Webcredible’s Mrudula Kodali has published some handy tips for using photography in e-commerce – an issue etailers are increasingly grappling with as competition increases and search engines display more multimedia results.

Mrudula says photos can help consumers get a better feel of products on offer, but have to "work hard" to overcome the web's limitations.

See a brief run-through of her suggestions after the jump:

  • Use professional quality images – Mrudula says improved photos have been known to more than double conversion rates for some etailers. Hotel Chocolat is one firm using high-quality photos to differentiate its online offering. 

Hotel Chocolat product page

  • Provide alternate and detailed views – the next best thing to viewing items in the flesh. Videos and 3D animations can also help present more complex products.
  • Make images enlargeable – many etailers benefit from allowing shoppers to take a closer look at their products, typically in a pop-up window. Laura Ashley is an example - as is Empire Direct, which has a whizzy Ajax product gallery function but only has single images for much of its selection.
  • Optimise images for downloading – consumers won’t hang about it you don’t.
  • Provide proportionate detail – crop images when displaying them as thumbnails on home and/or category pages.
  • Provide scale and context – show the product’s size by using human models, as well as its context of use.
  • Show it all – display all accessories and components so shoppers can see what they’re buying.
  • Make them relevant – don’t confuse or annoy customers by displaying pictures that aren’t connected to the text alongside them.

For further thoughts on allowing online shoppers to ‘get a feel of’ products - not just through photography but also through alternative delivery/refunding models - see our recent interview with Webtogs founder James Balmain.


Published 5 November, 2007 by Richard Maven

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Comments (3)


Jean-francois Vigeant

I would also add (even if its already included in some of your categories), put all the picture of product that are available in different colors. It helps conversion and reduce user frustration.

There is also pretty cool zooming plug-in that improve user exprience...give a little WOW effects :)

over 10 years ago


Jake Brumby

As Jean-Francois said, image zooming can really add a wow factor to the page.

You can get hosted image services that work well but are very expensive. Alternatively, try out this JavaScript zoomer which you can run on your own site:


It's HTML compliant and lightweight code. Can be installed in a few minutes.

over 10 years ago



Hmm. While I agree that image zooming is a good thing, it'll be missed by 10% or more of your site's visitors (the average number of web users that have javascript disables).

I recommend, instead, a web-standards image zoom (with optional caption) that is both XHTML and CSS valid. It doesn't rely on javascript at all, is cross browser, light-weight and provides many display options.



over 10 years ago

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