Using 360 images for Amazon and other marketplaces
Amazon is the last online sales platform to allow its sellers to add 360-degree animations of their products. “From luxury jewelry brands to car manufacturers, online retailers are taking advantage of the potential of 360-degree visuals,” Forbes magazine said. The goal of the e-commerce giant is to increase their conversion rate, thanks to enriched visuals. Several solutions exist to create 360 images: using external service providers or creating them in-house. From creation to integration, how can you create visuals in-house with PackshotCreator automated studio? What are the alternatives to 360 product images?
Why present your products in a 360° format on an e-commerce website?
The main obstacle to remote sales is the lack of “touch and feel”. This obstacle has been overcome by putting 360° interactive visuals online. The Internet user can then manipulate the product by rotating it freely. The user can also zoom in on a key angle of the visual, obtain information in the form of notes by clicking on a key point in the animation… A real online demonstration!
PackshotCreator offers a complete range of software-controlled photo studios, lighting systems and turntables. They automate the shooting of your products, regardless of the quantity to be photographed. Each PackshotCreator system meets Amazon’s visual guidelines:
- Square photo 1000 x 1000 pixels
- The product must fill 85% of the photo
- Images must be in JPEG, TIFF or GIF format
- The color space must be sRGB or CMYK
- The naming must be precise: the name of the photo must contain the product identification (Amazon ASIN, the 13-digit ISBN, EAN, JAN or UPC code) followed by a dot and the photo extension (example: 256385547.jpg). You can also use the MAIN code to indicate that the selected photo is the main photo of the product: 256385547.MAIN.jpg
The specifics of the main photos on an Amazon product page are even more particular. You can find them below:
- The main image of the parent SKU: this is the photo that appears first on the Amazon product page, and therefore the first photo the visitor sees. It also appears in the search results when someone searches for your keyword, and on the product listing on the seller’s page. This photo should give the visitor an idea of what the product looks like. There should be no distractions in the photo and the background should be pure white (255, 255, 255). Other characteristics:
- It is mandatory that the product is photographed: drawings or illustrations are not allowed
- The photo must not contain any other product than the one sold
- The product must be clear, cleanly lit, show true-to-life colors, and have sharp outlines
- Photos of books, music, DVDs, etc. must fill the entire frame. Promotional stickers and packaging are not allowed
- All other products must fill the frame at least 85%.
- The image must not contain any additional text, watermarks or other elements
- The main image of the child SKU: it is necessary when a product is sold in different colors. For example, if the product is sold in green, but also in red and blue, it will be necessary to photograph and identify these products for each color. For these photos, the minimum technical specifications must be respected.
- Alternative product photos: to show the product from different angles, its details, materials, etc., it is possible to add up to eight photos for each parent or child product.
- The name of the alternative images must contain the 4-digit variant: ID. VARIANT.FILETYPE. Example: 256385547.PT01.jpg. The variant codes can correspond to additional photos (PT01, PT02, PT03, PT04), different angles (TOPP, BOTT, LEFT, RGHT, FRNT, BACK) and interior photos (IN01, IN02, IN03)
- The photo must relate to the product sold only
- The photo must be sharp, properly lit and photographed with accurate colors and contours
- Other products or objects are allowed to explain the use or scale of the product sold
- The product must fill at least 85% of the photo
- Cropped or zoomed photos are allowed
- Backgrounds and staging are allowed
- Text and graphic elements are allowed
Aside from the technical specifications, there are also many Amazon site standards. Most of them are easily done by yourself, but the most time consuming is to get a pure white background. It is very easy to get this with a photo studio with a backlit background, or by directly removing the background when shooting.
14% more likely to buy online when looking at 360 images
Several studies* have shown that this type of interactive visuals encourages the conversion rate of an e-commerce website and the reduction of returns. One of the latest, cited by the expert website Market Expert 24, reveals that buyers viewing 360 images are 14% more likely to make a purchase than those viewing still images of products. These 360° visuals are particularly popular when it comes to toys, electronics tools, fashion and jewelry. These “rich media” are readable on computers and smartphones. Mobile phones represented 65% of e-merchant traffic in France in 2019¹
PackshotCreator solutions are designed for capturing products of all sizes and weights. They can be used even by non-professional photographers. Not only do they meet the visual standards imposed by marketplaces, but they also allow to create visuals faster to stand out from competitors.
How to create 360 images of products?
360° animation is an assemblage, ranging from 24 to 1024 photos, in JPEG or PNG format. The assemblage is made based on a complete 360° rotation of the product, positioned on a turntable. This product is thus photographed by the camera, synchronized with the rotation of the plate by the software controlling the shooting. It is the software itself that, after the shooting, assembles the files and generates the 360° animation in HTM5 format. This format allows these visuals to be readable on all types of media.
Publishing the 360 images on a marketplace such as Amazon or Shopify:
The HTML5 file will then be hosted on an FTP server or on the cloud, from which an integration link will be extracted. All you need to do is copy/paste this link on your website and the animation will be displayed:
What equipment is required to create in-house 360 animations in HTML5 format?
To create these 360 images for Amazon in a simplified way, here are the two equipment possibilities:
You need a 360 turntable and a camera on a tripod. Finally, a lighting kit and a cyc wall are also essential to obtain a homogeneous result. Another option, making automation easier than the first one: the all-in-one solution, with a complete Packshot 360 photo studio. It includes all the necessary elements: turntable, lighting system and control software.
How to automatically create your 360 animations?
The use of software for product photography generates repeatability and makes it possible to set up a workflow. This process automates the creation of 360 images of products for Amazon and other marketplaces.
Discover the various steps on our online tutorial dedicated to the automated creation of 360° animations of shoes.
What are the alternatives to 360 animations in HTML5 format?
Many sellers on Amazon or Shopify create their product sheets with multiple views for each one. Depending on the subject, these photographs, called multi-angles, show front, back, ¾ or top views.
The use of a 360 PackshotCreator turntable allows you to automate the photography of multi-angle products on a pure white or transparent (PNG) background. From their software, the operator programmes the angles to be photographed for a specific subject. In some studios, the operator can even position several cameras to increase the speed of the shoot. These angles are stored in a profile and then reused for similar images, speeding up the workflow of visuals. These visuals, once exported, are ready to be published on platforms such as Amazon.
- Find out how to take multi-angle shots of shoes with an automated 360-degree photo studio.
The product video
Whether minimalist or embodied, the product video is another alternative for the viewer to “capture” a product presented online. It can be shared on social networks, unlike a 360 animation.
Easier to integrate, since it is not stored, and therefore less heavy, it is however less interactive than an HTML5 animation. It is not possible to rotate it, to zoom in freely on certain key angles, etc.
- Read our tutorial article on the 360° shoes video.
* Study published in “Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, Vol 19, No 7; Adobe Scene Report 7.
1 – Study on the state of mobile commerce in France in 2019 carried out by Tapbuy, publisher of SaaS technology platforms for “checkout as a service” on mobile phones.
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