Just how important are images for e-commerce sites?

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

In a word, crucial.

Images are one of the biggest factors which will impact upon a consumers purchase decision, get it right and you will secure the sale, but get it wrong and you will almost certainly miss out on sealing the deal. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that images will have an impact on conversion rates given that visuals are reported to be processed 60,000 times quicker in the brain than text. When people land on a product page their eye will immediately be drawn to the images, if there is a good striking main image backed up with a number of other product shots then the consumer will be well on their way to making their decision. If they land on a page with just one image or images which are of poor quality then the consumer’s decision to leave the page is probably already made without reading any further.

Where are images most important?

Images are not only important for retailers’ own e-commerce sites, they are just as important on 3rd party marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, potentially even more so given the amount of choice of other competitor products available on marketplaces. Taking Amazon as an example marketplace, the basics for good imagery includes using all available slots (7 images), a range of images including product shots, lifestyle shots and detail shots and also ensuring that the images uploaded are of a high enough resolution. To enable the zoom functionality on Amazon the images need to be a minimum of 1,000 pixels on its longest side and a minimum of 500 pixels on its shortest side.

Amazon knows the importance of images and this is shown by the fact that they are taken into account within its A9 algorithm when considering which products to show a consumer who is searching the site. Lots of high resolution, detailed imagery is more likely to help the consumer complete their purchase, so Amazon will inevitably favour a product that ticks this box.

Images are just as important on eBay, especially when there are numerous individuals who may be selling the same product (or worse, an imitation!). eBay allows a maximum of 12 images for each listing and this provides an opportunity for genuine sellers/brands to provide additional visual information to assure the consumer they are buying a genuine product from a genuine seller.

hillfarm image example

An example of good Amazon product imagery

What do you need to consider for product shots?

As mentioned earlier, product shots are essential for any e-commerce site whether that be a retailer’s own or a 3rd party marketplace. But what exactly should your product shots show? Essentially the product shots should show in clear detail the front, back, side, top and bottom of the product. Of course, sometimes some of these aren’t always necessary if it doesn’t actually add any value to the consumer (e.g. the bottom of a bottle with no info on it). The product shots should also be on a white background, a test conducted by Upgraded Ape found that their conversion rates increased by 10% when they switched to a white background for their product shots.

So you have good product shots, what else?

Having good quality, high-resolution product shots/cutouts is definitely a good start but adding some lifestyle imagery and contexts to the photos will help to further increase your chances of converting a consumer. People like to be able to visualise how the product will be should they make a purchase, e.g. will it function in the way that they think it does? How does it look when people are using it? Is the product as big/small as they think it is? Ensuring that your imagery covers these areas will help to remove some of the doubt that consumers may have before completing a purchase.

philips hue lifestyle imagery

Philips Hue has good lifestyle imagery

Are images just important on the product page itself?

No! Choosing the wrong main image in the first place could well mean people don’t even click onto your listing so won’t have the chance to see the other 6 beautiful images that you have spent both time and money on getting right. On marketplaces such as Amazon, there will be a large number of results appear when somebody makes a search, so you need to ensure that your main image (the one that will be shown in the search results page) is good enough to encourage people to click. If your main image is smaller or the product doesn’t fill the available space then chances are, people aren’t going to click on your listing. And the vicious circle will continue, as if people aren’t clicking on your listing then they aren’t converting, so Amazon will then give your listing less priority in the search results leading to ranking dropping like a stone.

How to ensure you get the right imagery

Whilst some companies may have the internal resource to be able to take shots of their products whenever needed, a lot won’t. That’s where we can help. At Marketplace AMP we can advise on the types of images that you may require for your product listings, arrange and then oversee any photoshoots. We will help your product listings have a photographic make-over that drives sales.

If you would like to discuss any product image/photography needs for your e-commerce listings then feel free to get in touch with us today.

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