Table of contents
- 1. Show the shopper a photo for each colour or style you offer for the product.
- 2. Give the shopper a way to zoom in on any part of the product.
- 3. Observe the basics of image SEO.
- 4. Use a white background for your products.
- 5. Improve page load speeds by using the correct image format.
- 6. Consistency with each image
- 7. Consider using 360° viewing options, or a high-resolution product video.
- 8. Optimize your thumbnails to drive upsells
A picture is worth a thousand words, and in ecommerce, it’s worth a thousand sales. High-quality visual content can make or break a sale for online businesses as customers rely on visuals to make buying decisions.
Here’s why product images in e-commerce are so important:
- 33.16% of customers prefer to see multiple photos of each product, and about 60% of customers prefer images that enable a 360º view of the product.
- 22% of customers return products because they weren’t as shown online.
- Consumers are 85% more likely to buy a product after viewing a product video.
In this blog, we’ll go over how you can optimise your store-fronts with high-quality product images. So let’s dive in.
1. Show the shopper a photo for each colour or style you offer for the product.
When displaying your product online, it’s very easy to just say: “available in 3 more colours.” Show them. There’s nothing worse than having multiple variations of your product, but not showing any pictures for it. Having images for the product in each variant that it’s offered allows customers to see each angle of the product, in their preferred colour/pattern, or any other variant. This becomes a simple value-add for your product detail page which will boost your ecommerce store’s conversions drastically.
Famous apparel brand SHEIN does this effortlessly, showing each of their products in each colour available. This allows the customer to visualise each product in their preferred colour or style, and boosts their conversions.
2. Give the shopper a way to zoom in on any part of the product.
Giving your buyers an image zoom feature automatically adds to the customer experience. It’s a positive addition, by the way. Users almost always mouse over an image to see if they can zoom into the image to see the product up close, and with more scrutiny. If they see that your images are in fact not zoomable, they’ll be left very unsatisfied. And what will happen as a result? An increased bounce rate.
This is where having high-resolution product images is very important. You want to allow your customers to zoom in on your product images without compromising its quality.
We’ll reuse our SHEIN example. Their product images are zoomable, allowing users to have a closer look at the texture of the clothes and the material. This increases the likelihood of the customer going through with a purchase because they get all the necessary information they need.
Here’s another example of a zoomable image for a vintage clock. The zoomable image allows users to see little details of the product, allowing them to better visualise what the product will look like in their homes.
3. Observe the basics of image SEO.
Images, just like product descriptions, need to be optimised for search engines. Providing the right meta descriptions can cause your images to rank higher. It’s also important to give your images alt text and title text.
This data is also important for visually impaired shoppers, who rely on alt text to know what the image is about. They depend on your metadata to tell them what those images are and what they look like. Beyond alt text and title text, you’ll also want to consider your strategy for using captions with your photos.
The name of your images also matters to search engine web crawlers, so don’t leave the name at “AP977631”. We know it’s much easier to leave it at the name that your computer, camera, or phone assigned to it. But this can be detrimental to your SEO. Give appropriate file names to each of your images, so search engine web crawlers can know what it is, or what it shows.
4. Use a white background for your products.
By keeping a white background for all your images, you ensure consistency throughout. White backgrounds are standard on almost every online store, and there are a few very good reasons for that:
- Your products will stand out on a white background.
- Your images will look consistent on product pages.
- You will save money and time in editing.
- You can easily reuse or replace the background on any of your photos.
- Marketplaces like Google Shopping and Amazon now have made it mandatory to have white backgrounds.
You can use software such as Photoshop or Pixlr to manually replace the background of your product photos with a white background, or let services like Pixc do the work for you. Pandora uses a white background for all its product images, which elevates the product, and maintains consistency.
5. Improve page load speeds by using the correct image format.
It’s easy to just choose the default save option when you’re creating your images, but knowing the difference between file formats and settings can have a massive impact on your site.
The three most common formats used for product images in e-commerce that are supported by most platforms are: JPG/JPEG, GIF or PNG. Each of these have different benefits and drawbacks.
GIF files are lower in quality, but also in file size. If you need to create an image specifically for small icons or thumbnails, then you probably want to use a GIF. They’re also the only format available that supports animation. However, as the image size gets bigger, GIFS become less efficient at processing colors.
PNG files support a wider range of colors, and also the only format that supports transparent backgrounds. However, this all comes at the cost of larger file size. If you need to edit a photo multiple times, you’ll want to export it as a PNG file.
JPEG images are the most common format used by digital cameras and online. They support a wide range of colours, but the JPEG compression settings allow you to strike a balance between image quality and file size.
We’ve covered these in more detail in our blog here: E-commerce Product Images: Best Formats.
6. Consistency with each image
In order to enhance your brand and give the most cohesive ecommerce shopping experience, your https://apimio.com/product-data-e-commerce-importance/. Whether you’re using flash or not, a background or no background, a model or a mannequin, it’s important that whatever decision you make is applied across all your products.
One way to create consistency is to make sure your product photos come from the same source. Most business owners get their product photos via one of these three ways:
- Use the manufacturer’s images
- Hire someone to take your product photos
- Take your own product photos
Using your manufacturer’s images will ensure consistency and accuracy across all your product pages. However, using a commercial photographer to take your product photos or taking them on your own are also great ways to improve your website. It just depends on which one better suits your business needs, free time, abilities and budget.
7. Consider using 360° viewing options, or a high-resolution product video.
Want to add that cherry on top of your perfect chocolate ganache cake? Allow your customers to see a 360 degree view of your products. Give them a complete virtual view, so they can see each angle of your product. If you’re unable to handle this in-house, you can hire a company that specializes in 360° product photography. Obviously, if you can afford to.
Using product videos or GIFs can also lift your conversions. It has been shown that adding a video to your page can increase your organic traffic from SERPs by 157%. So if you have the resources available to create product videos and GIFs for your online store, it’ll more than pay off for you in the long-term.
Check out how this Delta seller on Amazon provides a 360° view of their faucet. It allows consumers to see each angle of the product, and envision it in their own use. Something like this is guaranteed to increase conversions for your store.
8. Optimize your thumbnails to drive upsells
Thumbnail images are often displayed, many at a time, at the bottom of a page. The goal of these thumbnails is to drive an upsell. An upsell is an add-on, upgrade, or additional product that a seller introduces to you after an initial purchase. It is based on your initial purchases, and the items recommended are those that match your choice the most.
You should absolutely display related products below or above the cart or purchase page and entice your customers to click on them. But, if those thumbnail images don’t load, you’re missing out on a ton of potential business.
So, just because they’re tiny, don’t disregard your thumbnail images as less important to your business profitability. They need to be super small in file size: ideally less than 70 KB.
They’re best as JPEG or GIF files. Use Pixlr if you need to resize your files. And don’t forget to name your thumbnail images. They need solid names and alt attributes just like your product pics. Getting these thumbnail images optimized will help you improve SEO and hopefully increase the amount of profit you generate from each web conversion.
Now that we’ve discussed the creative aspect of product images, let’s dive into the technicalities of product images for your e-commerce stores.
Dimensions And Resolution
The dimensions of your product image should be a perfect square. All e-commerce platforms follow this format:
- Less than 100 kb
- Square images
Square images are important as they work with each platform, and ensure that images look the same no matter what device they’re displayed on.
The resolution of your product images should ideally be 1500 x 1500. This will ensure that the resolution is consistent across all of your retailers’ platforms. So no matter which ecommerce platform they are using, your products show up the same way on all of them.
- The ideal size would be 1500 x 1500.
- The minimum size should be 1080 x 1080
Having your brand’s product images with a simple, bright white background helps you stay consistent on all your retailers platforms. The background color helps the product stand out. If the background is a loud color, or has a pattern, it becomes distracting to your customers, and pushes them to look at products other than yours.
There’s a huge difference between “image size” and “file size”. Usually, people tend to mix them up. When talking about “image size”, we’re referring to the dimensions of an image, for example: 1080 x 1080. But when we talk about file size, we are referring to the amount of space that the image will require on your server. File size can have a direct impact on your page load speed.
It can make or break the performance of your site because every single image must download each time your site is visited.
Your goal is to keep your images at 1 to 2 MB in size. An image can have large dimensions and still be 2MB or less. The smaller your image size, the faster your load speeds, meaning a lower bounce rate and happier customers.
We know it suits most of us to just type in a random name to save our images. But this can be detrimental to your SEO. You have to make sure that your keywords, or at least a variation on them, are included in your image filename, which should be descriptive.
Don’t stuff keywords into the image filename. Only one variation on a keyword should be included, and filenames shouldn’t get cumbersome in length. Make sure the filename is legible. Meaning; you should use hyphens or underscores in between words in your filename in order to ensure that the search engines see the individual words. Don’t leave spaces in your filename, because these will show up as “%20” instead, which may make the filename illegible.
Pretty much the same advice goes for the image URL as for the image filename. You may want to consider using a different variation on your keyword than the one you used in the filename, but otherwise, the advice is essentially the same.
Ensure that a sound URL architecture is in place for your image URLs. A standard folder like /images/ is OK, but if you really want to go the extra mile and give the search engines more to work with, create subfolders for different types of images, such as /images/pants/men’s/, for example.
A better hierarchical taxonomy for your image URLs may help the search engines gain a better semantic understanding of your images, which will allow you to turn in more relevant search results.
Image Alt Attribute
The image alt attribute should include your keyword, but in most cases, it should include more. Bear in mind that even though many SEO practitioners treat the alt attribute as if it’s some kind of meta keywords tag, it isn’t.
The image alt is intended for use by screen readers for the visually impaired, as well as a substitute for your image on browsers that can’t display the image for whatever reason. If you wouldn’t want your image ALT to show up as a replacement for your image, bare for your readers to see, it means you are doing something wrong.
Use the image alt as a descriptive replacement for your product image that includes your keywords, not as a keyword dumping ground.
Make sure to compress your images, to keep load times down. If your images don’t load fast enough, they will slow down your site, which can hurt your SEO.
While Google keeps thumbnails on hand, the larger images are loaded from your site, so if your image takes too long to load in Google images, the user will be far less likely to click-through to see more. The problem with this is that Google rarely displays duplicate images in the search results. It will often index them, but it generally will not display them, since no user needs more than one copy of the same image.
The only way around this problem is, of course, to include unique product images on your product pages. It goes without saying that it isn’t always possible to do this for every product page, especially for larger sites. Additionally, depending on your agreements with product manufacturers, you may not always have control over this.
Nevertheless, it’s worth the effort to include some unique images, even if only on a few high-performing and high-potential pages. Extra points if you take the extra step of making sure that your image will differentiate itself from everything else visible in the image search results.
If there is one thing better about image search results than core search results, it’s this: users are often willing to dig much deeper than the first “page,” (which is actually an infinite scroll) of the image search results.
Use CDN to increase the Speed of Image Delivery
A CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a network of servers that allows you to increase the speed of image delivery time. These servers are located around the world to deliver multimedia, such as videos/images to other networks. CDN reduces the number of network points between the server and the user. Therefore, it becomes possible to quickly deliver the content that is crucial if you want to load the images or different types of multimedia content.
Images hold the potential to make your online stores stand out, and leave a lasting impression on your customers. If you’re able to merge all the points we’ve listed above, you’ll be sure to create one good-looking online store that converts users.
Create an image strategy for your e-commerce site, and deliver the best possible graphics to your users.