4 Best Practices for the Perfect Ecommerce Product Images & Galleries on Your Store

One of the most challenging parts about buying and selling products online is that customers can’t experience the product in person before they buy. The closest thing we have to letting the customer hold the product is the ecommerce product images we display on the product detail page.

Interesting technologies such as augmented reality and virtual try-on are becoming more popular. But for most brands, ecommerce photos and videos are still the product page’s bread and butter. That’s why in this article, we’ll discuss how to construct the perfect product image gallery section for your ecommerce store’s product page. This may seem simple, but it’s so important considering this is the only place a potential customer can visualize and interact with your product.

What is the purpose of your ecommerce photos?

The goal of the ecommerce product images and/or gallery is to help customers clearly view the product and feel compelled to buy it. As we’ve discussed often, people make decisions based on emotion and then justify them with logic. So make sure your product images appeal to both! This is why we recommend including both product-focused photos (on a plain background) and lifestyle images. Represent your product beautifully, but also provide a look at the detail and show multiple angles.

4 Best Practices for the Perfect Ecommerce Product Image Galleries

Let’s dive into 4 tips for making the most out of the product image gallery on your product pages.

1. Make it unintrusive.

You might have twenty images of a product that you like, but you do not need twenty images stacked and taking up the whole page. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Most of the time when we’re shopping and flipping through product photos, we’re on the hunt for a particular angle or a view we’re curious about. If customers have to sort through a ton of photos or different color variants they aren’t interested in, they’ll get frustrated.

For that reason, we recommend around 5 images or 10 images maximum. Have one featured image with a few smaller thumbnails. And most importantly, make sure everything stacks nicely, especially on mobile.

BeautyCounter does a great job of providing a helpful yet non-intrusive image gallery. For the lipstick product in the example below, there is an image of the product on white, two lifestyle images with models, a helpful comparison of what the color swatches look like on different skin tones, and then a product video.


BeautyCounter Product Image Example

2. Make it immersive.

When it comes to ecommerce product images, providing an “immersive” experience can mean multiple things. For one, make sure your images are extremely high quality and that customers can zoom in on the product. This is especially true if details matter to your product. It’s also helpful to have images that can be expanded for a closer look.

To make it immersive, you can also think outside of just the product image gallery at the top of the page. Consider adding lifestyle photos in other areas on the page as well to make it more of a curated experience than a simple product page. This really helps sell to the customer’s emotions and helps them visualize the product in real life. Twelve South, an Apple accessory company, does a fantastic job of this as shown in the example below.


Twelve South Product Image Examples

3. Provide variety.

This one is pretty straightforward—simply provide a variety of image types in your product image gallery. As mentioned previously, use a combination of product-focused images on white or a plain background as well as lifestyle images that show the product in use. For product-focused photos, show multiple angles and views. For lifestyle images, show different models or scenarios where the product is being used.

In the example below, Bellroy provides a variety of angles for the wallet they’re selling which is very helpful for a customer trying to visualize how they could use the product. They also added variety by including a product video.


Bellroy Product Images


In Gorjana’s case, they provided a variety of images for this necklace by including multiple views of the product on white as well as different ways to style the necklace on a model.


Gorjana Product Image Examples

4. Make it adaptive.

This is a simple concept, but it can be hard to execute it well. Your ecommerce product images need to adapt to whatever screen size the visitor is using and still look clean and organized. Whether photos are viewed on mobile, desktop, or tablet, make sure the image gallery displays well. There are different ways to accomplish this; for example, the way thumbnails are stacked or displayed may need to differ for desktop vs mobile.

In the example below, Freedom Co has gotten creative and displayed a series of three images horizontally on desktop. But for mobile, three images across the screen would be very hard to see, so customers shopping on their phones will see a mobile-friendly version.


Freedom Co Images - Desktop View

Freedom Co Image - Mobile View

How to Measure the Success of Your Ecommerce Photos

Wondering how to know if your product image gallery is effective for converting your visitors into customers? While we can’t measure this directly, there are some indicators to watch:

1. Are they being used?
If visitors land on the product detail page and are not clicking through the image gallery, it might not be translating well for your customers. Maybe its current setup is cumbersome, not the right variety of images, not good quality, or another issue entirely. There are tools that allow you to track what users interact with on your page, and heat maps could be helpful here as well.

2. What is your add-to-cart rate?
If you improve your product image gallery and those changes are helping market your product well, the rate of people clicking “add to cart” should be going up.

3. Talk to customer service.
If people are asking a lot of clarification questions about the details of your products, then your product images could probably be doing a better job for your customers. The product images, product description, and FAQs page should all be working together to reduce customer service inquiries.

4. How does your conversion rate look?
There are a variety of factors that contribute to increasing your conversion rate. But if you make significant improvements to your product image gallery, and other critical areas of your store are dialed in, that should have a positive effect on your conversion rate.

Is it Time to Optimize Your Product Image Gallery?

Making these adjustments for a better user experience may seem like a simple change, but it’s so important. This one element of your product detail page is the only section of the site where customers can interact with your product. It’s the closest they’ll get to holding your product or seeing it up close before buying it, so make sure your ecommerce product images are user-friendly, detail-oriented, and high quality. Ultimately, the quality of these images and how they are presented are a direct reflection of the quality of your products and your brand. Do this well and you’ll be that much closer to converting as many visitors into customers as possible!


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