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Seeing is believing: New product imagery trends for ecommerce

Oct 01/

Successful online retailers know how important product photography is. Online shoppers don’t have the benefit of touching, smelling, or trying on products, so they rely on images to help make a decision. Professional photography is crucial for presenting products because it helps reduce the number of returns and exchanges, not to mention disappointed customers.

Consider these four product photography trends when planning your next photo shoot session:

What’s behind the product?

According to BigCommerce, 76% of the seven million images they analyzed had the original product background replaced by pure white and an additional 16% opted for transparency. The rest kept the original background, which was usually white.

But a new trend is taking hold for category pages: Solid colours, themed backgrounds, or even on location images are popping up on eCommerce sites. Clothing store, Zara, for example, uses dramatic solid colours on their category pages mixed in with traditional neutral and white backgrounds.

Not surprisingly, the actual product pages still favour neutral-coloured or transparent backgrounds. This provides an opportunity to focus on images highlighting the product, as opposed to eye-catching backgrounds enticing the customer in.

Hover and highlight

More of a display option than actual photography, the hover-over is nonetheless gaining in popularity. Sports and fitness tracker FitBit features the hover-over effect on their home page. The different FitBit trackers are pulled forward or rotated as the mouse hovers over the image.

E-commerce stores are able to use the hover-over effect to flip, angle, zoom, and fade images for dramatic effect and to allow the customer to see multiple sides and angles.

360° Imaging

Bang and Olufsen, long recognized for their superior images, use 360-degree imaging to display loudspeakers from every angle. The view-from-every-angle image mimics the instore experience where a shopper can physically pick up a product and turn it around to see features on the front, back, and sides.

Wiggle is a U.K. bicycle shop that uses 360-degree imaging to show all angles of a bike wheel. Steve Mills, head of eCommerce at Wiggle, told digital marketing firm, Smart Insights, “Through multi-variate testing we have seen adding 360 images lead to double-digit conversion increases across certain categories.”

In fact, according to eCommerce site Internet Retailer, when images are rotated automatically, the conversion rate on products sold on those pages is approximately 27% higher than for standard two-dimensional images. Although the 360-degree view has been around for several years, product image photographers have finessed and refined polished images specifically for eCommerce sites.

Mobile zoom options

One of the most popular trends in eCommerce product photography is the sleek zoom or mobile zoom image. This is used on many sites, including clothing and accessory pages. Hover the mouse over an image and it is automatically enlarged.

The benefit of this type of zoom is to give the consumer a detailed, close-up view. For example, New York’s Kate Spade uses zoom imagery successfully to show close-up details of products.

Professional product photography is key to converting sales. Whether you choose still shots on exotic backgrounds, all-around video clips, hover and zoom functions or all four, realistic and detailed images are certain to increase sales and reduce returns and exchanges.

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