Last week’s Conversion Optimization 101 challenge, asked you to look at the eBags TLS Workstation Laptop Backpack and the product image(s) they use. I asked you to let me know what  things would you test as the primary image display? They have multiple images, are all the best ones there? They even have a video, what would you do with it?

So what things would you test as the primary image display? They have multiple images, are all the best ones there? They even have a video, what would you do with it?

eBags does better than most retailers having multiple images and a product video. In a world where visual judgments are made in an instant, and people’s attention spans are constantly shrinking having an intentional visual strategy is a must. Pictures have become one of our primary modes of managing the tremendous amounts of information we’re exposed to every day.

Some of our reader’s recommendations:

Jeff Sexton zeroed in on the most informative video they currently use:

Because the video is so compelling and is placed in such a non-prominent position on the page, I might suggest having the primary photo overlayed with a video “play” button that would, when clicked, launch the video. As one commentor on the video put it: “Dude… this video just sold this product.”

If that did not provide a major lift, I might also test using annotated and interactive images, similar to how Amazon allows user-uploaded images to be annotated. E-bags should be doing the annotation, however, even if they steel some of them from customer review highlights.

My last suggestion is to actually comb through the reviews to find frequently mentioned bag features and ensure that they are photographed, if possible. For example, more than a few of the reviews mentioned the fact that the material was much tougher than they expected based on the photos. Well, why not provide a close-up of the material with an annotation, talking about toughness?

But, overall, e-bags has done a fabulous job making sure they had plenty of great, high-quality photos.

Russ Somers agreed with Jeff:

Agree with Jeff on bringing the video up with a Play button overlay – that can double or triple view rate. Combine that with in-video shopping, and you have a very strong play for selling both the product and cross-sell/upsell. The same could be accomplished with better use of the video box, which has one thumbnail and is otherwise empty space. The fact that there space is underutilized doesn’t make sense unless it’s a limitation of the video platform.

I’m always up for testing the non-obvious elements of the primary image. Back at Dell we saw big differences from things as simple as testing the default color for a laptop with color options.

Xavier Colomés points out that the context is missing:

The main point here is that the product picture is focusing on the product description “what it looks like” but not focusing on it’s very specific function: It’s a workstation laptop backpack. We know possitively that everyone who is buying it will own a Laptop.

So, in this case, is one of those times when we don’t need to make a survey to find out what questions the Point Of Resolutions should answer: Is it OK for my laptop? Will it fit? No matter how nice it is if i’m not sure of it accomplishing it’s main function.

Mark Garner @ Make Them Click offers 6 bits of advise:

The one thing I know is that after going to the website and watching the video I now want something I didn’t know I was missing. So something must be working.

1: Make the video more prominent.
As others have said, the video really does do a good job of showing how great the product is.

2: Marry the pics to the product features
One of the great things the video does is show and describe the bags great features such as the “shelf” and “books seat belt”. I’d try and match pics of these with feature/benefit description captions. EG As a user mouses over each image a description of the feature could appear as well.

3: Speed up the Larger View App
The larger view application was quite slow to load. It’s very useful and well done, but it’s effectiveness is let down by it’s slow loading time.

4:Test the Default Bag Colour
Not sure if green is the default product image colour, but I’d test to see which colour bag gets the most clicks. Or just look at which colour sells the most and make that the default colour.

5: Centre the image
I’d also test moving the image into the centre of the page. This is where people tend to look. Also at the moment with the image being on the left side there is huge lateral eye movement and disconnect from the image to the “Buy” button.

6:Use Real People Not Dummies
A small thing, but the pic of the bag being worn is on a mannequin. A real person is always better.

5 Tips to Improve your Product Image Display:

1. Take as many pictures of your products as possible. Take it from different angles. Include people using your product in images as well. Use the image to give context like this picture of a boot does by showing the boot and also the sole (great job Sheplers).

2. Highlight key benefits in your a product image. People may not have the time to watch the video, read the full product description or the product reviews.

3. Try to convey as much visual information in the minimum amount of space. Look how much space eBags is using for the pulldown of the different colors and the pictures of the different color bags:

Now look at how Lands’ End does it:

Lands’ End will change the color of the default image as you hover over each of the color swatches. Well done!

You also click on the color swatch to choose it as your product option (they do the same for sizing).

4.  Test substituting your product video as your default instead of using your product image. Usually the videos are more persuasive and informative.

5. Leverage what people say about your product in reviews and social media to identify what elements to be “exaggerated” or emphasized through your product images. You can do this just like I did in tip #2 or by using product badges to call out key benefits.

What have you tried to improve your product images?

Please share if you think others would benefit.