People are visual searchers. Through trial and error that has been discovered. As a result, Pinterest rose.
According to data collected from multiple websites, product images are still one of the most important aspects in selling products online. In fact, having the most beautiful images that clearly represent the product are what's really necessary. If you sell apparel and offer multiple colors, then your product images should reflect your color options, etc, etc.
Knowing that people are visual searchers and images are still a big part of conversion, leads me a new direction in eCommerce product page design: Pinterest-style product pages.
On JustBats, there's a defined zone for photos, but what happens when there are more photos for that responsive space? Here are two views of the responsive page. Notice the screenshot on the right? It includes an extra black box with yellow arrow pointing down.
Three-column width image viewer
Two-column width image view with overflow present
To have the complete picture in your head, let me explain how JustBats collect photos. JustBats has photographers on staff who take photos of all the products when they come in, then there are contests that JustBats run year-round which allows procurement of user-generated photos from customers, and finally, JustBats obtains photos from our vendors. All of these photos are measure independently and in aggregate. Seeing the multiple ways JustBats collects photos should shed some light on how this problem could ever become a reality in the first place.
I don't remember who was first, but once one did it, they all started, then came Pinterest. What am I talking about? The endless-scrolling search engine image search user-interface. Search for Mickey Mouse in images on Google or Bing and you'll get an insanely visually experience where, you, as the user, can choose from a multitude of Mickey Mouse result images in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Did Pinterest come before the new image search capability in Bing and Google? I'm not sure who copied who here. Anyway, the point is that Pinterest is here now and one of the most fastest growing websites on the Internet right now. It's visual nature makes search intuitive, and with infinite scrolling, Pinterest makes it easy to slam content at it's users. I will not go into the fact that most of the content on Pinterest in copyright-infringed, but that just proves the interface works so much so that Pinterest is willing to take a reactive stance to copyright infringement.
So when will this trend hit eCommerce? Could it take a long time?
I think so. I say that because most eCommerce shops do not have multiple images for the product they sell. There are a few exceptions. One that comes to mind is NewEgg. They have included a popup page "image viewer" for years. The only problem is that the thumbnails are too small. That's the main problem the Pinterest-interface solved. Here’s the NewEgg product page for a lenovo laptop.
Now, by clicking on the three ellipses, a shadow-box is visible which includes the same visual metaphor that was on the product page.
The same image is presented, and the other thumbnails are small just like when I was on the product page. Only difference is that all the thumbnails are present and the interface allows for some overflow. But what about showing all the images of equal or proportal value, then when I hover or click, increase the size.
People, the modern day eCommerce image viewers are dead and worthless. How many times have you hovered over an image on an eCommerce site and it zoomed, but the before and after zoom level ended up being the same. I feel jipped when this happens. How about you?
There is seo value for separating your content, as well. The way NewEgg does it puts all their eggs in one product page. See the classic eCommerce url as well - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834310637&cm_sp=DailyDeal-_-34-310-637-_-Homepage. Homepage / Product / Id. Consider this url Homepage / images / Product Name which includes all the images plus a “ready to buy” section.
Could this be done for more than just images? Sure! A number of years ago JustBats created separate video, Q & A, and reviews pages. The results have been great. The key is to minimize duplicate content.
On the JustBats product page, the number of reviews and questions and answers are limited. For example, customers seeking the entire list of reviews for an individual product are provided a link. See screen shot below.
See the link above labeled, see all 74 reviews about the 2013 product.
The page url changes from Homepage / Product / Product Name to Homepage / Reviews / Product Name. Therefore, the SEO benefit come when a customer is searching in Google or Bing for the product name or reviews of the product name, JustBats has two links present. SEO gold.
My idea of a image product page is below.
So now that Pinterest has spoiled everyone, how long will it take for you to update your eCommerce website with this new user-interface?