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Why improve e-commerce images?

Mobile e-commerce is increasingly important, and shoppers tend to focus on the images on e-commerce websites, rather than the text. However, conventional pack shots fail to communicate critical information to shoppers. A clearer and more consistent alternative is needed.

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The importance of mobile e-commerce

Mobile e-commerce is increasingly important. It is no longer the case that most online shopping transactions are done on a desktop or laptop. In 2016, more than 50% of e-commerce transactions were conducted on mobile in countries including Japan and the UK. In other countries, the proportion of mobile transactions are also increasing, and it is only a matter of time before they too pass the 50% point.

The importance of Mobile Ready Hero Images

Some retailers argue pack shots are fit for purpose for e-commerce, because the text description next to the image provides all the information needed. However, eye tracking results show that most shoppers:

  • AVOID reading captions
  • VISUALLY SCAN images
  • IGNORE everything else

The majority of shoppers do not read the text description on retailers’ websites or mobile apps to verify the size or format. In a study by Unilever, nearly every shopper interviewed could tell a story of having accidentally bought a product that was not what they thought it was online (especially on size). This was because if a pack looks similar to the one the shopper expects, they do not bother to check the text to verify.

Furthermore, people chose to use online grocery shopping for convenience and to "save time". They typically want to select a large number of products as quickly as they can. If shoppers do not need to check the text, then shopping can be faster than it would otherwise be.

Problems with pack shots

There tend to be four key things that shoppers need to know. These are the four main messages that appear in product text descriptions on ecommerce websites:

  • Brand
  • Product type, e.g. shampoo or conditioner
  • Product variant, e.g. intensive repair or colour care
  • Size

Pack shots typically do not convey these four message effectively. To see this, have a look at the images below. One of these contains a pack shot and one contains a Mobile Ready Hero Image. Can you tell the brand, product type, variant and size?


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Unless otherwise stated, all images are © Unilever and used with permission. Walkers is a trademark owned and designed by PepsiCo and used with permission.