The old maxim that “a picture paints a thousand words” has never been truer when applied to e-commerce. Nobody should contemplate selling items without at least one clear image. A good, detailed shot of the product will always help you stand out in the online crowd and attract more customers.

But now images aren’t just desirable – they’re a prerequisite after Ebay recently updated its rules for sellers. The aim of this update is to improve the overall shopping experience for consumers. The change is also designed to ensure that those accessing your store on smaller screen mobile devices are offered a clear visual depiction of the item they’re purchasing. When you consider that this is a huge growth area that now accounts for a third of all transactions on eBay, it’s only common sense.

In brief, the new rules are:

  • At least one image is required for all listings on eBay.
  • All photos must be at least 500 pixels in size on the longest side of the picture.
  • Pictures with borders or text added will no longer be allowed. Watermarks for attribution purposes only continue to be permissible.
  • Stock images or catalogue pictures won’t be allowed as the primary picture for used items.

So we’ll take you through these changes and how they affect eCommerce traders.

The least surprising is that all pages are required to feature at least one picture. This is really a no- brainer, but it’s now official. There are a few exceptions, but generally it’s something that few sellers will disagree with or object to. Even one image will greatly improve your chances of selling.

Similarly, the requirement for images with a specific minimum size on 500 pixels on the longest side is hard to argue with. A shot with a better resolution will also work wonders for sales. At iWeb, we advise that your images should actually be 1600 pixels minimum. This helps to make sure the zoom and enlarge features can be used to give buyers a better view of the item.

Prohibiting borders around images, along with added text, also ensures clarity. However, a discreet watermark for attribution purposes is still acceptable. As a rule of thumb, don’t compress any pictures before uploading to eBay and also make sure that each picture file size is 7MB or less.

The final change is probably the least likely to affect eCommerce traders – unless you’re selling on second-hand goods. In the case of used items, sellers must now provide an actual shot as the primary image and not just a stock shot or catalogue picture. This obviously helps buyers to determine the used condition. There are a few exceptions though – such as items in film, music, books or video game categories, where it isn’t deemed necessary.

So how does it affect eCommerce businesses?

Put simply, if your existing images, don’t already meet these new requirements, you need to ensure that they do to carry on trading on eBay. Remember that Christmas is just around the corner and now is the time to review your images and make sure that they are compliant. If any shots are below the new minimum size or include text or borders, then new images will need to be acquired immediately. Otherwise it’s going to be a cold Christmas sales-wise.

For further information on the new picture standards and help with reviewing and adjusting your current images, visit: Remember that the new eBay rules are a minimum requirement. If you really want to boost your online takings, you should be exceeding them anyway. Multiple images in higher resolutions with enhanced interactivity are the order of the day if you want to succeed. The importance of great visuals should never be underestimated. If you’d like further advice on how this aspect of your presentation can be improved, don’t hesitate to talk to iWeb.