Expose Your Items' True Worth

Auctiva Image Hosting takes guess work out of managing your listing photos.

by Auctiva.com staff writer
- May 17, 2010

"A picture is worth a thousand words." We've all heard that saying before, and if you sell goods online, you know it's true. The right images can show potential buyers the quality of your goods and entice them to make a bid or click that Buy It Now button.

Photos are important for a few reasons. For one, listings without them show up as a single line on eBay search results, practically invisible intermingled among those that do have images—which take up almost four times as much space. And listings with photos usually bring in higher bids, even if the images aren't great, notes Aron Hsiao of About.com.

Another reason we've already mentioned: Pictures show buyers what they're paying for. Remember, in a virtual store, shoppers can't touch, hold and physically inspect items. So providing multiple high-quality images that display different angles, features and even flaws can convey a sense of immediacy and reassure potential buyers.

Many of you probably know this already and post at least one image when you create a listing—maybe even more, if you're willing to pay eBay up to an additional $1.05 per listing. But did you know that using Auctiva's image hosting service, you can include up to 24 images in your eBay listing—with Supersizing—for no additional charge?

Auctiva's image hosting tools are not only easy on the wallet, but they're also easy to use. For seasoned users and beginners alike, the software makes loading and managing images simple. And the bulk image uploading and automatic resizing can save you a lot of time, whether you're uploading one image or 100.

Captions are important since they are the only text some buyers read when browsing online listings

Which uploader is right for you?

Auctiva users on one of the monthly listing plans receive up to 1 GB of image hosting; Free Plan users receive 1 MB of storage. Once you open an account, you'll have two options to upload your images: Auctiva Uploader and the Basic HTML Uploader. Both are simple to use, but if you have multiple images to upload at one time, use the Auctiva Uploader. This tool allows users to perform bulk uploads and automatically resize and optimize images. It also features a drag and drop image selector.

Auctiva Uploader is designed to be used on Windows-based computers using either the Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers, or on Apple MacIntosh computers using Firefox. Using the Auctiva Uploader does require that you download and install some additional software on your computer: ActiveX from Microsoft if you use Internet Explorer, or Java Runtime from Oracle/Sun Microsystems if you use Firefox.

The HTML uploader is older technology; it has more limited functionality and takes more time to use than does the Auctiva uploader. If you opt for Basic HTML, you'll need to individually select images and also make sure they're no larger than 1,280 × 1,024 pixels before you load them. However, the HTML Uploader provides a fallback for people who have trouble using the Auctiva Uploader, or have trouble installing either the ActiveX or Java Runtime software.

Both options are fast, although you may see a delay if you're using them during peak usage, i.e., early Thursday and Sunday evenings.

Once you've decided which way to go, you can enhance up your images by adding captions, watermarks and doing some basic editing.

Captivate with captions

Using captions to describe your images may seem unnecessary—that's what listing descriptions are for, right? But captions are important since they are the only text some buyers read when browsing online listings, reports Jim Crawford of AuctionBytes. Most people merely skim text online, and short paragraphs—including captions—can catch someone's attention. So make use of that caption box Auctiva provides next to each image on the Image Management page.

Try to make captions interesting. Don't just repeat the information in your descriptions. Providing interesting little-known facts may entice buyers. If that floral tea set you have for sale was your great-grandmother's from the early 1900s, tell your potential customers. A call to action may also help your items fly off your virtual shelves.

Splash on a watermark

Another cool, easy-to-use feature Auctiva offers is watermarking and image security through disabling of the right-click "save as" function—sort of like putting an electronic padlock on your images to protect them from thieves. Remember that eBay doesn't allow people to "borrow" images from other sellers' listings, and you don't want someone else taking credit for the effort you put into a sharp, well-detailed shot, do you? So be sure to safeguard your photos.

Watermarks can also serve as a branding tool, notes Auctiva product analyst Rebecca Miller, who is also an eBay Top-rated Seller. "I mark my images with my eBay ID," she says.

Auctiva's Supersized images display as large as 1,280 × 1,024 pixels—twice the size of eBay's supersizing feature

To create a watermark in Auctiva, simply check the box next to the image you want to safeguard, and click the Watermark button. Then you can customize your watermark's text as well as its color and size. Using this feature will alter your images so you should keep copies of your originals handy just in case.

Once you know what size and color you want your mark to be, use your mouse to place it on your image and click Watermark. Although Auctiva gives you several color options for your watermarks, white is almost always a good choice. It doesn't stand out as much as the red, blue, black or green options, but if you choose at least a medium-sized mark, it should show up enough to ensure the safety of your photo without distracting potential buyers from your item.

Supersize it

Auctiva Image Hosting automatically Supersizes all your images to give customers a better look at your items. This really comes in handy if your item has a detailed pattern that's hard to see from far away or if your goods have minor cracks that you want to make sure buyers know about. Remember, you don't want them to be surprised when they get their package. It could come back to haunt you in your feedback score.

Auctiva recently increased the size of its Supersized images by 37 percent. The "super Supersize" feature displays your pictures as large as 1,280 × 1,024 pixels—twice the size of eBay's supersizing feature.

Keep track of your images

Auctiva also makes keeping track of your images a snap by allowing you to create color-coded folders to organize photos by category or any other topic you choose. You'll be able to do this under Manage Folders in the upper right-hand corner of the Image tab. Just click the Create Folder button and fill out the appropriate information. Then click Save. Now you'll know what's in each folder, at a glance.

Keep in mind that all of this capability is included with any of Auctiva's listing plans. So why not take advantage of all that Auctiva has to offer? It could be good for your image.

About the Author

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.

Other Entries by this Author

Follow Us