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Considering using basic illustrations instead of photos

     
2:09 am on Dec 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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We sell products that are mechanical in nature. There's nothing pretty or visually interesting about them. They are mainly functional and just serve a technical purpose. Customers are both private and commercial. While I will fully admit that photos are probably a better idea, and some people would probably prefer to see an actual photo... The problem is that these items are sometimes very large, have to be extensively setup, and are basically a giant pain to photograph. So much so, that we've had some new items sitting for almost two years, waiting to have time to go through the arduous process of photographing them. Because I'm not going to just throw up some half ass snap, and doing it right is a big deal. So I've considered using basic 3D illustrations on the site. The question is, how much of a turnoff would it be. I honestly don't know. There's sites like McMaster-Carr and others, who have nothing but illustrations for all of their products. They seem to do OK.
3:12 am on Dec 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The question is, how much of a turnoff would it be.
Would it necessarily be a turnoff at all? If a person is in the market for a centering bushing or flange recalibrator, a good drawing may actually be more usefull than a photograph. I mean, they're not looking for something that's shiny with pink intaglio detailing are they?
3:36 am on Dec 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It sound like your customers are not buying on impulse. They are not very likely to be influenced to buy with a colorful picture that can make those details hard to see. I'd agree that line drawings may be a better idea as long as the dimensions/specifications are clearly available.

Bonus: your images can be 2-color 8-bit files and lower your bandwidth numbers while increasing load speed.
5:03 am on Dec 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Do you manufacture these items? If not, is your source for them also a possible source for photos or drawings?

That said, I can imagine any number of items where a drawing would be better than a photo.
6:22 am on Dec 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Shoot a picture of the box, include it next to the drawing. If cheeky enough say: "You know what it is or you wouldn't be here. Some assembly is required."

On a more serious note there's nothing wrong with illustrations of product as opposed to photos. The only way you can find out is to go on and use illustrations for those products you are two years behind in photographing and see if sales pick up! Can't hurt, and will probably help!

You can always add: "Photos coming soon!" and then post them when you get a roundtuit.
3:29 pm on Dec 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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You have no impulse buyers, Buyers are experts and probably tech, engineers. They really don't need nor look for flashy pics of stainless products. Line drawings are probably preferable, especially if you also provide scale or dimensions for size.
6:10 pm on Dec 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thanks guys. I guess this forum format is considered sort of old school these days, but it still beats a lot of the other places. At least here you get useful answers, unlike most of the more trendy places, where you either get nothing at all, or smart ass responses.

Yes, we do make the products ourselves btw.
6:56 pm on Dec 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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McMaster-Carr made them that way to save on catalog printing costs.
They're stuck in the old days. :-)
I smell opportunity!
7:24 pm on Dec 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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You know what though, M-C is pretty smart in a way. The hiding of brands is actually a very good idea in today's climate. I do the same with products that I retail. Because honestly, you will get completely screwed if you don't. There's way too many idiots selling stuff at a loss out there. People see it on a site, do a search, bam... They go to ebay dummy to buy it from, who doesn't realize he's making zero profit at that price. I was going to carry a new product the other day, but it's excess size. You get hammered with a min $60+ shipping fee. But some guy is selling it on eBay for $10 over cost with free shipping. No way he is possibly making anything on that. Likely losing money.
8:05 pm on Dec 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I've ordered at McMC and knew just what I was going to receive. They aren't competing with Home Depot or Lowes for consumer hardware shoppers. Pretty pictures might increase their consumer sales but I don't know that they are set up to deal with those shoppers or if that would mean a couple of new departments. I think if they wanted that they could do it, not that it would be extra profitable.

As mentioned above, it depends on your clients' needs and expectations. Yours is not a new startup dpd1, I would guess you have spent time knowing who's buying and why. I'd stick with your line drawings idea for your marketplace.