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June 27, 2013

Why you need to upgrade your images NOW

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 Catalog 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 catalog 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.  And if you’re looking for a solution to manage your images, check out ChannelAdvisor’s Rich Media solution.

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