The 2020 Ecommerce Product Photography Guide to Storytelling Success

Pattern Data Science

January 13, 2020

It’s easy for anyone to put up one or two crappy images that display their product on Amazon or other marketplaces. So what really makes your product images and photography stand out from the rest? After all, ecommerce product photography can make or break your product listings when it comes to conversion, branding, and even customer satisfaction.

The secret to successful product photography that converts is actually quite simple, and all boils down to getting one thing right: Storytelling. 

Pattern’s product photography experts are among the few in the ecommerce world today who understand that the difference between adequate and excellent listings is curating a brand story. Of course, a successful brand story not only translates your brand image, but also gives information to the consumer in a way that encourages them to make an informed purchase. 

Let’s dive into why storytelling for ecommerce product photography is so important, some best practices that’ll help you stand out from the rest, and then take a look at a few case studies that’ll put our money where our mouth is, so to speak.

Why storytelling is important for product photography

Picture this: You’re browsing for a product on Amazon. What catches your eye first? Is it the title? The shipping date? The price? All that’s important once your interested is piqued, of course, but before anything else, it’s most likely the product image that caught your attention. According to Vouchercloud, 93% of consumers say visuals are the top factor affecting their ecommerce purchase decision.

Whether consciously or not, your brain automatically runs through a checklist similar to this:

  • Does the product seem like what I'm looking for?

  • Does it look durable, nice, tasty, beautiful, or X characteristic that I need right now?

  • Do I trust that the product will be what I need?

You can tell all of these things and more in the milliseconds it takes you to glance down the first page of search result images. For sellers, having product photography that resonates with consumers is the small-but-extremely-important difference between a scroll and a click. 

There are two overarching reasons why you absolutely must get product photography right by incorporating storytelling:

1. Show don’t tell. Showing (and not just telling) a story with a product photography first and foremost gives you a chance to visually explain what a product is like before a consumer ever gets into the specifications outlined in the product description’s bullet points. You can easily call out things that customers care about (like size, form, and style) without a single word. Talk about effective!

2. Build trust. Consumers can tell if you’ve put effort into your initial product photography. If your initial image gives a good impression that you’re trustworthy, that your product is what they need, and that it’s better than your competition, you’re already far ahead of other sellers who could care less about their images. (Because what story does that tell the consumer?) 

Best practices for product photography storytelling

So what can be done? How does one tell a story through product photography? According to Scott Davis, Pattern’s Director of Photography, it’s a fine mixture of technical know-how, experience, and strategic decision making. 

Scott suggested these 5 best practices for ecommerce product photography that brands should start implementing to really start seeing results.

1. Make sure product photography gives context.

Scale, style, and use are important things to convey in an ecommerce product listing image. At its core, the idea is to make the online shopping experience as similar to a real life shopping experience as you can. 

Ways to give context through product photography:

  • Make sure your images and clear, sharp, and well lit.

  • Show the product in use in a lifestyle image. This will help consumers understand how the product can be used, and also give them an idea of how the product occupies space.

  • Show the product in action. If it’s a container, show it filled with something. If it’s a clothing item, show how it fits when worn.

More and more consumers are relying solely on online marketplaces to buy things they would normally find in physical stores. Ergo, brands who give consumers a more complete online shopping experience are bound to rise above the rest.

Take our brand partner Pandora. With charms and jewelry, it's extremely difficult to understand size and fit unless you show it. (Telling customers it weighs 1.3 grams and is 11.3 x 8 millimeters wide isn't going to do much.)

Look at these two examples of images on a product listing. Which one are you more inclined to buy? 

ecommerce product photography guide 2020

Probably the one on the right, right? It shows you how the charm fits on a bracelet, and also gives an idea of the item's functionality.

2. Take time to fully understand your brand story.

Do you have an in-house creative team? If you’re one of the lucky few that do, are they making decisions to consciously tell your story on Amazon and other marketplaces in a way that'll increase conversion? 

It’s important that your creative team takes enough time to fully understand your brand and your story, inside and out. Unfortunately, many brands turn to creative agencies to deliver product images or mockups for product listings who could care less about digging into a brand story. The disadvantage there is that many agencies just want to get a job done—they’re not looking for long-term growth or watching out for brand equity.

At Pattern, Scott explained that one of our greatest advantages is that we operate almost just like an internal creative team with our partners. Since we’re actually invested in the product’s success because we purchase it up front, we’re not just selling a service. 

“An agency or another service provider can easily take photos of your products for you,” Scott said. “But Pattern can help recommend the types of images that are going to help your product sell better. There's a difference between doing what you're asked and being a partner and understanding your brand enough to help do the right thing for your brand.”

3. Be strategic.

You need a creative team who can make strategic decisions on your behalf with sales in mind—otherwise you might end up wasting a lot of valuable time and resources on things that (at the end of the day) don't convert into more sales. 

Some basic strategic practices include:

  • Take inventory of the types of content you’re displaying and its usefulness to you. Do you have computer generated renders of your products? Should you? Are you using spins? Videos? Do you even need them?  

  • Then take inventory of what types of content you should or could display that would help your product sell better. Would a 360 spin image help your customer get a better idea of your product? What about a video?

Remember, the goal here isn’t to be willy-nilly about including any and every type of content that you can, but to decide strategically what product lines and which specific ASINs could benefit from some extra love.

4. Utilize content offerings on different marketplaces. 

We’ve hit on product photography and images so far, but those aren’t the only ways you can tell a brand story on Amazon or other marketplace product listings.

  • Use A+ Content

Options like A+ Content (formerly Enhanced Brand Content for Vendors) can really help your brand shine on Amazon. Even eBay, Walmart.com, and Google Shopping offer sellers options for customizing their product content and listings.

Check out this example for A+ Content from our brand partner Thymes. Learn more about incorporating A+ Content on your listing here, here, and here.

A+ Content on Amazon helps your product convert

  • Use image slots correctly.

Of course, then there's the basic things like having one or two different images on a given listing. Amazon gives you up to 9 product image slots on a given product listing. While they usually only display 7 at a time, more are available if consumers click into your listing. You'll want to make the first main image a simple photograph with no graphic text. You want the image to stand out, but not at the expense of the product.

Of course, if you can clearly tell your product story in 4 or 5 images (which Scott recommends as a minimum image count), don’t waste your energy on pumping out more images just for the sake of it. As Scott said, there may not be a benefit to going above 6 or 7 images, but there is a clear disadvantage if you’re only giving 1 or 2 images.

5. Don't forget to get the technical elements right.

Finally, if you're going to make the effort to tell your brand story on a product listing, at least make sure you get the basic requirements for photo size and color down. You can go through all of Amazon's product image technical requirements here

In addition to the minimum requirements, we recommend you do the following:

  • SizeAmazon requires images of at least 1000 pixels or larger in either height or width, but those hardly show up well when a customer is zooming in or examining a product more closely. Scott recommends using at least a 2560 x 2560 pixel image (note that there’s a 10,000 x 10,000 pixel limit). As 4K and 5K monitors become more and more common, it's important to have larger images to make sure your product photography and imagery on a product listing can look great even on the largest monitor.

  • ColorAlthough Amazon says images in either sRGB or CMYK are acceptable, the reality is that Amazon will end up converting your image to sRGB anyway. Take the effort to convert your images to sRGB first to ensure the best color experience for your customers. After all, if you do something that makes your colors look bad on your end, chances are it'll only get worse on a consumer's end of things.

Pattern product photography case studies

We’re proud of the creative work we do for our partners, and we’re committed to going above and beyond expectations to make sure we tell their brand story right on the marketplace. Here are examples of our favorite product imagery and photography that we’ve done for our brand partners.

Pure Encapsulations

As a premium vitamin and supplement brand, we made sure Pure's Amazon listing looks and feels just as excellent as their product. After using our images and Enhanced Brand Content for a month, Pure’s increased units sold by 325.7%. 

Notice that we have 7 different product images and video for customers to go through here. The main image is basic, clean, and crisp—it is even able to highlight small physical details like the raised name around the bottle.

Pure Encapsulations increased sales by over 300% with Pattern's product photography experts on ecommerce

Next, we have great supplemental (pun intended) images of the product, including the pills, as well as lifestyle imagery that tells Pure's story in a unique and effective way.

ecommerce product photography example

Popsockets

Popsockets uses 3D renders of their product. However, for an item like Popsockets, it’s important to give context about what the product does. 

Popsockets ecommerce product photography 2020

For example, the first simple render of a Popsocket doesn't tell us anything about the size and use of a Popsocket. However, once you show the Popsocket in use (as in the images below), the whole narrative changes.

ecommerce product photography for popsockets

Jewelry Brand

For this jewelry brand, scale and contextual images are extremely important because of the size of their product, as we mentioned earlier. Our creative team added lifestyle contextual images to their product image list to give consumers a better feeling of each product's use and style. 

ecommerce product photography example for Pandora

using lifestyle images for ecommerce product photography helps sales grow

Paslode

Adding lifestyle photography helped Paslode give consumers a good sense of how a Paslode nailer could be used. We helped Paslode develop out their product images in a way that gave consumers a better idea of what the would feel like and look like in real life. 

Paslode's ecommerce product photography got a life with Pattern's creative team.

Having multiple images for ecommerce product images helps grow sales.

Contact us below to see how Pattern can vamp up your product photography (at no added cost to you!) through a Pattern partnership.

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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022
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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)

How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand
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How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand

If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.

Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.

At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise  are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead. 

What is an Amazon SEO Agency?

An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.

A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:

Prioritize Your Success

Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance

Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS. 

To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.

Provide Detailed Competitive Insight

A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.

It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.

Reduce Your Ad Spend Over Time

Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins. 

Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.

Amazon SEO Optimization and More

As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.

Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.

Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (20th September 2022)
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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)