Today’s Online Shoppers Need to See This Many Photos Before They Buy a Product

Hilary George-Parkin

Today’s consumers have a near-endless array of options for where to make their next purchase, and when shopping online, they increasingly want as much information about a product as possible.

E-commerce technology company Salsify surveyed more than 1,000 Americans who shopped online at least once last year, and found that they expect to see an average of six product images per listing, up from three in 2016. Among two age groups — 18- to 24-year-olds and 35- to 44-year-olds — the number was as high as eight.

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Consumers are also becoming more accustomed to seeing video content on retailers’ sites and today expect an average of three videos when shopping for a given product online.

Still, only a handful of top shoe players deliver on both counts: Nike’s sneaker product pages include around seven images, along with user-generated photos and, in some cases, videos that demonstrate how the shoe moves; ASOS added a “catwalk” video feature to its listings in 2015; and Zappos, which is owned by Amazon, offers numerous images — both its own and submitted by shoppers — as well as videos in which a host shows off a shoe from different angles. Online-native retailers like Net-a-Porter and Shopbop have upwards of six photos per listing but currently no video, while many others on the web feature only three or four images.

Amazon has also set a high bar for the inclusion of product ratings and reviews: Among almost every age group, shoppers cited positive reviews over brand name and trust as the means by which they judge a product’s quality online.

Failing to meet shoppers’ expectations in this area can be costly for a retailer, too: 69 percent of respondents pointed to “not enough information or details” as the top reason they have abandoned a product page, ahead of price and counterfeit concerns.

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