The effects of high quality images on e-commerce success

Online purchases continue to climb at a massive rate. In order to win the favor of the customer, online retailers continually search for new ways to impress. But as new technologies and user experiences make their way across the web, shopper expectations continue to rise.

Although new and improved technology always does well when it comes to wowing the customer, one basic ingredient for online success remains unchanged:

the right product images.

According to a study by Live Person, 56% of online customers abandon the buying process due to a lack of product information. High quality images play an important part in providing customers with all of the necessary information to make a buying decision.

On top of that, images can have a significant impact on the credibility of a site. The Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab showed 2,440 participants several websites and asked them how they evaluated the credibility of these sites. Almost half (46.1%) said that the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the presented material was the web site’s design. The quality of images can make or break the design of a site – having a direct effect on the brand’s credibility.

What makes a good image?
Defining the quality parameters of such an image is a complex process. Composition, clarity, brightness, resolution, strong contrast between foreground and background as well as a clean and uniform background are just some of the factors that need to be analyzed. However, the biggest names on the web like Amazon, Google Shopping and eBay have some serious minimum requirements for an image to qualify as good.

Google Shopping dictates that products should fill 85% or more of the image frame and need to be at least 800 pixels to make sure they are optimal for high resolution displays. Amazon has a similar policy, with 85% of the image frame and a minimum product height of 500 pixels, all on a clear white background. These guidelines should serve you well when analyzing your own images.

Multiple shots
Making sure you have multiple high quality shots of an image is a wise investment, as long as you make sure to keep a close eye on the consistency. Online shoppers value websites with high quality product shots as long as they are shot and presented in a consistent manner. Products presented on a clear white background are most common and still outperform products that are not.

Follow the big brands
A white background provides the perfect contrast for almost any product. This is especially true in the fashion industry. Nearly all of the biggest brands present their products in a highly consistent manner, using mainly white backgrounds. Shooting clothing lying flat simply doesn’t cut it any more. Natural shadows or reflections are the industry standard for shoes, bags and accessories while the Invisible Man technique can be an incredible conversion booster for items like shirts, coats and sweaters. Removing wrinkles, reshaping and color correction can add even more punch to your images.

The post-production image editing workflow needs to be well specified and executed to ensure a consistent look throughout the site. If volumes are low, these images can be edited in house. For higher volumes where speed, consistency and quality are essential, outsourcing can prove to be a very cost efficient solution. If you want to know more about implementing such a workflow click here.

The right image does wonders for your search engine rankings
Persuading your online customer to buy is only possible if they find their way to your site in the first place. Optimizing your images for search engines is crucial for e-commerce success. Making sure you name your images descriptively is just the beginning. Using the right alt tags is often overlooked and can cost you high rankings.

Another critical factor for SEO success is image file size. Page loading times can make or break your site as both Google and the customer will punish your site if it takes too long to load. Especially with the dominance of mobile devices loading speed simply can’t be ignored. Thumbnails are notorious for causing slow performance as they are often overlooked when optimizing image file sizes.

Conclusion
Investing in high quality product images definitely has a positive effect on your e-commerce success. Online customer expectations are quickly evolving and having the right images on your site is essential. Making sure they are high quality, presented in a consistent way and are optimized for SEO is no longer optional but mandatory.

We can help you optimize your images for your website. If you would like to know more about our workflow solutions or image editing solutions please click here to contact our support team.

Sources
http://www.billiondollargraphics.com/infographics.html
http://www.ejcr.org/
http://www.liveperson.com/

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