Two things about your product images that could be killing your business

When shopping and ordering online, foodservice sales reps and customers are reliant on the information displayed within a distributor’s system. Unfortunately, as of June 2017, GS1 reports that less than 40% of products being communicated via GS1’s Global Data Synchronization network (GDSN) contain at least one image.

Now the big question is: are those images even any good? All too often we find pictures of a crushed box or images taken by the intern who fancies him or herself an amateur photographer in their spare time. Stop being cheap! 96% of American consumers shop and buy online from a big e-tailer, such as Amazon or Ebay, which means they have expectations.

So, whether its bad images or no images at all, here’s why images could be killing your sales.

1. If no one owns product data quality, you are losing sales

How do you recover the sale you almost had? There’s plenty of challenges in the marketplace, so why give your competition a leg up because no one owned the process of capturing good, clean images that make your products stand out?

I recently showed a cheese manufacturer a picture of their product that was described as ‘parmesan cheese’ within a distributor’s system, but was displaying a picture of blue cheese. Turns out there are no street level / broadline customers buying that product – and no one is surprised.

So who can help fix it?

When I speak with a data person, they point to a salesperson. If I’m talking to a salesperson, they point to the marketing department. When I talk with the marketing department, they insist that the sales team will not supply funding. Then the data person shrugs looking for the nearest exit.

While everyone looks around the circle waiting for the other person to raise their hand to ‘own it’, the customer who found an inaccurate, low quality, or worse – no image at all –  is moving on to a different product.

Sale denied. Everybody lost.

2. No images means you are spending more on samples and sales support (trust me)

Investing time and resources into data quality initiatives can be hard. Companies are constantly looking for that coveted ‘Return On Investment’ or R.O.I. But the fact is, data quality, and more specifically image quality, is difficult to measure consistently and precisely. How do you account for the missed sale caused by NOT having images? Or the opportunity cost of the capital you spent on more samples vs something else to drive sales? Fortunately, there are other metrics you can use to help your organization get over the ‘cost’ of better product data.

There is a clear and proven correlation between good product content and its impact on sales. In a study conducted by GS1, participants answered questions related to how images impacted their buying / selling experience, and it was determined that products with images and complete content were 40% less likely to require a sample or an assisted sale (e.g. a visit from broker or manufacturer rep).

40%! Imagine reducing your sample budget by 40%.

In a recent menu engineering study it was concluded that items on menus with images sell 30% more than those without images. Makes sense! People want to see it to believe it!


So who is going to be the hero? Is it the sales person? Is it the marketing department? Maybe it’s the analyst. When it’s all said and done, data quality is a WHOLE COMPANY initiative. Next time you find yourself wondering ‘Who at my company owns data quality?’ the answer is clear…

You do.


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