Types of product imagery that drive e-commerce sale

Touching and feeling a product has always been the sign of a savvy shopper. The softness of a fabric, the firmness of a fruit has been the cornerstone of the tactile experience of shopping and we have traditionally held in esteem, the men and women who are skilled at establishing quality just by their sense of touch. This age-old process, however, is eliminated in the increasingly digital world and Retailers are scrambling to innovate so as to provide the customers an experience that engages their other senses.

This is where good product content comes into play – a detailed product description paints an image which allows the customer to get to know what the product is, what it can do and what it potentially feels like. Labels, ingredients, and materials used to expand the connection we have with the product or similar products and the customer is given as many tools as possible to create the sensations needed to make that purchase.

And finally, product images connect the textual dots to let the customer see what the product would look like and give context to how the product appears visually.

Product imagery plays a pivotal role

Uncertainty and missing information are two of the top reasons why people decide not to buy a product online. Customers tend to leave their shopping journey when they feel the product doesn’t have enough or clear information. This could range from product reviews and the materials used to the size specifications. However, product imagery takes the cake in being the primary driver of sales. Studies have shown, 92% of consumers are driven to a purchasing decision based on product imagery, may it be images or videos.

Therefore naturally, the quality of product images directly affects the ability to generate sales making it crucial for brands and retailers to use high-quality images and HD videos while showcasing their products.

So what exactly do shoppers want from a brand or retailer’s product imagery?

Product angles

Customers generally like to view a  product from every angle. A study conducted by the Nielsen Norman Group found that consumers were better informed after viewing clear, high-quality product images. This helps them “see” and extrapolate on what the features could be. The quantity of images also plays an important role. 

For example, for a floral dress, the imagery should reflect the color palette, the draping, and how it would look like from the front, sides and the back. This would bring the user’s attention to small features such as a button or a sleeve detailing.

Walmart - product page for floral dress with different product images

In the case of electronics, besides the ability to view the product from every angle, the images can also show the buttons or outlet sockets. This would come in handy for the user as he may not need to refer to the manual every single time, looking for a function.

Size matters 

If customers need a magnifying glass to view product images, there is something wrong. The imagery should be able to show enough details that the customers don’t need to go to a store and look at the actual product in person. If the imagery shows the detailing from afar as well as when zoomed in, it would imitate feeling the texture of the product. Furthermore, the size of the image in the product catalog also plays a large role in piquing the interest of a shopper.

The VWO blog reported an A/B test comparing catalogs with smaller vs larger images. The results showed that larger product images led to a 9.46 percent in sales in comparison to smaller product images.

So when it comes to product imagery, size does matter.


The battle does not end with putting up images of the product. How it is being shown also affects the shopper’s buying decision.

While some shoppers prefer to see the product image against a plain background, there are some that want to see the products used contextually. There is another set of shoppers who would like to see user-generated images from people who have purchased the product in the past.

When providing product images for millennial shoppers, in addition to quality sized images, social media tends plays a pivotal role. Millennials get attracted to products that are socially endorsed. This also gives shoppers an impetus to share their purchases online.

While shoppers have always valued brand shopping experiences above all, the rise of innovations integrating online and in-store is intriguing. VR technology and AI integration help shoppers get a better understanding of how to use the products. Shoppers also depend on VR to help product images or product labels come to life.

Piled up Polaroid photos

The fact that consumers want quality product imagery is not something new, but it is valuable to know what kind of imagery the target customers are looking for. This ensures that retailers and brands create product content that meets the needs of the customers inadvertently driving sales and an increase in customer base.

Other e-commerce articles: