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Product images are the first thing that will grab a shopper's attention. They'll also likely be the last thing to influence shoppers before checking out.

Solid product imagery can provide insight that you’d otherwise find hard to put into words. On the flip side, poor product imagery can cause prospective customers to doubt what they’re looking to buy into.

optimize product images main

By putting a bit more effort into your images, you can easily cover all your bases and further ensure that your products are displayed effectively in the digital space.

Visuals people want to see

People want your images to speak for themselves. They want their questions answered with good visuals. In many cases, this means they’ll turn to user images to vet seller claims.

A new report by eMarketer revealed that user-generated content, such as customer photos, can play a significant role in purchase decisions. It states that 62% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy a product if they can see customer content first.

What’s most important about the report, however, is why this is the case. Here’s why those consumers look to user images for additional context about a product:

  • It may highlight something that wasn’t obvious (24%)
  • Like to see a product in action before they buy (21%)
  • Feel more confident that the reviews are accurate (17%)
  • It’s easier to see the quality of a product (17%)
  • It’s easier to see the size/fit or color of a product (11%)
  • It’s easier to see the material of a product (7%)

This leads us to two key takeaways. People like seeing and acting on user content, so embrace it on all channels. And something that is more relevant to our focus here, most of the reasons people want to see user content can be used to drive how you execute your product content across all sales channels.

People want to see the following product variables addressed with visuals:

  • Quality
  • Details
  • Variants
  • Context

Reference the following tips to improve your product presentation and you’ll be able to rest easy knowing your products are best set up for success.

1. Use high-resolution imagery, embrace zoom

Hi-res imagery is better than lo-res imagery. There’s really no way around it.

Product imagery makes an immediate impact on how shoppers judge your products, high quality imagery only adds to how people perceive a product.

High resolution product images show that you believe in your product and that you’re not trying to hide anything. Not only that, the effectiveness of zoom functionality is relative to the resolution of your images. Images that are “just good enough” won’t be zoomable on many platforms. You want your customers to zoom, especially if your products have fine details worthy of inspection.

Remember, if your product imagery isn’t doing a good job showing off overall quality or material details, your customers are going to turn to user images for those answers. If they can't find what the reassurance they're looking for, they may just move on to the next best product.

Don’t go crazy with enormous images though, each channel has specific requirements for image sizes. Here’s what you need to know about the most popular channels:

Hi-res images give shoppers a sense of trust and help answer some of the questions that words can’t always easily describe. If you believe in what you’re selling, you should have some hi-res images to market those products online.

2. Have plain white background images

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t get creative with your images, but your products need a few high quality shots on a white background.

Not only is this required by certain channels — namely, Google and Amazon — but plain white-background images showcase products in the least distracting, cleanest, most honest way possible.

white background example

Even if a channel allows all kinds of product photos, you'll want your main product photos to showcase your products in this form.

Don’t stop with just one image either. You want all of your products to have multiple white background images, each presenting different angles. These are going to be the most effective at displaying what you're trying to sell and they'll also be universally accepted across all of your sales channels.

3. Actually show color variations

Don't just provide alternative color swatches.

Simple swatches are not always accurate. People want to see the product you’re selling in all its available color options. This is one of those areas where people will turn to user images if you’re not providing the visuals they seek. In which case, hopefully your customers have posted relevant content.

Ideally, you want white-background images of your products in all color variations and from all relevant angles. In many cases that means a lot of images, but one well-planned photoshoot can yield a bunch of evergreen images that will help convey timeless info about your products.

color variations example

This attention to detail will help influence those interested in the full range of your product variants. People want to see real visuals of the items they’re interested in.

4. Use a variety of images

Product imagery showcasing your products on a white background is essential, but don't miss the opportunity to get creative. Tasteful alternative shots can be the difference between a customer holding off on a purchase and them quickly checking out.

This is a broad tip that aims to address the two biggest reasons why people seek user content in the first place, to highlight details and to see products in action. You want alternative product content that provides more context, leaving no stone unturned.


optimize product images variety example

Consider the following types of images:

  • Close-up photos that emphasize materials and details. Zoom can only go so far. Intentional shots of important details can help call attention to what sets you apart from the competition.
  • In-use photos that show off product features and benefits. People can be interested in products for a particular reason and then be delighted to see the product in that scenario. Certain shots may even give them more reasons to want it.
  • Aesthetically pleasing alternative shots or scenic shots. Get creative with alternative shots that aim to show products in ideal environments. Complimentary props and/or visual sets can help push an ideal situation that customers have in mind. Such visuals can even surprise and inspire them.

Try to anticipate what questions customers may have and think of how you can answer them with images or videos.

5. Use alt text and title text wherever possible

By effectively filling out image the alt text and image title text attributes pertaining to your site's images, searchers will have a much better chance of finding your products on search results.

What is image alt text?

Image alt text, or alternative text, is used to describe images to alternative sources.

It's used to make images more accessible to those who use screen readers, as well as to describe images to those who have decided to turn off images in their web browser. As a result, it’s very important for those specific reasons and search engines have adapted to use alt text to better understand what an image is about.

Alt text shouldn’t overexplain images but it should convey image meaning. It’s a great place to highlight ideal keywords.

This attribute is a key element of ecommerce sites that is often undervalued if not completely ignored. Effectively harnessing its potential is a great way to drive more relevant traffic to your site.

What is image title text?

The image title text attribute is used to provide additional information about images. However, it’s not really used for search ranking like alt text is, so it’s not as important to optimize for. That said, it matters to some degree.

A concise title that complements alt text can really help frame products.

Leverage SEO to boost your products

Many shoppers begin their product search by referencing images alone. Proper utilization of these attributes helps increase your chances of showing up in image searches.

Focus on optimizing these on your site. Good image alt text and title text values add to your site's overall SEO performance but they don't apply to all sales channels.

Now it's your turn

By providing customers with good product visuals, you do more than just make sales, you build brand trust.

The goal is simple. Use images that when paired with good product data, leave nothing unanswered. You want to hone in on visuals that you would want to see if you were buying your own products. This may mean planning out a few photoshoots and going above and beyond for a few images but if done properly, you should end up with evergreen images that can be relevant for as long as you’re marketing your products.

If you don’t already have the best possible images for your products, get to it! Image quality can make or break your product listings. 

Good product images and solid product data go far with a tool like GoDataFeed. Our platform works with your product data, enables you to effectively optimize it and automates the process of expanding to new ecommerce channels.

Looking for more info? Drop us a line! Want to see GoDataFeed in action? Feel free to request a demo.

The Google Shopping Optimization Handbook
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