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Imagery Tips and Best Practice for Ecommerce Sites

On the whole E-Commerce websites are getting much better when it comes to disclosing and portraying information for their customers on product pages. More importantly there is a much better understanding of how integral image quality is to achieving a high conversion rate. Customers cannot touch, smell or see the functionality of a product online so it’s up to the imagery and description to give them as much information as possible to assist in their purchase.

At the end of the day if you’re a respectable retailer on the high street you wouldn’t create an over cluttered window display with damaged or sub quality goods and graphics. Your aim is to get customers to buy from you and not your competitor. The same principle applies to your website. If anything customers have access to many more of your competitors online so you need to make your website as customer friendly and informative as possible to keep them purchasing from you.

Below are a couple of tips and examples for small to medium businesses that will help you avoid these Imagery pitfalls and hopefully convert more browsers to paying customers on your website.

Quality Images
The likelihood is brands will have an archive of High res images that you can download from their website or have sent to you on a disk / memory pen. Try to avoid taking images from other websites as you could potentially open yourself up to a lawsuit. It’s uncommon but does happen so I would sooner take my own image with a light-box or mannequins.

If you are creating your own images always use a template so image size and resolution is consistent across the site. If you choose to include the brands logo in the image always keep it in the same place (the top left corner for example) and don’t let it detract from the main purpose of the image which is the product. For example you could create a document that’s 600×600 pixels with a resolution of 72 dpi.

If you’re dealing with multiple brands create a format or template that can be used across them all. The customer will become use to the format and know what to expect from your site. If you need to take the image again yourself this gives you the opportunity to upload content that is unique for your site only.

Quantity of Images
A lot of reviewers will say you need as many as possible. I disagree and believe you should stick to 3 or 4 images per product. The idea here is quality over quantity. For the primary image it’s common practice to show the whole product on a white or transparent background. This then leaves secondary images to show other views or details of the product. Again try to keep to the same format across your site and if possible a white or transparent background.

360 Viewers
They can be a bit gimmicky but do work for certain products like vehicles or footwear. Just don’t over use it.

Models in Images
Opinions are split on whether to use models as they can distract from the product. If you need to use a model for your first picture chopping their heads out of the pictures can alleviate a lot of the distraction. A customer should be given the opportunity to see themselves wearing the item and not get lost in a comparison with the model. Some would argue that a customer wants to look like or aspire to be the model in the photo which is all fine and dandy but they can do that from your secondary pictures.

Lifestyle photographs
Again these are a great way to convey a product’s purpose but should be left to the secondary images. Using them as a primary image can unnecessarily clutter a website when viewing multiple products on one page.

Helps at Hand
Overall making sure your images are of high quality can be time consuming but it’s definitely worth putting the time in at the beginning and creating yourself templates to adhere to in the future. Investing in some basic photographic equipment like a digital camera, tripod, light box (for small products) and lamps (large products) are an easy way to improve consistency across the site but can prove frustrating if you don’t have anyone in-house with experience in setting the equipment up.

If you do find yourself short on man hours, have a looming deadline or simply wouldn’t know where to begin then you can always outsource the job to a professional photography studio or Website agency like WNW Design. Call us on 01395 542 569 if you would like to know more or need guidance with your existing website.

About The Author: Martin Price is the Marketing Co-Ordinator at WNW Design limited.  You can follow him on Twitter @martin_wnw, email him at or phone on 01395 542 569. You can also follow WNW Design on Facebook here.

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