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Pictures speak louder than words: Pixc’s founder on role of great images in ecommerce

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Succeeding in ecommerce goes beyond hawking one’s wares to an online audience. According to Holly Cardew, founder of Pixc, online retailers can increase their sales just by transforming standard product images into awesome ones.

Launched in 2013, Pixc provides on-demand product image editing and optimisation to ecommerce stores. To ensure the process of managing and optimising product listings is both fast and easy for retailers, Pixc integrates directly into ecommerce platforms (Magento, Shopify, Bigcommerce, etc). Further, its purpose-built algorithms and network of designers from around the world means customers can ‘get everything they need’ within 24 hours. According to Holly, the company processes thousands of listings per month and while it currently has customers in 27 countries, it can serve ‘anyone, anywhere in the world’.

Asked to quantify the value to ecommerce businesses of using optimised, retail-ready images, Holly told Dynamic Business: “67% of online consumers consider product images to be more important than product descriptions and customer reviews. Also, our customers have seen up to a 50% increase in sales due to having professional product images on a white background. On eBay, a product on a white background can increase sales by 7% plus a 3% increase for every extra product image added.”

“We’re addressing a larger issue”

Prior to Pixc, Holly started a travel website, an ecard website that ‘never gained enough traction to become viable’ and (while living in Orange, NSW) Country & Co – an online marketplace that provided an outlet for people in regional Australia to sell their wares to metropolitan consumers. Holly said her experience with businesses while operating with Country & Co sparked the idea for Pixc.

“I launched Pixc after seeing businesses on the marketplace platform struggle with product content and branding,” she explained. “They were finding it costly and time-consuming, and their product listings were not optimised for sales. Pixc launched with a simple landing page but by the third week, we had businesses from across hundreds of product images for optimisation. Early on, a store in QLD submitted hundreds of images – that’s when I realised Pixc was addressing a larger (more global) issue.

“I now split my time between San Francisco and Sydney, the reason being that if you are building a technology company, it is best to surround yourself with those who have done it before and can help out, including the channel partners with whom we have strategic relationships. Wanting to learn from the best, Silicon Valley was the place to be.”

“My job feels like eight roles in one”

In addition to being the university learning experience she has never had, Holly admitted that running a technology company with a ton of moving parts has been an ongoing challenge.

“I’m not only a team leader, I’m having to learn how to manage customers, growth, fundraising and culture – it essentially feels like eight roles in one,” she said.

“Our success so far – and we still have a long way to go – has taken focus and persistence. Nothing ever works as planned, but it has been important to keep going and push through the rough patches. I’ve also had to surround myself with the right people, i.e. the mentors and team mates committed to our vision, which is to help one million ecommerce businesses succeed long term. This will involve building out a lot more features of our technology and learning as fast as possible so that I can be the best possible leader.

“Outside of Pixc, I want to help provide jobs to two million people in developing countries. I would also love to be an investor as this would allow me to be involved in multiple ideas and teams at the same time.
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“Don’t let new opportunities overwhelm you”

Holly said that while new technologies, social platforms and marketing options can be overwhelming, it’s important for online retailers to consider, early on, new technologies that will not only help improve their business processes but gain them new customers “in ways others haven’t thought about”.

“I know when Instagram came out, some retailers didn’t want to know about it because it was just ‘another platform they had to manage’,” she said.

“It is now one the biggest social media platforms in the world with 500 million monthly active users. The retailers that used platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest etc. were able to build large followings because they were ahead of everyone else.  This is exactly how NastyGal grew to a $100m empire when MySpace first launched.”