Tyler Ward, Digital Marketing Strategist, Seattle

10 September, 2019 

Introduction

When an individual goes into a brick and mortar store to buy something, there is an unspoken ritual that happens as they pick out a product. The whole reason that consumers still go out to shop for anything is so that they can see with their own eyes, feel textures and sizes, and examine products as they work through their decision-making process. In the same way, E-commerce websites are the online storefront for the business. Although there is no physical aspect of shopping online, customers rely on item descriptions, reviews, but most of all photos of a product to make a purchase decision. 

According to statistics, 80% of consumers remember something that they see and shockingly only 20% of what they read. It is evident, especially in the technological society we live in today, that photographs are one of the most important aspects of making an E-commerce successful. When users look for products they intend to buy, images are the most concrete and best testimonial to the legitimacy of the item. Navigating to a website only to see that the images under the product listing are not available, blurry, or poorly taken creates immediate consumer dissatisfaction and suspicion regarding the product. An immediate question pops up in the viewer’s head asking “why?” This is the knee jerk reaction most (if not all users) have. Logically, if the product was high quality and trustworthy then why wouldn’t there be images to parallel its worth? This article will go over just why these images are so important to the success of an E-commerce website and what steps to take to make sure the right images are being chosen in a company’s creative strategy.

Branding

The layout and overall feel of a company’s website reflects the company itself. This image that a business creates for itself does not end before it gets to posting photos of a product. The editing and composition of the pictures on an E-commerce website help to brand a company just as the logo or website design does. Not only does the image help the user learn more about the item, but it also helps them learn more about the company itself. Familiarity with a business leads to an emotional understanding and the possibility of a repeat customer. 

Instant Information

The saying has always been “a picture is worth a thousand words” and in the case of E-commerce websites, this could not be truer. Humans are naturally more receptive to things that they can understand using their five senses, and most of all: understand visually. This is why a product photograph shows the potential buyers more than any lengthy description could ever display. It creates an instant reaction from the user in design, shape, size, and utility. In essence, there is no need to write out a 500-word description of product qualities that could be instantly presented to the customer with one image. A study done by Nielson Norman shows that approximately 16% of readers actually read a description or passage word for word. These statistics lay proof in showing that, to get the most positive exposure, interaction and later-on purchases on a product, more than just a description and the business owner’s word, is needed. 

Creative Strategy

In order to execute the perfect images for your website and company’s brand, there are certain elements to pay attention to. First of all, pictures should be clear in both quality and in showing what product is for sale. Blurry or grainy images should be discarded and replaced with purposefully positioned products and well-edited pictures. Furthermore, the product for sale should be the only item in the photograph. The editing of the image should not be too light or too intense, but should match the overall theme of the website (examples could include a focus on warm tones). Next, the image should be large and high in pixel quality so that users can distinguish the standard set by the company and see the photo better on their device. It is best to use a camera for this process as the quality standard is higher than a mobile phone. If possible, it is crucial to include multiple photos of the product as this increases legitimacy and creates more of a possibility for a transaction from the user. Lastly, there should be images from multiple angles when possible, this along with the image quality and editing will help the shoppers gage the product and ultimately guide them to making a purchase decision on an E-commerce website.

Shareable

In the modern generation, social media and constant communication between individuals is the norm. Therefore, when making a purchase decision, it is common for a person to share with others to gather opinions or information that can help them in their journey in buying the product. Having quality pictures on a website helps this process because the photo can easily be shared via online platforms and not only help in the buying process, but attract new customers as well.

Conclusion

Images are the most accessible and consumer trusted method of advertising and marketing. Many factors go into building a successful and well-received E-commerce website, but when it comes to actually selling the products- images are non-negotiable. Not only will the users of an online store be more inclined to buy a product if it has multiple high-quality images, but it is also likely to attract new consumers because of the natural shareable quality that images have. Lastly, a recent study by Weebly shows that 22% of products purchased online are returned because the item did not look like its online photograph. So to be concise, in order to create a “picture perfect” E-commerce store that will thrive, images need to be a top priority for all businesses.

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