Make your products shine
Shine a reflection of light on your product. In experiments, people rated products up to 23% more attractive and were 32% more likely to say they would buy them.
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You can even position your product on the right side of the image, so it feels graspable (and more valuable) by the viewer.
But what about the actual product? How can tweaking how it looks in the image change how people perceive it?
Here’s a simple trick to boost your sales.
P.S.: Remember, if you’re trying to position your product as modern, hi-tech or futuristic, place it on the right side of the image.
Show a shiny reflection on your product when you display it in your product images
Channels: Image ads | Packaging | Website | Product
For: Both B2C and B2B
Research date: December 2022
When creating images of your product, add a reflection to your product to make it look shiny.
Use this technique in your ads, product pages, packaging, emails, and anywhere where you use images of your product.
People are naturally attracted to shiny products. They seem newer, in better condition, and cleaner. This makes people more likely to buy them.
Adding a reflection on a product in a product image (e.g. an ad) increases how people like it, which boosts how likely they are to buy it.
For example, as part of 3 experiments, people were:
Shown images of a table lamp - one with and one without a reflection. They judged the one with a reflection to be 17% more attractive
Asked to judge images of a bookshelf, with or without a reflection. The image with the reflection was considered 16% in better condition and 23% more attractive. People said they were 32% more likely to buy it.
🧠 Why it works
Reflections are formed by the light reflecting off a surface. At certain angles that reflection makes the product look shinier.
Attraction to shiny objects is one of our core human instincts. Why? Because of water. We’ve always needed to look for clean, pure, shiny freshwater in order to survive.
Shiny objects also look cleaner and newer. Not only does it remind us of water, but we also use water to clean them to a shiny and top-notch condition.
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This effect is weaker for products with a more complex or intricate design. Complex designs have more features to attract attention beyond their shine - making people less likely to notice and be influenced by the reflection.
The effect might be weaker for products for which the design is not very important (e.g. a ladder), or when looking fresh and new is not relevant (e.g. a vintage jacket). On the other hand, the effect may be stronger when looking new and clean is particularly important (e.g. a bottle of water, jewelry). This was not tested.
There might be a point at which adding too much shine backfires. One study found that it can hurt a product’s quality perceptions. Another found that glossy packaging is perceived as a cheap attempt to draw attention and can hurt brand perceptions.
🏢 Companies using this
Researchers asked 7 managers what they thought the effect of adding a reflection would be. 6 guessed correctly: that it would make the product look more attractive.
While it’s commonly used, it’s unclear whether marketers and designers know when and why to use it, and for which products.
This seller on Amazon correctly used reflections to make their coffee machine look more attractive
⚡ Steps to implement
When photographing your product, position lighting in a way that creates a reflection on it. You can also edit existing images to add a reflection on them.
The reflection will make your product look purer, cleaner, and in better condition. So apply it to products for which this is relevant (e.g. not antiques).
Works best for products with a simple design and probably for those for which a nice design is important.
🔍 Study type
Drawn to the gloss: Examining the effect of product reflection on product aesthetics. Journal of Consumer Behaviour (December 2022).
Nazuk Sharma, Dolan School of Business, Fairfield University
Anand Kumar, Muma College of Business, University of South Florida
Remember: This is a new scientific discovery. In the future it will probably be better understood and could even be proven wrong (that’s how science works). It may also not be generalizable to your situation. If it’s a risky change, always test it on a small scale before rolling it out widely.
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