• UI & UX

Ecommerce and Design: The Importance of Product Imagery on Your Site

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 9 min read
Ecommerce and Design: The Importance of Product Imagery on Your Site


Imagine browsing a couple of online stores, eager to make a purchase. As you click through, the first one greets you with high-quality images that showcase products in their best light, offering multiple angles and close-ups. The details pop, and you can almost feel the texture.

The second one isn’t that welcoming. Their product images look like they were taken by a camera phone from 2013. You’re starting to think they might not be into delivering premium quality. Naturally, you give them the “x.”

Product imagery isn’t just an experience. It’s a digital storefront presentation, and in the world of ecommerce, it’s your golden ticket to success. Your product images are more than just pictures – they can be one of the most powerful web design tactics. Product images are a powerful tool that boosts sales, establishes trust, and elevates your brand.

Let’s talk about this in depth and uncover how impactful product imagery can drive success in today’s digital-first shopping landscape.

Maintain a Consistent Visual Tone

The visual language you craft is instrumental in connecting with your audience. It’s not just about snapping photos of your products but about weaving a narrative through those images. That narrative should shout out loud and clear: “This is who we are!”

Consistency in your product images isn’t just an aesthetic choice. It’s a strategic one. When your images maintain a similar tone, style, and vibe, they tell a unified brand story. They become instantly recognizable, fostering trust and reliability. It’s like walking into a well-designed physical store where everything from the lighting to the shelving echoes the brand’s ethos.

How can you ensure this consistency? It begins with defining what your brand stands for. Is it fun and youthful? Or sophisticated and luxurious? Once you’ve got that locked down, infuse those attributes into every image. Whether it’s through the choice of models, their poses, the colors, props, or even graphic overlays – every element should echo the same story.

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Let’s take a cue from FOCL, a premium brand in the plant-based wellness sector. They’ve skillfully played their imagery game. The pastel backdrops in their images harmoniously sync with the colors on their product labels. While it’s visually pleasing, this subtly resonates with their audience, echoing notions of serenity, wellness, and natural harmony.

Nailing this type of visual consistency can set you apart in a sea of ecommerce sites. It amplifies your message, making sure your customers don’t just see your products but feel your brand as well.

Maintain a Consistent Visual Tone (Source: focl.com)

Use Photography Best Practices

Hiring a professional photographer can be quite expensive, especially for emerging businesses. But if that’s beyond your budget, don’t fret. With the right techniques and a dash of creativity, you can capture compelling product images. By adhering to some current best practices in product photography, you’re already on the path to creating images that showcase your product and elevate your brand.

Here, we’ve gathered a bunch of them:

Lighting is key

Good lighting can make or break a photo. Always use natural lighting when possible. If shooting indoors, position your product near a window. Avoid using your camera’s flash, as you risk distorting the colors and creating harsh shadows.

Opt for neutral backgrounds

Using a plain white or neutral background helps your product stand out and eliminates distractions. This is especially crucial for ecommerce sites, where the focus should be solely on the product.

Showcase your product from various angles

This gives the viewer a comprehensive understanding of what they’re buying.

Close-ups and details

Zoom in on specific features or unique selling points. If your product has intricate patterns, unique materials, or special features, flaunt them.

Use a tripod

Even the slightest movement can cause blurriness, and a tripod ensures crisp, clear photos every time.


Edit your photos to enhance clarity, brightness, and contrast. Free tools like GIMP or paid ones like Adobe Lightroom can be incredibly helpful. Remember, the goal is to enhance the product’s true appearance, not alter it.

Keep file sizes in check

While you want high-resolution images, ensure they’re optimized for web use. You won’t find “slow-loading images” on any SEO checklist.

Capturing your own product images can be a rewarding experience. It not only gives you creative control but also allows you to infuse a personal touch.

Let Your Customers Contribute Imagery

When customers proudly display their purchases in real-life scenarios, it adds authenticity to your product and fosters trust among potential buyers. Think of it as digital word-of-mouth – there’s nothing more genuine than a happy customer flaunting their latest buy!

Why is this method so impactful? Well, it’s simple. Imagery from real customers serves as a testament to your product’s quality and appeal. It speaks volumes about how your products fit into their daily lives. When prospective buyers see these images, they can more easily envision the product in their own context, bridging the gap between viewing and purchasing.

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So, encourage your customers to share their experiences visually. Create avenues on your platform where they can easily upload their images. Maybe even run campaigns or contests to incentivize their contributions.

Dress Forms USA, the brand synonymous with professional dress forms, is a stellar example of this. A virtual stroll through their female professional dress form with collapsible shoulders product page is a visual delight. They’ve brilliantly showcased customer-generated photos, taking you on a journey through various settings.

This approach doesn’t just humanize the brand. It creates an entire community around the product – a collective of like-minded enthusiasts and passionate professionals.

Let Your Customers Contribute Imagery (Source: dressformsusa.com)

Ecommerce has its limitations: the inability to touch, feel, or physically experience a product. But with the right approach, these barriers can be transformed into an advantage. How? By offering a rich, immersive visual experience that goes beyond mere product representation.

The gallery section of a product page can be an interactive, virtual showroom that has the power to replicate – and in some cases, surpass – the sensory experience of browsing in a brick-and-mortar store.

Here’s how:

Diverse angles

Present your product from every conceivable angle. Top, bottom, sides – the more, the merrier. This approach eliminates guesswork and builds buyer confidence.

Applications and usages

Show how the product functions. If it’s a gadget, demonstrate its features. If it’s clothing, display it being worn in different settings or styled in various ways.

Zoom-ins and close-ups

Highlight the details. From texture to intricate designs, allow shoppers to appreciate the product’s finer aspects.

Videos and animated GIFs

A moving image can convey aspects still photos might miss. Use videos for product demos or animated GIFs to emphasize specific features or uses.

From packaged to deployed

Show your product both in its packaging and fully set up. This gives an idea of what to expect upon delivery and how it looks when ready for use.

Environment and setting

Display the product in its typical or ideal environment. If it’s outdoor equipment, showcase it amidst nature. For kitchen gadgets, a well-set countertop can work wonders.

Gilli Sports offers a terrific example of a product page that nails all of these aspects of product imagery. The gallery on their flagship Gili Air inflatable stand up paddleboard displays the product in every conceivable context.

The brand understands the importance of giving shoppers an extremely wide variety of product shots and doesn’t hold back on the detail – even throwing in a few shots of the paddleboard being used in an attractive environment.

Environment and setting (Source: gilisports.com)

Embrace Negative Space to Reduce Clutter around Product Images

Negative space (or whitespace) isn’t just empty space – it’s a powerful tool. Leveraging this web design principle, especially in product imagery, can elevate your ecommerce experience.

When you display products, especially on pages brimming with multiple items, clarity becomes paramount.

Negative space accentuates the product, making it the unchallenged hero of the frame. By removing background distractions and using whitespace, the product commands full attention.

With a decluttered visual, potential buyers can quickly discern the product’s details and attributes without getting lost in a chaotic backdrop.

Negative space also reduces cognitive load, making decision-making smoother for shoppers.

With a clear, background-free product image, you can easily repurpose the image across various marketing materials, be it banners, ads, or promotional collateral.

Anytime Baseball Supply, a go-to source for baseball enthusiasts, exemplifies this principle. If you hop onto their pitching machines collection page, the magic of negative space is evident.

Each product stands out, not because of flashy backgrounds or over-the-top design, but due to the elegant simplicity of whitespace. The machines, in all their precision and functionality, become the sole focus, enabling shoppers to appreciate the nuances without distractions.

Example products listing page (Source: anytimebaseballsupply.com)

Ecommerce thrives on details. Each click, each hover, each selection a shopper makes is a step further in their journey to becoming a customer. With such minute interactions carrying significance, it’s pivotal that your site reciprocates their actions with appropriate feedback. One area where this dynamic interplay truly shines is product galleries.

Imagine you’re a shopper, and you’ve landed on a page featuring a stylish pair of sneakers. You’re captivated by the classic white version displayed, but then your eyes wander to a color options list. Azure blue sounds tempting. You click, but the gallery remains stubbornly static, showcasing the white pair. The disconnect is jarring, and it’s one that can be avoided.

When shoppers select a variant, be it color, size, or bundle, an updated gallery offers instant visual confirmation. It assures them that their selection is registered and allows them to review their choice in detail.

By showcasing the exact variant selected, you’re providing clarity and reducing potential points of confusion. Dynamic interactions enhance the overall user experience. When the website responds to user actions in real time, it creates a sense of engagement and fluidity.

Also, by providing accurate visual feedback, you’re indirectly boosting the shopper’s confidence in their choices. This clarity can positively impact their decision to finalize a purchase.

Avoid Returns by Being Honest with Your Imagery

Product returns aren’t just logistically challenging. They can dent profit margins, affect brand reputation, and, most importantly, disappoint the very customers you aim to serve. One surprising ally in curbing return rates is honest product imagery.

Here’s why straightforward, truthful imagery is crucial:

It sets clear expectations

Genuine product images provide a realistic portrayal of what the shopper will receive. This clarity ensures that expectations are met head-on, reducing the likelihood of post-purchase discontent.

It builds brand trust

Honesty forms the bedrock of trust in any relationship. When customers realize your brand portrays products authentically, without unnecessary makeup, it strengthens their trust in your offerings. Over time, this trust translates to loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals.

It reduces operational strain

Every return involves reverse logistics – retrieving the product, inspecting it, processing refunds or exchanges, and restocking. By reducing returns through honest imagery, you’re streamlining operations and saving on costs.

It enhances customer experience

No one enjoys the hassle of returns – the packing, the paperwork, the wait for refunds. By ensuring your customers receive what they expect, you’re enhancing their overall shopping experience.

While your gallery’s purpose is to sell your products, it’s also a commitment to your customer. By prioritizing honest product imagery, you’re curbing return rates and nurturing a community of satisfied, loyal customers. Buyers will be pleased to know that with your brand, what they see is truly what they get.

Don’t Forget about Your Blog

Blogs aren’t just vessels for SEO-driven content or an outlet to share company updates. They can be potent storefronts in disguise. When strategically peppered with high-quality product imagery, blogs can seamlessly bridge the gap between information-seeking and purchase intent.

Incorporating excellent product shots into your blog can help you with the following:

Boosting conversion pathways

A blog reader is already engaged with your brand. By presenting them with clear, enticing product images, you get a chance to convert them from silent readers to customers.

Seamless integration

Modern consumers can quickly differentiate between content that offers value and content that’s overtly promotional. By weaving product images organically into blog posts, you present products within context, making the promotional aspect feel less aggressive.

Driving emotional engagement

A well-placed product image within an engaging blog post can invoke emotion. Readers will be able to visualize its role within the context of their lives or the problem they’re trying to solve.

Increased product exposure

Every time a reader lands on your blog, it’s an opportunity for them to discover (or rediscover) what you offer. Incorporating product shots will help you leave a lasting impression.

One brand that leverages this strategy smartly is ATH, an online sports nutrition retailer. Their post titled “Metabolic Confusion: What It Is and How to Use It to Meet Your Goals” is an obvious traffic generator and likely to be one of the first pages that a potential customer encounters via Google.

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It would have been easy for the brand to pick a generic header image from a stock photography library. However, understanding the importance of associating their product with this topic, ATH decides to use an image that prominently features one of their flagship supplements.

Increased product exposure (Source: athsport.co)

Wrapping Up

Ecommerce is as much about showcasing as it’s about selling. The importance of marrying stellar product imagery with strategic placements becomes even more evident.

Whether it’s on product pages, within detailed blogs, or amidst engaging user reviews, images don’t just present products – they tell stories, evoke emotions, and drive decisions.

As you journey through refining your ecommerce strategy, prioritize these web design tactics in your visual content marketing. Because, most of the time, a well-placed image speaks louder than an abundance of words.

Felix Rose-Collins

Felix Rose-Collins


is the Co-founder of Ranktracker, With over 10 years SEO Experience. He's in charge of all content on the SEO Guide & Blog, you will also find him managing the support chat on the Ranktracker App.

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