We run across the evidence pretty frequently, customers using product photos and descriptions verbatim from our website for their private label products. If they ever ask, we advise against it. Strongly.
Not that we don’t understand the reasoning behind using what we have. It makes perfect sense to use our pictures, our descriptions and our viewpoints. Content development is time-consuming, labor-intensive and it’s second nature to very few. On the other hand, Botanie content – photos and words – is all right there.
There’s a Downside
Here’s the downside. You might be giving your secret away. Let’s say the soap you’re selling is made by us. You have a brand people are starting to know. You have a nice Kraft-brown belly band and a logo that does all it can to scream handmade. On your website, you’ve used photos from our website and you’ve copied our descriptions verbatim.
Let’s say what you’ve copied becomes an issue with a particular online/offline marketplace. If the only requirement for their Handmade Soap department was soap made by hand, you’d be fine. Turns out this marketplace also requires the soap to be made by the person selling it. Some other seller got to wondering and Googled the text from your soap descriptions. Guess who came up, in addition to you? Us.
Google Knows All
There’s the downside, of course. While you might never have said in print, “I make this myself,” it’s always a nice indirect assumption to take advantage of, when people think – or like to think – that you do. When the Google search includes us, and the someone wondering makes their discovery known to the marketplace at large, your brand can be in violation, even if by oversight, and be further seen as ungenuine. Exactly the kind of attention that can undo the good work you’ve done building your business.
It’s only a little more complicated to search the internet for photos. The insight is, be yourself and you’ll be the only one people will find.
Hints and How-To’s
We know that’s easier said than done. It’s also easier than it’s made to appear, sometimes. Chances are, you already know who your private label competition is, and you know other sources of products like yours. Take advantage of that knowledge.
Whenever you find a soap or skincare site you like the feel of, spend some time to find out why. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can do good research. Identify what you like about other product descriptions to put together your own. Don’t copy. Let what you’ve read and liked influence you when you write what’s yours. If that’s still easier said than done, check out this blog on writing product descriptions that sell. Like all blogs, this one’s a source of ideas and inspiration – good ones – not of rigid guidelines you’re required to follow.
What About Photos?
If you’re going to charge people for the photographs you take, for example, you should have a really good camera. If you’re not, and you want to take product photos for your web stores, there are any number of smartphones with cameras plenty good enough. The problem for lots of us taking good photographs, especially the kind that will be the face of your business, is being able to control your lighting.
You’re in luck. There’s YouTube, and all kinds of videos on how to build a simple lightbox, where you can take professional-looking photographs of your products. How-to videos on YouTube rely a lot on personality. Rather than choose for you, here’s a link to a YouTube search results page (“how to make a photo lightbox”) where you can choose the personality you enjoy while learning how to make a lightbox simply and cheaply.
Above all, the point of them all is you don’t have to settle for stock photos or bad photos. You can put together a decent photo-taking environment and take great-looking photos that are absolutely yours.