I just ran across this article at USA Today.
Retailers know how you'll approach a store, where you'll hesitate, how to affect your mood, how to pique your desires, how to play to your aspirations. Everything in a store, from lighting to floor color to music to how goods are displayed, is meant in some way to get you to not just shop, but spend.
"It's like a Broadway musical," says Deborah Mitchell, a marketing expert at the University of Wisconsin. "Nothing was put into that musical that wasn't thought through. It's the same in a highly orchestrated retail environment." Read the entire article.
Here is a cold harsh reality: The most beautifully designed website, the most stunning 2D visual product photos or otherwise simply look weak compared to to a well orchestrated onslaught of your 5 senses at a brick and mortar retail outlet. Online your visitors can't experience depth, texture, lighting, smells, noise ambience, and the list goes on.
Now don't take this as me telling you not to use images and pretty graphics, I am simply stating that focusing heavily on design may not deliver the conversions you hope for.
JPEGs, GIFs, PNGs, even flash presentations are still only 2d, flat, and when compared with a broadway musical, they are boring.
So why do so many spend so much time debating, and hand wringing about their site's visuals and graphics? Maybe they haven't heard.
Your biggest advantage online is your ability to create atom-splitting mental images.
How? With WORDS.
How much time are you spending with design vs. relevant copy?
What mental images are you building about your products/services in the mind of your visitors? Are you using a series of planned mental images to create an online customer experience not bound by a physical reality?
Novelists do it everyday,and the methodology exsists to plan this online.
What are you waiting for?