The Impact of Product Images on User Clicks for Online Shopping

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An eBay team have submitted a paper which has been accepted for inclusion in the WWW 2011 Conference taking place on 28th March – 1st April 2011 in Hyderabad, India.

The paper entitled “A Study on the Impact of Product Images on User Clicks for Online Shopping” by Anjan Goswami, Naren Chittar and Sung H. Chung, describes experiments to try and augment eBay’s search ranking function with features derived from the images of an item.

Examples of image features include the amount of illumination, contrast, dynamic range and the characteristics of the background. eBay’s results show that better images result in better clicks and sales.

The research builds on eBay’s “More Like This ImageSearch” technology and improving the quality of sellers’ images and the way they use image information are important topics for eBay.

What this means for sellers is that it’s likely in the future that the quality and clarity of your images will begin to be reflected in your Best Match ranking. Dark pictures, images where the product isn’t centred and in the foreground of your picture, blurred images, and images without contrasting backgrounds may soon mean that your eBay listings isn’t shown to potential buyers.

Product shot "before" and "after" processing by Fluid Mask
Product shot before and after processing by Fluid Mask
Personally I I’m a big fan of Bling It! and Fluid Mask from Vertus for removing backgrounds and cleaning up product shots. However a photographic backdrop or photo tent coupled with plenty of white studio lighting and a reasonable quality camera can go a long way to improving your product shots.
Whilst it may seem pretty basic stuff – that a good image is more likely to sell your product that a low quality picture – it’s time to review your images and ensure that they are as professional, clear and sharp as possible.

18 Responses

  1. I sell numerous different products and I still find it weird that I can include lots of photographs for clothes at no extra cost and yet if I want to include the back sleeve image of a CD, which contains track listing and other relevant information I have to pay extra.

    The same principle applies to vinyl records. Many buyers want to see the front and back sleeve, the actual vinyl record and any inserts.

    Get real eBay why do sellers need to use 3rd parties such as Photobucket to host images to increase sales when it’s in your interest to sell the stuff.

  2. ebay now is world popular and the biggest marketplace in the internet and it is the online auctions model , and you can make money easy and very fast because selling something is related to two important things
    first of all you should have a big nombre of traffic about 1000 or 10000 visitor /day (ebay has more then million visitor/day )
    secend : is the product (you should take the best product to sell in ebay and you have many tools to use it like : is a wonderful tool to know the POPULAR SEARCHES in ebay .
    in about 5 min or less you can build your own product and sell it from your home or sell product using drop shipping
    Drop shipping has often been a controversial issue in wholesale forums. Beginners and experts alike have mixed and occasionally opposite view points on how adequate the drop shipping model is. Some claim it to be the perfect “make-money-from-home system”

  3. It still amazes me the quality of some photos on ebay.

    Even some professional seller have really lowsy Pics.

    I mean, how hard is it to crop/Brigten/focus a pic

  4. I am convinced that ebay have listings presented in such a way that apart from the first photo self hosted pictures are often ignored or missed

  5. Part of the charm of ebay is the wonderful eccentricity of some of the photos. Expensive items balanced precariously on a plastic garden chair, the people who haven’t worked out how to rotate an image and show the item sideways, the interesting insights into an untidy kitchen etc.

    It won’t be the same if it becomes all professionally shot, all the same images

  6. Totally agree, its the photos and the keywords that sell the product, the description is only really there so people know a human is selling the product

  7. I won’t normally buy a collectable, antique or jewellery item if the photo is a stock type image or it has been mucked about with. I prefer a warts and all photo, including the kitchen windowsill if necessary. That way I can then see the item relative to something else and get a better idea of size.

  8. I Think u have too look at the wider picture (sorry for the pun -lol)

    We use a white back drop with powerfull lighting and use a decent camera but on the lowest pixel setting on 2.5, reason why used to be some people still dont have broadband so the picture would load quickly, but as most do now have broadband the reason now would be more and more people are using either mobile broadband via a dongle or are using a mbile phone app on the i phone or android and again its down to how fast the picture will load up, people will not sit and wait now days so I personaly think that going for the all singing and dancing option is not always the best.


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