Your Images Will Make or Break Your eCommerce Site – Here’s Why

— 4 minutes, 21 seconds read —

You land on a website’s home page. You see a pixelated image. You hit the back button.

It’s brutal but it’s true. It takes only 0.05 seconds for a user to form an opinion about a website, so one that uses poor quality imagery doesn’t stand much of a chance of surviving the first impressions round.

Poor quality imagery sends out a message – one of laziness, minimal effort and low standards – and does instant damage to a website’s reputation no matter what the intentions of the site’s owner.

What makes a bad image?

If you own a website, particularly an eCommerce website, it’s all about the visual. Customers and users want to see exactly what they’re buying and they want to know they can trust the source.

If your images are pixelated, too small, stretched, too dark or even too generic then you’re going to develop a bad reputation and your site’s performance will drop like a stone.

It’s a similar to principle to getting bad service in a restaurant. You don’t ever go back, and why should you? If the business doesn’t put in the effort to make your experience a good one, then why would you return?

Then there’s the trust element. Your products could be the next big thing, they could be game-changers, but if you post pixelated images of them on your website nobody is going to hit that golden ‘add to shopping basket’ button. Why? Because if the image is bad, who’s to say the product or service isn’t going to be just as bad? Most customers just won’t take that risk.

Getting it right

Some will say there are three ways of getting good quality images onto a website site. But we’re talking eCommerce websites here, and if truly want to get this right there are actually only two:

Hiring a photographer to take hi-res, professional quality pictures of your products is always going to be the best option. This will ensure your images are sharp, well lit, unique and – most importantly – appealing. Granted, this kind of service can occasionally be expensive and time consuming, but if good quality visuals is all your site is missing then it really is worth holding off on the launch until you can get this right.

Taking your own photographs is the next best thing if hiring a professional really isn’t an option for you. It will mean investing in a decent camera, though – a smartphone is not going to cut it here, honestly. This approach is quicker and cheaper than hiring a pro, and if you’re handy with a camera then there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t explore this option. If you’re running a small online handmade gifts business, for example, the ‘homemade’ look could quite possibly work for you.

Now, in the interests of being thorough, there is still that third option we mentioned earlier. Stock photography. Good quality (for the most part), plentiful and relatively easy to get hold of, this seems like a really tempting option. However, when it comes to eCommerce sites this is almost certainly not going to pay dividends later down the line.

Stock photographs can be spotted a mile off and are overwhelmingly generic, a trait that can easily rub off on your own reputation. You want your site and your brand to be unique and resonant, not bland and forgettable.

What good looks like: JosephJoseph

joseph joseph screenshot

JosephJoseph is an innovative kitchenware brand with a focus on functional design.

With price tags above your average high street brands, images, along with the brands reputation really do do the selling here.

joseph joseph product

On each product page, the item has been carefully shot from various angles, performing various functions if the product has moving parts. Care has been taken to get the colour right in the photos – very important in limiting returns.

The photos leave little room for doubt and help funnel customers through to purchase be ensuring they really get to ‘know’ the product before purchasing it!

Of course each shot has the all important zoom feature – zooming to a decent size… we’ve all been on those website where zooming in on the image either displays the same size image or a pixelated version.

What good looks like: Hardgraft

hardgraft products, designers of contemporary lifestyle accessories, is a good example of a website which uses photography to really sell their products.

hardgraft product image

Each product has been individually photographed in high resolution and with good lighting, with the option to then view them as a larger image to show more detail. The designers have also gone to the extra trouble of photographing the products in real-life context to show how they might look once purchased, thus selling a lifestyle as well as just a product.

What’s more, hard Graft are not a global or high street brand with bags of cash to spend, and this demonstrates just how effective – and how accessible – good photography can be for eCommerce websites of all types and sizes, not just the big ones.

So, in a nutshell, good imagery is essential; it encourages visitors to spend more time on your site, increases your chances of making sales and conversions and, ultimately, improves your chances of making a success of your site.

You land on a website’s home page. You see a fantastic image. You stick around.

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