Selling on Amazon is a great way to get your name out there, leverage an existing channel, and reach a global audience of potential customers. But with more than 2 million active sellers, it’s a crowded space — and you need to be strategic if you want to stand out.
One way to do that is by putting extra thought into your product photography. Below, we’ll go over how you can shoot and optimize Amazon product photos so you can drive more sales.
Why you need images to sell products
According to a 1986 University of Minnesota study, the human brain processes information from visual images 60,000 times faster than text.
That’s why it’s important that your images clearly communicate all the most important benefits and features of your product. Ideally shoppers should be able to scroll through your images, and make a buying decision without having to read any text part of your listing.
Otherwise they’re learning about your product 60,000 times slower — and will be much more likely to click to a competitor’s product.
Images communicate more details than text
You can look at a picture of a woman holding a vase full of flowers and within a fraction of a second you know:
- Roughly how big the vase is
- What kinds of flowers would look nice in the vase
- The target demographic of the vase
- The color
- An estimate of how heavy it is (based on how the model is holding it)
To explain that in words would take much more effort and at least two or three sentences of text.
Amazon mobile app is optimized for images
As of 2019, mobile shopping makes up almost half of all ecommerce sales. These small screens make reading more difficult because text is smaller and requires more scrolling to get through large blocks of text.
Amazon also shortens many text fields on mobile that appear in their full form on desktop. Bullet points often show only the first two, then force users to press a button to see the rest. Same for titles and description.
But images also show up much smaller on mobile, so it’s important to crop in close enough to clearly see the product benefit being featured, and any text of icons are large enough to be easily read on a mobile screen. See example below.
Many shoppers barely read the text
While there’s no way of gathering data on what percentage of shoppers don’t read the text at all, we know this to be true from the amount of negative reviews that show up for reasons that were clearly communicated in the text sections of the product page.
A common example is accessories for smartphones that only fit certain models. Sellers of these items almost always clearly state in bullet points and title that their accessory is only compatible with specific smartphones.
But despite having a warning in their top bullet point in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, customers end up buying it then leaving a 1-star review because “it doesn’t fit my phone.”
The best way to get around this is to have a dedicated image as your second image that clearly states this with some large, easily readable text. This way, even shoppers who don’t read the text sections will see your important message. Here’s an example:
How to create high-converting Amazon product photography
Now it’s time to learn exactly how to create photos that convert shoppers into buyers.
These techniques were developed through my experience creating more than 1,300 listings in the past four years for our clients at Kenji ROI. For many of these projects, we used Path’s ghost mannequin, clipping path, and color swap services.
Create a shot list based on research and benefits
An important and often overlooked step is to build your shot list around key information and benefits of your product. If you just give your product to a photographer and ask them to take some nice pictures, they might lack the direction needed to showcase features consumers care about and want to see when shopping online.
Photos need to communicate key product benefits and information to shoppers — looking great comes secondary.
This requires a lot of deep customer research to identify exactly what you must highlight in your images so you can ensure you show each of these things in at least one image.
An example of a benefit for a set of plastic cups might be “versatile for multiple uses” and you can show that easily with an image like this.
The triple optimized Amazon listing methodology
At Kenjo ROI, we developed a unique to maximize click-through and conversion rates repeatedly and reliably. We’ve discovered there are three essential pieces that work together to create a fully optimized Amazon listing:
- Keyword optimization
- Key information optimization
- Persuasive design optimization
You need to have the right keywords in your listing so Amazon knows what your product is, and what relevant searches your product should show up for.
Not many sellers know this, but you can put important keywords in your image file names and metadata to help optimize for keywords in your images.
Renaming the files is simple, just right click the file to rename it, and name it whatever keyword you want ex. “kitchen spatula.jpg”
Image meta data is trickier. Here’s a Medium article on how to do this on Mac.
Key information optimization
This is the single most important part of creating great images, is identifying the most important information customers need to see in order to make a sale and creating images that clearly show this information.
Here’s a simple process you can follow to ensure you’re doing this effectively:
- Do a ton of customer research on Amazon reviews of competitors, what benefits other sellers are highlighting, and online forums. Record potential product benefits, likes, and dislikes in a list.
- Cross reference everything on the list with what customers are actually saying about the product. Look for trends in your research of what customers most frequently like and dislike.
- Discard any benefits that don’t come up often, highlighting these will just distract from the benefits that matter to customers.
Refine your list down to no more than seven benefits, then craft your photo shot list around them. How can you most easily show each benefit with an image? We’ll get into the types of images and what each type best displays in the next section.
Persuasive desire optimization
Persuasive desire optimization is using sales copywriting to make your product the bridge from your customer’s painful current situation to an improved future situation.
People buy for two reasons:
- To avoid pain
- To get super easy gains
Writing good sales copy is a skill that takes lots of training, education, and experience to master, but the general concepts are simple and will boost your conversion rates.
Include the three essential image types
If you’re wondering how many photos you should put on your listing, I always say use all the available slots! There are seven visible images and two more if shoppers press the +2 button to view all images. Focus on the first seven but definitely use all nine as long as you’re not uploading low-quality images just to fill them out.
Products on white background
Your main image on Amazon has to be a pure white background according to Amazon’s guidelines. You’re not allowed to have logos, text, or anything but the product in this image.
If the background isn’t pure white, it will look poor against Amazon’s white background web pages, and can even be rejected by the platform. The best way to ensure your background is pure white is to get clipping path background removal and a pure white background added in behind the image.
Lifestyle images featuring models
Showing a real human interacting with your product is one of the most effective ways to show your product in action. In fact, more than half of the top fashion websites feature people in their product shots.
It’s easier for shoppers to imagine how the product would fit in their own lives. You can also use models to invoke emotion with your images. If your product is bachelorette party supplies, and you have images showing a real party in action with a bunch of women that look like they’re having an amazing time and connecting with each other, shoppers will want to create that same feeling for their own experience with the product.
It’s always best to use a model that matches your customer demographic. If most of your customers are 25–35-year-old women, don’t use a man in his forties for the photos.
You’ll also want to show a product benefit in every image. Lifestyle images are best when the model is literally in the act of receiving the main product benefit to invoke maximum emotion in potential buyers, and make it as clear as possible what the product does.
Some features of benefits are hard to communicate any other way than text or graphics. Showing the size of the product both with some lines and the actual dimensions written on the image is crucial for most products. This ensures customers won’t be disappointed when they receive the item the thought was bigger or smaller.
The most common mistake with infographics is including too much information. Keeping the text large is important for readability on mobile screens, but it also limits the amount of info you can squeeze into one image. You don’t want to overwhelm potential customers.
Adding icons and basic graphic elements that match your branding colors and style also makes your brand look higher quality.
Build the customer journey by ordering images effectively
Going back to key info optimization, it’s important to order your images so the most important information comes first.
The top three most important things the customer needs to know about your product should be featured in image #2, #3, and 4 (image #1 always has to be your main white background image).
If you’re not super intentional about the image order, the one image that sells your product the best may never see the light of day. Every time someone scrolls to the next image, less people see it, so that second and third image slots must be filled with your absolute best images that communicate the most key information.
Here’s an example image order to fill out the seven visible image slots:
- Main image (white background)
- Infographic showing product size and most key piece of info
- Lifestyle photo with model showing main benefit of product
- White background image showing back side of product
- Infographic highlighting less important benefits
- Lifestyle image with model using product in secondary benefit
- Image stating guarantee or special bulk discount code
The final litmus test for success
There’s one final test you should put your images through.
Enlist a group of people to help you. Send them your product images, sans text or any other information. Ask them to look at the images in their own time. Then, interview them about the key product benefits.
If they have no problem listing the main benefits featured in your images, you pass the test! If they get things wrong or totally miss things, you know where you have to improve.
This process will also give you key insights into better ways to show off certain benefits, or which images you may need to place closer to the start so more people see them