Amazon’s Missing Images Update

570x300 EW Amazon's Missing Images UpdateMany believe a picture is worth a thousand words … but when it comes to selling on Amazon, the absence of a picture can have even more of an impact.

On June 6, 2013, Amazon announced, and on June 27 implemented, a new regulation that hides most listings missing a main image from search and browse functions, plus stricter criteria regarding posted images in general. If you sell on Amazon, these changes can have significant impact on your traffic – and, consequently, on your bottom line.

Why Was This Change Implemented?

Amazon research indicates that the shopping experience is enriched by main images of products, because buyers can more easily locate, consider and purchase items. To ensure an optimal shopping and listing experience for both ends of the transaction, Amazon opts to hide or suppress listings that fall short of its standards. In the past, Amazon would notify sellers about this issue in advance and ask that images be listed, but now sellers will not be contacted.

Does the Update Apply to Listings in All Product Categories?

No. If you’re selling the following, your listings aren’t subject to the change:

  • Media (including books, music, videos, DVDs, software and video games)
  • Automotive and auto parts
  • Industrial and scientific items
  • Collectible sports and entertainment trading cards

What Do I Need to Know as an Amazon Seller?

If your listing currently doesn’t have a main image, it will still be visible in the seller account as well as accessible though the Manage Inventory function. In addition, buyers can get to your listing via the Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN), the 10-digit code assigned by Amazon and its partners to each listing.

If your listing currently doesn’t have a main image, update it now. Be forewarned that the process can be time-consuming, especially if you have multiple listings without images. However, consider the return on your time investment if your products reach more customers!

Apparel Photo Changes

If you sell apparel, be aware that Amazon has become increasingly strict about what is an acceptable main image. If you’ve previously shot product images on colored backgrounds, on mannequins, or included borders, watermarks, text or logo on your photographs, you’re in for a change. Here’s a brief look at the updated criteria:

  • High-definition (at least 1001 pixels on the longest side; 190×246 pixel aspect ratio)
  • Pure white background
  • Product should take up 85 percent of the image frame
  • Shot flat, or on a model

Content counts, too. If you sell swimwear or intimate apparel (like lingerie), Amazon will not permit photos it deems sexually explicit or obscene; your models must not pose in ways that may be construed as lewd or erotic. For thong and panty shots, note that only front images may be used for the main product image, though you may include a back view further in the listing. Rule of thumb: When in doubt, lean toward modesty in your main listing photos!

The Bottom Line

Main images on your listings can have a huge impact on your sales. With main images, your listings look complete, more polished, and customers can easily find and zero in on your products. Taking the time to include these images – while, of course, paying heed to Amazon’s recent photography requirements – is just one way to get your products noticed and your sales hopping!