February 26, 2021

Stop doing it wrong. The importance of product photos in e-commerce

More and more consumers today appreciate the comfort of online shopping, where only a few clicks separate us from the product of our dreams. Internet sales, although quick and easy, should not be associated with shortcuts. The online shoppers also want to learn as much as possible about the product before buying it. They cannot touch it, but they can get complete information, which will transfer the characteristics of the product into the language of the web.

Product information is a set of data that describes a product and allows it to be brought into the digital world. This includes images, videos, technical data, SKUs, pricing and shipping information, or product descriptions. 
product information schema


This information, when used properly, influences the purchase decisions and consumer experience. On the other hand, bad use of product data may effectively discourage people from shopping or result in a high percentage of returns (the product did not meet customers' expectations, does not look like in the picture). Well prepared product information is one of the most important (next to price) factors impacting sales. And most crucial are the product photos.

A good product photo is a must

Humans have used their senses to describe and understand the world around them for centuries - with their sense of smell to identify usable food, their sight to look out for prey on the hunt, and their hearing to react when an enemy was approaching. We have come a very long way in evolution, but the senses still play a key role and control our behavior. We no longer sleep in caves or hunt mammoths, but we rely on our senses to make many decisions, including shopping choices.

When we buy on the Internet, our contact with the product is limited - we cannot touch it, smell it (perfume) or listen to it (audio equipment). We exclude some of our senses from the product experience, which is why it is so important to reproduce the appearance of the product as faithfully as possible by placing a clear and eye-catching photo of it. They say that a picture expresses more than a thousand words. There is something in it. After all, a client who enters a product card first sees the photo, and only then reads the product description or its technical data. This is confirmed by research - as many as 87.6% of respondents considered the product image as the key element of the shopping experience

Source: https://www.marketingcharts.com/industries/retail-and-e-commerce-83523/attachment/namagoo-elements-great-online-shopping-experience-may2018


Online consumer behavior researchers are clear about how digital content is consumed - users mostly scroll through pages, and until their eyes are drawn to interesting graphics, it's hard to keep them focused for long. 

A photo is supposed to be technically correct, that’s for a start, but advertising and product photography is also about context. Photos that clearly show usable features of a product have a better impact - presented in an appropriate arrangement that fits a given category or industry. Let's take an example of a packet of coffee - it may have a sharp photo, but only placing the product in the right setting creates a great atmosphere of a cafe or brings to mind a slow Sunday breakfast with a cup of aromatic brew. There's a difference, right

Source: costacoffee.com
Note: Of course, clean white background photos are needed too - especially if you're selling on marketplaces and need to match their policies. 

In fact, this rule applies o many industries. From the gastronomic, through electronic, furniture or fashion branch. The last one faces the biggest challenges - here you need to particularly well reproduce the texture of the material, color, pattern, or cut of the product. You should also remember to present the clothes on models - then the customers can better see how the clothes are fitted. Human face is also more likely to attract attention.

In fashion photography, stylizations in which we present the product are also important - they support cross-selling, when the customer is ready to buy the whole set from the photo.

Good product photos support sales and build the image of the entire brand as professional, innovative and focused on details, which is especially important in the case of lifestyle goods. It also allows customers to believe that their needs are taken into account, and this contributes to their loyalty. 

What product photos will scare away your customers?

Who of us has never experienced a situation, in which the purchased goods looked nothing like those in the picture in the online store? Probably many of us returned the product, some of us let it go, but did not return to the store. A dissatisfied customer who additionally shares his or her critical remarks in public is something that must not happen. What product photography mistakes should you avoid to prevent this?

The photo does not properly show the product

Yes, I know I said that the human face is eye-catching and that photographs of clothes on a model are a good idea, but I didn't mean anything like that.

Source: Zara.com

What went wrong? I don't know if additional commentary is necessary here, because the photo speaks for itself. You can't see the product that the model is wearing properly, so we can only guess at the cut and how it fits her figure. If the aim was only to attract attention - the procedure undoubtedly succeeded. If it was about selling - I have a lot of fears. After all, nobody wants to buy a pig in a poke, right?

There are not enough pictures

There are products for which only one photo is enough, especially if technical specifications or operation are the most important (household chemicals, basic cosmetics), but in most cases the client expects more photos, taken from different angles and showing the product in context and with sensitivity to details. 

If you had to choose a cap, which one would you choose?

elementy cap
Source: Elementy.com


The photo is technically poor

Fuzzy, blurry, or overexposed photos effectively discourage people from buying, but they also position the brand as unprofessional. Poor quality photos are rather associated with a platform with ads for second-hand goods - then a photo taken with a cell phone on a background of a messy house is not surprising. However, in online stores it is unacceptable. 

The photo does not show important details

In the matter of some products, details are of great importance. For example, in case of a backpack, what is crucial is the carrying system, the number of additional pockets or the way of attaching trekking poles. Yes, we should find most of this information in the technical description, but as we already know, it is the picture that plays the leading role. In case of one picture, you also can't see how big the backpack is on an adult person. The information about the liters alone may not be enough, especially for someone who has no experience with outdoor equipment. 

Source: Explore.pl

Content is a king, and product photography the most important of all kings

As we have shown in several examples, the photo is of great importance in building not only a positive shopping experience in customers, but also in creating the brand image. So it is not worth saving on it and choosing experienced product photography specialists. On such a competitive market as e-commerce you can't afford to make mistakes - because the customer will move to another store, where the same product is better described and presented.

DOS

  • Clear product image
  • Close-up on details
  • Showing the usage context of the product
  • A large number of images from various angles

DONT’S

  • Strange poses of models that don't show what the product actually looks like
  • Small photos
  • Blurred and technically poor photos
  • Photos without important details

Manage your product photos with Ergonode

When we have already prepared product photos, it is worth thinking how to manage them in a quick and easy way. One of the ways to do this is Ergonode PIM, where you can upload your images and link them with your products. With Ergonode you can build great product experiences by creating special types of attributes (image, gallery, files) and connect them with your assets.


Find out more about asset management.


Want to learn more about Ergonode? Book a demo! We'll show you how PIM can boost your business.


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