What does a good product image set look like?
WRITTEN BY DR. WILLIAM CARTER
It’s no surprise that the top online retailers all have one thing in common – great product images. This is reflected in consumer response, with a 2018 survey into ‘what makes a good online shopping experience?’ finding that the most important factor (and by a big margin) is clear product images.
At Frame, We know what it takes to reach these high standards of e-commerce images. Before we look into what makes a good set of product images, we need to know why high-quality images are an essential tool in converting online shoppers into paying customers.
In part one we looked at the most important elements of e-commerce imagery, now we will look at the reasons why these are important.
Large, Clear and High Quality Images
Images are there to be seen, inspected and scrutinised by the potential customers. Small, blurry or pixelated images do not allow for this. Large images with high resolution allow for the product detail to be inspected, simulating the in-store experience shoppers are used to having. It has been found that by just increasing image size, sales increase by over 9%. These large images should also show the product in high quality, meaning that the lighting and colour is well edited from the original photographs. If the product has shadow or glare from poor lighting, details can easily be obscured. This is especially important for products which contain text. Text which can not be read on labels is a concern for many shoppers, and lowers the trust customers place onto the product and even the retailer. If done correctly, large, high quality images are more attractive to customers and provide the best information before a purchase is made.
Number of Images
It can be hard to get enough information from a single image, and harder still to provide both factual content and elicit an emotive response from the customer at the same time. Therefore there is much to be gained from providing an array of images, with each image providing additional information or increasing the desire factor. A survey by Salsify found that customers felt that at least 3 images are required for a good set of product images. But equally, too many can be detrimental. Too many images which do not add information or a further emotive response will take away from the user experience and negatively affect the conversion rate. What would you prefer to buy: shoes with many images, or just one?
Angles and zoom
When in-store, it is not uncommon for a shopper to inspect a product from all sides, look closely at the details and check for the quality they expect before completing their purchase. This needs to be mirrored in the online experience. By giving customers the ability to zoom into product images, and rotate through 360 degrees, it gives the customer a sense of control and builds the element of trust in the product.
Types of Images
When adding in more images, there are several different types of images which provide different information /elicit a different response from the customer. An assortment of these images is critical to increase the attractiveness of the product.
First off is the hero image. This is the first image a customer should see – a simple, large and high quality image of the product on a plain background, a no-nonsense way to show the product with nothing to hide.
Secondly are textural/detail images. These images show up close certain aspects of the product which are likely important features the consumer will be concerned about. These images can show off some of the details that in-store would be apparent, but first glances at a single image online may miss. Adding these images will help increase the confidence that the product is what is advertised, and can show off the quality of the materials used.
Lifestyle images help show customers the positive impacts the product will provide them, whether it comes in the form of luxury, comfort, fitness improvements or simply just a happier life. Lifestyle images come in two varieties. 1. Setting images, where a product is placed in an environment where it would likely be found or used. 2. Usage images, showing the product being used as intended by a happy user. Usage images help animate the images, evoking positive emotional responses.
Size and proportion images can be critical for many products. Knowing that the product will fit the proposed space or be ergonomic to the designed user is information that many shoppers are keen to know. This can be done with lifestyle images or with simple sizing charts relating the products to other well-known objects or even users.
Finally, we have consumer images. Although not possible to be created by the retailer, customer-submitted images are increasingly important as a way to show social endorsement of a product. It is reported that 75% of millennial shoppers are positively impacted by the use of social endorsement images.
Positive Colour palette
Colours are everywhere, and different colours evoke different emotions. So whether the aim is to portray the element of luxury or excitement, calm or power, using colours wisely can tap into the psychology of the consumer to reinforce the desire for a certain product. Selling candles? Use calming tones. Selling hiking boots? Use natural colours. Matching the colour palette of the background and product setting with the emotive response desired from the consumer is a great way to make the product more appealing. It is estimated that 90% of impulsive decisions to buy a product are based on colour alone.
Avoid Ugly and Low Resolution Images
Just as important as good images are in evoking a positive response from potential customers, there is a need to avoid poor images which cause negative responses, undoing all the hard work gone into building trust with the shopper. Poor images can cause confusion, concern and uncertainty, all emotions which lead to shoppers abandoning their visit and continuing their search elsewhere. Avoid small, low resolution images, displays of the product being used poorly or out of context, or images where the product is not the centre of attention. A prime example is when Zara showed their models wearing jackets in the strangest ways, leading to mass criticism.