“Opening a liquor store in the middle of COVID-19 is a solid business move,” jokes Aaron Lefkove, restaurant industry vet and owner of Bluebird Wine & Spirits. He opened the Accord, New York, shop in November 2020, and the timing made it even more important for him to build out an eCommerce arm for his business
“It took me about six or eight weeks to get my online store fully launched initially, just because there’s a lot of stuff you have to do upfront, especially because I have a business where, at any time, I have like 400 to 500 active SKUs,” he explains.
One of the most arduous tasks? Taking photos of all of the bottles and other inventory he sells online.
“I had paid somebody to come in and shoot and edit photos of all of my opening inventory; it was really time consuming,” he recalls. And upkeep proved to be a challenge as well; every week, he was getting about 20 new SKUs that needed to be photographed so he could sell them online.
“I was setting up lights and using a nice camera to take photos, and then I would have to transfer them and I would have to touch them up.”
For Lefkove, having high-quality product photos is essential, despite the production challenges posed by the sheer volume of product. “People recognize wine labels,” he says, “and they want to know what they are buying when they are shopping online.” Data backs up his assertion: Square Online retail merchants found that 94% of the first orders from their online store included product images, and, according to a 2018 Weebly survey, 75% of eCommerce shoppers say product photos are very influential for their purchasing decisions. Additionally, product photos can help improve SEO, ultimately bringing in more potential customers.
Lefkove learned about the Square Photo Studio App, which allows business owners to easily snap product photos on their phone and add them to their website. Built-in smart tools in the app automatically adjust the exposure and remove the backgrounds — meaning that no fancy camera, background setup, or editing skills are required to get professional-looking product photos.
After trying the app as a beta-tester, he immediately saw that it saved him time – the thing many sole proprietors value most. “It’s just less stuff for me to have to set up and it’s a quicker turnaround,” he says, adding, “now I can really just take the pictures and go.” Lefkove now uses the app to photograph all of his inventory.
The Photo Studio App is available on iOS to all Square sellers. With features like the ability to add shadows and colorful backgrounds, business owners can create eye-catching, uniform eCommerce photos, or take stylized product photos for their website headers and social channels. Unlike other photo apps, Square Photo provides real-time tips to make sure you get great shots right away. To save even more time, product photos you take with Square Photo Studio connect directly with the Square items catalog so you can get them on your site right from the app and start selling immediately.
Another Square merchant, Fybr Bamboo, uses Square Photo Studio to create colorful stylized product photos.
“Post bright, eye-catching photos and come up with a witty description,” Lefkove says when asked for his advice to other business owners selling goods online. “You’ll save yourself a lot of time with this app that takes the backend work out of it for you.”