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7 Tips to Improve eCommerce Secondary Images

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

People shop with their eyes. And in today’s digital world, that means your digital images are more critical than ever before. Every product page needs images to help show potential purchasers the details they need to take the plunge from browsing to buying. Those details are often—and best—shown through Secondary Images.

What Are Secondary Images and Why Should I Care?

Any image that follows the primary image above the fold on a product page can be referred to as a Secondary Image. Secondary Images are some of the first things your customers see when they land on a Product Description Page (PDP).

These images provide quick and (very) important information that helps a potential consumer make the decision on whether this is a product they want to purchase. In fact, 73% of online consumers say they expect 3+ photos when making that purchase decision.

Improving Your Secondary Images

Our team of eCommerce experts has gathered our Top 7 Tips to help as you brainstorm your plan of attack for eCommerce Secondary Images:

1.     Can you determine what the image is telling you in less than 3 seconds?

It probably took you about 3 seconds to read that question. That’s about how long of an attention span your potential consumer likely has when scanning through your secondary images. Can you get the gist of what the image choice is telling you in a quick glance? No? It’s worth the effort to bring the communication intent to one key takeaway. And how do you do that? Use SEO research to determine what key takeaways shoppers care about in regards to this product. Don’t just make assumptions—make smart, strategic decisions based on data to figure out what their potential barriers are. Read reviews of your competitor’s products to get a feel for what your consumers’ needs are. This can be the framework to what and how many secondary images are necessary: for example, four key takeaways = four secondary images.

2.     Readability & Accessibility

Mobile, mobile, mobile. You’re more than likely designing your secondary images at full size on a beautiful desktop monitor at its highest caliber. Great…but as mobile commerce rises, more than half of shoppers to be finding products on their mobile device by 2021. What does this mean for secondary images? Take a break from designing and zoom out on the image. Zoom it to a general cell phone size. Is it still easy to read everything on the image? Good, except for the fact that not everyone has 20/20 vision. Not only does the type need to be large enough for a range of visual acuity considerations, but also needs to contrast well with the background to maximize the number of shoppers who are able to read. It’s important to consider the wide range of consumers who are shopping the page and tailor content to fit all of their needs. A quick way to double check accessibility is to do what we call a “squint test”—squint your eyes and see if everything remains legible. To be even more certain your content is accessible, we suggest running it through an accessibility checker.

3.     Brick-and-Mortar to Digital Shelf

We live in the digital age, where the next generation doesn’t know a life without social media and the magic of search. And still, nothing beats the experience of a brick-and-mortar shopping trip. The ability to touch, feel, and see the product you want to buy. Try to take those in-store experiences and bring them to life on your digital shelf through your images. Make it as easy as possible for potential shoppers to imagine the product in their lives. Emulate your target shopper’s experience via a lifestyle image. If it’s an electronic item such as a vacuum, show scenarios that this product will thrive in. Walk your shopper through scenarios that this product would elevate their life in.

4.  What’s in the box?

Your potential shoppers will likely want to see product dimensions, but often this is not enough for them to get a feel of how much product they are getting. Offer a way to let your shopper know how big this product is (size), how much it weighs (will I get a heavy package or light package?), or how many cups it makes (how many family members will this product feed?). It’s also important to show the entire frame of the product; rather than displaying a cropped shot of the products, show all corners. This can further prevent any confusion regarding the shape and depth of the item. It also goes along with answering any questions or concerns, as well as alleviating the pain of not being inside a brick-and-mortar. Include as many details as possible, such as nutrition if it’s food, or if the batteries are included if it’s an electronic item. Perhaps this is a pantry item that has a shelf life of years. How much space will it take up in my fridge? You probably know someone who has a food allergy. They would love to be able to skim through images for ingredients to see whether or not they can consume the product without being affected. If it’s a shampoo, will it affect their color-treated hair? And more so, what exactly is included in the package if it’s a bundle?

5.     Address FAQs before they become questions

How do you do this? We’d suggest taking a look at some of your competitors’ product pages, as well as your own. What are some common questions asked, and what can be applied to your own product to eliminate the possibility of confusion, and therefore, a bad review? With that, take a look at reviews as well. What are some common complaints? Perhaps they are just miscommunicated. Some of these questions and concerns could likely be answered in your secondary images, and can ultimately remove shopper barriers and improve return rates. A 2018 Salsify study asked consumers “What’s more important to you when buying electronics?” and 61% of participants answered with “Manufacturer information answers your questions.”  Again, answering any questions as soon as possible will ease the pain for both the shopper and your reviews.

6.  Why should a shopper choose your products over the rest?

A huge objective in making secondary images at all is to stand out above the rest and really brand your page in a world of templatization. Beyond this, you need to determine what makes your particular brand different. Perhaps it’s cordless with a battery that runs longer (always make sure you back up claims with a legal line if needed). Perhaps it’s gluten-free, or it’s easy to assemble. Figure out what makes you stand out, and leverage it.

7.     Image text does not equal SEO text

As a reminder, the majority of the time the text inside of images is flat and does not contribute to any search algorithms. With this, perhaps dial back on the amount of copy that you have in your images. As stated above, you’ll want these images to ultimately be easy to read. Take that copy that you want to jam-pack into your images and stick them in places where it can play a part in SEO, such as product title, bullets, and long description. An exception for this rule is in the Amazon platform, where you can add alternative text that applies for the image you upload, improving the experience for those with accessibility barriers and enhancing SEO.

The opportunity to bring in secondary images has been an important step for eCommerce for many years. In a saturated market, it’s important to stand out among the crowd, but in a way that is smart and strategic.

Contributed By: Brittany Nguyen, Digital Content Designer & Mariana Faleiros, eCommerce Catalog Specialist, Integer Denver

Image Source: Original Assets, Starbucks Coffee, Buitoni, Bissel, Haagan Daz, Skinny Cow, Outshine       

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