How to Use Images Effectively in E-Commerce Websites?

Posted on September 21, 2011 by
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As a web designer you should pay attention to the effective use of images in the design. Regardless of the context, people are often influenced when making decision during online shopping. You should let the products to sell themselves and images should brilliantly demonstrate the benefit of a product. The text is only supplementary and the images must do the heavy lifting. Let photographs do the selling for you to improve the effectiveness of your online business.

  • * Don’t give wrong impression: Some online flower shops use glass vases in photographs, although the flowers themselves are not delivered in vases. Because many hospitals don’t allow vases onto the wards, potential buyers may feel that they can’t buy flowers from the online shop. You should also show how the products would look like when customers accept them.
  • * Evoke an immersive experience: Images can elicit emotional responses. You can use them to quickly communicate information, because they’re easier to “read” than plain text. Images give context and depth to a story or a product, thereby helping you to create an immersive experience than plain text can do alone. Images can entertain, provoke, inform, enrage and inspire users.
  • * Make people laugh: Images can be highly entertaining. People can easily remember your product if you show it in a way that can trigger a good natured laugh. If it suits your product, why not inject some laugh? For example, if you’re selling flowers, you can use an adorable child as model. A dash of humor would ease the burden and people might love it.
  • * Inform and educate: Tell people and they may forget, show people and they will remember. Learning can be tricky and by focusing on visual stimuli, you can help people to grasp difficult concepts. Good images are difficult to forget and people often remember faces but forget names. Your e-store should also use images to provide instructions on how to use a product.
  • * Highlight innovation: People expect things to look and function in a certain way. If your product has unique look and functions, images should be able to assure people that your product is unique, but still useful.
  • * Don’t mislead people: People can easily jump into conclusions when they see images. For example, if you’re showing pictures of flowers, people may assume that they come with glass vase and ribbon. Even if you want to make the product looks appealing, you should inform people on what they’ll get.
  • * Trigger emotional response: If you want to communicate hard-hitting messages, images can help you to evoke strong emotions among visitors. For example, if you’re selling green products, you can use images to let people know about how the environment has been severely damaged by human activities.
  • * Plug accessories: If you also sell accessories to complement main products, use images to inform people how these side products can enhance user experience. Images of accessories can offer suggestions and stimulate desires among customers.
  • * Show features: Use images to highlight useful features of your products. Show people how these features should be used and how they can benefit users. When composed well, images can create the feeling of need and ensure people that their problems can be solved.
  • * Match the product imagery: Product can be reinforced by images. If images don’t accord with user expectations, a mental disconnect may occur. This may make users questions what the product is all about and it only causes confusion.
  • * Sell a lifestyle: Your products may match modern city living or comfortable rural life. If people believe that your products match their lifestyle, people would buy your products. Images should assign values to your products, which match customer desires.
  • * Make your products beautiful: Images often lie. That is beyond context and setting, camera tricks can make a product looks desirable and beautiful. You should strike a balance between being deceitful and making a product looks appealing.
  • * Don’t use clichéd stock images: People often loathe stock photography. People can subconsciously or consciously distinguish between “real” pictures and stock images. People want a realistic illustration of products and how they can be used in real life.
  • * Create desire: E-commerce is about self-service and it can help create desire for a product or service. Travel websites often display images on rooms and resorts to entice potential buyers. Good images can help people to envision themselves in a warm relaxing beach from their cold apartment in November.
  • * Be consistent: Those who prioritize on brands can use images to focus on tradition, heritage, craftsmanship and quality. Certain qualities are difficult to put into words. Images can clearly convey certain qualities.
  • * Show personality: Images can help to convey the essence of your product, but it can delight and surprise too.
  • * Look professional: The photography rules dictate that you should optimize interest on a subject should use uncluttered background. This applies well on products gallery, where products are presented and cut out against white background.
  • * Be both consistent and inconsistent: You can draw user attentions to important things by using consistency. But, people can also be drawn easily to inconsistencies, so you can use minor, acceptable inconsistencies in photograph composition to attract attention. You can make sure lighting is exactly the same between shots when you work in a studio and reinforce brand’s image by using certain lighting style. Examples include soft ethereal lights for brands related to environmental lifestyle and hard edgy light for youth clothing products.
  • * Use unique vantage points: Make otherwise everyday objects look more interesting by shooting from unusual vantage points. To get a unique perspective you can get high or get low shoot.
  • * Choose the best shooting angle: Just like people, your product also has unflattering and flattering angles. Peruse automotive ads and you’ll see many of the shots are taken from three-quarter angles. Cars taken with this technique have heightened sense of scale and power, which are clearly intended to appeal masculine audiences.
  • * Place products in their environment: Subjects that are placed in correct environment help people to understand their suitability and purpose. A photograph of tent in the wilderness is more appropriate than a shot of the same product on a parking lot. Products that are photographed in the correct environment suggest both how and where the product should be used.
  • * Provide a sense of scale: It is often tricky to buy something online. Predicting the suitability of a product is hard without touching or seeing it. You should provide visual reference to inform people about the actual size of a product.
  • * Use the right image size: Fast Internet connections allow users access larger images. For example, if you’re selling properties, no images are too big because users want to explore a potential new house thoroughly. That said, if you want to use a large version of an image, make it is significantly larger than the thumbnail, because people can be annoyed by marginally larger images.
  • * Show the product during use: People seek products that satisfy their needs. By providing images of products during use, you can help people to decide whether they need the product. Explaining how a product works without a photograph can result in nightmare. Good images can eliminate the need of lengthy text to explain how a product works.
  • * Make choosing a product easy: You may have more than five variations of a product, based on different colors and sizes. Although product variations offer flexibility, they can bamboozle users. You should represent each product variation with an image.
  • * Enhance user experience: People often like things that are visceral or emotional. Favorable experiences can feed on consumer’s taste and boost revenue. If certain photographic styles can make your website visually appealing and enhance user experience, you should use it consistently.
  • * Show details: Buying decision can be determined the amount of details shown on an e-commerce website. Some users want to have a 7” tablet PC that can be used to make voice call and send text message, by showing how these details are used, you may compel people to buy the product.
  • * Encourage interaction: People often express interest and delight when they can interact with images in an e-commerce website. Provide basic functions that allow you to zoom or rotate the image.

Images play an important role of reassuring, educating, influencing and informing customers to help them make proper buying decision. Review photographs in your e-commerce website and question its effectiveness. What’s the role of images in a particular webpage? Could the images urge people to buy your product or prevent them from dropping out? Owners of online business should use all elements effectively to maximize sales. Images shouldn’t only “look right”, they should also work well. When researching stock images and commissioning new photos always recall principles outlined in this article. By focusing on the purpose of images, you can make them an effective conversion tool.

About: This Article was Contributed by Raja. He is a Web Hosting industry watcher and writes regularly on Dedicated Hosting Reviews and Reseller Hosting Reviews.

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