We all know detailed product descriptions are important for selling products online. But a picture is still worth more than all those words.
In fact, one survey found that 67 percent of customers believe product images are more important than descriptions and reviews when it comes to deciding whether to buy. Other studies have found professional images can reduce shopping cart abandonment and boost the likelihood of making a sale.
That means any brand that sells online would do well to invest in their product images. Here’s how to utilize product images for maximum conversion-boosting effect.
1. Emphasize quality.
In order to effectively boost conversions, images need to be high-quality. Professional images will lend credibility to your brand and help customers feel more comfortable purchasing from your site. Avoid pixilated images, stock photos and any visuals that aren’t relevant to the product at hand. Keep the background clean and relevant to the product. And make sure your photos are large and high-resolution to optimize their impact; large photos consistently result in better conversion rates.
2. Provide as many views as possible.
Buying products online can be daunting, because customers don’t have a chance to interact with them up close and ensure they’re getting exactly what I want. Your images should provide customers with almost as much information as they’d get from handling the product in person in order to reduce the friction involved in buying online. To that end, provide multiple views of the product (i.e. front/back/sides), include a zoom option that allows customers to view details up close, and include photos of each of the different color and style options on offer. Bonus points for 360-degree spin or 3D imaging features.
3. Help customers envision the product in their lives.
In order to purchase a product, customers need to be convinced it will enhance their lives in some way. Help potential customers visualize how your product(s) could play a role in their lives by showcasing products in the settings where people are most likely to use them. For example, if you’re selling a suitcase, adding a shot of the product in an airport or train terminal would be effective. Take a look at this post about mattress size dimensions from Mattress Clarity. It features graphics of people utilizing the different products in question, so potential customers can visualize exactly how various options would relate to their own bodies.
That brings us to another relevant point. In order to help people visualize themselves interacting with the product, it’s useful to include people in your images. Adding in this human element consistently increases conversion rates. That’s because including people in your photos can help direct customers’ attention, build empathy and provoke an emotional reaction that then gets associated with the product. For example, a photo of a person relaxing on a beach towel is going to make a viewer associate that beach towel with a sense of relaxation, which they will no doubt crave. Again, be sure to avoid cheesy stock photos. Those can have the opposite effect.
4. Prioritize accuracy.
While a few professional touch-ups are fine, it’s important that your photos accurately represent your products. If customers purchase a product based on a photo only to discover the real thing looks nothing like what they thought, that’s going to result in dissatisfied customers, poor reviews, high return rates and lost customer retention. Make sure your photos are accurate depictions of your products, and test the view on multiple devices and in multiple web browsers to ensure that colors and details are presenting accurately.
5. Add images to site search.
Making sure your product images show up in your site’s search drop-down menu can boost conversions. That’s because customers are likely to click directly on the auto-filled image instead of typing out the rest of the search entry. In other words, images help customers find what they’re searching for faster, which can reduce impediments to buying. Additionally, images can catch the attention of customers faster than text, so they’re likely to click directly on appealing visuals even if that’s not what they were searching for originally.
6. Use images in content marketing.
Not only should you be incorporating images into your own content marketing efforts but you also should be encouraging your external PR and marketing efforts to do the same. For example, at Digitalux, we have had a lot of success sending products to bloggers and encouraging them to take as many pictures as possible to go with their review. A good example would be this post on BrainWiz.org. A blogger took high-quality pictures to correspond with the article. This not only helps the reader get a more in-depth look at the product, but it also keeps it on their mind longer. Research has shown that when people hear information, they're likely to remember only 10 percent of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65 percent of the information three days later.
The takeaway? When it comes to boosting online sales, product images matter. In addition to writing detailed product and features descriptions, including high-quality images will help you make more sales, reduce your risk of returns, and get people to remember your products for a much longer time.