Images are a critical part of the online buying experience for B2C sites, but are often neglected on B2B ecommerce sites. The result can be less-than-fulfilling for the B2B customer who is expecting the consumer-centric shopping experience they’ve grown accustomed to on B2C sites.
So, what can a B2B organization do to successfully utilize images on their ecommerce site? First and foremost, use more images on your B2B ecommerce site–including product shots and branding images. Once you’ve decided to use more images on your site, consider the following guidelines.
- Offer a variety of image sizes. This guideline is especialy important for product shots. Little thumbnail images are good for someone who is scanning a list of products quickly in an attempt to locate a product that they already know they want. Larger images help undecided shoppers determine if what you have is what they need and offering both sizes ensures that your customer gets what she needs from the images on your site. Note: Make sure that if you offer the option to view a larger copy of a thumbnail image that it actually takes the user to a larger image. Nothing is more frustrating than clicking on a thumbnail to view a larger image and getting another thumbnail image!
- Provide alternate images/views. Ecommerce shoppers are at the mercy of your imagery when it comes to getting their visual questions answered. Providing more than one view of a product will help your customer understand the product they want to buy. Offer as many views as makes sense for each product–more is definitely better than less in this case.
- Make them interactive. Another way to make images more effective for your customer is to make sure that they are interactive. For example, providing a zoom feature allows a customer to see a specific area of the image in question up close. Another interactive image option is to enable the user to click on a specific style of product–for example, color–and quickly see the item in that color as the main image on the product page.
- Ensure the image is relevant. How many times have you stumbled on a website with images that aren’t quite current. Maybe it’s the hairstyles on the models or the laptop looks a little clunky or the style of photography is noticably dated. Whatever the reason, images that don’t feel relevant to today’s trends convey the messsage that your organization is behind the times.
- Show your customers. People like to see themselves–or someone they identify with–in the images used on the sites they shop. While most of your B2B images are likely to be product-focused, having key branding shots that show your target audience will help them engage with the site. For example, if you sell blue print printers to engineers and architects, you wouldnt want to show construction workers or hipsters in your images. Likewise, if you sell after market auto parts to auto parts dealers, you wouldn’t want to show a guy in a suit in your imagery. You get the idea.
- **BONUS TIP** So I know that said that I would give you five guidelines–but I wanted to share an extra image tip that will help drive traffic to your ecommerce site. Optimize all of your images on your website. This includes using a keyword rich file name for every image and using keywords in your ALT Text. Learn more about optimizing your images for ecommerce SEO in this blog post.
To learn more about how to leverage the power of site design to maximize ecommerce effectiveness, download the whitepaper, Sell More With Stunning Design–Increasing Conversions and Decreasing Cart Abandonment.