Product Image – Best Practices for Your Ecommerce Website
Why are e-commerce images so important?
All great marketers will tell you that wisely chosen visuals can build a whole brand identity, make an unforgettable marketing campaign and retain customers. But how important is it for your e-commerce website?
We’re visual creatures and one good picture has the ability to influence our decision about the purchase. That is why you want the picture that will capture the attention on your site but also in more cluttered spaces like Google Shopping or Facebook Ad.
So how to make your pictures unforgettable? Of course, they need to be aesthetically pleasing, but what about the SEO optimisation? According to the HTTP Archive, images make up to 50% of website content. That means that if the images are not optimised correctly, you might be actually missing out on 50% of the traffic to your website!
It’s not an easy task to keep producing those perfect images and to have a great SEO optimisation on top of that. Luckily, there are some tricks on how to marry visual aesthetics and SEO optimisation of images at your e-commerce site:
1. Product images should be shown fully and capture both the technical and aesthetic aspects.
2. Make sure the images match the voice of your brand and are coherent with the design of your website. Especially when you receive the product pictures from a wholesaler.
Add an overlay of colour or adjust the background. When using stock images, platforms with build-in editing tools can be a true life-saver.
3. The format of the picture matters! For a majority of e-commerce sites, JPEG is the best option. This type of file offers a sweet spot between size and quality so the details of the image are visible but it won’t take forever to load.
4. Always remember to name your images. Use descriptive image names or name its attributes so the pictures will be crawlable by Google bots and will improve your SEO.
How to get the best images possible?
Starting with custom-produced visual content all the way up to ready-made stock photos, there are several options on how to introduce the right images to your website.
The primary focus is usually on the product pictures. Those are the ones doing the hard job and converting the sales. Naturally, they need to hold up to the standard and the requirements mentioned above.
If you don’t have the option to get them directly from the manufacturer, the skilled in-house photographer is the north start of every company. But at the same time, it can be a nightmare as the budget of the set-up and production can climb to astronomic heights.
This is the point where the stock images are coming to the scene. Over the years, this type of images has gotten a reputation of being easily recognized because of their staged, unreal and “stocky” nature.
Which is why social media platforms, have started teaching the audiences a thing or two about the “authenticity”. Real people, real emotions and real moments are at the core of the photography type brought in by SoMe platforms. And the result is indisputable, people prefer more candid and imperfect images.
But what if there is a solution after all?
The “real” stock images and how to choose them!
One might get into several troubles when using common stock images from mainstream platforms. Obviously, plenty of the same visuals are circulating on websites, SoMe campaigns and banner ads. Once a picture is performing, everybody wants to get on board, it’s only natural.
What is worse is that it can leave the marketers with a bunch of amazing, attention-grabbing images that sadly don’t fit the overall voice of the brand.
So why talking about stock images as such a life-saver when there are so many drawbacks? Because if you’re using the right ones, it can be the cheapest and most effective strategy for your site!
There are two options for how to choose the best performing stock images. Choose mainstream stock image providers that offer the same and staged looking visuals. Or save yourself some time and use new and innovative stock image platforms, like JumpStory where you can discover authentic content. There is a significant change in the perception of stock images as we are now in the age of authentic marketing.
Still too complicated?
You can always lift your game when searching for the most candid pictures with these simple rules:
1. Avoid static narrative. Try to go for an active and cheerful spirit.
2. People on the image should reflect your audience and message. When catering to owners of the SMEs, don’t use the pictures of corporate geeks in grey suits. The majority of us relate to average Joe in the jeans much more.
3. Groups and teams. Humans are social creatures, we are drawn to visuals showing interactions with one another.
4. Imperfection. Even though it was stressed a million times, it is the most important rule. Perfect lighting, angle, flawless models and polished surrounding are old news!
Choosing the images for your e-commerce site might seem like a gruesome process. How can you ever know what will work for your customers? Even if you have the budget for the in-house produced visuals, there are so many traps along the way.
That’s why the authentic stock images might be your next secret weapon. Many stock image providers are now emerging with an innovative perspective on what the audience wants.
We are starting to appreciate the diversity, and diversity is imperfection. Imperfect images mirror the reality and in the end, reflect our own nature.
We are hungry for more visuals we can relate to. That’s why it’s so important to find stock images that filter out the “stocky” and old-fashioned pictures. Images with action and joyful people that look casually are performing even higher.
The E-commerce industry is accelerating quicker than ever before, so you have no other option than to stay true to your brand, optimize your images for SEO and stay AUTHENTIC!
Helen Golubeva, a storyteller at X-Cart eCommerce shopping cart. Addicted to yoga, interested in philosophy, and totally mad about copywriting. I love to use the power of words to inspire people and help them grow their eCommerce businesses.