360 Degree Photography for Marketplace Sellers on Amazon

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What is 360 Photography?

360 degree photography refers to the methodology of taking pictures then putting them together in one file as a GIF, MP4, or HTML file so that a customer viewing the product online can see the product as though they’re in the store looking at a display version of the product.

As you might imagine, this can have highly successful results! And now, Amazon is adding them to product pages for vendors. However, if you’re a brand registered Marketplace seller waiting for when they become available, you can still incorporate 360 photography videos into your video upload on the detail page, or onto your Storefront.

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What is the benefit of 360 photography on Amazon?

It does seem as though Amazon is a bit late to the party on this, as Jeff Kirby wrote in his blog post last year: “The news that Amazon is now allowing 360-degree photography across a wide variety of categories is both exciting and a bit perplexing.  It’s exciting because 360 images give customers a much more nuanced look at the products they are researching, allowing them to virtually interact with the item in a more meaningful way.

“It’s perplexing because this technology is neither new nor particularly en vogue. The original push for 360-degree photography started over a decade ago, and while it’s always been considered a novel and useful tool in ecommerce, it’s hardly a revelation to the product page.”

Regardless of how long it took Amazon to get this moving, we’re glad they did, and have fully committed to supporting our clients with this new option.

To get a sense of the value and why we’re particularly focused on this approach, see the data from Jon Christopher of Hootview on how this worked for one client back in 2016: “Amazon vendor central has no reporting at the individual item level. But they do have summary level reporting. The graph below shows our clients overall sales YTD on Amazon for all of their products.

“The client that got these products up on Amazon is VSI Products. The videos went up onto Amazon on May 5th and at the time this report was pulled it was May 25th. So the gigantic spike your seeing above is only 2/3rds of the month of May. They also told us that it is has caused many products that were slow to move to start selling on a daily basis. In their own words, “We have seen thousands of dollars in additional sales since making these videos available to our shoppers”.”

Where can you upload 360 photographs on Amazon?

Currently, if you’re a vendor, you can upload a file directly as a 360 degree view. Kiri Masters, writing for Forbes, speculated in late 2018 that it hasn’t rolled out to Marketplace yet due to logistical concerns: “Amazon held back this long because they are faced with the challenge of providing this capability to millions of sellers. The potential for technical and quality issues is high if the rollout is not well controlled.”

If you’re a Marketplace seller, you currently have two options for uploading 360 photographs on Amazon: the video widget in Enhanced Brand Content, and the Brand Storefront. Both of these widgets require a video upload, so you’ll need to work with a photography supplier who can provide the images to you as an MP4 file in addition to a more traditional file format for a fixed image such as a GIF or HTML file.

If you’re using a 360 degree view in the video, we suggest getting branded intros and outros that connect the image to your brand name. These can be easily created for you through freelancers on a site like Upwork, and then spliced with your MP4 product videos with Windows Movie Maker.

Typically, Amazon tests new features on vendors, then rolls them out within the following 6-18 months to Marketplace sellers, and typically first on the US marketplace, then roll out to global marketplaces. We are hopeful, therefore, that 360 degree photography will be available as its own featured image for Marketplace Sellers in 2019.

Photo from Amazon.com

How do you get 360 photography/video files to use?

There are a few options for getting 360 degree photography for your listings: 1) set it up to do yourself with tools from a company like Iconasys; 2) hire a company like Snap 36 to do just product photography; or 3) work with a marketing agency like Cascadia who take care of them for you as part of the marketing support offered in a monthly retainer plan.

The toughest aspect if you’re trying to do this yourself is the lighting, although high quality software can accommodate for that to some extent. You also have to consider the cost – if you have only a few products, perhaps an investment of $2-5k for the setup isn’t an effective use of your resources.

The toughest aspect if you’re hiring a photography firm that does just photography is that they generally need to charge a premium for 360 photography because that’s their primary service. Typically, a project starts at $250, and if you have a large catalog, a project can easily go into the thousands.

Why work with an Amazon Marketing Agency?

The benefit of working with a firm like ours to handle all of your Amazon needs is that we’re focused on whatever it takes to grow your brand on Amazon.

If that means 360 photography, then we’re going to get your products photographed on a turntable, and upload it to your Amazon detail page, your Amazon Storefront, YouTube, or social media.

For example, if your 360 degree photography is added to YouTube as a video, it needs to be properly hashtagged for search visibility, with a link to the detail page on Amazon and a custom 5% promotional code to track the benefit of traffic on YouTube.

On social, you can post the video with a custom social media URL that automatically appends the promotion onto the item if it’s added into the Amazon cart, allowing you to directly track the value of the efforts made.

Ultimately, as a partner with you in your Amazon venture, our goal is to grow your Amazon business, and 360 photography is a great way to do that.

Our focus as an agency is on fantastic content, plus data driven advertising strategy, backed up by consistent and meticulous account management support in listing quality, reimbursements, and performance.

If you’re looking for a partner to help you grow your business on Amazon, or launch your business on Amazon, we want to hear from you!

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About the Author
I got my first job at Amazon because of my German language skills from my Master’s in History. Take that, people who said I’d never get a good job with my liberal arts degree! I soon learned that I’m not good at taking orders and started my MBA coursework at Seattle University.

I worked at Amazon for 8 years, as a liaison for law enforcement in Fraud/Transaction Risk, a quality and compliance manager in Product Compliance for Amazon Brands and imports globally, and lastly, managing hardware for Website Availability. I love the flexibility that working for clients on Amazon rather than for Amazon affords me.

In my not significant free time, I do fiber crafts such as spinning, crocheting, and embroidery, and I have been in a community band since 2009, playing French Horn, Trombone, or Euphonium depending on the band’s needs that season.

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