Should You Use Text In Listing Photos For An Online Shop?

If you want to stand out in an ecommerce marketplace or your own website, you’ll need to make sure that your product photos grab a customer’s attention and make them want to click through to learn more.

One way to accomplish this is by using text on listing photos, but this approach has pros and cons because of how different platforms work, and the requirements for photo size, backgrounds, and watermarks.

Should you use text in ecommerce listing photos

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Table of Contents

What are some types of text or infographics that you could use for ecommerce listings?

There are a bunch of options when it comes to adding text or infographics in your listing photos.

You can put logos or watermarks on the listing photos themselves, or you can add separate infographics in the listing photos as a standalone image.

Logos on Photos.

Adding a logo to your listing photos accomplishes a couple of things.

First. it identifies your photos as being from your business even if it’s in a page of search results or image results.

I’ve used my logo on my listing photos for years because when they show up in Google image search results, they’re easily identifiable, and they let my customers see whose product it is without having to click through to the website.

Putting your logo on your photos will NOT keep scammers from stealing your listing photos, though. I’ve had people steal my photos and edit out the logo, and sometimes they don’t even bother to do that!

stolen photo with logo erased

As you can see in the photo above, someone has taken my listing photo, greened out my logo to remove my business name, then posted it on Amazon. Amazon won’t remove it even though I’ve filed takedown requests, so the photo thief has been using my listing photo for quite a while.

The point of putting a logo on a photo is for brand recognition, not image theft prevention.

You also have to be aware that Google Shopping doesn’t like text or promotional images on the photos that they show in Google Shopping results or Google ads, so you’ll have to choose a photo that doesn’t have text or logos on it for that. I’ll talk about that more in a bit.

Etsy says that they don’t want you to put logos or text on the first listing photo, but it doesn’t prevent the photos from being shown anywhere on Etsy. I have several Etsy’s Picks listings that have my logo on them.

Watermarks on photos.

A lot of people will put watermarks on their listing photos, especially if they have printables or other images that they don’t want people to steal in the photo.

Like I mentioned in the previous section, that isn’t as foolproof as you think it is.

With programs like Photoshop and other photo editing software that uses AI, you can easily remove a watermark from photos, so if someone is determined to be a photo thief, they can do it with a little work.

I just spent a couple of afternoons removing the watermarks that I had put on photos that I took of wedding cakes in the past so that I could use them on a blog.

If you sell digital files, it’s probably more effective to save the listing photos in a small file size and low resolution so that if someone tries to download it from the listing photo it won’t work well.

Shop promos and social proof in listings.

A lot of ecommerce businesses use an infographic to introduce themselves and feature a little bit about the business.

This is a quick way to get customers to see that you’re a real person and not a corporate entity, so they’ll be more likely to feel like they know you personally.

You can also add some social proof to these images, like the mentions of where you’ve been featured in media and awards that your business has received.

That kind of thing can make people trust you more, since they’ll see that you’re an established business.

Sizes and size charts in listing photos.

Size charts and text with size information for things like clothing, jewelry chains, and printables can be very helpful in ecommerce listing photos.

Giving the customer information about sizes in the listing photos will help them find out details about the products that they might not see if they don’t read the description, and it can prevent people from buying the wrong thing.

That can lead to fewer returns because people didn’t buy the right thing.

And because some ecommerce platforms like Etsy have started moving the descriptions around, which makes them much harder to find, putting as much information in the photos is a good idea.

Color charts in listing photos.

For products available in multiple colors or shades, showing the options through a color chart can help customers make informed choices.

This can also be good for things that can be personalized in different colors, like embroidered products and monogrammed items.

Or if you make things like wood signs that come in different finishes, you can show what the different colors of stain look like.

This can help customers see what their final product will look like.

One thing I would make sure to put in the images, though, is something that says that colors will vary based on the computer monitor settings! Nobody is going to see exactly the same colors that you see, so never promise to match things exactly.

Fabric choices in images.

If you make things that are sewn, you can put a chart with the available fabric options in the infographic.

That way, customers can see the different patterns and will be able to choose one that they like.

Processing and shipping information about the listing.

An infographic that shows your processing and shipping time for the listing can be helpful for customers to get an idea about how long it will take for them to get their orders.

Always list a range of days, though, never promise that you’ll send thing right away. Give yourself a cushion!

I have the infographic above in my listings…Notice that it says “usually.” Not always.

I do ship things the day after they’re ordered, for the most part, but if I need an extra day I’ll have the time to work with.

Common product questions.

If you get a lot of questions or comments about your products, you might want to make an infographic that answers them.

It can also help to show people things about your products that they should know, like the image above.

Since people might expect everything they buy to look like a machine made it, it never hurts to point out that handmade items might use materials that aren’t perfect, like reclaimed wood.

It can also reinforce to people that they’re getting an original item that’s unique and one of a kind.

Information about options.

An image in the listing photos that has descriptions and examples of options, and an explanation of what the variaitons are, can help people to visualize what they’re choosing.

People tend to be really bad at imagining things, so showing them a picture and labeling them is a useful way to make it clear what they’re getting.

Information about ordering and personalization.

If you offer personalization, putting a text image in that tells people what the ordering process is will really help to cut down on unnecessary questions and confusion.

You’ll still get people who don’t send you all of the information you need, but laying it all out in one of the listing photos will help reduce the messages that you get from confused customers.

Optional services information.

If you offer extras, putting that in written form can let people know what they have to choose from.

A lot of people will put a graphic in that tells customers about shipping upgrades, or lets them know about gift wrapping services and other extras that go along with the listings.

Return policies and shipping deadlines.

If you have specific return policies, putting that in a listing photo can help let people know about them.

It can also help to put in deadlines for purchasing around the holidays in case people wait too long to buy gifts that won’t arrive in time.

If your return window is short, they’ll need to know that in case they wait to give the present then want to return it, or if they don’t get it in time and want to return it because of that.

If you do include this as a text graphic, you should make sure that it doesn’t sound too strict, because that could turn people off from buying from you!

Email list signups.

There are a lot of examples of email list signups that people use in listing photos.

Sometimes people use a link in a graphic, or a QR code, or they just tell people that the link to sign up is somewhere on the site.

Letting people know that the email list is available can grow your reach and give you a larger contact list for future sales.

Product Selling Points.

Infographics in listing photos can be used to list the features of the products and to help sell the item without making the customer go to the description.

We want people to read descriptions, but we know that they don’t a lot of the time, so putting that information in text definitely won’t hurt.

You can also let people know about what materials are used in the listing and other selling points.

youtube product demo

If you have a YouTube channel with demo videos or product videos, you can let people know about it in your listing photos.

The links won’t be clickable, but telling people that your channel exists is a good first step!

You can also put a QR code in the photo so that someone who’s on a desktop computer can scan it with their phone to go straight to the channel.

Customer Reviews.

A good use of the listing photo space is to put in some customer reviews.

This will put your good reviews and positive comments front and center so that potential customers can see some social proof from other people who have bought from you already.

Information about similar products.

If you have products that go with the products in the listing, you can put a text image up to let people know that there are matching items available.

A lot of the time people wouldn’t see that there are matching items until they go to the description of the listing, but seeing what’s available in the photos could get people to go to your shop’s homepage to look for more options if the listing isn’t exactly what they need.

I use a listing image for an infographic that tells people that the design is available in more colors, so that they’ll know that they can find more options in the shop.

How to download and edit digital files.

For digital products, you can put a little summary of how to download and edit files so that people will have that information before they buy it.

This can help reduce questions, but it will also make people feel more comfortable buying the files to begin with.

If people aren’t sure that they’ll be able to edit the file, seeing something that gives a quick explanation of the process can reassure them that it isn’t too hard.

Supply lists for projects.

If you sell kits or any kind of project, adding a graphic that has information about materials that the customer will need to complete the project is helpful.

It will give people a chance to see what they’ll have to buy before they get the kit or the pattern.

That helps people make an informed decision about how much the entire project will cost when all is said and done.

How to use the product.

If you sell a specialty item, adding a little information to the listing photos about how to use it can be helpful.

This image from Janet Granger’s website shows a dollhouse carpet runner and how she attaches it to the stairs.

It acts as a photo of the finished arrangement and a little tutorial on how to get it set up.

A reminder to favorite the listing.

You can add some text in a listing photo to remind people to favorite the listing, too.

A lot of people aren’t familiar with the system on Etsy for favoriting items, so showing them the little heart that they need to tap can show them how to do it.

When people favorite a listing, Etsy will show it to them again in different places, and it also gets shown to them if it goes on sale later.

Favoriting is a good way to get your listings into people’s system, so showing them how to do it in a listing photo is a good use for a photo slot.

How to frame printed artwork.

When people buy a print, they don’t always understand that the size of the print isn’t the same size that the framed piece will be.

Showing them a graphic with an explanation of how matting works will help them understand the finished size and might head off complaints because they won’t buy a frame that’s the wrong size.

Pros of Adding Text to Ecommerce Listing Photos.

  • Text on photos lets sellers tell customers details and benefits about the listing without making them go to the description.
  • Putting text and information in listing photos can help customers decide to buy the products by giving them a quick way to learn about the listing.
  • Text in listing photos can act as an ad for the business, and can let customers learn about the brand.
  • On mobile devices, text in listing photos can help customers get the information they need without having to figure out how to get to it using mobile menus.

Cons of Adding Text to Ecommerce Listing Photos.

  • Too much text can look cluttered and make it hard to read.
  • It can be hard to update listings if you have infographics that need to be changed out individually. On Etsy you can use a bulk photo editor like Evlista to move photos around, but on websites it might be more difficult.
  • Different ecommerce platforms will have different requirements for what they want in listing photos. Google Shopping and Google ads might not accept photos with text or logos, so check in advance!
  • Text in photos usually isn’t used for SEO purposes unless the specific platform does read the text (for example, Pinterest does.)
  • Too much text can be distracting to customers. Keep browsing in mind and make most of the text easily readable.

Using text in your ecommerce listing photos can be a great way to help customers understand the listing’s benefits and features.

Just make sure that you’re not overdoing it and giving customers a little novel to read in every single photo! Make text in your photos enhance your listing and help your customers, and think about how it’s going to look on different devices for ease of reading.


Kara Buntin has run a home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 49,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO.

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