Shopping online has its benefits - it’s fast and convenient to shop from thousands of retailers all from the comfort of your own home. Those retailers will then pick, pack, and ship it right to your door! It’s safe to say, however, that some of us have also received an online order and it doesn’t quite match your expectations.
The second top reason for a customer returning an item is that “the product received looked different”. And 75% of customers say that they rely on product photography when making purchasing decisions.
Product images are one of the most crucial elements of any good ecommerce site, but they can be challenging to get right. Today, let’s do a little bit of show and tell by looking at 5 examples of Shopify brands that have truly great product photography.
Why is product imagery so important?
It might sound a little redundant to question the importance of product images on an ecommerce site, right? The answer seems fairly obvious - so the customer know what the product looks like. However, there’s a little more to it than that.
When you go into a retail store, you can browse lots of products in a short space of time. You can pick up a t-shirt, and immediately see with great accuracy its size, fit, color, and style. You can go try the t-shirt on, and get a feel for if it’s going to suit your needs. In fact, you can try on multiple different t-shirts one after the other.
With ecommerce, you can’t do that. As convenient as online shopping is, you still have to rely on a product image and then wait for the product to arrive at your door before you know with certainty that it’s going to be suitable. And you have to do all this knowing that there will be a chance that you might have to return it. You might have a different body type so the t-shirt looks different on you than it did on the model. Or maybe the color on the website was what you were looking for, but in person it looks completely different.
Essentially, your product images are competing with the near instant accuracy of in-person retail. Sure, you might be a convenient option for customers - but not if the product isn’t what they expected.
There are three primary reasons on top of this why product images are so vital:
Product Understanding - A range of high quality images allows the customer to better understand the product they’re considering buying.
Reduce Returns - If the product images are accurate, it will reduce the number of customers returning because it looks different in person.
Build Trust - Equally, when the product they receive is accurate to the images on the site, it builds trust with that customer improving the relationship with your brand and making it more likely they’ll order again.
So while it may seem like on the surface it’s obvious that a product image is important, it does go much deeper. It’s not enough to have just one good image, you need to think about what images you can offer to customers that will put your experience on par with that of someone in a physical store looking at the product in real life.
5 brands with great product images
#1 - Skims
Co-founded by Kim Kardashian, Skims focuses on providing solutions that suit every body - from supportive shapewear to super comfortable loungewear. Their range comes in a variety of neutral colors and more bold limited edition varieties, covering everything from bras to bodysuits to swimsuits and more.
Apparel is always a tough niche to satisfy when it comes to product imagery. Brands in this space often need to provide a range of different angles for the product, and even then they won’t always satisfy every customer. Given the focus on inclusivity and solutions, Skims has an even bigger challenge - their products aim to suit every body, and their images need to do the same.
Skims rises to this challenge, by providing a wide range of high quality, crystal clear images. They start with at least one photo of the product on a plain background, not on a model. They then show the product from different angles on a model, so the customer gets a good sense of the product features. One thing which is unique about Skims, is that they actually offer images of the product on different sized models. You can see what their apparel looks like on a size XS or a size 2XL.
#2 - Nugget
Part-furniture and part-toy, Nugget is the ultimate addition to any kids playroom. Their super soft play couch comes in four sections, making them endlessly configurable to suit any playtime. Nugget aims to give parents and kids a durable, versatile piece of furniture that will fuel imagination and become a must-have for creative kiddos everywhere.
Any product in the children’s category is immediately going to be under extra scrutiny from parents and caretakers. They want to know that the product is going to be perfect for their little one, and they want to know exactly what they’re getting. Nugget’s extra challenge is that they need to be able to show off just how versatile their product is, without adding a million different images to a product page.
Nugget has a series of images at the top of their product page that show kids actually playing and using the product first of all, to really set the tone and give customers an immediate understanding of what the couch can be used for. They then have images of it as its base couch configuration, the separate pieces that make up the product, and extra details like the color difference of products in different lighting. Further down the page, they show some additional examples of ways to set up the Nugget.
#3 - Neighbor
Give your outdoor spaces the furniture it deserves with design-driven, sustainable pieces from Neighbor. Their outdoor furniture combines form with function, comfort with quality, and great modern design with long-lasting durability. Best of all you can get some of the sleekest, best quality furniture for your garden space delivered right to your door.
When you’re spending a high amount of money on any piece of furniture, you want to know that it’s going to be exactly what you’re looking for. It can be challenging enough to go to a physical store and see furniture in person and make a decision, nevermind doing so just by what you can see on a website.
Neighbor’s product imagery is clear, easy to understand, and gives lots of angles of a product on a plain background. They add plenty of contextual images to show what the furniture might actually look like in a customer’s garden. They’ve also included close ups of key features, plus video to give customers a really clear picture of what to expect.
#4 - Orbit Key
Orbit’s key organizer’s goal is to reduce clutter, and make your life easier. From keychains to various keys to bottle openers to whistles and whatever else you can fit on a keyring, carrying your essentials gets pretty messy…and noisy. Orbit fixes that, keeping all your keys in a compact, stylish, premium organizer.
It sounds pretty simple as an idea, but what Orbit needs to do with their images is to actually demonstrate why it’s such a useful product. The organizer on its own isn’t particularly descriptive, so you need more on the product page to really drive home its benefits. This is a challenge for many similar brands selling small accessories.
Much like their product, Orbit keeps their product images simple but impactful. They show the product with no keys from a couple of different angles, the product with keys, then a video demonstrating how the product actually works. This is especially useful as it can be difficult for customers to fully understand what exactly they’re to do with the organizer product.
#5 - Atoms
Sidra and Waqas started Atoms with a simple concept - make the best shoe possible. And in a crowded market like footwear, you need to be making something pretty special to stand out. Atoms focus on everyday comfort - elastic laces, copper lining, breathable materials, and simple design all make for a sneaker that you’ll want to wear every single day no matter the occasion.
Buying footwear has a lot of similar challenges to apparel - customers can’t physically try on the product, so they’re really relying on product images to determine their suitability. Especially if the shoe or sneaker has specific benefits or features, how do you communicate this through images of just a shoe?
Atoms stick to a few key images that give customers the context they need. The sneakers are presented at different angles, so the customer knows what they look like from the top, side, and back. They then include a close up video of a model wearing the shoes, to show how they look in motion, the fit, and how the material looks. Further down the page, they show images of key features like the midsole and the lining of the sneaker. This actually gives customers more context than they’d normally get in a physical store.
The secret to all the images from all the brands featured? Think about exactly what a customer is going to look for. It isn’t enough just to take a couple of good looking photos, you need to replicate that in-store experience. Combine that with all the convenience of online shopping, and you’ll earn yourself an audience of loyal, satisfied customers.