Supercharging The Visual Economy with Liz Giorgi, Cofounder and CEO of soona

Liz Giorgi is on a mission to supercharge the visual economy for modern DTC brands with soona. Keep reading to get the scoop on soona’s origins, the platform’s unique offerings, and Giorgi’s POV on the visual economy.
November 28, 2022
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Tydo logo and soona logo on a pink background with a polaroid camera in the center

We all know the saying: a picture is worth a thousand words. The adage rings true in the world of ecommerce. Visuals and product photography matter more than you think. More often than not, it’s the deciding factor between a consumer hitting that “add to cart” button or not. 

Liz Giorgi is on a mission to supercharge the visual economy for modern DTC brands with soona: the world’s first virtual product photography studio for ecommerce merchants. Their clients include The Sill, Knickey, Aisling Organics, Made In, and more. We sat down with Giorgi to get the scoop on soona’s origins, the platform’s unique offerings, and Giorgi’s POV on the visual economy. 

soona’s Start: Scalable, Affordable Content Creation 

Before soona, Giorgi ran a full-service production company. There, brands would consistently reach out requesting visuals for Shopify or Amazon but none of these small brands could afford Giorgi's team.

She tried her best to offer recommendations and make referrals, but time and time again, Giorgi struggled to find an affordable production company that could meet the brand’s needs. There are freelance marketplaces, but their work can lack consistency and quality. There are also large production and creative agencies, but they don’t have a business model that allows them to take on these projects without breaking the bank.

Simply put, there wasn’t an affordable platform or agency for ecommerce brands seeking high-quality creative and content. So, in 2019, Giorgi talked to her friend and future soona cofounder, Hayley Anderson, about selling their production company to create a new solution for this problem space.  

Together, they spent nine months building a software platform—all with the hopes of providing small brands with a $39 photo (less than the price of a stock image and competitive with an app subscription). From there, they went all in on soona. 

“You can’t underestimate the power of a great image. It lets the customer know what to expect and what will show up on their doorstep.”

Automating the Creative Process 

To create soona, Giorgi and Anderson searched for commonalities between ecommerce brands and what they need to have a successful photo shoot. Then, they turned that into a technology experience. 

When brands join soona’s platform, they answer various questions that help the soona team better understand their needs and custom build an effective, valuable photo shoot experience.

Questions include: 
  1. What industry are you in? 
  2. What platform are you creating content for? 
  3. What are you hoping the content looks like? 
  4. Inspiration or examples? 

Brands have the option to pick a pre-selected photo/video shoot, such as selling on Amazon or Shopify, or they can build out a photo shoot from scratch. soona offers a few imagery styles, such as lifestyle and product on white

Every customer is encouraged to be online for the virtual photoshoot experience. It’s an opportunity for brands to see the content in real-time and provide direct feedback to the creative team. At the end of the shoot, brands only pay for the images they like and want to use. 

“We often think of the job of a producer as the job of soona’s software.” 

The Visual Economy & soona’s Solution 

Ecommerce wouldn’t exist without the visual economy. “When was the last time you bought something on the internet without a photo? Never. No transaction happens on the internet without a visual asset,” says Giorgi. 

The core commonality between every merchant, platform, transaction, customer, and partner: engaging visuals. “For merchants who start with poorly-shot images, they see return rates as high as 20-25%,” notes Giorgi. “With real, high-quality images, they can cut that rate in half.” 

Shopify invested in themes early on, and they’ve continued to invest in their network of partners and theme builders—all of whom prioritize clean, distinctive visuals. According to Giorgi, the most successful brands are the ones that invest in photo and video assets to power their Shopify themes. 

A picture helps consumers answer the following questions: 
  1. What can I learn about the product? 
  2. How do these images help me understand the size of the product, how it works, and how it fits into my life? 
  3. What does this product look like on a friend or me? 
  4. What purpose will this product serve? 

A few years ago, brands could use the same set of images and videos on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and their website. Now, brands are taking an omnichannel approach, where their content differs on each platform. 

“Increasingly, brands see that the person purchasing on Instagram is slightly different than the person using the search engine on Amazon,” explains Giorgi. Now brands have to create a diversity of content, which, in turn, will improve conversion. 

Video is one of the fastest growing areas for soona. This summer, they launched a new product that turns any number of soona photos into a stop-motion video. “We’re focusing on helping brands embrace the power of the moving image,” adds Giorgi. soona has found that video can help reduce customer decision time, by almost half. 

“How do you align visual storytelling to the unique customer behavior on each platform? That’s what we’re helping brands figure out. One size doesn’t fit all.”

Avoid These Content Mistakes

Most brands don’t have enough visuals altogether, says Giorgi. On a product display page, she recommends adding around seven images (at least five). More images lead to improved conversion rates.

Another common mistake Giorgi sees brands make: forgetting to add the human element to product photography. “A photo is one of the most powerful places to add a human. It helps communicate how you’re going to use the product,” notes Giorgi. 

According to soona’s data, adding a hand model to a photo shoot can result in up to a 30% increase in conversion rate. This is yet another reason soona introduced a model marketplace to their platform. 

Finally, oftentimes brands go with an exclusively white background for all their photos. Although it’s industry standard, lifestyle images help expand comprehension and conversion for consumers. For most of their merchants, soona sees anywhere from a 10-25% increase in conversion by using lifestyle images. 

“Adding a model helps the customer see themselves using the product.”

Curious to give soona a try? Use our exclusive code “tydo” to get your first photo for free!

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