Product images in e-commerce
The problem with which every online shop, every marketplace and of course Amazon, as one of the largest marketplaces in the world, has to deal, is how to compensate for the lack of haptics in purchasing decisions.
In retail, a potential customer can not only perceive a product through visual stimuli, i.e. through its appearance, but can also include any haptic stimuli in the purchase decision. We do this, for example, when we try on a jacket in a store. The decisive factor then is not only how the jacket worked on the mannequin, but also how it works on ourselves, feels and sometimes even smells. Only when all these impressions are right do we decide to buy.
All these steps of the buying process are eliminated in e-commerce. The user can only determine whether he buys a certain product or not on the basis of product images and a product description.
Visual stimulation is all the more important as stimuli perceived via haptics are eliminated. Of course Amazon also knows this and offers merchants, no, it even obliges them to equip their product listings with product images. In almost all product categories, a product on Amazon is not even included in the ranking if at least one product image is not added to the listing.
Product images, product information in the form of a product description, a zoom function and delivery information are among the most important factors with regard to the turnover of online shops. This is of course not new to Amazon either and accordingly all these factors can be optimally stored and optimized in the listing.
First of all, the product images are used as an opportunity to lead the user to your listing in all the offers in the Amazon search results and then to persuade the user to buy by providing further product images.
Visual presentation on Amazon
To a product listing a main picture, which is obligatory in nearly all categories and up to 7 supplementing pictures can be added. These do not necessarily have to be added to the listing, but it is strongly recommended that you accept Amazon’s offer and give the user further visual impressions of the product.
Basically, Amazon distinguishes between two different image types, which are stored on Amazon: A main image, which is already displayed to the user in the search results on Amazon and is subject to the strictest guidelines regarding images on Amazon.
Then come the supplementary pictures. These are only displayed to the user after he has clicked on a product in the search results.
Properties of a good product image
How a good product image should look on Amazon is determined by the minimum requirements of Amazon. Here the background, the image size, the area occupied by the product, the sharpness, exposure, the possibility of zooming and much more play an important role.
Of course, the product images should not be for the Amazon Bot and Amazon guidelines, but for potential customers. Above all, the user wants the product to be clearly visible on the pictures. The user wants to be able to zoom in on the product in order to be able to recognize the nature and processing of the product. Furthermore, he wants to get an overview from different perspectives and given if the product is seen in different environments, in use, or in different additional forms.
Good main image
Bad main image
Specified by Amazon
Especially for the main image, which is already visible in the search results on Amazon, Amazon does not want to leave anything to chance. For this purpose, Amazon has formulated certain minimum requirements in its guidelines: Formats: JPEG (.jpg), PNG (.png) or GIF (.gif); JPEG is preferred, the image must be a photo. No frames, text (other than the text on the product itself), watermarks or information leading away from Amazon.de (such as a URL) may be included.the product must occupy approximately 80% of the total image size.plain white (hex #ffffff) background.resolution: 72 DPI.at least 500 pixels width or height; 3000 pixels are allowed.to enable the zoom function, a size of 1280 to 3000 pixels on the longest page is required. To make the best use of the zoom function, we recommend a minimum size of 2560 pixels for the longest page RGB color mode.8 bits per channel.Gift images (for wrapping paper) must be 71×71 pixels.The image with your seller logo must measure 120×30 pixels.File names must not contain spaces.Some non-alphanumeric characters are not supported in file names. These include “[“, “]””, “*”, “<“, “>”, “?”, “:”, “|”
These guidelines are mainly for the uniformity of the marketplace. Since only the main image is displayed in the search results, it makes a very professional and uniform impression if all images are structured exactly the same. In addition to uniformity, the guidelines also ensure that the product is optimally recognizable for the user in the reduced image view on the search results page.
It is important to note that some of these minimum requirements only apply to the main image. For complementary images, the guidelines are less strict. For example, in a complementary image, the background does not always have to be white. A supplementary image can also be used to show a product in use. The use of text, as long as it does not lead away from Amazon, is also possible in supplementary images.
For some product categories, especially in the clothing sector, there are even more specific picture guidelines. These special requirements can be found in so-called “Style Guides” in the Amazon Seller Central. ( Style Guides )
Product pictures from the customer’s point of view
The user wants to make sure before the purchase that he buys the right product, which fits optimally to his needs, or to the problem, which he wants to solve by using the product. Of course, the product images play a very decisive role here.
The first step is to use the main image on the search results page to attract the user’s attention. This is because they usually only fly over the search results and decide after a short time which products they click on and which they do not.
Factors that increase the probability of a click are, above all, whether the product can already be easily recognized in the reduced view and looks high-quality. This can be optimally achieved if the product fills 80 percent of the screen and is presented against a white background.
Once a user has clicked on a product, the second step is to clarify further open questions or uncertainties on the part of the user by means of the supplementary images. It is now a matter of convincing the user of the product and persuading him to buy it.
We remember: We have up to 7 additional pictures available, where props and backgrounds are allowed. Attention, backgrounds and props do not always make sense and can confuse the user if unprofessionally implemented.
Display options for product images
There are several ways to display a product in the supplementary images. In the following some examples:
The customer can view the product from all sides. Similar to the zoom function, it helps to reduce the distance to the product. Furthermore, we increase the user’s confidence in the product, as he can view it from all sides and not only from a predefined view.
Certain products are not the same in every situation in which they are used. A pocket knife, for example, is distinguished by its different functions. It is recommended to show them to the user.
Displays the product in use. Especially when the product benefit is not in the product itself, but in the application, this makes sense. Thus, the user can better imagine whether the product is really the right one. Furthermore, it helps to present products whose function is difficult to imagine.
Especially with furniture, or decorative articles, it is recommended to show them in a possible future environment. The products can thus work better and the imagination of the user is stimulated.
A product that is clearly associated with a certain lifestyle is more effective if it is presented in an environment that fits the lifestyle.
Place the product in a human context. This is particularly recommended for emotional products. Show the user what joy the product can bring in connection with friends or family.
Often a product arrives at a user and he is totally amazed at the size of the product. Products to which people do not automatically have a size ratio in their heads should be presented in such a way that this becomes clear through the product images.
Exceptional product properties, or special details that are not obvious at first glance, should be communicated separately.
Finally, it is important that the USP (Unique Selling Proposition), i.e. what sets the product apart from competing products, is already clearly presented in the product images.
The zoom function can be a decisive aspect of whether a user really becomes a customer. By enlarging the product image, the distance to the product is reduced and the user can better imagine how the product feels and behaves in real life.
Especially when the product images are high-resolution – whenever the guidelines have been adhered to – the user can assess the quality of the material and thus the quality of the product better, or at all, by zooming in.
Attention, many online shoppers are accustomed to a zoom function in online shops. If this function is not available, a strong distrust of the product quality can be aroused. In the clothing sector, for example, the zoom function is an absolute must!
To activate the zoom function, the product images must have a size of 1280 to 3000 pixels on the longest side. To make the best use of the zoom function, a minimum size of 2560 pixels is recommended for the longest page.
Ranking factor product image
It is well known that professional product images not only influence purchasing behavior, but at Amazon they also influence the ranking. Because good product images can increase the click rate and the conversion rate and thus the sales of a product. Sales, click rate and conversion rate determine the performance of a product, which is a key component of Amazon’s ranking algorithm.
Increasing the click rate
The click rate can be significantly increased by using the main image. As already mentioned several times, the main picture is already displayed on the search results page and it is exactly there that it is necessary to prevail against the other products and to move the user to click. Whether a user clicks on a product can to a large extent be influenced by a professional main image.
Increasing the conversion rate
Once a product has been clicked on, it is a matter of persuading the customer to make a purchase. If this succeeds, one speaks of a conversion. The conversion rate is the natural counterpart to the click rate. If a product is clicked often, but there is never a conversion, this is a sign for the Amazon Ranking Algorithm that there is something wrong with the product, i.e. the product is displayed less often and the ranking drops.
Whether it comes to a purchase can be influenced positively by a professional presentation of the product, by means of supplementing pictures.
Increase of the product ranking
An increased click rate and conversion rate, in the case of the article, due to the optimization of the product images, inevitably leads to an increase in sales. An increase in sales ultimately leads to an increase in ranking.
„In A Nutshell“
In summary, professional product images on Amazon should by no means be neglected. The right visual representation of a product can significantly reduce the distance between user and product and thus generate more sales.
An increase in sales can then lead to a better ranking on Amazon in the long run.