The importance of the ‘hero shot’ in ecommerce

A number of e-commerce websites use a plain looking product image for the main image on their homepage. A product shot by itself usually looks dull in this context - the homepage main image needs to look more exciting.   

The homepage of any website is prime real estate. The main image is an essential part of this and can be very powerful. If it doesn’t inspire the user to buy into the brand values and drive sales, then it’s a big opportunity missed.

The hero shot drives sales by pushing traffic to the relevant page.  Some text usually helps - it can be used to label the product, encourage the user to click and support the hero shot concept.

The example above is a luxury brand for men. The silky, smokey blue shape suggests the luxury, classic & fresh spirit of the brand and its products. It also adds movement to the image.

In this case, the hero shot communicates the brand values so the user aspires to be a more confident, classy person by purchasing the product. The text labels the product and the chevrons encourages users to click, driving traffic to the most popular product.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the hero shot - it's not just a pretty face!

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Comment by Jay O'Neill on June 20, 2012 at 15:08

Hi Alex

Have you got any more info on this?


Any studies or articles that i could view to help with a report i need to submit on this very subject?

Comment by Alex Hearn on June 20, 2012 at 15:54

Hi Jay,

This was really a response to seeing companies invest lots of time and money into e-commerce sites whilst overlooking a fundamental marketing & sales technique.

No articles or studies were referenced - it was just an observation. Also, the Hero Shot is not specific to e-commerce. It's from traditional advertising and is called the hero shot because of its aspirational nature - you imagine a Hollywood star when you hear Hero Shot!

There are so many aspects it's easy to go on forever, which is why I kept the article simple!

For example, product shots can work if the packaging looks great and it is beautifully photographed. Of course, the overall feel needs to promote the brand values, look exciting and drive traffic. In terms of stats, what works for one business may not work for another - customers needs and expectations differ. Therefore any stats would need to be industry specific (but taken with a pinch of salt because one size does not fit all)

Here's a few articles on the subject - hope it helps!

Here's one about implementing it for best usability in retail - common sense really though!

Comment by Jay O'Neill on June 20, 2012 at 21:19
Thanks Alex

Much appreciated for the info

Ill have a good read of those links tomorrow

Ive been working on this for the last few weeks and we have now started to implement more hero shots on our different ecommerce channels and hopefully we should see some results soon on these changes.
Comment by Alex Hearn on June 21, 2012 at 10:48

Hi Jay,

It will be interesting to see what results you get. Don't forget to test - change images & text to see if it improves the click through rate and therefore sales. 

If you need feedback or advice, then please feel free to get in touch.

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