Buyer’s remorse? This is the wrong way to sell that impulse buy

Turns out, online shoppers don’t put much stock into stock photos.

A new study inspired by online transactions on sites like eBay EBAY, +0.92%   and Letgo.com says shoppers will put more trust in high quality pictures from sellers themselves than stock photos or amateurish-looking images from users.

The canned imagery “could be perceived impersonal or ‘too good to be true’” in online marketplaces where buyers can get secondhand goods, said the Cornell Tech study announced this week.

But high-quality pictures taken by the sellers themselves increased trust from cautious consumers wondering what they would be getting themselves into, researchers found.

Shoppers put the least amount of trust in low-quality user pictures, the study added.

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Shoes spotlighted in high resolution, real-life pictures with flattering lighting were 1.17 more likely to be sold, compared to shoes shown in bad-looking pictures, the research concluded. Meanwhile, handbags starring in such spiffy pics were 1.25 more likely sell than bags shown in shoddy images.

“Image quality is associated with higher likelihood that an item will be sold,” said the findings, noting other factors could also go into a sale, such as the item’s price.

The academic study could actually be a fancy set of pro tips for motivated sellers. Online secondhand shopping is big business. Retail commerce sales in the 2018’s third quarter alone were $130.9 billion, up 3.1% from the second quarter of the year — though the numbers don’t break out how much came from consumers selling goods to other consumers.

Also see: From dodgy backdrops to nasty airbrushing, avoid these online dating photo fails

The study acknowledges shooting high quality pictures can be “difficult and time-consuming.” But maybe would-be sellers would be well-served with a little effort instead of a mere snap on a cell phone camera. Plus, with the right lighting, filter and smartphone, people looking to offload Christmas gifts can work wonders, if the luxurious lifestyle photos on Instagram FB, -0.02%   is to believed.

Brighter images were usually regarded as better, but a non-uniform background — like a room’s random spot with clutter in the back — was less likely to be deemed high quality, the study found. Put bluntly, remove your dirty laundry from the scene.

“These two features coincide with the most commonly mentioned product photography tips, background and lighting,” researchers wrote.

A recent survey said a fresh look definitely helps retailers as well. The survey from last month, said 81% of consumers would think less of a brand if the brand’s website was not updated.

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