Will your photos work on eBay?

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Most existing online retailers expanding onto eBay have invested in high-quality product photographs, but many of them are not optimised or even appropriate for eBay. In this article, we'll discuss the best practices in product photos that work on this platform. eBay’s statistics show that listings with better photo quality receive 7%[1] per cent more sales.

eBay recommends product photos to meet these criteria:

  • Plain and uncluttered background (preferably white)

  • Multi-angle, highlighting unique attributes or imperfections

  • 3 photos minimum

  • 12 photos maximum

  • At least 1600 pixels on the longest side

  • No borders

  • No texts

  • Never use stock photos, except for brand-new items

More tips on creating great eBay photos.

Photo Practices to Avoid 

Product photos used in conventional e-commerce stores might not be useable on eBay, due to its strict image policies. Also, those policies vary by country. Breaking any eBay policies can result in the removal of the listing, affect the search ranking of all the seller's listings, and selling limitations being placed on the account.

Image on eBay with messages.

Image on eBay with messages.

On many product photos on eBay, there are idiosyncrasies not common in conventional ecommerce stores, such as image borders, product attribute messages, country of origin statements, seller's names, brand names, promotions, and other information. It's done to differentiate the product from other similar ones and to create trust.

However, eBay views these practices unfavourably due to:

 1. Poor Usability

Buyers experience difficulty in quickly discerning the product in the search results as they have more information to digest. A small frame filled with texts and several images creates "visual clutter”. 

2. Rejected by Google

Google often refuses such images. Thus it lowers the ability for eBay to promote listings (and eBay invests heavily in Google Ads).  

3. A nuisance for eBay's Product-Based Search

eBay's product-based search experience, where multiple similar listings are grouped under one image, can't be optimised for the customer experience if the lead photograph includes seller-specific text and imagery.


Best Practices Encouraged by eBay

To refrain sellers from using poor practices, eBay has introduced picture policies that ban the use of:

  • Placeholder images with texts like, "no image available," "out of stock," and other marketing messages

  • Borders

  • Stock photos for used or defective items

  • Additional texts, artworks, or other marketing elements

  • Photos that don't accurately represent the item for sale

  • Listings with no images

  • Images with less than 500 pixels in length (longest side)

  • Watermarks

While these photo policies differ across eBay marketplaces, they're expanding gradually across the platform. Thus, it's recommended that when a seller is considering to expand on eBay, learn the best practices from high-ranking listings, but do not copy the poor practices. 


Best Practices on Multi-Variant Product Listings

Variations on eBay.

Variations on eBay.

On eBay, a product with multiple variations in colour and other characteristics is handled differently than in a conventional e-commerce store. In an e-commerce store, it's common to see the main image of a product with multiple colour options listed below. When an option is clicked, the main image will change colour.

Although eBay has multi-variant listings functionality, it doesn't provide a consistent means of presentation. This has resulted in sellers creating their own solutions. One of the most popular is to show all the various options on the main gallery image and to also having one image per colour. This practice is also used in showcasing other product variations, not just colours.

To see the variants and the product photos that work for the item you're promoting, run ShelfTrend's Live Listings (Top 500) report to view the high-ranked gallery images.


Images are just as important on eBay as on your website. However, you'll likely need to treat products with variations differently, and ensure your images adhere to eBay's formatting rules and policies.

About ShelfTrend

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Users can search by product, category, or competitor across more than 20 eBay countries on 3 different data reports: Live Listings, New Listings, and Supply Demand.  

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[1] https://sellercentre.ebay.com.au/content/taking-great-photos