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Best Online Shopping Experience Awards: Product Photography (Sports & Leisure)

December 18, 2018 / by Tina Eaton

People form their first impression within 50 milliseconds.

They’re not reading your thoughtfully-crafted copy (yet). They’re not looking at your wide variety of products (yet). The very first thing they’re doing is forming a lasting opinion of your brand based on imagery.

In fact, more than half of online shoppers rate product photos as more important to them than product information, reviews, and ratings. And Google itself recognizes this consumer preference by ranking good photography higher in its search engine results.

We acted on this game-changing information by creating a special Product Photography category in our esteemed Best Online Shopping Experience Award series to show retailers what consumers are looking for and help shoppers connect with the best brands in the biz.

Our team poured over 1,300 sports and leisure websites from around the web and around the world. After dozens of hours of careful analysis, we narrowed it down to 27 websites with the best product photography.

Each website on this list had to meet several key standards to be ranked among the top providers of the best online shopping experience:

  • Well-lit, clear photos
  • Photos that bring value to the product description
  • Photos that exemplify ways to use the product in real life
  • Photos that incorporate the brand story

Now let’s get scrollin’.

CCM Hockey

Opening its doors for business in Weston, Ontario, Canada in 1899, Canada Cycle & Motor Company Limited (now CCM Hockey) has become one of the largest hockey equipment manufacturers in the world. Judging by their full line of goalie and player gear displayed via bold website imagery, they might also be one of the best.

Fun fact: Between 1939 and 1969, all the scoring champions in the NHL used CCM’s Prolite blade. 

ProForm

ProForm has delivered a wide range of exercise equipment straight to consumers’ homes since 1987. Fitness equipment is a large purchase to make online, but ProForm’s action shots, 360-degree views, and videos make it easy for shoppers to see exactly what they’re getting.

Amundson Hawaii

How could you not love a bunch of shots of beautiful SUP boards with Hawaii as their backdrop?! If a picture is worth a thousand words, Amundson Hawaii’s website photography has a lot of great things to say about their products, how they're designed, and how people enjoy them.

RovR

Have you ever seen the four-wheel-drive version of a cooler? Well, after one peek at RovR’s website you won’t be able to unsee it. Excellent lifestyle imagery and videos that go from the beach to a bear attack do a great job of portraying the products’ most important features. 

Fun fact: We weren’t kidding about the bears! RovR put their cooler up against a grizzly to prove their lock points will keep beers in while keeping bears out. 

Callaway

Bold and modern might not be two words you associate with golf, but when we look at Callaway’s homepage imagery and detailed product pages we can’t help but think those very things. 

Callaway

Juliana Bicycles

In 1999, mountain biker Juli Furtado led the charge to create the first women’s mountain bike—aptly named “The Juliana.” Since then they’ve continued to develop award-winning, premium mountain bikes. And some badass photography and videos, as well. 

Coleman

Coleman is a known and trusted brand for backpackers and backyard campers alike. Their website only reinforces that trust with detailed photography and videos of their gear in action.

Fun fact: Coleman’s flagship product, the gas lantern, came about because founder W.C. Coleman had poor vision and needed a brighter, steadier light to see by. 

Filson Co.

Just one look at Filson’s photography and you can imagine exactly what the company’s founder C. C. Filson must have looked like when he set up his rugged outdoor clothing and gear store during the gold rush of the 1890s. We can tell Filson applies the same belief system to their photography as they do their merchandise: Make sure it's the absolute best.

Handful

Handful celebrates their activewear customers for being active, versatile, and one of a kind. We celebrate their photography—which features a beautiful array of body types—for the same. 

Old Town

Old Town’s boats and boating accessories are built in Old Town, Maine—and we’d be willing to bet some of their great action shots were also taken right around there. And after seeing their crisp, detailed product shots we almost put a few boats in our cart!

Old Town

Oru Kayak

High-performance kayaks that fit in your closet are something you have to see to believe. Oru Kayak’s website photography makes that not just possible but really fun with plenty of images of the kayaks folded up, unfolded, and in action in the water.

Fun fact: Oru Kayaks are made of special polypropylene that has the same durability of a conventional kayak but can be folded up small and light enough to carry on your back!

Rising

Rising was founded with a big goal in mind: To improve everything about the fishing experience, from the tying table to the water. And the detailed, real-life imagery of their products actually does make it easy for fishers to select the right gear for a great fishing experience.

OneUp

With a name like OneUp, we expected a lot from this mountain biking parts company. They delivered with detailed product shots that make a bunch of bike parts far from boring.

Ethnotek

Ethnotek is on a mission to keep culture alive with top-of-the-line laptop and travel bags that use ethically-sourced, handmade textiles. We love the way their website photography reinforces this cause with bright, detailed product photos intermingled with imagery of the very communities they help support.

Fun fact: Ethnotek employs hand printers, weavers, and embroiderers in Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam. 

SILCA

With timeless photography that’s perfectly aligned with their classic products and design, SILCA’s website imagery shows their commitment to a cohesive customer experience. 

SILCA 

SOG Specialty Knives

Field-proven by US Special Forces and the knife of choice for Navy SEALs, SOG’s website photography goes above and beyond with detailed, well-articulated knife and multitool photos that reinforce their quality. 

Fun fact: SOG’s knives are inspired by a combat weapon that members of a highly classified U.S. special ops unit, MACV-SOG, carried in covert missions in Vietnam.

The James Brand

Another knife brand, The James Brand is a perfect example that all website photography doesn’t have to be created equal, even when the products are similar. Lots of bright close-ups and action shots make it easy for shoppers to imagine the product in their hands. 

Pau Hana Surf Supply

Pau Hana Surf Supply’s website photography certainly knows how to make the most of the beautiful, watery landscape where customers can enjoy their yoga, surfing, touring, and other lines of paddle boards.

Barebones Living

With paired down yet rugged imagery, Barebones Living is true to their motto to elevate life outdoors by creating a more enjoyable connection with nature and those around you.

Sweet Protection

Sweet Protection’s website is chock-full of photos that display their humble beginnings all the way through the development of their top-of-the-line helmets and protective gear.

Fun fact: Sweet Protection was dreamed up by a bunch of boarders years before skateboarding was even legal in their home country of Norway. 

 Sweet Protection

Nordica

With crisp, zoomable images that set it apart in the world of ski gear, Nordica’s website photos make a powerful statement about the benefits, quality, and usability of all their products.

Big Agnes

Fun, bright, and specially designed to make your outdoor experiences as comfortable as possible—Big Agnes’ brand mission comes across loud and clear in the lifestyle and product photography on their website.

Fun fact: Big Agnes was named for a 12,000’ peak north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where the company is based. That, or a truck drivin’ mountain mama. You’ll have to ask them. 

Freestyle USA

It’s hard to look at Freestyle’s line of watersports watches and bands and not think of California beach culture. Lots of details shots combine with a feed of real-life watch wearers to help shoppers imagine themselves soaking up the sun with a stylish accessory on their wrist. 

KIALOA

Even though they offer more accessories than actual paddle boards, KIALOA knows how to embody their passion for being in, on, and around the water right down to each and every clear, detailed product photo.

Fun fact: While Kialoa does translate to “swift, fast canoe” in Hawaiian, the company is actually named after Kialoa II, a beautiful boat the company’s founder fondly remember from a trip to the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor with his dad as a child.

Moonshine MFG

A true standout among skateboard brands, Moonshine MFG’s product photos give you plenty of details about their products while their action shots practically make you feel the wind in your hair as you cruise into the sunset.

 

 Moonshine MFG

Gregory

If you’ve ever shopped for any kind of backpacking, commuter, or travel bag; you know there are tons of confusing variations out there. With detailed product photos that show you how to use each pocket and strap, Gregory makes it easy to find the right gear for your life.

BioLite

It’s a stove. It’s a phone charger. It’s a whole new kind of outdoor product. That’s why we appreciate BioLite’s detailed product imagery and lifestyle shots that help users understand the genius behind their line of electricity-generating, wood-burning stoves and other clean energy outdoor gear. 

 BioLite

Nearly 90 percent of buyers are willing to pay more if the brand provides excellent customer experience. Over 70 percent say customer experience is an important factor in their purchasing decisions—nearly all of them calling it more influential than the greatest advertising!

And as we learned earlier, great product photography is the first thing upon which online shoppers judge a brand’s customer experience.

Yes, product photography is certainly important. However, it can be pretty hard to keep up with for retailers who have lots of products on lots of channels. Which is exactly why we built Plytix—the first product information management software made just for product folks to centralize, optimize, distribute, and analyze important product assets (including photos!) all from one easy-to-use platform.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Get in touch with our magical customer service unicorn Belinda (just hit the chat bubble) or sign up for our free package today.

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Tina Eaton

Written by Tina Eaton