7 Ways to Improve Your E-commerce Product Images

Have you ever squinted to see what you're buying online? How about pinched/scrolled/screamed at your mobile device to try to improve product images on an e-commerce site?
We feel your pain.

The importance of high-quality images to the online shopping experience is at an all-time high. A 2017 study by BigCommerce found that 78% of consumers want more product images from e-commerce sites. Furthermore, tests on sites like Behave.org consistently demonstrate that small changes to visuals can have a significant impact on customer conversions. In other words, better images often mean more sales.

Improve Ecommerce Product Images

Does your site have enough images, positioned in the right places to make a sale?

Can your customers easily view everything they want to about your products through your visuals? If so, are they optimized to convert?

This article will help you find out -- not to mention saving potential customers from pulling their hair out as they browse your products!

Improve Product Images to Increase Sales

It's an all-too-common occurrence to shop for something online, only to reject several sites because of poor image quality and choose to purchase from a different website -- or perhaps not purchase at all.

Think about it: what does an ill-considered image say about your site and, more importantly, the items that you sell?

If the images you serve up for e-commerce customers are low quality, it's a direct reflection on what the consumer thinks about your brand. Their first impression of your brand will extend from limited images to questions about product quality and potential service issues.

Even with the best product and service out there, an e-commerce site lacking images that show your brand in its best light will limit appeal and lose potential customers.

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7 Tips to Improve Product Images for E-commerce Sites

Consider the following seven ways to improve your images and give potential customers a better impression of your brand:

1) Use only high-resolution (hi-res) images and test them on different devices/screen sizes

Resolution is measured in DPI (dots per inch). It's important to make sure images for eCommerce sites are hi-res in order to provide a clear view for the consumer without pixelation. Low-resolution (lo-res) images can create the problem of pixelation or blurriness when a consumer tries to view the image on click-to-zoom, or opens them on a larger tablet or desktop screen.

The best way to make sure your customers can see all the details in your product images is to use the right resolution that works across all formats.

Next, test the product images across different platforms.

Why? Because not all operating systems are created equal. Some will squeeze your carefully selected image details into an unrecognizable fuzz, while others might throw them out of position or fail to display them at all. It's important to don your beta tester hat at this point. Poke and prod your site images to check they're displaying correctly, whether on a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop.

Returning to Behave.org, we can see the importance of device testing in a recent image A/B test for Luxy Hair, an e-commerce site that sells hair extensions.

2) Offer multiple angles for consumers to view the product

In many product categories, consumers want to see every angle possible before purchasing. Certainly, offering them more ways to see what they're buying can't be a bad thing.

Let's say, for example, you sell maxi dresses online. You wouldn't show only the front of the dress, but rather the front, back, sides, angles, and so forth. Online consumers don't want to buy a dress and be surprised by an unexpected deep back V that only the seemingly flawless human beings of Hollywood, present headlines notwithstanding, can carry off.

Whether you sell dresses, cosmetics, electronics, or almost any other product category online, it's vital to use your images as a substitute for the three-dimensional advantages of real-world retail. As such, images for e-commerce need to tell the whole story of the product by showing every possible angle.

3) Make sure all product images are the same size

It's easy to overlook image size because of its simplicity, at least until you make the mistake on your own site and see why varied image sizes look so terrible. An e-commerce site needs consistency so that visitors can compare and contrast.

For example, if you have a site with products that are lined up in rows of 3, all of those images should be the same width and height. Imagine having the middle image of the second row twice as tall as the other images. This would cause the page formatting to be pushed around and you will lose the clean flow of product presentation.

It seems obvious to anyone who has sold online for a long time, but if you're just starting out, image size consistency is something to put at the top of your checklist.


4) Provide close-ups of key product areas

To increase consumer appeal for your products, make sure you are showing even the tiniest of details that make a difference. Use separate product image.

Some examples of things you might choose to zoom in on include:

  • Color tones on cosmetics products
  • Quality stitching on apparel
  • Design flourishes on sneakers
  • Ports on electronics
  • Fabric on a sofa and other furniture

Browse around other e-commerce sites in your sector. How do they get up close and personal with products to show off all the aspects that customers care about?

5) Incorporate brand style/color palette into images to avoid looking generic

Because it involves something unique to your business, this one can be a lot of fun.

If your business uses distinct colors in its logo, mascot, or other brand assets, try incorporating these elements into your e-commerce site visuals and product images. As long as they retain a consistent style and keep the context of what you're selling, there's great scope to let your creative juices flow and make your site stand out from competitors.

As long as it makes sense and doesn't detract from the integrity of what the product photo is trying to portray, your brand's style is an excellent way to add a unique flavor to the site's visual appeal.

6) Enhance product images with photo editing software

Whether you need to brighten up the lighting in an image, focus on a particular aspect of the image, or simply insert a watermark, applying some finishing touches to your product images can make a big difference. With the appropriate photo editing software and a little practice, images can be quickly enhanced to improve customer experience.

There are several online resources that provide free tools, such as Pixlr or Gimp, but consider investing in professional software like Adobe Photoshop when you want to get serious. If you have a lot of visuals to work on and the time to learn the tools, image enhancement software can be a great investment.

7) Optimize your images

Last but certainly not least, optimize! This is the finishing touch in the form of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which helps to ensure your images are recognized by search engines like Google and Bing. After all,

Be sure to title your images correctly, so that a product photo of a hat, for example, reads "red hat for women" and not "img_03541284" or other stock formats pulled from the camera. These don't tell Google anything and make it less likely that your images will show up in search results.

Next, add descriptions to all of your visuals in the alt tag area. This tells search engines how to "read" your product photos. Try to stick to between three and seven words that not only explain what the photo is, but also reflect what consumers would type into a search engine when looking for this kind of product.

A word of caution: Google et al have finely-tuned algorithms that are expertly engineered to weed out keyword spam. Don't try to trick them for extra traffic, lest the dreaded spam hammer strike down upon your e-commerce site.

Stick to brief, accurate image descriptions and you'll be on your way to increased search traffic and extra sales.

Extra Credit: Add Videos to Your Visuals

In the current climate of striking visuals, streaming content, and what social networks want to see published, video content is king. Consider upping your game with a product video to accompany the relating product images.

Videos can be a product demonstration, how-to instructional tips, an FAQ, or other helpful information. If you have the time and resources to dedicate to good quality product videos, you'll see an immediate return in terms of visitors lingering longer on your site and sharing your product pages with friends and family who might be considering them. Take it a step further and find a way to incorporate a memorable custom phone number.

You don't have to check off all of these tips to improve your e-commerce product images, but they should serve as a reminder to step back and review your site.

Where could the customer experience be enhanced by better visuals? Even the smallest enhancements, when taken across an entire e-commerce site, can make a big difference to your bottom line.

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