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Why should product images have a white background?

01 Oct 2018

In e-commerce one of the many questions that come up is whether or not your product images should have a white background. For seasoned e-commerce retailers, this might seem obvious. But the fact is that many beginners have absolutely no idea where to start. So in this post, we will be looking at the basics of understanding your product images and why having a neutral background is common practice.

1. Why good product images are so important?

Trading online is characterised by strong competitive pressure. Eventually, everybody will be online, and recently more and more retailers have been moving towards getting their products online.

Either by creating their online stores and going through marketplaces like Amazon or eBay. (Selling on Amazon 101). Because of the competitive nature, you will always be in a price war whether you know it or not.

The competition is fierce, and if you don’t compete on the industry level, then you might as well not compete. Having great product images and descriptions are crucial to building trust in your brand or store.

If a customer trusts your brand, then half of the battle is won. Online you are not able to experience the products first hand, so product images need to substitute your other senses to help the buying process along. Beautiful, honest product images are the nuts and bolts of online trading.

“Beautiful, honest product images are the nuts and bolts of online trading.”

2. Using a white background for optimal product representation.

As I explained above, the product image should be as meaningful and honest as possible. In most cases, the product image should always only contain the product itself. You can read all about the different types of product shots in our post Product Photography 101.

A busy, or very prominent background, such as having bright colours, can distract unnecessarily from the actual product which will lead to specific product details being overlooked which could cost you a sale. Also, busy backgrounds create inconsistency which will be unappealing to a potential buyer.

A white background is recognised as the most sensible option and is therefore commonly used by online stores. However, the issue is even more critical when it comes to marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, etc.. Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay have strict guidelines to follow to help keep their store consistent and help drive sales.

All decisions should be made with conversion in mind.

3. Amazon image requirements.

Amazon is by far the most popular marketplace out there, and it’s likely that if you are selling products online that you would have to consider selling your products on Amazon to be competitive. Here are some guidelines to give you an idea what they expect. 

3.1. Amazon main images

This is the main view that will be the first image your potential prospect will see when they arrive on your product. This image has the strictest guidelines to follow.

Technical requirements

Possible formats: TIFF (.tif/.tiff), JPEG (.jpeg/.jpg), GIF (.gif) and PNG (.png) format

Colour profiles: sRGB

Background Colour: #FFFFFF (white)

Resolution: 72dpi

Image sizes for model & clothes: One or more sides must be at least 1000px Image sizes for jewellery, shoes, bags and watches: Size must be at least 1300px x 1000px.

Remove hangers from product  image

Books, DVD’s & CD’s must fill 100% of the frame.

 Crop the images if necessary to meet the above requirements.

Remove dummy from product image

All products (except books, DVD’s & CD’s) must fill 85% of the frame.

Remove any tags from the product image

File names must consist of the product identifier (Amazon ASIN, 13-digit ISBN, EAN, JAN, or UPC) followed by a period and the appropriate file extension (Example: B000123456.jpg or 0237425673485.tif)

3.2 Amazon other views

Possible formats: TIFF (.tif/.tiff), JPEG (.jpeg/.jpg), GIF (.gif) and PNG (.png) format

Colour profiles: sRGB

Background Colour: #FFFFFF (white)

Resolution: 72dpi

Image sizes for model & clothes: One or more sides must be at least 1000px

Image sizes for jewellery, shoes, bags and watches: Size must be at least 1300px x 1000px.

All products (except books, DVD’s & CD’s) must fill 85% of the frame.

 Books, DVD’s & CD’s must fill 100% of the frame.

 Crop the images if necessary to meet the above requirements.

 File names must consist of the product identifier (Amazon ASIN, 13-digit ISBN, EAN, JAN, or UPC) followed by a period and the appropriate file extension (Example: B000123456.jpg or 0237425673485.tif)

Related posts: 

How do I get a white background on my images? (Photoshop)

When visiting marketplaces like Amazon or eBay, you will notice a similarity in the way their images are displayed. On a white background. Most online stores also present their pictures in such a way for two simple reasons.

Proper handling of image rights

Without images, the internet would be a dull and boring place. Most people don’t understand image rights and the repercussions that come with not handling image rights correctly.