptick in conversions (barring how well your landing pages convert in general and the competition of the market).”

Images

While the quality of your images plays an important role in PPC, if your images aren’t optimized you are missing out on an opportunity to be seen by search engines like never before. Image names pay a big part in PPM engagement through PIM, but so does caption and alternate text. They should be descriptive so that search engines understand what the images are about and can display them in search results as appropriate.

Special Offers

Using a strong PIM system can help you target sales as well. You can use your PPC campaigns to offer special discounts to people who click on your ads. While you never want to orientate your customers so that they become inundated with sales to the point that they only want to buy when a sale is on, the way many clothing retailers have, there is a way to do it better. If you connect your PPC campaigns to select special offers, you can prompt a sale at the interest point without diluting your brand by making the promotion either on a limited time basis or dependent on another action (e.g., signing up for email).

PPC campaigns are important in the world of modern advertising, but PIM makes it happens. If your company is ready to take the next step, we want to talk. We can walk you through setting up your PPC campaign and establishing a PIM system that works for you. Choose the right PIM system and you may not even have to rewrite your web copy.

How Many Products Should I Show Per Page?

A major conundrum for e-commerce sites, large and small, has long been trying to figure out exactly how many products are best to display on each search results page. This can get a little tricky when you factor in things like site speed, total inventory, user experience design, and more.

So, to help make a little more sense of it all, we’ve compiled a go-to list of elements to consider when building out pages to display your products.

Understanding Your Product

Before undertaking the task of figuring out proper pagination, you need to gain the greatest understanding of your product possible. Everything from knowing how much information you should devote to product descriptions to choosing the right images will determine just how many products each page can, and should, display.

For example, if your e-commerce site specializes in consumer electronics and technology, there may be an increased need to list specification and competitor comparisons, so consumers can make the most informed decisions when buying. This means you’ll probably have fewer items display on each page, in lieu of richer, more detailed product descriptions.

Target Audiences

Knowing how your target audience engages with products or services like yours will go a long way in determining the right pagination, too. If research suggests your audience tends to make purchasing decisions based on images, then you’re likely to have more products display per page with short, concise descriptions.

The same concept goes for audiences that may prefer denser descriptions, customer reviews, price comparisons and more. Each augmentation you make to the way a product is displayed can affect the optimal number you can include on each page of your site.

By Category

When faced with figuring out how best to display large quantities of items, adding a categorization component to your search options give consumers the ability to drill down large volumes of inventory. Adding this convenience to search pages also reduces the likelihood of consumers becoming overwhelmed, which can cost you potential sales.

Page Loading

Less of an issue now than it was about a decade or so ago, page load times can greatly affect how many products you can display per page. The more rich media (high-quality photos, videos or alternate views) you include per item can affect the amount of time it takes each product page to load.

This can be alleviated by increasing server space, but that can get expensive. You can also reduce the amount of media you use to showcase products, but you run the risk of shortchanging potential buyers who may want to know more about a product at first glance. Essentially, it comes down to finding the right balance between the two to create the most seamless shopping experience for consumers.

Providing Options

If finding that “happy medium” becomes more of a hassle than it’s worth, the very least you can do is provide consumers with options to change how many items are displayed per page, as well as the ability to customize their sorting options. There will be those outliers who’d rather view 150 items per page, in ascending alphabetical order, so it’s best to provide options in as many configurations as your platform will allow.

There’s no hard-and-fast way to determine how many products your e-commerce site should showcase per page. Each instance needs to be handled on a case-by-case basis as several variables come into play when employing appropriate pagination practices.

With the right copy management tools, though, you can take much of the guesswork out. Take Catsy for a spin and experience the difference having true content control makes.

Do Your Product Descriptions Produce High Yields?

If your business operates on any e-commerce platform, you are probably familiar with writing descriptions for your products and services. Your customers know what you’re selling, but do your product descriptions make those customers want to buy? Read on to learn four simple ways you can make your product descriptions more customer-friendly. Make these changes to your web content and watch your empty clicks turn into sales to customers who need what you have to offer.

 1. Solve a Problem

Your customers like to know the features of a product before they buy it, but before they make the final decision, they want to know how the features can help them with their individual situation. When listing features, find a way to spin a relatable purpose into the description.

  • Be professional and personable.
  • Make readers feel as though you are talking directly to them.
  • Use the product description to solve a problem. Discuss the “how” of your product with your already present “what.”

 2. Check (and Double-Check) Your Grammar

 One of the biggest killers of a possible, even likely, e-commerce sale is bad grammar. Customers could have heard the unbeatable reviews of five close family members, all telling them that your product is the only one they’ll ever require. The second the customer sees a misplaced apostrophe or overlooked misspelling, the sale is off. Why? Because the customer now questions your authority and credibility. The number-one thing any business person can do before publishing product descriptions online is to double-check all content for errors.

3. Use Your Own Words

It may seem like the manufacturer’s words would be the most authoritative quote to use in a product description; however, they often lack a tone that matches the rest of your website and makes customers feel that the product will solve their particular problem.

Manufacturer-written descriptions may also be used on other websites, which means your content will be similar to that of another (or 10) e-commerce websites. In the e-commerce world, where there are countless sources of products to buy, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. Using the manufacturer’s description doesn’t make your company unique. It makes you a company selling the same product that other websites sell.

4. Keep the Reading On the Light Side

 Today’s online shoppers don’t have time to sit down and read pages, or even paragraphs, of product information. They are shopping on the go on their phones or during a bit of down-time between work, errands and family obligations. Product descriptions must be concise. Information must be skimmable and brief, yet comprehensive enough to let customers know that your product is the right product for them.
Keep reading on the light side to keep your customers engaged following these three easy steps:
  • Break up the text with bulleted lists (and sub headers, when applicable) to make it easier to keep place while reading.
  • Use fonts, color, bold, italics and underlines to your advantage to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Use images. Bonus points for using images that explain something without text!

Good Content = Better Business

 A good product description is one of the simplest ways to boost your sales. Read your current product descriptions as if you were the customer, and check for the following:
  • Is your spelling and grammar up to par?
  • Can you easily skim content and get all the information you need?
  • Is the descriptive professional yet personable?
  • Does this product appear to “solve a problem”?
You will be shocked by how easily you can reap the benefits of taking the time to create quality content that speaks to your customers, helping them to make the decision to buy.

How to Be Found Amid a Billion Websites

Are you a one in a billion? People used to use the expression “a billion” to mean “a lot.” Now it’s official: There are more than a billion active websites. Active is the important word there because most websites get abandoned after around 100 days. Web users have come to expect many dead ends in the labyrinth of the web, so they tend to bounce quickly. You have to have more than a great site to stand out and grab the attention of new customers though. Here are five strategies for using your online catalog as a power tool to get noticed and drive referrals.

Go Offline

The National Institute of Health recommends no more than two hours of screen time for adults and children. That’s not possible for most working adults, but screen overload is driving a resurgence in print catalogs. That’s a positive sign for consumer health and it’s better for your business. Recent studies show that print catalogs boost conversions of first-time customers, who spend 150 percent more per shopping cart than those who haven’t seen the catalog.

Target Long Waits

Despite all the efficiency and productivity improvements the web has brought, Americans still spend 37 billion hours each year just waiting in line. People in medical offices, restaurants, financial advisory offices, beauty salons and government service centers typically expect long waits due to the uncertain duration of their core functions. Not all of these locations will be the right fit for your brand, but some will be. Seed these locations with your catalogs. This can make your brand a hero by shortening the perceived wait time.

Be More Social

You don’t have to choose between having a print or an online catalog. Both are valuable. A PDF version of your catalog is perfect for promotions on social media, especially when they contain discount codes or exclusive offers. Link your tweets and posts to unique landing pages for A/B testing. You’ll boost response rates and find out what matters most to your preferred customers.

Teach What You Know

What are some of your most popular items? Are they related? Many online companies expand their average shopping cart purchases by suggesting other items that the customer may need. You can do the same in a blog format. Use data collected on popular catalog items to write how-to blogs that discuss how customers are using bundles of items. For better mobile traffic, convert these how-to blogs into explainer videos.

Ultra-Customize

What if you could automate production of catalogs, brochures, price books and spec sheets? Thanks to the web, now you can. You can pull data and images from a central repository into flexible templates so you don’t have to start from scratch each time. This makes it super simple to craft customized materials for specific industries, customer types or even individual business partners.

A Small Percent of a Large Number

The good news is that there are literally billions of people out there searching for new ideas. If even a small percentage become your customers, you’ve got a steady source of income. They are counting on you to reach out to them. Keywords matter, but remember that most people are too distracted to go looking past the first page of search results. Don’t neglect SEO techniques make your website easier to find, but you have to go further if you want to stand out and be remembered. Your catalog in their hands or in their social media newsfeed moves your business into the spotlight of the customer’s attention.

7 Signs You Are Ready to Publish a Catalog

Publish Catalog

While it may be tempting to market your products solely through social media, occasional website updates or traditional cold calls, a catalog reaches customers in ways that even social media and telephone contact cannot. An article in Business Insider states that online shoppers that also receive print catalogs spend 163 percent more than those that did not. If that’s not enough to convince you that a print catalog is a good idea, these seven reasons may help you determine if it’s time for your company to start offering a catalog, too.

1. Your Company Sells Physical Goods

 If your company sells physical goods — whether you offer on-demand or pre-made products for others — a catalog can help spread the word. Items such as mugs, apparel, kitchenware and even stationery benefit from images and descriptions shown off in a tidy, well-organized catalog. If you offer more than a dozen or so goods, or if your company offers numerous customization options, a print or online catalog can help eliminate confusion.

2. Your Customers are Not Necessarily Local

 A catalog allows you to reach your customers, no matter where they reside. Whether you sell items to consumers or deal strictly with businesses, a catalog helps ensure your target market knows what you have to offer. Catalogs help you target businesses in specific fields, such as restaurants if you sell restaurant supplies. Sending a physical catalog to new and existing businesses allows you to reach potential new customers that may not know about your company otherwise.

3. You’ve Expanded Your Product Line

 Even loyal customers may not know about new products if you aren’t in continual contact with them. As you expand your product line and offer more new products, a catalog can help ensure all of your current customers — and potential new ones — find out about it. A catalog is especially helpful when your new products are vastly different from the ones you’re known to offer, or when the new product additions reflect items customers have specifically requested in previous communications. Fresh, new items equate to fresh, new orders. It’s time for a catalog.

4. You Offer Seasonal Goods

Whether you sell seed packets, outdoor apparel or gift baskets, seasons may guide your sales trends. Offering catalogs in advance of each holiday or season allows you to put season-appropriate products within the view and thoughts of your customers — and you can repeat the process with different products during another time of year. Your catalog can help remind customers of the upcoming season and of purchases they intend to make, Without the catalog reminding your customers of your specific seasonal offerings, there’s a greater chance they will shop elsewhere.

5. You’re the New Kid on the Block

If your company is brand new in a field of well-established competitors, a catalog can help let the world know about everything you have to offer. It’s easy for those in charge of a purchasing department to just go with the tried and true rather than seek out the new, so a catalog is your way to show them that your business exists and that your products can fill their company’s needs.

6. Your Items are Unique

Niche marketing is big business in just about every field that relies on sales. If you carry specialty items — novelties, truck bed liners or even high-end audio equipment — a catalog serves as an excellent way to reach your audience. Print catalogs sent out to a niche audience offer an effective way to target those potentially interested in your company’s offerings.

7. You Already Have a Web Following

Your company may already be good at social media promotion and engaging with your online audience, but a print catalog may be the missing link to increased sales. Nine of the ten top converting websites also have print catalogs; these sites also have a 23 percent visitor-to-sales conversion rate compared to the average two to three percent, which is no small difference. Catalogs also offer plenty of material ripe for the image-driven Pinterest. Better yet, potential customers will share those images on their pin boards, increasing the reach of your marketing efforts.

 The Resurgence of the Print Catalog

 While the print catalog became less prevalent as the internet became commonplace, retailers are beginning to realize that print catalogs are a crucial link in the chain, even for the well-connected consumer. Even J.C. Penney’s has decided to resurrect its print catalog to help boost sales. Retailers such as Nordstrom are realizing that even if call-center numbers are down, customers are perusing the company’s catalogs and then ordering the items online or purchasing the in the store.

If you’re ready to explore options for creating your first print catalog or even pairing it with a mobile-ready digital version, Catsy can help. Catsy offers easy-to-use print catalog software for both print and digital forms and includes templates to save you time and money. The software is designed for seamless integration with existing data, whether you’re a graphics designer or a computer novice. Visit the Catsy site to request a demo, explore features or get your answers to how Catsy catalog software can help grow your business and boost sales conversions.