Amazon Upping the Stakes on Image Requirements

If you thought that the new eBay image requirements were a challenge, then wait until you see the emails from being sent to UK Fashion sellers.

What follows are is an email sent by the same Analyst in to at least 3 sellers on Pull your chair closer, if this is actively going on for the fashion categories on Amazon UK, expect it for the other categories at some point in the future too.


In Violation of Amazon Style Guidelines

Note: I’ve highlighted the key sections in bold for you.


Your listings currently have product pages that are in violation of Amazon style guidelines. This negatively affects the customer experience and therefore may result in your seller account suspension. Good images, clear titles, and accurate product detail pages are key to ensuring our customers enjoy their browsing experience and can increase conversion. We would like to work with you to help fix your defects so that you can maximize your selling potential on Amazon. 

Please find attached a sample of the ASINs that were audited; please note that both compliant and non-compliant images may be included. This is only a sample and may not be inclusive of all your listings, so please take the time to review and update all non-compliant images. We have found the following errors with your images:

Main image not angled to left hand side,

Main image contains multiple items,

Images containing labels/tags/packaging,

Images containing props/mannequins/models 

To open attachment: 
– Save or drag attached file onto your Desktop 
– Right-click and extract file 
– Extract within your preferred folder 
– View images (note ASINS are displayed as image titles) 

Please take the time to review our guidelines (for style guide – Click Here) and your whole inventory and either remove (by setting the inventory to 0) or update the non-compliant images within 14 days.

Remember that customers at Amazon cannot touch and feel your products, but they can still have a great shopping experience if your listings correspond to our style guide and have clear and detailed information. Please confirm that you have received this email and let us know if you have any questions.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Kind Regards,

[Name removed]

A Break Down

Firstly, let’s be fair here, Amazon are absolutely right, not just for Amazon, but anywhere online with “customers at Amazon cannot touch and feel your products” so it’s our job as business owners to help buyers feel 100% comfortable with the product they are buying by providing outstanding product data, of which images are a key part of this.

But on the other hand, this was emailed to a seller with over 50,000 products on Amazon and given to the end of the month for their account to be reviewed. It was suggested that they can find their images from software tool (eSellerPro), download them to their desktop and edit them. Sure I’ll edit 50,000 images for you, hell I’ll even re-take all the images, it’ll only take 2 minutes by hand, not…

Let’s look to see what they’re picking sellers up on, as it’s boiling down to just 4 key areas:

  • Main image not angled to left hand side,
  • Main image contains multiple items,
  • Images containing labels/tags/packaging,
  • Images containing props/mannequins/models

Point 1 – Main image not angled to left hand side

We’re all fair people here, we know that Amazon has high standards and rightly so, they’re focusing on the customer just like eBay has done with their image requirements. And maybe angling the product in the image to a specific viewpoint across the board would help make pages of products look a lot better. But going back and editing even a dozen images, let alone tens of thousands of images, especially if they need to be retaken is verging on an impossible task.

Maybe, just maybe, a common-sense approach would have been to mentor the business owners so that the new products that they are adding are checked for conformity.

If there is just one thing I have learnt over the past 10 years, past data is past data, it’s old….. 80% of the products listed are likely not to sell any time soon and only 20% of them will do, so would it have made more sense that instead of dumping an impossible task on a merchant at this time of the year (if you’re reading this in 2014, it’s October) and instead identified the sellers top 20% of products and suggested that they re-edit those.

Am I being realistic here? Let me know in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Main image contains multiple items

amazon_B00CG6G3PCYea I’ve known about this one for a while. It was an interesting conversation with one of the UK’s largest fashion retailers on Amazon earlier this year, the call went something like this:

Client: “Matt, Amazon have told us to stop putting multiple colour images on items that come in different colours, but they don’t swap the images like eBay do, what do you suggest?

Matt: “It’s Amazon, just nod & agree and sort it out. Just clarify exactly what they are looking for and do it.

Remember Amazon is like marriage to a super model, she wants everything, kids, fast cars (your stock), credit cards (that’s sitting on your money for 2.5 weeks) and a ring, but the nano-second you annoy her, she’ll kick you in the nuts and turf you out (suspend your account for 30 days or worse)

But the thing is, that conversation was months & months ago and doing a quick search on Amazon today (see here) we can see that Amazon still have yet to get it to work like eBay have done. A specific example is the listing in the image to the right. We can see the preview image is showing all the colours, but in the listing (see here) we can see that there is a blue image for the blue dress, Amazon have elected not to show it. Facepalm.

This is also a reasoning point in their “Style Guide” which follows in a few moments, “This will result in increased traffic to product listings”, but actually right now this is not the case as shown above.

Oh and for a comparison, nip over to eBay, at least they have got it working properly now. Take a look here on eBay (screenshot below). Notice all the blue dress images being shown for the multi-variation listings?


Images containing labels/tags/packaging

We understand why this is, as unlike eBay on Amazon a product regardless of condition (new, used, refurb etc..) all share the same page.

But Amazon is swinging for quality here, to me this is a compromise. If you’re shelling out for a product, say a pair of shoes and see it comes in a stunning box so you know it’s protected on the way to you, how is this a negative thing?

Again, am I being realistic here? Let me know in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Images containing props/mannequins/models

I agree with this to a point. Professionally cut out images look a lot better than images on a tatty mannequin. But….. models sell products.

Exceptionally important in women’s fashion, when a product is being viewed, that customer is believing (to a degree) that they are that model and they will look as great as she does in that dress, handbag or item of footwear.

Amazon Specifications (Style Guide)

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Amazon do this to sellers, with little to no warning, but this time dropping a bombshell with 14 days notice in October is frankly nuts. This time around they have put together a “Style Guide” for sellers in the UK Shoes, Handbags & Shoe Accessories categories. you can download it using the link below, but maybe it’s too little, too late and too close to Christmas?

Have a read of the PDF above. It’s probably the best guide I have ever seen from Amazon, they’ve gone to great lengths to include plenty of visual images and even went as far to suggest using (although it’s a bit old now as Google insights is mentioned, but that’s now Google trends).

If you’re selling in the Shoes, Handbags & Shoe Accessories categories on and your images are not up to scratch, you’ll be receiving the email above shortly. If you’re not selling in these specific categories, expect this to be rolled out to the other categories too in the future.

13 replies
  1. Andre Baker
    Andre Baker says:

    Hi Matt,

    We too have received this EMail and on quite a few of the ASIN’s we haven’t got a clue what is wrong with them, for example B007UH3F1C

    Do they mean all packaging? We have a lot of Purses and Wallets that are supplied in Gift Packaging and really adds to the “Perceived Value” of the product especially this time of the year whilst looking for a gift. I’m frankly shocked that they are not focusing on the many listings on the site with the very poor images that are not on a white background are out of focus and/or are far too small…simply crazy at this time of the year!!

  2. Kieran
    Kieran says:

    RE: Point 1 – Main image not angled to left hand side

    I just wanted to pick up on this point also, firstly does it mean we can angle products to the right?

    If i take the view that Amazon want a straight on view / dead on birds eye view, product dependent, then i do disagree with this. I know for a FACT that angles can sell products, no discussion here, it works.

    We all know that the main image should usually be your best picture, and most know that you only have seconds to temp the viewer into looking at your offering, so the main image is a potential goldmine if done correctly, most customers in my view look at pictures first before titles.

    As matt said “customers at Amazon cannot touch and feel your products”, sometimes, if not most of the time you need angles to bring the product to life, to give is some scale or proportions etc.

    My sales of a box type product sold Zero units with a birds eye straight angled picture because the picture in no way showed what the product even was without an angle, when i changed the image two week later( which i planned to do from the start but was short on time) the sales started within an hour of the picture change and it continues to sell since the angled image was added.

    A simple example similar to mine is a childrens lunchbox, if you take a dead on birds eye image of the lunchbox it looks like a square with a kids cartoon on it.

    If you take an angled shot you can suddenly see the depth of the lunch box, you can see the joins so you understand how it opens up, you can see the shape of the sides, you might be able to see the catches and or handle, it brings it to life, and you might even get excited about it lol, what i mean is that there is definitely such thing as a dead image and one that brings the image to life.

    I absolutely agree with a policy that makes images consistent such as white backgrounds, resolution/size etc but if you take away artistic license i am certain it will kill some sales.

    Will Amazon notice this data saying the sales dropped off a cliff when new image rules were imposed? And will they give 14 days notice for sellers to add new angled shots?

    At best i would accept a rule that said all sellers using angled shots in main image must angle it from left or right or right to left, this way all sellers are making their images similar to each other and consistency can be created across the site. I think it would be OK if all sellers were told to use the same angle provided they can still use an angle.

    I do completely disagree with the new angle picture rule but one angle is better than no angles at all.

    14 days is still nowhere near enough time to do it, most sellers need three months and that can still be a challenge for some sellers, it should be phased somehow in as Matt has basically suggested.

    Sometimes i wonder if these new rules are just a culling exercise to get rid of sellers Amazon head office peps decide they do not want?

    It all goes back to what has been said by Matt and others have said before, even though many have seen great success on the Amazon market place it can be easy to forget that Amazon is a retailer and therefore your competition. If they no longer want you they will not think twice about kicking you out and that could be 50%-100% of a businesses trade wiped out in 24 hours, that is scary!


  3. phil stradling
    phil stradling says:

    A large shoe manufacturer that I deal with are not altogether happy about their product being sold on 3rd party sites, and are keen to discourage it.
    Looks like Amazon are going to end up inadvertantly doing the manufacturers dirty work for them!

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Phil,

      Indeed. Have had several email replies this morning on this, topic, some sellers have just got 50 products in this category and the changes are minor, but another large seller turned up with 20,000 listings in this category with exactly the same email as above, 14 days is just impossible.


  4. Steve Smith
    Steve Smith says:

    Re: They advise you SHOULD add packaging to the image to make it clear about the brand / trademark which you own

    Yes, I too have encountered this advice during one of our infringement cases. I am glad you touched upon it as it was one of the reasons we began adding the packaging to help deter against infringers and hammer home our intellectual property with the branding.

    Steve :)

  5. Steve Smith
    Steve Smith says:

    Re: Images containing labels/tags/packaging

    Thanks for the heads-up on this. We don’t have a vast product range on Amazon but the packaging shots aspect of this is interesting.

    I am sure they only just changed this as before packaging was allowed in the “Main” image so long as the product itself was also shown. Many of our products show the box also for the very reason you mention – we firmly believe packaging makes a difference and helps us to stand out. Without it I feel there is a real danger of our product offerings becoming homogenous with other sellers/brand owners. I really don’t see the problem of having a packaging shot as long as it does not interfere with the shot of the product itself. Indeed we always ensure the product itself is very prominent and in the foreground so there is no chance of confusion. Certainly our sales suggest consumers are perfectly happy with the display arrangements and what greater test is there?

    Yes, I know we can include packaging in the other images but having it on display in search and browse should not be underestimated. I hope Amazon don’t really clamp down on this at least in the categories we operate in but I suspect it is only a matter of time – yet another hoop or us to jump through and potentially damaging to business.

    I will be looking forward to raising this with our account manager via the Amazon Vendor programme if it becomes a problem.

    As a sidenote, I think there are other far more pressing issues that need to be tightened up on Amazon that are seriously detrimental to the customer experience – seriously I could write a book on it.

    Steve :)

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Hi Steve,

      “We don’t have a vast product range on Amazon but the packaging shots aspect of this is interesting.”

      See Kieran’s comment above, Amazon are suggesting that you should include packaging, not a very clear message here to sellers :/


  6. Kieran Collings
    Kieran Collings says:

    RE:Images containing labels/tags/packaging

    This contradicts Amazon seller performance department / Trademark violation team.

    They advise you SHOULD add packaging to the image to make it clear about the brand / trademark which you own.

    I can understand a “No packaging” approach to clothing but i do not thing it works for everything.

    As said above sometimes it is the packaging that really sells the product / makes it look great.

    Shocking timeline, 14 days, crazy, but we know that when Amazon say jump they expect you to do it instantly.

    Interesting article, for now i will turn a blind eye because my sector is completely different but it will be at the back of my mind.

    Thanks for the article Matt

    Take care.

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Kieran,

      Thanks for the comment Kieran.

      They advise you SHOULD add packaging to the image to make it clear about the brand / trademark which you own.

      Doh! And you’re right 14 days notice is nuts.



Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. @webretailer says:

    #Amazon image guidelines: single items, no models, and move it a little to the left! via @matthewogborne

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