The E-Commerce Column

5 Best Practices for Your Product Images

Let’s face it, many people do judge a book by its cover. And when that cover is your product image, you need to do everything you can to truly make it shine. Here are five best practices you should be following no matter what type of product you’re selling:

Image Zoom Lets Customers See Quality

When you’re selling higher end products, or want to demonstrate that your product is made well, nothing beats a user-friendly, easy-to-understand zooming feature. Take this boot from Nordstrom, for example:

Image zoom lets customers see quality

Product zoom and high resolution images go hand in hand for increased sales

Not only are they showing it from multiple angles (also very good practice when working with product photos), but they’re allowing the customer to zoom in on any part of the boot to show its luxurious stitching, fit and attention to detail. The internet hasn’t been able to (yet!) duplicate the accuracy of a real dressing room, so an image zoom is perhaps the next best thing!

Other features can also lend themselves to this type of display, including videos, 360-degree rotations and other features, but keep in mind that page load time is just as important (if not more so) to these customers, and they may be viewing your product from a mobile device which may not support certain plug-ins or media types.

Context is Important

Let’s say you’re selling handmade wooden bowls. You could show your artistry with the product on a plain background, but if you were to show it in the context of how it could be used, you’re likely to spur ideas from your customers on ways they could integrate your product into their own lives.

Context is important

A brightly colored salad and a wooden table product a lovely setting for this handcrafted bowl

Think of some ways that you could use context within your own product images. Is there a certain setting or idea your product can convey to the consumer? Why not show it like that?

Don’t Forget the Copy

Copy is just as important as the image setting and resolution, and words often do the selling when photos alone can’t. For many store owners, “copy” simply means a bullet list of features like size, color, etc. And while those are important – just like context, describing a situation where you’d use the product can help the customer visualize it playing a role in their lifestyle, like this pair of shoes from

Don't forget the copy

A tantalizing description from

This description perfectly sums up how many people feel about good quality footwear. Their feet may be walking across a cold parking lot, or a sterile-looking office building, but they (and their tootsies) would rather be somewhere else – the beach, the fresh cut grass in the summertime – anywhere but here. And even if their whole body can’t be there, the idea is, with these sandals, their feet certainly can be.

Reviews can Save Returns

Many customers ultimately make their decision about your product based on what other people have said about it. While it’s true that copy and image quality do make a statement, hearing first-hand from others can also help decrease your return rate. How? Let’s say you’re selling shirts but one of the reviewers comments that the sizing runs a bit small. Other customers read these reviews and decide to order the next size up – saving you valuable time on sorting through refunds, returns and exchanges.

And speaking of which, you do have your return/refund/exchange policy noted clearly on your site, don’t you?

Show the Product Being Used/Worn

By this point, you’ve got images of your product from different angles, a high resolution version for zoom-in quality and great, compelling copy that helps the visitor see how the product will benefit them. Reviews are starting to come in and customers are helping other customers make a solid buying decision. What else could you possibly add to make things even better?

An image of the product being used or worn:

Show the product being worn

It’s fine to show a shirt, but showing how it looks on a model, with other outfit pieces (which you can also upsell) is a great way to create a combined “look” that people will share with friends, pin on Pinterest and talk about on social media. Some stores even go so far as to share the model’s measurements, so others can know approximately how the product will fit on them.

As you can see, your photos can do a great deal of the selling for you, when they’re approached the right way. By following these tips, you’ll be able to create captivating images that get clicked, get shared, and get sold.

About the Author

Will StrohlWill Strohl

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