Best practices for e-commerce images
Excellent product photography will make your brand stand out in the crowd. With simple practices your online presence will be taken to the next level.
Customer experience and driving website foot traffic to your online store are all fundamental practices and are a welcomed consequence of taking a great product photograph. Creating personalized shopping services with categorized inventory can make a customer feel understood. Showing your products in their best light is an ideal way to connect with loyal clients and potential future clientele and shows you care about your brand and what it represents.
Often when life is going well we don’t necessarily consider changing things around or spicing situations up, but in an online world of product sales, this is a must. Let’s dive right into some tips and guidance on how you can refresh your web presence, update your brand’s image, and enjoy a transformational experience throughout.
What makes a good product image?
Concise images with direct titles are quick implementations for a good product image.
‘What you see is what you get’, this is the essential concept of a great product image.
The customer is looking for and cares about something you are selling. Therefore, showing them exactly what they are purchasing is why a good product image is so important.
Too often creatives and advertisers are more focused on promoting a product in what they believe to be the most ‘sought-after’ and impressive methods rather than emphasizing what a consumer will receive.
This can quickly lead to misconceptions, frustrations, and loss of customer loyalty, but is easily avoidable. With a little know-how on how to accurately promote your product, your clients can enjoy browsing through high-quality images of well-made products. 5 of the top pointers to consider;
- Audience focused product
- Appropriate lighting
- Uncomplicated backgrounds
- Polished image resolution
- Detail Orientated
1. Audience focused product
- When we are browsing online we are initially shopping with our eyes.
- First impressions matter.
- Selling a product in its natural environment is the quickest means to grab the consumer’s attention. When an item is displayed with the intent of appealing to a specific target market it draws them in and the customer feels like the product is made for them.
- Background imagery and scenery displays can have a big impact on interest, and when done well could be the reason the product is added to their cart and purchased. Your client should feel a pull towards the item, that they must have it.
- Context-based imagery works wonders for this and engaging with customers and bringing in user-generated images showcases the product in real-life situations. Not only will customers have an opportunity to be featured on the company webpage but it showcases to potential future clients how the products are and can be used in everyday life.
- If, however, you are leaning more towards a simple or neutral backdrop, be sure it ultimately enhances the product.
2. Appropriate Lighting
Setting the tone for an image is as important as the product itself. It brings with it an element of trust the customer needs to feel comfortable that they are purchasing from a reliable and reputable retailer.
Prevent dim lighting situations or scenery that cast shadows on and across the product. A well-lit image draws your attention to the product. When you see the real-life colors of an item through a brightly lit image, you are reassured that what you see is what will be delivered.
If all else fails nothing is more relevant than making the most of natural light. While it is the most cost-effective option it is not without flaws. Natural light may be tricky to harness but when if you have the time of day pinpointed as to when is best to create warm or bright light figured out, you’re good to go.
On the other hand, however, there is no beating the consistency of studio lighting.
Studio lighting allows for control, management of light intensities, and a more professional result. But it can be costly. More so an investment consideration that is well worth it.
3. Uncomplicated backgrounds
Your product is the star of the show so blurring out external distractions is a must.
A white or plain backdrop focuses the eyes on the center of the page, your product. By simplifying the image environment retailers can refine sub-images to showcase the finer details or accessories of the product that make it that much more appealing. This way the customers see the different areas and parts of the product that personalize it for their needs.
Sometimes less is certainly more and focusing on quality rather than quantity always comes out on top.
4. Polished image resolution
Having all the information readily available to your clients avoids the headache of endless requests and queries. The best way to do this is by uploading your images with a high-resolution finish where shoppers can easily zoom in and have a closer look at the item.
A high-resolution image is more well-rounded and has a professionally polished reaction.
The main objective of online shopping for consumers is to see how a product will work for them. If it has fabric, how does it fit, what is the texture like, and how does it move? A zoomed-in product image can show the movement and effortlessness of materials or a product’s adaptability to an environment.
5. Detail Orientated
Close-up shots are what the majority of customers refer to. The elements of the product that are always in use or on display should be well advertised. Customer interactions with the products should be a high priority of appeal.
Showing an item in great light or an appropriate setting can only go so far if the clients don’t know what is on the inside. Both the external and internal features should be shown, the functionality of the product often seals the deal for purchase.
Selling a product should captivate what the customer cares about and the reason they have visited your site. If color or personalized variations are available these versions should also be on display so the customer knows exactly what they are getting.
When all is said and done creating consistently great product images takes time but with these guiding tips, it can happen sooner rather than later. The fundamental concept of a good image lends itself to product purpose. When this is perfectly created the rest can fall into place.
Why is product image important?
Quality product images represent your overall brand presence and reputation online. They are important because they’re the 1st images consumers see and are presented with when browsing your site.
As an online shopper considering an item to purchase you want as much information about the item as possible. Because consumers cannot physically hold and touch the products as yet, imagery is all they have to go on. Putting your products ‘best foot forward’ as it were can be the deal breaker in the purchasing decision-making.
Your product photos need to not only look great but convey a message that speaks to the customer why? We’ll tell you;
- First impressions last
- Product understanding
- Brand awareness
- Competitive edge
- Fewer product returns
- Increased recommendations
1. First impressions last
Leveraging first impressions will create the right idea in your customer’s heads without them even realizing it. We need to make the most of what is known as the primacy effect. This effect takes place when consumers experience one thing before another in a sequence and is what is remembered the most.
Your product needs to capture the customers’ attention. It should live up to their initial expectations, and then exceed them.
As humans, we are naturally judgmental, and when it comes to products it is no different. If what we see is what we will get we quickly make up our minds about something, your photo should show the product in its best light for a lasting impression.
2. Product understanding
Efficacy and efficiency working hand-in-hand solves a lot of issues and can help your clients better understand what they are looking at. We shop online for convenience and until we can handle the physical item we need imagery and information to fill the gap.
Using high-quality product images to promote your product in various environments and showcase it from a diverse collection of angles will help clients better understand its functionality.
3. Brand awareness
Recognition is one of the ultimate indications of quality brand awareness and is less complicated to achieve than many think. Great product photos can speak to customers and gain their trust in your product and brand.
Using high-quality imagery will strengthen your brand and can act as an ambassador through great photos.
4. Competitive Edge
There is nothing like a little healthy competition to make you up your online product-image game. It is no secret that options and variations are plentiful for products and standing out is what will set you apart from your industry competitors.
We have all shopped around on various websites simultaneously considering which brand is priced better, whose product is more appealing, and with a great photo you can entice potential clients to purchase your item.
Always assume consumers have checked out the competition, and work towards gaining their attention and purchasing loyalty.
5. Fewer product returns
When done right, professional-looking product photos can maximize sales and significantly minimize returns. Even more so when it comes to higher price point items.
As customers relook at their basket of items they re-evaluate the available information on a product to solidify their purchase decision. Giving as much information to clients gains their trust in your brand and product and entices them to purchase your product.
High-quality product imagery along with ample product information leads to increased revenue with fewer product returns. This all boils down to an enjoyable product-purchasing experience.
6. Increased recommendations
When something is great, we as a society, cannot wait to share it. Whether it be through word-of-mouth, sharing product links with friends and family, or on social media platforms we want to spread the news. And attractive product imagery is the quickest way to achieve this.
Making the most of communities that have hundreds, if not thousands or millions of loyalists, can elevate your products and brands to the next level.
Ensuring product photos on your webpage are appealing will draw in potential new customers and keep loyal consumers coming back for more.
At the end of the day, your products are a reflection of your brand, they create and maintain sales of the business while maintaining a high-quality brand image. Products well situated with innovation and detail orientation in mind, make customers feel valued, important, and a part of the brand.
How many images should a product have?
A maximum of 5 high quality product images will offer the customer the experience they need for a lasting first impression.
Ultimately, what is it about the product that you want your customers to know?
As an online retailer, your website and product page is the only place where customers will find the necessary information on a product they are looking for, so what is it about the product that you want them to know?
In general, a simple 3-shot product collection of images will suffice across all industries and categories with front and back shots, and perhaps 1 more detailed angled. However, to further create interest you want to include other angles that promote the product’s functionality such as interior features and storage, and thus, additional high-quality images will be added.
If you took a step back and considered, as an online customer of a brand, what you look for when shopping online, it will give you a more in-depth perspective as to what clients need and look for before going through with their purchase. A few questions you can ask yourself if you were to search for and find this product;
- Does it do what I need it to do?
- Is the price worth its functionality?
- Are there better options available elsewhere?
- What is it missing that I wished it had?
- Will it serve its purpose?
Another big element when shopping online is appearance.
When you lay out the images on the webpage how does it come across, how does it appear? Do 3 or 4 images look more appealing, does it look cluttered or too sparse? You ideally want to find a balance between your page being too complicated or incomplete. Showcasing items from different angles will highlight features customers search for while showing products in use helping clients better understand how or where an item is most useful.
When you think outside of the ‘selling’ mindset and put yourself in your customer’s position, are you ticking the boxes with your product according to their expectations? This quick evaluation will help you see what is missing and any additions required to better promote your product through well-positioned images and high-quality resolution photos.
Where can I find product images?
Free online Image stocks, amongst other options, are great sources for product images.
Boosting conversion rates for a brand is one of the main objectives of any e-commerce store and pursuing customers while enticing them to purchase your products is easier when you have the right imagery uploaded.
When it comes to the convenience of online shopping with the headache of driving, parking, and battling through crowded stores taken out of the equation, comes the necessity of great product imagery. But where do you get the images needed to stand out from the crowd, let’s take a look;
- Product manufacturers
- In-house photographers
- Free stock images
- Professional photographer
- User-generated content
1. Product Manufacturers
As a third-party e-commerce seller going straight to the source of manufacturing allows for the most in-depth stock images. As a manufacturer looking to sell as much stock of the products as it makes sense to provide the most detail about the items, therefore features and functionality images are most valued.
If the manufacturer is unable to provide the necessary product imagery, online e-commerce store owners can easily step in and take charge of the product photos.
This comes with the advantage of sellers being able to place products how and where they wish and in such a way they believe them to be most appealing to their online demographic.
3. Free stock Images
There are many websites available with generic product images that can be used on your platform but using these come with both positive and negative notions.
On one hand, mentioning that the images are stock standard and that some variations of actual products may differ could cause customer hesitation. Not saying anything can cause frustration when customers do receive the items and ultimately leads to clients returning products because they are not what was expected.
4. Professional Photographer
Hiring industry professionals is always a great option for creating high-quality resolution product images that look more appealing to customers.
Professional photographers while they may come with a higher price tag, have the equipment and expertise to create the shot you want in a fraction of the time and without you being frustrated trying to do it by yourself.
5. User-generated content
Nothing sells a product more than seeing someone else using it in a way that you intend to and successfully so with great reviews to match.
Offering loyal customers the opportunity to be featured on the brand webpage by showcasing them using your products is a win-win situation for all. Potential clients gain the trust that others before them are happy with your products and feel confident to say they are.
We cannot ignore the importance of good quality product images as online retailers, and if any of the above resonated with you be sure to give them a try. If you already have a well-established online store then considering a few edits or updates from the pointers mentioned above could be a good way to boost existing revenue.
High-resolution quality product images are easily achieved with a bit of know-how, and when done right, your products will soon be selling themselves.