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The Importance of Strong Visuals in Ecommerce

Date published: January 25, 2018
Last updated: January 25, 2018

A common saying in writing is applicable to ecommerce: “Show, don’t tell.” Successful online stores use more than creative copy to communicate with customers. Imagine clicking a link and landing on a website without images. You’d think it had loaded incorrectly, right? This demonstrates the importance of strong visuals in ecommerce.

Here are a few areas in which quality visuals can make or break the user experience. 

Make a Good First Impression

Your website’s homepage is like a handshake and an elevator pitch all in one. When shoppers log on, they immediately start assessing your store. They’re looking for context clues, and images go a long way toward communicating it right off the bat.

When it comes to designing an effective homepage, keep it simple. Too many calls to action, links and paragraphs dilute the potency of the information you’re presenting. Stick to one large, high-definition image—preferably depicting your product or service in use. Fill out the page with one or two lines of clever, branded text and a CTA. The rest can be blank space to provide contrast.

The navigation of your home page also depends on its visual layout. We know human eyes naturally browse in an F-shaped pattern, so build navigation along these horizontal and vertical axes for best results. 

Appealing Product Listings Convert

Your product lineup is the meat of your business. When you’re considering how to build an ecommerce website, your products should always be at the forefront of your priorities. You’re already asking users to take a chance buying products online without inspecting them first in person. The best way to help users minimize their purchase anxiety is to provide plenty of photographs so they get an up-close-and-personal look at merchandise before committing.

Here are a few tips for augmenting your ecommerce product listings with effective visuals:

  • Avoid using generic or outdated manufacturer photos whenever possible
  • Take or commission professional photographs with ample lighting
  • Offer customers a multi-angle view with a handful of photographs per product
  • Enable a zoom or rotate function whenever possible for curious shoppers 

Video is the Wave of the Future

Some brands are setting new precedents with video content in addition to product photographs. Data shows that creating product videostends to boost sales for those items. From simple how-to videos explaining a product’s functionality to a short clip of a model wearing or using the good, videos give viewers the impression they got closer to the merchandise—boosting trust and, ultimately, conversions. 

Pictures Provide Social Proof

Consumers naturally trust other people’s opinions and experiences more than they do a brand’s messaging. Ecommerce stores are capitalizing on this phenomenon by crowdsourcing user-generated content and displaying it in one handy feed. As notes, “There’s nothing like seeing a product being enjoyed by an actual person to drive home the idea that a product can make audience members’ lives better.”

Social media and post-purchase surveys give brands two opportunities to ask for user-generated content they can repost. For example, asking buyers to use a certain branded hashtag conveniently gathers their social media posts in one place. If you feature user-generated content on your website, link it back to the relevant products and categories so visitors can easily obtain the items for themselves.

Ultimately, the importance of strong visuals in ecommerce is they reinforce branding; decrease purchase anxiety and help users make informed buying decisions.


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