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Not everybody loves a hero image or a carousel. But imagery is a continuing trend in ecommerce.

Whilst brands don't want to compromise load times, the increasing uptake of tablets and their use for shopping means that images can help a site stand out.

A browsing experience is a lot more fun, and arguably realistic, with some big imagery thrown in.

Here are six websites that hit those retina-popping notes of colour on their homepages and beyond.

Apple

Apple has to be included as one of the pioneers of the hero image. Nowadays it seems more, as Chris Lake puts it, hero content. The homepage pushes you a big image about the new iPhone and feels more like a product landing page.

The image now text links to a hero video, which is even more compelling and easily got rid of if needs be.

What’s nice is that exiting the video actually leaves you on what feels again like the homepage, but is a separate URL with the same hero image but followed by lots of nice pictures showcasing the apps demoed in the film (see below).

It’s powerful stuff.

This feels like Apple is taking the concept of a hero image homepage further still.

apple home page 

apple video home

Le Coq Sportif

Five big images cycle slowly in a slideshow on the Le Coq Sportif website. The white text is echoed nicely in each photograph, either by a shoe colour, a tennis court tramline, a snowy alp or a t-shirt.

le coq sportif

le coq sportif

le coq sportif

Greats

Talk about a pared-down experience. Even the top menu has been done away with, revealed by hitting the button at top left. 

I would say this is an unnecessary extra step for the user, but it’s clearly designed mobile-first, where it makes sense to hide the menu to declutter the page. 

greats website

In fact, when you visit on mobile, the site isn’t much different. The two images narrow down to one but not much else.

Product pages on desktop and mobile have a very snazzy product display where the user can spin the shoes on their laces to look from all angles (either with click and drag on desktop, prompted by a change in cursor style, or by swiping on mobile).

Arguably this isn’t that intuitive on mobile, as it looks like a static image, but it still made me smile.

greats product page

There are lots of nice features on these product pages. Select a size that’s out of stock and you’ll see a popup asking if you want to receive an email when this size is available.

There’s a great zoom functionality which opens a new gallery of crisp images, albeit one I wasn;t expecting. Go and check it out.

The Conran Shop

Perhaps not quite big enough to be hero images, I’ve included this site anyway as the cumulative effect is very good indeed.

Taking the Pinterest aesthetic and delivering lots of colour, Conran effectively differentiates itself from much of the competition. As with all good designers, I’m left with the impression that each piece is special, from egg cup to wardrobe.

Here’s the page in full.

Burberry

Some of the best ecommerce imagery on the web. Scales up to bigger screens very nicely.

burberry home  

Chelsea Paris

Chelsea Paris has a new ecommerce site. It’s not yet finessed, see the meta description for a case in point.

chelsea paris metadescription

However, I love the slideshow that takes up pretty much the entirety of the home page.

It certainly leave you in no doubt as to the product on offer.

chelsea paris website 

chelsea paris website 

Got any of your own favourites? The comments box is waiting for you.

Ben Davis

Published 20 May, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (3)

Avatar-blank-50x50

Michael Edwards, Marketing Manager at Red Technology

Can I suggest http://www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk/ as a great example

about 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Gerard

Load times on a rural broadband connection

Apple 15 seconds
Coq Sportif 30 seconds
Greats 10 seconds
Conran - main image never loaded
Burberry 23 seconds

I

about 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum.co.uk

nice comment Gerard!

The eternal conflict of form and function. :<)

aka the more recent web team conflict/trade off between
* usably fast, and
* usably visual, and
* usably usable

which is often a dilemna on the web performance projects I get involved on: who gets to make the final call.

about 2 years ago

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