The importance of Images in eCommerce Listings

Editor | Aug 27, 2020

Nitya, a student counsellor and an avid online shopper says, “I might buy a product if it doesn’t have an extensive description or reviews. But I never purchase anything if the image quality is bad, incomplete or too small for me to see the thing properly.” Don’t we all shop the same way while buying online?

Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, the only way a customer can get an idea about the physical appearance of the product is through the Images.  And sharp E-commerce businessmen have realised the importance of images in listings.

Sceptics were of an opinion that e-tailing in India will never pick up because people here have the mentality to ‘touch and feel’ before buying. It was true to an extent but how wrong were they proved because the online shopping trend is at its peak. In 2013 the market grew by an astounding 88% and by the looks of it the growth will continue for the next 4-5 years.

But with this kind of growth comes competition and to stand out, the quality of your e-commerce offering needs to be at par. And Images play a very crucial role in enabling that.

Presentation of the product

Based on an infographic ‘It’s All About the Images’ prepared by MDG Advertising, 67% of customers agree that product image is the biggest influencer while selecting and purchasing a product online. The study also stated that ‘image’ is far more important than description, ratings and reviews for e-commerce consumers.

Are you wondering why?

Visual aids leave a large impact when compared to audio and written medium. That’s why a pretty picture always catches our attention, engages us quickly and we retain the information associated with the striking image for years.

In E-commerce business model, a picture is not an add-on feature for customers but a necessary tool to encourage buying. In a store a salesman is there to read out product features but in the online world, the image has to do the talking without any help of adjectives or words.

Ingredients of a Good Product Picture

Blurry, pixelated and distorted images are a strict no-no. But what’s good differs from category to category. Like for electronic goods, shoes or perfumes, picture with a model is not required. But for categories like apparel, jewellery or accessories, it is imperative to provide an image with a model. This helps the consumers to gauge the actual dimension/scale of the product.

For instance, how long a bag or kurti is can be understood only when a model poses with it. Not everyone can create a 3D image in his/her mind after reading the product size. Same applies to home decor products that should be accompanied with an image of it being placed in a real setting.

And ideal image size is about 150-200 pixels for thumbnails, about 600 for large size photos once a customer clicks on it and extra large images of about 700-800 pixels when it is zoomed out. Extra large images are a plus point for apparels, jewellery, artefacts etc. as people love to see the fabric’s quality and work details since they can’t see it physically.

Be careful while retouching your pictures. It is wise to Photoshop little kinks and clutter in the background of an image or make it sharper. But in the effort of presenting your product in the best possible light, do not make it unreal and starkly different from the actual merchandise. This is to ensure that the consumer is not disappointed or feels cheated when he/she receives their package.

How many is too many?

According to recent news report published on, listing too many images can dissuade people from buying. Yes, the report states that people find multiple pictures overwhelming and can abandon or delay their shopping due to overload of visual information. We think 3 to 5 images are sufficient. More than that is too many!

The numbers are sorted but what about the size? Low resolution pictures need to be avoided. But uploading extremely high resolution pictures is also a grave mistake many vendors make. Exceptionally high-res. images make the website very slow and images take a long time to load. And we know what happens then, don’t we?

Online shoppers or for that matter any Internet user is an impatient being. They won’t wait for all the images to load and by all means will avoid shopping from your website. So compress your pictures and decrease the file size. More than 1000 pixels square is considered to be extremely high.  Keep the file size different for each image – thumbnail, main and blown-up one and the thumbnail length uniform. Don’t forget the image tags either. Alt, Width and Height tags enables search engines and web browsers to display your product images in a neat and clean manner.

Rules of E-commerce Buyers

Typically, 3-5 high-res images per item on a white background with no visible watermark & logo is what most E-commerce website owners demand from merchants. Sites like Etsy allow you to be creative in your photography and use unusual settings and props but even they advise against using watermarked prints. Images with watermark and logo serve as a distraction and make it difficult to be used for Google Product Listing Ads and on other websites for promotional purposes.

Marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay allow pictures with watermark since second hand goods and individual sellers are part of their seller’s community. But they dissuade from adding misleading or irrelevant pictures that have additional props that is not part of the offering. Another condition laid by Amazon, eBay is that products without main image will not show up in search and browse bar listings; at least in the first few pages.

So dress up your products in their best clothes and let them shine in the limelight!

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