Ever shop on Amazon? Of course you do—we all do. With an infinite sea of product offerings, have you ever wondered why you purchase one item instead of another? Maybe it had a 5-star customer rating, or maybe it had multiple color options? Odds are that the product you bought featured more item-specific content that enticed you to hit “add to cart.”
As a company, it’s important to understand why a customer would purchase your product instead of a competitor’s. What it really comes down to is that product pages with Enhanced Product Content (EPC) sell more, actually up to 36% more, according to Syndigo. And a significant driving factor of EPC is the highly coveted section dedicated to a product’s alt images (see what best-in-class brands ALWAYS do when it comes to EPC).
The art of alt images on ecomm marketplaces
The alt image and product tile area is one of the main parts of EPC—some might even say it’s THE most important part. This type of content provides an in-depth view of a product—close-ups, lifestyle photos, action shots—expanding the basic details, often resolving questions that a potential customer might have. “It’s like having 7 billboards around your product. You’d kill to have an opportunity like that on a physical store shelf, and it’s yours for the taking here,” noted Kyle Collins, VP of Strategy at Kreber. EPC goes beyond the basic elements of an item’s page. It’s in the stories you tell, the questions you answer, and the action you inspire, such as when your customer adds a product to their shopping cart.
First focus: alt images—make them count
Make the alt image/product tile space one of your first areas of focus. “This area is one of the best places to tell customers what’s most important about your product,” noted Collins. These item-specific images are used by many ecomm sites to provide an easy way for customers to make good buying decisions and to help them along their shopping journey. Alternate tiles typically feature graphics (like arrows), messaging, dimensions, brand logos—basically anything that makes the image feel intentional, not just an afterthought. You can amplify the customer journey by adding additional context around images while being informative and direct.
Located on the top left side of a product landing page, these alt images are the first thing that a customer sees. Most ecomm sites offer 7–9 alt tiles to showcase a product—and you should take advantage of all the digital real estate. You always want to maximize your content opportunity, and there are a few avenues to do just that. When a product page has multiple images to view, it presents a quick way to explore information—like product benefits, features, and dimensions—without having to scroll down the page or read through paragraphs of text. The images are easy to consume, especially on mobile—you can flip through them quickly. Alt tiles provide the opportunity for customers to have a visual experience when they land on the product page. You have the customer’s attention from the get-go, so put it to use!
Strong product content, including alt tiles, is not just important—it’s crucial. You want your alt tiles (and all supporting creative) to be informative and engaging. “On any platform, your tiles and alt images can give you that branded moment before the scroll,” Collins explained, adding that, “You can’t change the font on your feature bullets and you can’t have any branding cues on the page. But, you can control the tile area—it makes for a great branding moment.”
Picture-perfect imagery is one of the best tools a company can use to tell its product story and make products come to life in an engaging way.
Our 5 tips for successful alt tiles on ecommerce marketplaces
There’s a fine line between being informative and being repetitive. It’s one thing to showcase a product’s features and benefits (the basics of alt tiles, which are usually already mentioned on the product’s page), but to tell a story through the supporting creative is a better way to achieve an impact. The combination of interesting storytelling with thoughtful features and benefits is the ideal way to prove that your product is best-in-class. By following alt tile best practices, you’ll construct a visual storyline that has a smooth, effortless flow of content to support the buying journey.
When creating alt tiles, here are a few things to think about:
- Use every alt tile that’s offered. Showcasing a variety of images allows you to close the gap between a customer and your product.
- One thought per tile. Be intentional with the words and imagery you choose, as people tend to judge a book by its cover.
- Features and benefits are important to include. Highlight what makes your product unique by using overlays for call-outs or icons. The creative could be up-close shots of features, lifestyle photography, or even just simple, beautiful text-only tiles.
- Graphics are great, but keep them to a minimum. Some products need a little help to convey how they’re used—and that extra attention can go a long way.
- Feature a good variety of product photos. This can be the driving force between whether a customer purchases or passes.
In an ever-searchable digital world, having an eye-catching product is key. Great images are vital in helping your product listings rank as high as possible on Amazon (and Google) search results. But, getting your product seen isn’t as easy as it may seem. Your product photos need to entice customers to click—and convert into a sale. So, when it comes to how picture quality and variety relates to a sale, it’s, for a lack of better words, life and death.