How to Capitalize on Cyber Monday as a Stock Photographer
Christmas traditions have definitely changed over my lifetime, and so has how we source the presents we give.
Back in the "old days", presents were handmade. With glitter and glue from a small child, to the tins of fresh baked cookies, candies, fudge, and even the dreaded fruitcake, or with wood working tools that always managed to turn raw materials into magic; the gifts were lovingly made with the investment of time and talents.
Then it progressed to exchanging small gifts like the tie for Dad or perfume for Mom bought with money saved from the paper delivery route; or the fresh oranges - such the winter treat - and walnuts stuffed into the stockings of young tots; or that luxurious silk scarf purchased for the favorite Aunt; it wasn't the size of the gift but the thought that mattered.
I remember the hours spent at the shopping malls decorated to the gills with tinsel and bows; with piped in music over the loud speakers; and Santa Claus posing for pictures with kid - but NEVER before Thanksgiving was well over.
Then Black Friday changed from a concept - where retailer's balance sheets turned to the black for the year - to a marketing event where stores vied to see how low prices on a few items could generate more foot traffic into their stores; and then into the frenetic mayhem we now witness on television every year.
Big box stores came along to replace the small retail shops with the promise of "one-stop-shopping" benefits while losing the charm and character of the small Mom and Pop shops catering to a niche market.
Then Al Gore invented the internet (sorry, couldn't resist), and we suddenly had the option to shop from the "convenience" of our computer. Of course, we had to wait until we returned to our offices where we had access to high-speed connections - giving us the term " Cyber Monday".
And now Cyber Monday has itself generated such a brand that marketers capitalize on this day - much like the Black Friday of "old" - to generate buzz around select bargains on special items for one day only all to generate traffic to the site.
The good news for stock photographers is this shift in style has created a great market for Holiday themed images specifically to support Cyber Monday shopping.
Online Holiday Shopping
We've all seen images for online shopping - you know, a woman holding a credit card while typing on a laptop; the shopping cart icon on computer screens or keyboards; or the close up of hands on a smartphone screen displaying an eCommerce site. Instantly turn them into holiday online shopping images by placing a "Naughty and Nice" list next to the laptop - or add the phrases Cyber Monday, Christmas Sales, or Holiday Shopping in bold letters on the screen. Place the tablet or smartphone with a shopping site displayed inside a gift box or with a gift tag.
Mix Your Metaphors
An easy way to convey Cyber Monday shopping is by mixing Holiday metaphors and eCommerce metaphors. Think a credit card wearing a Santa Hat sitting on a computer keyboard. Or put the hat on the computer keyboard, or on the person sitting at the computer keyboard. Place a few festively wrapped gift boxes stacked next to the computer keyboard. Or sprinkle in a cup of hot cocoa and Christmas cookies on the table with the computer keyboard. Then add a puppy with a big red bow inside the shopping cart on the computer screen next to the keyboard. You get the point.
Just make sure you leave plenty of copy space for eTailers to add their messaging.
Benefits and Pitfalls
There are a lot of benefits to online shopping - convenience to shop when you want without having to leave the house (i.e. show me folks in their pajamas with a cup of coffee sitting at the kitchen table with a laptop and a pile of brightly wrapped gifts), the ability to have items delivered to your home or directly to the recipient already wrapped with a gift card (see smiling, happy delivery people handing packages to delighted individuals standing on their front porch decorated for the Holidays), or the advantage of finding niche items by searching across the globe or directly from the source (picture holiday shoppers chatting with remote artisans in a Christmas markets a world away).
But there are also pitfalls to be aware of ' the theft of packages from the front porch, or the horror stories of delivery ( like men throwing that flat screen over the front hedge), and the fear of identity theft or the many hacks and security breaches from retailers we read about all the time. Make sure you have plenty of those types of images ready for the inevitable articles we'll be reading about over and over again this year.
Then remove all the holiday references and retake the same themes, because after all we shop online throughout the year.
And don't forget to enjoy the Holidays between all that shopping and picture taking!
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