They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. However, when it comes to small, grainy, and otherwise low resolution images on ecommerce websites, a picture is worth about two words: “Forget this.”
A 2007 survey by E-Tailing Group revealed that almost 80% of online shoppers state that they are “very to somewhat” influenced by content quality when deciding whether or not to purchase from a retailer online. “Content quality” here includes the descriptions, but it also includes the images. Another 72% told the survey that when they are faced with incomplete information, they head to a competitor’s website.
That incomplete information often includes a picture that just isn’t good enough – it’s not big enough or clear enough, or it doesn’t allow the consumer to look at the product up-close or at different angles.
High Resolution Images Make or Break a Sale
The statistics above show just how important high res product images are when it comes to increasing sales conversion rates at shopping sites. Nonetheless, almost a quarter of online shops don’t allow consumers to enlarge a product image, and another 63% don’t show the product from different angles.
While we’ve all gotten used to shopping online, a website cannot replace the brick-and-mortar experience of physically handling merchandise and examining it before making a purchase. However, technology allows us to get closer to that experience than ever before through our computer monitor. Too many retailers aren’t taking advantage of the technology that’s available.
[Just have a look at this website and notice how effectively they are using product images to sell backgammon sets and boards to their customers]
Four Tips for Optimizing Product Images on Your Site
1. Use thumbnails to entice the customer, then provide better images.
Before the customer ever reads the description, use a thumbnail to entice him or her to click on the product. Zappos.com, the online shoes and clothing website, does an excellent job of using thumbnails to initiate that first click. Then on the product page, the customer can choose to view the product in different colors, view a high resolution product image, or view it from different angles.
2. Zoom in on the product.
Especially in instances where the detail of a product is important, such as the pattern on a delicate piece of china, give your customers a chance to zoom in. Use Adobe Scene 7 or similar products to create an image that users can zoom in and out on.
3. Show your image to Google.
When you don’t use the “alternate text” tag in your code for a given image, you have effectively made your image invisible to Google and other search engines. Instead of hiding your products, use keyword phrases to name each product image. This is a simple SEO trick that will increase web traffic to your ecommerce websites.
4. Knock it out.
When a product is shown in isolation with no background clutter, its background is said to be “knocked out”. Knock out the backgrounds of your products to make the images pop.
Follow these simple tips and you’ll be on your way to improving sales on your shopping sites. Stick to low resolution images at your own peril.