How To Optimize Product Images for Your Online Store

Product images can make or break your online store's conversion rate. This means more than just a high-quality image, and store owners must consider image size, image type, SEO optimization, and various other factors.

Images give your customers the best idea of what they are potentially buying. They cannot physically touch your products, so your images will help them better understand the different attributes such as color, material type, and texture. 

Online users also regularly use Google Image search to find the products they are looking for, making it even more critical that your images rank in search.

Product Optimization Tips

Match Images with Products

Use images that match your product's title and description. There is nothing worse than ordering a product online, and then it arrives completely different at your door. Make sure you match your product images 100% to improve customer satisfaction, reduce the chance of returns and improve the likelihood of turning first-time buyers into repeat customers.

Include Lifestyle Images

Products on a white background are recommended but also try and include images of people using your product. This is especially important when it comes to clothing. Try and include images of different body types and sizes. Not all your customers are runway models, so be sure to have a preview of what it might look like on their body type. Many retailers now include body-type tools so customers can upload their own photos to preview a simulation of them wearing it. Virtual changing rooms will become more popular with customers 

Image Placement

Make sure that your customers can view the product image and gallery next to the description to take in all the information in one glance above the fold. Do A/B testing to see if a right or left-aligned image works best for your category.

Optimize Image Resolution and Size

Many designers make the mistake of thinking the higher-res an image, the better without considering the rendered size and image file size. Shopify recommends for instance either 1000×1000 or 2000×2000 pixel resolution. Many photo editing software has default saving settings for the web that helps to reduce resolution without affecting image quality. You can also use online tools like TinyPNG to reduce the resolution.

Your image file size can be a site speed killer and is more often ignored. It is recommended not to upload images larger than 500kb, but we often see images uploaded above 1mb. Large images can have a significant adverse long-term effect on your site speed. There are apps available for Shopify that can automatically scan and optimize all your design and product images which helps reduce the size of your site. Read our in depth review of SEO Booster

You could also scan your site using a tool such as GTMetrix to find images that might hurt your site speed. The tool also helps you spot any broken image links that might harm your ranking.

An example of where GTMetrix can help you locate large image files

Image Alt Text

Image Alt Text is another key area that many designers and store owners either don't know about or fail to understand the importance of. It is critical that you name each product image file with a descriptive name and clearly describe the product. It can often be helpful to include the SKU as this helps search engines display the image to users searching for specific products even if they don't know your company/brand name.

Proper image alt text implementation can also help visually impaired customers who rely on screen readers to help them browse the web.

Don't go overboard and stuff your image file names with keywords. Search engines are more intelligent than that, so keeping it short and sweet is best.

Credit: Google Images best practices

Use the Correct Image Type. 

Not all image types are created equal or for the same purpose. Often designers don't understand the difference between, for instance, a JPG or a PNG and use the wrong type. PNGs, for example, are recommended when you have text on the image but don't want the text to become pixelated. PNGs can also have a transparent background which can be helpful in certain designs. However, it does come with a larger file size, but this is where tools such as TinyPNG can help reduce the size.

JPEGs are the most widely used image type for a good reason. JPEG image types strike the best balance between quality and file size and are your best bet if you don't need a transparent background or want to include text on the image. This type is best for product galleries.

Include Gallery Images from Multiple Angles

Because your user can't pick up and experience your product in real life, you have to give them the best possible idea of your product. Including product shots from different angles will help them better understand how the product might fit in their life or living room and help highlight additional features. Some advanced themes and apps also allow you to showcase your product with a 3D view where the customer can spin the product around horizontal or vertical. Setting this up is not as complicated as it might seem and only require you to upload images shot from multiple angles. This feature alone can have a dramatic effect on your conversion rate.

Features such as 3D Viewer is available in most advanced Shopify themes.

The Main Product Image Should Have a White Background.

Keep the focus on the product and make it stand out at first glance by including a white background. The rest of the images in the gallery can focus on lifestyle shots, but you want to keep the main one free of clutter and make it clear what you are selling.

Include at Least Three Photos

Research shows that the more images you include, the higher the chance that the customer orders from your store. Best practice is to display at least four images to give them a better idea of your product.


The importance of product images in e-commerce can not be overstated. With proper planning and implementation, all store owners can optimize their product images to help customers make a purchase. It has the added benefit of products ranking in areas outside of basic text search results and helps one dominate the search results.

The above tips will help store owners drive more online sales, improve customer satisfaction, and must be high on the list of actions required to make a success of your e-commerce business. 

Subscribe to Our NewsletterFor the latest news updates, in-dept reviews


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here