Why Product Images Are So Important Online

What do we get when a consumer receives an online order, and it doesn’t match the image from the product listing they ordered from? Frustration.

Frustration is part of the consumer journey that can act as a Barrier. Barriers can be physical, mental, or involve lack of clarity. However they are manifested, Barriers will slow down or even derail shopper choice and risk a purchase being lost. For this reason, it is something we as researchers and marketers need to identify and reduce to ultimately drive a transaction. You can learn more on Barriers in our blog series here.

It’s not breaking news to hear just how important System 1 thinking is regarding shopping. System 1 thinking is a near-instantaneous process, happening without thought. For this reason, brands need to be Seen, Shoppable, and Seductive which will ultimately lead to being Selected. (Read our Power of Packaging e-book with more info on our 4S model here). This is exactly why e-commerce images play such a crucial role in making this happen.

Human’s respond to and process visual data better than any other type of data. In fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. Because of this, companies need to be mindful that their e-commerce images are one of the first triggers that help consumers navigate e-retailer platforms. Instead of solely focusing on the platform’s image compliance rules, they must also consider that their product images need to make an immediate impact on consumers.

Let’s do an exercise and look through the eyes of a potential customer. We’ll name him John and he is currently at home shopping for cheese spread online.

The first ‘immediate’ visual scan of cheese’s conveys two things:

  • The product image on the right is bigger in size/format compared to the one on the left. (However, confusingly, the product on the left is bigger in terms of weight.)
  • The blue on both packages is not the same shade though they are the same flavor.

Because of these initial impressions, the following may occur:

  • John ends up purchasing the wrong size of cheese spread.
  • John ends up hesitating purchasing any cheese spread and opts to leave the digital shelf empty-handed.

John’s frustration at shelf is a barrier to purchase. This scenario also affects the elderly or those with sight issues who may also be discouraged while online shopping. This ultimately causes loss of sales for brands who do not cater to their shoppers.

Is this difference clear enough for John to catch in the matter of seconds? Can you see the size differences?

So, let’s help John to navigate these digital retail platforms easier by removing potential barriers and avoid unnecessary frustration. This starts with the product images.

Below is a good example of just how simple and clear visual communication can be through effective product images by making the size information more prominent (i.e., 400g vs 300g):

Our research has shown that mobile ready hero images are the best-in-class at reducing barriers for online shoppers. These images are easily Seen, Shopped, and therefore, Selected to be placed into their digital carts.

At Behaviorally, we’ve listened to our clients and understand the challenge of managing the large amounts of e-commerce images. Even having dedicated teams is not enough to succeed in the digital marketplace due to lack of resources and the challenge of testing and operating in such a fast-paced environment.

Let us help you eliminate the barriers to being selected by consumers like John and maximize your online conversion rate through our e-commerce image optimization tool, Flash.PDP™.

Find out how your images are doing with our AI powered platform by requesting a demo today.