Product Images in Search Suggestions: How They Improve Customer Experience and Conversion?

Hardly anyone would argue that product images are essential for a successful ecommerce store. However, to increase conversion rate and deliver an exceptional customer experience, it's a good idea not only to use quality and nice images but also to make them more visible and discoverable for visitors by showing previews in the search suggestions. Let's see what role product images in site search suggestions play and how to make them work for you.

Why high-quality images are so important for ecommerce

The saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" is especially true for ecommerce, as product images can make or break online presence and customer experience. Companies invest time and money in shooting accurate and clear photos of their products because 93% of online customers consider a product image to be the key factor when making a purchase decision.

Product images and customer experience

According to a BigCommerce survey, 78% of online customers want products to be brought to life with images. In other words, they want to see how the product may fit their own lives. The perfect example of products brought to life is Apple, which shows catchy use-cases when advertising their gadgets.
Product images in use-cases
Online customers want more than just shopping; they are looking for an experience. Product images are a great tool to give them such experience by reflecting your brand and telling a story. And the better the customer experience is, the more likely your customers will want to repeat it.

Product images and conversion rate

Product images affect the conversion rate of ecommerce business not only by enhancing CX. It has been proven that high-quality images help companies to establish credibility and win customers' trust. Which, in turn, results in higher conversion. Numerous surveys have shown the overwhelming effect product images have on sales volume. For example, customers are three times more likely to convert on an ecommerce website with higher quality images than on a website with lower quality images.

Effect of product images in search suggestions on customer experience and conversion

As we've seen, quality product images are vital for ecommerce. Now we'll dig deeper to find out the role of product images in search suggestions and how it affects your metrics.

Let's imagine for a second: visitors land on your website. If they are in a late stage of the customer journey and already know what they want to purchase, they start searching for it. Here comes to help product preview with images that show how the desired product looks and motivates customers to go to the product listing right from search suggestions, saving them an extra step of visiting the search results page.

Product previews with images are especially handy when customers have to distinguish similar products from each other. Let's say a customer is looking for a specific variety of apples. They don't know the name of the variety and only remember the fruit's bright red color. Finding the right apples is much easier for them with product images in search suggestions.
product images in instant search widget
Product images in search suggestion
Thereby product images in search make a customer journey along the sales path smoother and more comfortable, saving time and effort. And the more effortless the customers' path to the desired product, the more likely they are to convert.

Case studies confirm the positive effect of product images in search on conversion. For example, Mod Cloth increased orders from tablet traffic by 5%, average order value by 3%, and per value visit by 8% by including product images in search suggestions.

Best practices for effective use of product images in search

Check the performance of search suggestions

Some search apps are intelligent enough to handle specific search inputs, for example, the one that includes the color of the desired product. To understand how it is done, let's take a brief look at how the search works. By default, when a user searches for a product, the main picture appears in search suggestions. But if the user searches for "blue heels," the smart search will show the picture of the blue shoes, even if the product has color swatches and the blue is not the main product picture. The most elaborate search engines can find products even with complicated colors when a user searches for "blue and silver heels," as in the picture below.
Product preview when searching for products with complex colors
Products with complicated colors appear in search suggestions

Do not include too much information in product previews

Minimalism is a significant trend for design in general and website interfaces in particular. Make sure that product previews include only essential information, such as product name and price. Two pictures below illustrate the difference between an overly product description in preview and a minimalistic one.
On the left: a bad example of product description in preview. On the right: a good example.

Integrate metafields

Metafields are small pieces of extra information that can be attached to products, orders, and other objects. This feature is available on some ecommerce platforms, for example, Shopify and BigCommerce. You can add metafields to your products to attach specific information and therefore make search results even more relevant. For example, for an ecommerce store with alcoholic beverages, it's a good idea to add alcohol-grade metafields to allow customers to search for hard or weak drinks.

Set up merchandising options

Try using product images in search for merchandising to promote your best-selling items. You can arrange the search suggestions to show certain items always on top. This is a powerful tool to advertise your products and boost conversion. To see how merchandising works, take a look at the picture below where the pink armchair appears on the top even though the user searches for "sofa".
Merchandising in search suggestions

Key takeaways

Let's wrap everything up now:

  • Online shoppers love the visual capabilities of online shopping. For this reason, products with high-quality, clear, and suitable photos show higher conversion rates.

  • The best product images are the ones that reflect your brand and tell a story behind it as they turn shopping into an experience.

  • Including product image preview in search suggestions is a smart practice as it smoothes customer journey and provides a better customer experience, resulting in higher conversion rates.

  • Check the list of the best practices above to find out how to use product images in search suggestions most effectively.

    You'll be able to show product previews with images and optimize them as described in best practices when you integrate a smart search app into your ecommerce store. All you need is to install the app with one click, and the search will be instantly integrated into your website. Searchanise provides not only autocomplete and autosuggest features but also built-in tools to boost customer experience and conversion such as faceted search, upsell & cross-sell, analytics, and more.

    Choose your platform and start a 14-day trial period to discover the power of a professional site search app.
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    Anastasiya Kupriyanova - Content creator
    Anastasiya Kupriyanova
    Anastasiya is a content creator at Searchanise. Her professional areas of interest are SaaS solutions and ecommerce. Anastasiya believes that quality content must be valuable for readers and achieve business goals. When she is not busy writing, which does not happen often, she reads passionately, both fiction and non-fiction literature.

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