E-commerce retouching

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A few years back our curiosity got the best of us and we dug into the data about our 7 million images. As we said, that was a few years ago. We’ve been busy between then and now. Today, we’ve now processed over 45 million images!

What does processing 45 million images mean? We can use those images as data points to create a ‘benchmark’ report of the industry standards. This benchmark report serves as a way to get an overview of the industry standard to learn how to better serve our customers and for you to get an idea of where the industry is going.

If you’re looking to update your standards or optimize your workflow processes we hope you find this benchmark report useful. You can also schedule a chat with one of our team members to find out how to optimize all of these retouching standards.

Here’s What We Found

All product images have certain standards or formats. And at Pixelz, we put this information into a template for every customer so that we can process product images quickly, consistently, and to a certain quality standard. We’ve parsed through the data behind these templates to create the benchmark report.

Below is an infographic covering some of the highlights from the data. Keep reading to hear our thoughts on why this data is so interesting.

Product Image Benchmark Report Product Image Benchmark Report

JPG is the Champion

This will come as a surprise to very few but JPG still reigns supreme! While some of our data over the years show that alignment or background colors change in popularity, no one is straying from the almighty JPG.

As we will see in the next section, a dip in requests for a transparent background also means there has been a slight dip in PNGs. JPGs are still the favorite file type because of their smaller size meaning a customers' shopping experience is quick and smooth.

Are people really using PNGs on their e-commerce sites? Well, we can’t say definitively but we know some customers prefer a PNG and convert the file themselves to JPG. At the end of the day - JPG lives on to be the e-commerce gold standard.

Background and File Type

The most popular background is actually ‘no change’ with our customers. There has been a steady increase in requests for no background removal for the past 3 years. These backgrounds are normally white or gray already which means they only require clean up or touch up.

For those that do change the background, we’ve seen a decrease in transparent background requests. Transparent backgrounds require the PNG file type which can be slightly larger image files than JPG (which cannot have transparency). Because JPG has a smaller file size, it is often better for websites. With a faster page load speed, it can improve customer experience, lower the bounce rate and improve sales.

Shadows

Sometimes the data we find isn’t so surprising but rather just reinforces the standard that we see across the industry. The use of shadows is one of those data sets that reminds us there is a best practice in product imagery for shoes. 92% of footwear retouching includes adding in a shadow (we should note that this data is only from 2021). Shadows add dimension, interest and make a product stand out. All important elements when retouching products like shoes.

Model Cropping

If JPG is the gold standard of file types - full model images are the gold standard of crops. A tiny fraction of model shots are cropped, 7% of the model images we process to be precise. While we don’t have a definitive answer as to why this is, it does make us think. Many brands have moved into more elevated types of images. These types of images rely more on creating a brand aesthetic and the model becomes an important part of building the brand aesthetic.

Model Cropping in Numbers:

  • 7% of model images are cropped
  • 3% are cropped at the top of the head
  • 3% are cropped at the top of the leg

What did we learn?

We love the opportunity to dive into the data and learn more about industry standards. While most of the results were not a big surprise to us, we do think the data speaks to where the industry is heading. With continued standardization for shadows, cropping, file types, and more it means brands and retailers are equalizing in terms of quality and consistency of images. For brands and retailers to differentiate themselves they need to start including other types of images and media including elevated images, editorials, or video. We are already seeing this across many large brands and we suspect we’ll continue to see brands find new ways to make their imagery and PDP stand out.