Why you need to upgrade your images NOW

June 27, 2013

Marketplaces ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Are your images up to snuff?
Amazon, eBay and Google have all recently announced upgrades to their
image requirements/recommendations that, in some cases, could keep your
products from being listed.

CameraWhy all the sudden changes?
It could be sparked by the pressure Pinterest has put on
design—consumers are more often looking to digest mass quantities of content
through large, clean images.  For retail
sites like Amazon, eBay and Google Shopping, it comes down to an improved user
experience.  Who hasn’t been frustrated when you’re shopping online and trying to see the detail on a product, only to
find that you can’t zoom in on an image or view any other angles?

 

New Amazon Image Requirements:

Amazon has given many a seller homework with its new
requirements to have a completely white (RGB 255,255,255) background for all
images.

More recently, however, Amazon sent out new requirements beginning June 27, 2013, that impact
all categories EXCEPT Media, Automotive & Auto Parts, Industrial &
Scientific and Trading Cards in Sports & Collectibles.  Retailers in all other categories are now
required to have a “main image” for both Parent and Child SKUs that meets
Amazon’s requirements; other images that do not meet Amazon’s requirements will
be suppressed from search and browsing.

Amazon’s Image Standards include:

  • Images
    must accurately represent the product and show only the product that’s for
    sale, with minimal or no propping.
  • MAIN
    images must have a pure white background (pure white blends in with the
    Amazon search and item detail pages – RGB values of 255, 255, 255).
  • MAIN
    images must show the actual product (not a graphic or illustration), and
    must NOT show excluded accessories, props that may confuse the customer,
    text that is not part of the product, or logos/watermarks/inset images.
  • The
    product must fill 85% or more of the image.
  • Images
    should be 1000 pixels or larger in either height or width, as this will
    enable zoom function on the website (zoom has proven to enhance sales).
    The smallest your file should be is 500 pixels on the longest side.
  • Amazon
    accepts JPEG (.jpg), TIFF (.tif), or GIF (.gif) file formats. JPEG is
    preferred.

The requirements are even stricter for intimate apparel and
swimwear, with several
additional requirements
to prevent indecency.

What should you
do? 

Remove the background logoFor the white background concern, sellers who do not have
the in-house resources to create images with white backgrounds can outsource to
Remove the Background: http://www.removethebackground.com/

For the other image requirements, first you should determine
which images have been suppressed by going into Amazon Seller Central and
searching for the following report: Inventory > Inventory
Reports > Listing Quality & Suppressed Listing Report.

Start with your top-selling items and upload a parent (and
child) image that meets all of Amazon’s requirements.  Full details of Amazon’s image requirements
can be found here.

Only one image (per parent and child) is required for the
product to unhide in browse or search results, which it will do automatically
when an appropriate image is uploaded. Additional images are not required to
meet these exact standards, however, they cannot include logos or watermarks
and a white background is recommended.

eBay Picture Quality Requirements:

New requirements from eBay are set to impact retailers
worldwide by fall 2013 (in the US it’s
required as of July 1, 2013). These
include requirements to provide a picture at least 500 pixels on the longest
edge, remove excess decoration on the image and restrict use of stock images from
the eBay catalogueueue for used items.  EBay’s Head
of North America Trust Factors Jahan Shafizadeh is quoted in eCommerce Bytes
saying, “We’re really trying to prepare our sellers for that experience… At the
end of the day, this may seem like a buyer-facing change, but we’re really
trying to help our sellers grow their businesses.”

According
to eBay
, the new requirements include the following:

  • All
    listings will be required to have a picture.
  • Photos
    must be at least 500 pixels on the longest side of the picture.
  • Borders
    around pictures, and text added to pictures, will no longer be allowed.
    Watermarks for attribution purposes only will continue to be allowed.
  • When
    listing a used item, stock photos may no longer be used as the primary
    item photo for the listing. A catalogueueue image can still be used. However, it
    can’t be used as the primary photo representing a non-new item for sale.
    Books, Movies, Music, and Video Game categories will be excluded from this
    requirement (with the exception of Video Game Consoles which will be
    required to adhere to this new requirement)

What should you
do? 

Review your images to ensure they comply with the new
requirements.  If your images are below the new minimum size or include
text, borders, or other enhancements to the picture then new images will need
to be acquired immediately for US sellers, and prior to the policy enforcement
date of “this fall” for the rest of the world.

Also, check out this blog post on how
you can submit extra product images on eBay
.

Google Shopping
Image Requirements:

Google is now recommending that retailers submit images of at
LEAST 800 pixels so that they will show up clearly on high-resolution
displays.

What should you
do? 

There are some software solutions out there that can
possibly help increase the size of your images, but chances are it’ll be too
grainy.  Our recommendation would be to
re-take high resolution images so that should this recommendation become a
mandate, you’ll be prepared.

Conclusion

In summary, high-resolution, clean photography needs to
become a part of your e-commerce strategy as consumer demand requires more detailed
images.  Make it a best practice to
photograph all of your products with the highest standards and with a white
background and you’ll be well represented and ready should requirements shift
further.