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How to Optimize Product Images to Increase Sales and Conversions

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How to Optimize Product Images to Increase Sales and Conversions

Running an e-commerce business isn’t easy, but it gets better when your products start flying off the (virtual) shelves. If you’re working to optimize your product pages, then you’ve probably been thinking a lot about the images you’ll use, and how they will help customers make a decision. Don’t you hate it when a potential customer spends minutes looking at your product pages, then just leaves? Your product images can help reduce that, boosting sales and conversion rates if they’re optimized properly.

One site increased revenue by 300% by having their team optimize product images and using photo placement. There are so many ways you can make your e-commerce products more appealing with photos, but here are 10 great tips for boosting your sales and conversion rates with photos.

How to Optimize Product Images to Increase Sales and Conversions

#1. Make Images Appealing

Have you ever been tempted to use stock photos on your product pages? If you have, do not give into that temptation. The images on your product pages should be extremely appealing in order to drive sales. This means that they should be of the actual product, high-quality, and beautiful to look at. Invest in these photos. Hire a photographer to (literally) put your products in the best light. If your customers don’t enjoy looking at your product photos, it’s very unlikely that they will want to buy them. Simple as that.

#2. Show the Products in Action

Whether you’re selling dresses or dishpans, customers want to see these items in action, being used for their intended purpose. Help their imagination along by staging some photos in use, along with the main photo of the item on its own. Your customers want to be able to imagine using the product, which is a lot easier if you show them what that looks like.

#3. Play Up Unique Features

What distinguishes your product from others on the market? What makes it stand out, and what is your unique selling proposition? Whatever it is, be sure to play that uniqueness up in your photos whenever possible. Apple did this very successfully with early product photos of the MacBook Air. A laptop that thin hadn’t been manufactured before, and Apple highlighted its small size by displaying a photo of the product being pulled out of an ordinary envelope. This made an impression by showing off the small size of the laptop—the feature that made the Air so unique.

#4. Downsize Files

Speed is so important to the average e-commerce customer that any delay in loading pages can represent huge losses in revenue. It’s estimated that a 1 second delay in page loading costs the e-commerce behemoth Amazon approximately $1.6 billion in revenue. Your losses won’t be anything close to that, of course, but loading times do affect your conversion rates. For this reason, it’s best to try to keep your file sizes as small as possible. Customers have different connection speeds, and keeping your photos in a modest JPEG format will help keep your site speedy. Just make sure the quality stays high!

#5. Add Some People

Adding real people to your product images accomplishes two things: it helps people envision using the product, and it makes people more likely to convert. If you sell clothing, for example, it’s much more appealing to see a dress modeled on a real person, rather than a dressmaker’s model. Even if the person looks very different from the buyer, it gives them an idea of how the item might look when it’s being worn, and not just how it looks floating in space. Adding people helps to add context to the photos, allowing buyers to get a better idea of how the product functions.

#6. Offer Several Image Sizes & Photos

It’s a bit of a pain to come up with a photo series for each item, showing products from different angles and in different contexts, but it’s well worth the effort. People want to feel like they’re picking up the item and getting to know it before they buy. Let them see products from all angles, and let them resize!

#7. Optimize for Mobile

We’re connected all the time, by more devices each year. In 2017, the average household is expected to have 17 connected devices, many of which will be mobile gadgets. If your product images look good on a desktop, but not a smartphone, it’s time to do some optimization. So many people research and buy on mobile devices these days that you can’t afford to overlook this opportunity.

#8. Make Sure Thumbnails Show Up in Search Results

What grabs your attention when you’re searching for a product? A link and a line of text, or a photo? If you’re like most people, then you’re more likely to click on the thumbnails you find in search results. For an e-commerce site, this presents an opportunity to grab customers’ attention immediately, hopefully converting them before they move on to other options. How do you do this? List your products at Google Merchant Center right away.

#9. Add Social Share Buttons

You probably have your social share buttons (links to your social media profiles) on your home page, but how about your product pages? Adding share buttons to your products will allow visitors to share your product images on sites like Facebook and Pinterest, increasing traffic and reach. Adding these share buttons has another purpose as well—search engine indexing favors pages with these social signals. You can even set up each image to be easily pinned or shared, and don’t forget to prompt your customers to share after they make a purchase!

#10. Set up Alt Tags

Alt tags are descriptions of your photos that will show up if a photo fails to load for any reason. They provide an alternative information source to the photo, and they also help with search engine indexing. Every product image you have should have an alt tag, and the tag should be as specific as possible. It’s also best to make sure the tag is at least 125 characters long for search engine purposes. Do not skip this step, it’s very important when you optimize product images!


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Ryan Ayers is a father, husband, consultant to start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs, functional iced-coffee addict, MBA holder and lover of all things related to business, tech, innovation & the LA Clippers. Additionally, I was interested in knowing what the typical timeline is for editorial review on submitted articles. Thanks so much for your time and have a great day!

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