Sellers make a lot of mistakes when they’re creating their main image product for Amazon. They’ve read out-dated articles or they’re copying listings that they think are good. Or they think they can include elements that will increase sales.
But a listing that “looks” good doesn’t necessarily translate to more sales. In fact, many products that show up on the first page of Amazon’s search results for the keywords could improve sales and brand reputation if they were to just fix some issues.
We’ll go over how some of the most common mistakes sellers make for the main image.
One of the most important factors for sales is the main product image. The main image is how customers first interact with your product. So it’s no surprise that many sellers try to influence sales by ignoring Amazon policy for the main image requirements. Below are the 4 bullet points that many sellers ignore. You can find more about the image policy as well as the quick start guide for the product detail pages here.
Let’s take a look at some alarm clock listings below that show up lower on the first page of Amazon results for “alarm clock.” Notice immediately that the main images for these alarm clocks don’t follow Amazon standards.
In the first image, the seller has included a smartphone and charging cable. This would fall under the “gratuitous or confusing additional objects” unless the listing included both the phone and the charger (a bundled listing), but the product only includes the power cable for the alarm clock. No charging cable or phone is included.
Now many customers (and sellers) can reasonably conclude that a phone isn’t included, but this isn’t the case for some customers. Some may expect to receive a phone. If that’s the case, you’re opening yourself up to INAD returns and possible listing suppression until the image is fixed. Meanwhile, you’ll lose sales and ranking while you fix any issues. If you have multiple products with gratuitous items with your products, your account may be suspended for having too many INAD returns. Amazon may even refund sellers and allow them to keep the product for these kinds of misleading listings.
The 2nd and 3rd alarm clocks run afoul of multiple Amazon image standards. First, the background isn’t all white. While different backgrounds for the main image may set the alarm clocks apart from their competitors, these sellers are risking listing suppression and warnings if other sellers or customers complain.
Another policy the 2nd and 3rd image ignore is including additional graphics and text. Some sellers may want to include these graphics and text on the main image, but let’s face it: many customers won’t care enough to make sense of the graphics or text if they’re browsing the search results. They’d have to click on the product in order to zoom in on the graphics and text, so wasting space on other items reduces the chance customers will click on your product.
Including extra items like the vase and flowers and desk clock for the 2nd and 3rd images just isn’t professional since it actually detracts from the product. In fact, these two main images appear to have been cropped from another lifestyle listing, leading to a sense of laziness or carelessness on the part of the seller.
So adding anything other than the product is just risking suppression for no appreciable gain. In the case of the 3rd image with the crossed out “Dual,” customers may just see that as laziness on the part of the seller. Why not just write “Triple” instead? Or why cross out “Dual,” and then use the number 3? There’s no consistency here, and this isn’t the kind of impression sellers want to cultivate.
Finally, the product images for all three of the alarm clocks don’t quite take up 85% of the image frame. This is potentially the worst infraction for sellers since they are losing out on sales by not prominently showing their item. Many customers now shop on smartphones or on devices with smaller displays, so having the product take up most of the frame actually helps sellers since screen space is a premium. Wasting it on other products or text only serves to lose sales.
Instead, take a look at the top three search results for “alarm clock.”
You’ll immediately notice the differences between the top three results and the previous three results. First, all three have a pure white background and the products are prominently displayed. There’s no distracting extra (with the exception of the third product). It’s no surprise also that the top two images have the Amazon’s Choice and Best Seller badges.
The third image, while better than our previous three alarm clocks, still has some issues. First, the side profile is confusing since it’s not quite clear that that’s a side profile rather than some remote or wireless sensor of some sort. Secondly, Amazon doesn’t quite allow the highlighted graphic. Including promotional text like “SALE” or “Free Shipping” contradicts image standards.
Main product images provide the first impression customers have of the product and the brand. When you’re taking photographs of your product, do your best to adhere to Amazon’s main image policy. Doing otherwise may mean Amazon will suppress your listing.
This can mean a few days of lost sales. Or it’ll cause your sales velocity and sales ranking to drop, removing you from the first page of the search results. Once you lose your position, it’s difficult to recover. So don’t risk all your hard work because you think that including some extra prop or text will help.
If you have to include texts and graphics, then you can do so on the additional images. The policy for additional images is more flexible, but you still want to keep the images relevant to the product. Amazon allows lifestyle pictures for the additional images. But be careful not to go overboard, as misleading customers will only result in more returns for you. Below is the policy for the additional images.
What does this mean for sellers? You should do your best to take professional photographs of your products. Then use some image editing software to clean up the images, resize the product, or to make the background pure white.
You’ll want to avoid your instinct to manipulate the image in some way. Some sellers use software to make the product look more colorful or to enlarge the product. Or they may take pictures of a product at angles that increase expectations. We do not recommend using any of these tactics. Increasing expectations leads to customers who return items and leave negative product and seller feedback. Be honest and open about your product and the customers will appreciate it.