Our new series ‘Selling online’, follows on from our very successful ‘Q&A’s for new business bloggers‘ series. Inspired by the post ‘How to sell online in 60 seconds‘; online retailers can submit their website for us to provide custom feedback on how you can sell better online (Good times, people!)
Our first brave online retailer was Lorna of Garrendenny Lane. Read our first online review here.
Today we will be evaluating the sellability of HolstPhoto.com for owner and incredible photographer Viv Van Der Holst.
For a photography site I was looking for the ‘ooo ahhhh’ factor – a stunning website to blow me away, so it was a little disappointing to be faced with so much grey. Let me not deceive you however, Viv’s photos are simply stunning, BUT the general tone of the website I felt didn’t do them justice. There are sites which lead with imagery – take Thomson Travel for example . By filling the background with an idealist tropical holiday shot, the site leaves you with little doubt as to what you will get (Your imagination does the rest!) This is actually something that’s extremely clever – Thomson don’t sell destinations, they sell flights and hotels. They know their target well, and sun, sand and palm trees are more of an enticement than planes and hotel windows ever will be(as lovely as they are of course).
The slideshow on the homepage of holstPhoto.com is captivating, but it doesn’t leap out at you. I believe that enlarging the images and using them in a more imaginative way would take the breath away of any visitor (and increase sales).
I also felt that the colour images were intensely more appealing than the black and white images, and would have suffused the page with colour if used predominantly (much like the tone of the Sony Bravia adverts)
Love the share buttons across pages for easy social media sharing.
There is some text over-lapping at the top of the page ‘Store: Online Shopping…’ and ‘Contact’ which needs to be re-aligned.
Design and Branding – have you ‘wowed’ your audience?
The design of the website is minimalist and subtle. The branding similar, with an emphasis on professional and an understated, classical allure. It may well be the case that Viv wanted the photography to ‘sell’ his services and for nothing else to detract from this goal (would be a wise thought). I have seen though, a number of classy, yet creative logos which give some insight into the personality of the photographer . I’ve also seen some photographer websites that sell with simplicity and lead with their work .
I tend to find in the trade that many business owners are talked into a website which is neutral and professional, but I’m finding more and more, that edgy, fresh and individual is taking the online world by storm – A selection of beautiful photography deserves a site with an individual twist and I would love to see that happen with Viv’s photography.
A few notes: Some text is all caps in the menus and some are lower case. Consistency in styling is easier on the eye.
Navigation – finding a service
This website is extremely well-optimised and is on the first page for searches on ‘wedding photographer Dublin’ and ‘commercial photographer Dublin’. I would be optimising the website a tab bit more for ‘newborn photography’ (obvious avoiding child photography!) and ‘decor photography’.
Internally, the site is ultra easy to navigate with the core categories as the main navigation and all other types available within the gallery.
When you click on a category you are inundated with options. Great for SEO, but can be slightly distracting for visitors. Consider your target goals and the placement of these goals. If contact, then ensure this is in the optimum placement for visitors. ‘Shop’ is the first thing I see when clicking on the Wedding Photography page, but is this the goal? If not, move it down or use a graphic to differentiate.
Categories are clearly defined within the footer – great for SEO and fluid navigation after scrolling.
Enquiries – making contact
If I click on the email address, I’m taken to a contact page. Slightly confusing, but glad that there is a contact page and that it also includes an email option and phone number. For many, a mobile number can be off-putting. I use one to free up my land line, and I imagine Viv uses one because he’s on the road. An alternative is to publish a landline and forward to a mobile.
Prior to making contact, a visitor may browse for prices. ‘View our prices for your wedding’ takes me to a page with more images, but no prices. I need to click on one of the photos to view prices. It is always best practice to limit the number of clicks to an intended goal.
If I click on ‘book now’ I come to yet another page which discusses distance and further costs. I would keep the additional travel costs as transparent as possible and earlier on in the process. You may find when tracking the booking process path, that the drop off is high on this page. Add to bag and checkout are easy enough.
Payment options are Credit Card and Paypal, with no mention of Laser. If this is accepted, I would definitely mention it. You could also add in Google Checkout (becoming extremely popular) and Worldpay for further options.
After leisurely browsing the website and viewing Viv’s style, I can see that he has a way of capturing natural beauty and has a true photographer’s eye for taking a shot of the perfect moment. The site is polished and professional, but lacks that ‘wow’ factor. If the photography was allowed to lead, I whole-heartedly believe that the sky is the limit!
Images sourced from www.holstPhoto.com
What are your thoughts on HolstPhoto.com?
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