Images are the single most important factor to determine how successful an eCommerce website is. In an industry in which customers want the best idea of the product they are receiving, the photos you use are extremely important. They can make or break your website’s performance.
eCommerce has taken the world by storm, with many now preferring to do their shopping online rather than in the real world. This means that online shopping has grown exponentially, with thousands of online websites specifically designed for shopping.
In a new era of retail, an eCommerce website is expected to be top quality, fast and secure. If your website is lacking in any of these fields then the customers will swiftly turn to competitors.
Keeping your website loading at a speedy rate can be a difficult task to manage, especially with an eCommerce site which tend to be loaded with high quality images, however, there are many ways in which you can do so, one of them being image optimisation.
Image optimisation simply means optimising all the images on your website in order for your site to run more smoothly. It is an important practice when it comes to eCommerce, and can have a great impact on your website.
And this doesn’t all just relate to speed. Images are key for customers as they give them a glimpse into the product that they are looking for.
But what will image optimization actually do for my eCommerce website?
What does optimizing my images do for my eCommerce website?
We live in a world where we want instant information when we make a click. We expect everything digitally to work immediately, and we get frustrated when it doesn’t. If your website is slower than a competitor, traffic will be higher on their site instead.
There are many reasons for this, one being the fact that the customers won’t tolerate a slow eCommerce website when there’s another similar one that works faster. The customer may not instantly switch to a competitor, but the speed will affect their mindset.
Another reason is the fact that Google counts speed as one of the factors that determines search results. This means that if your eCommerce website isn’t fast enough, you are less likely to receive organic traffic.
This makes having low speed a loss-loss situation, with longtime customers losing patience and Google not displaying your site to your audience.
Images are one of the main reasons why websites are slower than they should be. With website designs that heavily rely on images, eCommerce websites can be some of the slowest sites on the internet – affecting business and traffic.
But how can I optimise my images? I need images for my website, I can’t just remove them!
Yes, that is a very good point. The good thing is that you do NOT need to remove/use less images. Here are our best tips and tricks that you can do to optimize your images and lower the speed of your website.
Avoid uploading full size images
Full-size images are usually not needed and increase the file size, slowing down the website in the process. Mobile Phones take longer to load images, and a large image can drastically affect the speed of your website.
How big should product images be?
Resize any large images to a smaller area. 600 x 600 is a good size for product images, however, if your eCommerce store has a zoom function, a bigger image may be needed (around 800 x 800 or possibly higher though be aware that this may increase the image size).
The background of your product images matter
The more colours and pixels you use, the greater the file size will be. Change the background of your product images to plain white for a faster loading time. Consider using the free, online photo-editing tool Pixlr, in which you can easily edit your background to whiten/remove unwanted elements.
Please remember that your product should be well lit with no shadows or irregular colours.
Use the JPG file type over PNG
If you look at the image below, you will notice that the JPG file is significantly smaller than the PNG file. This is because PNG files are in better quality than JPG files. However, this does not mean that JPG files cannot be used, quite the opposite. JPG files are still high-quality images and are used frequently throughout websites.
Convert any PNG images to JPG images to reduce the size and speed up your eCommerce website.
The more images, the better
From a customer perspective, they are purchasing a product that they cannot physically see. This is why it is important to include a variety of low-size images of the product. 5-7 is the sweet spot, with most eCommerce websites using images within this range.
Make sure to include different angles and views of the product, to give the customer the best idea of what they are buying, and to be a more reliable source for their needs.
Utilise the voice of your customer (for usable images)
It is important to know the voice of your customers, what they want and how that can be achieved. Feedback is key when it comes to perfecting your website and product. If your product is popular enough, customers will post images/videos of them using the product – you can utilise these in your website.
Here at Xune, we specialise in rapidly increasing the rate of customer reviews gained (including customer generated images and videos). These can then be used in your marketing campaigns.
Until then, a lifestyle picture which shows the potential buyer ‘how to use it’ is effective at getting the buyer’s mind primed to own the product.
What else can I do now?
If you apply all of our advice, the images on your website should be optimised to a very good standard. If you want to upgrade how you take product images, use a lightbox. If you are already established then advanced product imagery such as 360 images are the next frontier in optimising a high revenue website
There are tools available that will test the speed of your site and inform you on what else you can do to optimise your website.