A hero image, that is.

In website design–ecommerce or otherwise–a hero image is the large, beautifully shot, often emotional-feeling image at the top of every page of a website that is just below the horizontal navigation bar.

The hero image is a technique often used by B2C companies to convey a sense of their products and culture to the audience. Apple is notoriously good at using the hero image to convey a feeling to its website visitors. Consider the image below for the iPad2.

B2B Ecommerce Needs a Hero ipad

It’s big. It’s beautiful. And you can almost hear the laughter echoing from the video conference these two are participating in. In short, the glossy hero shot pulls you in and makes the product feel real to the website user.

But what about B2B ecommerce? Could a B2B ecommerce site benefit from the use of a hero image?

I say, “YES!”

Here’s why: B2B products aren’t always the most, um, shall we say, glamorous of products and using a hero image can draw the visitor in and engage them on an emotional level.

Consider the following image from a concrete retaining wall block company on their B2B2C hybrid site. (The site is consumer driven with images, etc. but product cannot be purchased on the site. Rather, visitors are sent to local licensed manufacturer locations and their dealer networks to purchase block.)

B2B Ecommerce Needs a Hero keystone

The purchase of concrete block is often out of necessity and so the large glamorous photograph shows that a functional product can be beautiful too. In short, the hero image does a much better job of promoting the product than an image of a pallet of block or no image at all.

So, what about products that are harder to gussy up, like packing supplies? I mean, you can’t exactly create a tropical oasis for packing tape…or can you? Consider the following image:

B2B Ecommerce Needs a Hero Shorr

This company utilizes its own employees in the hero images on its ecommerce site, lending a human quality to it’s packing supplies, plus giving the site a distinctive personality. It’s a win-win. Employees feel appreciated and valued and customers get to “meet” the employees they work with every day via the images on the website.

So, does the hero image have a place in B2B ecommerce?

Absolutely. They help draw in your customer, highlight the best about your products and give a B2B ecommerce site an emotional feel that consumers of all kinds are drawn to.

Want to learn more about how to leverage your B2B ecommerce site design to maximize its effectiveness? Download the white paper, Sell More With Stunning Design: Increasing Conversions and Decreasing Cart Abandonment.