The 7 keys to optimise your product images for conversions
This is the first in our series The Ultimate Guide to Optimising Your Product Page for Conversions around the best practices to optimise the product page on your eCommerce store and improve the overall conversion rate. We would love to hear your feedback in the comments section below.
Needless to say, no-one is going to buy a product sight unseen, and as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
The quality and value of the product images can make or break the purchasing decision despite whether or not the product is any good.
Too many businesses don’t pay the requisite attention or invest in quality imagery that beautifully represents their product to the user.
Don’t make this mistake with your product page – invest in high-quality images across your business, not just on your product page or website and you will reap the rewards in profits.
Use multiple large, high-quality images…
No matter what you’re selling, whether it’s a car or a watch strap, the more angles of the product the better.
Users want to see every angle of the product in order to understand it more. This is as much a trust-building exercise as anything – showing that there is nothing to hide over every single inch of the product.
Use high-quality images so users can zoom in and view the finer details of the product. This is particularly important for businesses where the details really matter, like the stitching in a fashion store or the texture of a business card from a printer.
Proper Cloth are a great example of this, showing their shirts in such detail that it almost feels tangible like you can touch and feel the quality:
You might say “but my product is super simple, people get it”, but this is a common misconception. Even if the product is simple, the more images there are, the clearer the product is to the user and the more peace of mind they have when making their decision to purchase.
…But not at the expense of load times
It’s a well-established fact that page speed has a significant impact on conversion rates. For every one second your page is delayed in loading, the conversion rate drops 7%.
And we know that a massive factor in page speed is image optimization.
So how can we have large, high-quality images without destroying our page speed? Well, it’s a fine line to walk, but there’s a number of things you can do:
- Use an image and compression optimization plugin like Imagify or WP Smush
- Try to save images at medium quality when creating
- Use the best image format for the purpose – generally JPG for static images and GIF for animated
- Avoid CSS resizing
- Utilise a CDN
- Use SVG format for graphical elements like icons and logos
Kinsta has a really great, in-depth article about how to best optimize images.
Use white space and contrast
Apple are the kings of the minimalist approach and have defined their brand with the use of white space.
This isn’t strictly for the aesthetic appeal as white space allows for the products to be the focal point that the user’s eye is drawn to without distraction.
Isolating products on a white background ensures that the image pops, and let’s be honest, more often than not it looks better.
Just showing images of the standalone product might not suffice in some instances.
Users want to be able to not just see the product itself, but to see it in use as it helps them mentally visualise.
A great example of this comes from Ikea, who have only one of the nine images of their Hommelvik bed in the traditional white background shot.
This might seem to be a contradiction to the use of white space, however, I would suggest doing what Ikea has done and provide a combination of the two. Show a number of clean, crisp, detailed images focusing on the product and then a few more showing the product in action or being used by customers.
Use real people, not stock images
Customers can sniff out a stock image by the cheesy grins and staged poses.
While using stock images on your site may seem like a quick and inexpensive way of adding visuals, it’s highly unlikely that they will have a positive benefit, and could even make the customer experience worse.
Authentic images of real customers and staff almost always work the best. Humans can see the difference between fake smiles and real ones and respond accordingly, with research showing that authentic smiles improve customers purchase intent.
If you feel like you absolutely have to use stock imagery, then at least check out Unsplash first, where they have a vast array of beautiful images for free use.
While this should go without saying in 2020, it constantly shocks me how many eCommerce sites are responsive, but not mobile-first.
What I mean by this is that while everything resizes might resize correctly, does the experience provided to the user reflect the fact that they are on a mobile device?
This certainly applies to images. Are users able to scroll down without getting trapped in an image zoom? Can they use the pinch and zoom function to view the images in detail? Are you taking advantage of the swipe behaviour for image galleries or are there small, hard to tap thumbnails?
Beyond the functionality, make sure that the images resize accordingly and only take up the required real estate on the screen to effectively show off the product. The last thing you want is a poorly resized desktop image that is either too small to see or so large it forces critical information far down the page.
360 Degree Images
To give the customer the complete picture of your product – 360-degree images are the way to go. Many top brands including Nike have invested in having 360-degree images of their products in order to give users a more complete understanding of what it is they are buying.
The results of using these virtual reality-style images speak to themselves with businesses seeing an increase in the conversion rate of up to 50% and a corresponding increase in customer satisfaction according to research conducted by Joint Media Marketing.
Creating these images can be challenging and so unless you have an in-house photography team then it is recommended to reach out to experts in the field. While this may seem costly, the ROI of a significantly increased conversion rate should more than cover the investment.
So while it seems like a relatively simple part of your eCommerce site, the value and impact of high quality, optimised product images cannot be understated
Conversion rate guru Peep Laja prioritises imagery in all optimisation efforts – “If I’d have to pick one single thing that would sell a product online, it’s images.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
I would love to hear your techniques to optimise your product images or if you think there are any details that I have missed. Keep a lookout for the next article in our The Ultimate Guide to Optimising Your Product Page for Conversions series which will focus on Conversion Based Copy