Auctiva is letting customers show off their photography skills for a chance to win gift cards to the stores of their choice, from now until July.
Auctiva's Best Shot contest gives sellers the chance to win a $50 or a $25 credit to GiftCertificates.com each month if the images in their eBay listings are deemed the best among entrants. The contest also gives merchants a chance to improve their images to entice more buyers, says contest organizer and Auctiva Product Analyst Rebecca Miller.
"It's a win-win," Miller says. "Buyers expect good photos that let them see every angle, every detail and every defect, so we hope this contest will encourage sellers to really strive for these and let our customers share the great photos they're already taking."
To participate in the contest, merchants need to fill out an entry form on the Auctiva's Best Shot site. They'll need to include either a link to the eBay listing they want to enter in the contest or the listing's item number.
Auctiva judges will select winners each month, based on image clarity, simplicity and overall professionalism—all key components of a good photo, Miller notes. First-place winners will get $50 to redeem at GiftCertificates.com, where they can get a gift card to the store of their choice. Runners-up earn a $25 credit to the gift-card site.
Listings that end during the promotion are still eligible, so long as the images can still be viewed on eBay, Miller adds. Sellers can enter once a month, per eBay ID.
An outstanding product shot romances buyers without distracting the viewer from the item for sale
Getting the right shot
As a seller of more than 11 years, Miller knows just how important it is to include clear, uncluttered images in eBay listings. She notes that detailed photos result in sales; cloudy images do not. "Buyers can't hold the items in their hands, and they don't want any surprises, so it's up to the seller to be their buyer's eyes."
And while many sellers already include quality photos in their listings, it can be easy to let a less-than-stellar image make it into an eBay listing.
"Sellers sometimes get distracted, or get into a rut," Miller continues. "I am guilty of that, myself. I know some of my images could look better, but it's hard to get motivated to re-shoot them if one comes out slightly blurry or cluttered. We're hoping the contest will give people the inspiration they need to reshoot their images if they're unsure how good the photo is."
Another benefit to cleaner eBay images is that they load better onto mobile devices, which are proving very profitable for eBayers, Miller adds.
Cindy Shebley, an Auctiva EDU contributor and photographer, has a few suggestions for sellers who aren't sure what taking a good photo entails.
Shebley suggests photographing items from a short distance and in front of a plain background that complements the item's coloring. Sellers should also invest in a tripod, she adds, to prevent fuzzy images.
As sellers review their images, Shebley suggests they ask themselves a couple of key questions. For instance, does the image accurately represent the item they're trying to sell, and does the overall image "compel the viewer to take action?"
"A good product shot has the following characteristics: The item is sharp and in focus, and well lit to define its details," Shebley continues. "An outstanding product shot romances the buyers without distracting the viewer from the item for sale."
For more tips on taking good listing photos, click here.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.