Using images to boost Digital Shelf rankings

Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in the UK, we have seen many brands quickly expand their digital presence and transition to retailer platforms. One of the many topics clients often ask us about are images. Images are one of the key elements in bringing the offline experience online and a good image serves as a powerful tool to create visibility, communicate information and encourage shoppers to purchase the product.

The online shopping experience was once just a reflection of its offline counterpart, with hero images simply comprising of photos of the physical product packaging. As the online customer experience has become so much more prevalent, brands have realised the potential commercial gains from better showcasing their products to drive online sales, making images an essential component. Studies examining shoppers’ eye movements when purchasing groceries online found that product images and titles were the most looked at information when deciding which products to buy.

Hero images, the main focal point of a product page, appears in two places: as a thumbnail in search results or category listings, and as a full-size image on the product detail page.

Best practice for hero images:

  1. Images should always be front-facing and clearly identifiable.
  2. Product details must be clearly displayed in the image.
  3. Always use a white background, as many retailers require it.
  4. Avoid using graphics, illustrations, promotional or lifestyle images.

The hero image needs to be supported by other visual content. Adding additional images, such as lifestyle images, ‘in use’ and label shots can lead to higher conversion levels and greater engagement.

  • Out-of-box – gives consumers a good idea of what they are buying without seeing, touching or trialling the product.
  • ‘In use’ – visually illustrates a variety of uses; useful for products consumers are unfamiliar with.
  • Lifestyle – displays the product in an attractive, inviting and welcoming environment with a strong focus on ambience.

Additional details – displays additional information to give a better understanding of the product, such as scale/proportion; key benefits; product claims; label shots; multi-angle views; zoom and 360° views.

As these images will be used on multiple retailers, consistency is key to avoid confusing consumers, both regarding the product and brand. Other things to avoid include:

  • An unbalanced mix of 2D and 3D images.
  • Non-standard lighting, colours or angles.
  • Outdated or missing information.

A good way to ensure consistency is to update your digital product content regularly, as well when products are refreshed, for example during seasonal or promotional periods.

Where retailers allow it, it’s also worth thinking about video content for your product. Good examples of this include instructional and in-use videos, both of which are effective at engaging shoppers.

These are just a few ways to optimise your imagery on retailers’ sites. Threepipe Reply can offer you an in-depth images and assets gap analysis. We can also provide you with a one-off report outlining image and creative asset recommendations, as well as any of areas for improvement. This comprehensive analysis covers current PDP content versus best practice, competitors and specific retailer algorithm needs.

Tony Thomas, Head of DSO at Threepipe Reply