Solving the Challenge: Ordering Images on Shopify
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Shopify is a great product, which is why it is one of the five eCommerce platforms dominating the global market. The platform supports nearly 4.7 million live digital shops and claims an 11% share of the worldwide eCommerce market, making it the second largest after WooCommerce. But, one of the challenges related to Shopify, as with all eCommerce platforms, is the management of data and digital assets, including ordering images on Shopify.
One of Shopify’s pitfalls is the complexity of ordering images. While ordering images on Shopify is possible, some users experience challenges, especially when trying out different themes. For instance, consider this Reddit user who encountered issues with images displaying improperly on their site even after ordering them. The problem was only resolved after some tweaks inside the settings of the Shopify theme, highlighting the importance of efficiently ordering images on Shopify. This fix may overwhelm some users, especially those without the technical know-how to navigate the settings section. In addition, manually uploading and ordering images for every product in every store can be time-consuming.
The theme here is clear – ordering images on Shopify is crucial yet time-consuming and error-prone. The sooner you solve the challenge, the better.
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Why Ordering Images on Shopify Properly Is Crucial
Having properly ordered images on Shopify product pages is crucial for several reasons:
- It improves the user experience for customers browsing products across multiple stores. Shoppers want to see the most representative and appealing photos first to quickly understand what they would be purchasing. If less relevant or lower-quality images are shown first, it could be confusing or unappealing to customers.
- Image order impacts search engine optimization (SEO) across all stores. Search engines determine relevance by looking at image factors like filenames, alt text, captions, and prominence. So, placing your most SEO-optimized images first will help pages rank higher for relevant queries, leading to more organic traffic across stores.
- Enhances storytelling – A logical image sequence connecting with product details and description lets you tell the product’s story better.
- Improves branding – Properly ordered images can complement your brand by reinforcing product styling, messaging, and emotions you want to evoke.
- Highlights product details – Properly ordered images draw attention to critical features, unique selling points, and desirable aesthetics you want to showcase.
- Creates visual hierarchy – Thoughtful order guides the eye through essential visuals, from hero to supplementary images.
- Builds customer confidence – Images that reveal materials, construction, sizing, and uses from critical angles provide customers assurance to buy.
- Allows comparisons – Juxtaposing hero images first enables easy visual comparisons between color, style, or size options.
- Boosts conversion rates – Images displayed in optimal order make it easier for customers to visualize using the product, building trust and compelling them to purchase.
However, organizing large image libraries across hundreds or thousands of products and multiple stores is enormously time-consuming to manage manually. So, having an efficient automated approach is necessary to scale and maintain well-ordered images across all stores on a Shopify platform.
In this light, this article attempts to provide solutions to the main challenges that Shopify users (especially those managing multiple stores) experience. But first, let’s ensure we know some challenges the users are more likely to encounter.
The Challenges of Ordering Images Across Multiple Shopify Stores
Mapping Images to Different Stores
Shopify has plenty of native tools that make it a robust product, although a few, such as tools to map and assign primary product images per-store basis, are missing. Without them, users must manually set the image order and hierarchy individually for each product page in every store.
For enterprise brands with multiple Shopify stores, mapping specific images to individual stores is incredibly tedious and complex. Suppose you have three different stores and sell 80 power tools; you’d need to manually adjust the image order and primary photo for those 80 products across the three separate stores. That’s 240 product pages to touch to map your desired images to each store!
Without a streamlined way to map images to stores in bulk, industrial Shopify merchants face a major headache keeping photo representations consistent and optimized across their different stores. Any time new product photos need to be added or image priorities adjusted, the mapping process must be done store-by-store manually. This discourages frequently optimizing product images since it involves so much repetitive manual work to update all stores. As more products and accessories get added to inventory, the mapping problem compounds exponentially across stores. Keeping logical and consistent image-to-store relationships becomes unsustainably tedious.
Keeping Variant Images Separate
It is common practice in many eCommerce platforms to differentiate between primary product images and variant-specific images. For instance, Shopify allows you to upload multiple images for a product, with one designated as the primary image. Additional photos can be associated with specific product variants, a feature that allows for more detailed product presentation, as each variant can have its own distinct image. This feature is among the many that make Shopify a contender for the top spot among the many eCommerce platforms in the market. Some popular alternatives like Magento don’t offer this capability natively, so users have to make do with third-party plugins.
However, Shopify does not provide tools to separate these image types across multiple stores easily. While primary and variant images can be categorized on one Shopify store, this categorization doesn’t extend to other stores selling the same products. The image differentiation needs to be redone store-by-store manually.
For enterprise brands with hundreds of products across several stores, this means meticulously re-separating photos in every store. Differentiating primary from variant shots becomes excessively tedious without automated syncing or carrying over categorized images.
The challenge intensifies as more variants, such as product types or colors, are added. Expanding image libraries demand repetitive reorganization. This overhead discourages promoting new industrial product variants and styles across stores since the images must be continually reorganized.
Scattered Image Storage
Shopify allows users to upload as many product photos as possible to showcase their wares to visitors. Once uploaded, the platform stores images in a CDN and automatically replicates them across all its servers. This process makes the product photos quickly retrievable and helps speed up your website’s loading speed.
However, enterprise brands operating multiple stores do not enjoy the seamlessness. While Shopify provides a CDN to store images for each store, there is no unified central repository for users to source product photos across multiple stores. This creates considerable challenges in maintaining visual consistency across the stores.
Since the CDN is isolated per store, the same product may have wholly different or missing images on the brand’s US retail store versus their UK wholesale outlet. Lacking a centralized image-sharing system, the merchant duplicates efforts by re-uploading product photos to over 10 store CDNs.
Worse still, they can’t guarantee consistent branding and visuals for the same branded drill or saw across all stores. This fragments the customer experience.
No Drag-and-Drop Reordering
Shopify users can easily reorder images and other assets within stores, although the functionality is only available within each store. This means you do not have the means to use this capability to reorder images across multiple stores in one go. So, for a merchant with five different stores, the drag-and-drop must be manually replicated in each store.
The challenge is that sequencing images tailored to each store requires repetitive drag-and-drop actions across every store. There is no native Shopify tool to sync or copy the organized images from one store to another.
Default Order Based on Upload Time
Shopify determines the initial image sequence on product pages based on when photos were uploaded, causing issues when the upload order differs from the ideal relevance order. For merchants operating more than one store, their hero image highlighting key product features may upload last. Key photos may surface last, buried under less important images uploaded earlier.
The merchant must manually reorder every product image across all stores to override the arbitrary upload-based order. As more stores and items are added, it becomes unscalable to keep fixing the sequence store-by-store.
No Batch Ordering
The Shopify App Store has many apps you could use to reorder images in bulk. Even then, you’d only be able to do this one store at a time. For an industrial equipment company with numerous tools in various stores, this significantly hinders efficient image order optimization and syncing. Having to manually set the image sequence on every single product page across many stores makes maintaining a coherent visual strategy impractical. It simply does not scale as inventory grows.
No Central View of All the Stores
The recurring issue for multi-store Shopify users is the inability to replicate processes consistently across various stores. Furthermore, the most impacted users are enterprise brands that have to operate at least two storefronts for audience targeting. In addition, in other words, this category of Shopify users does not have a central view of the stores at the organizational level.
For instance, these users cannot view image orders across multiple stores using a consolidated dashboard. Moreover, they can only check image sequencing on each store individually. Consequently, as a result, the users cannot analyze the bigger picture of their visual merchandising strategies across all active stores. Furthermore, they lack visibility into what images are missing, inconsistent, or poorly performing holistically.
Eventually, every multi-store Shopify user will do all they can to overcome these challenges. Additionally, some may leverage third-party apps, and others, perhaps driven by fewer resources, may resort to a manual approach. However, the problem with the latter is that manually handling image orders across an extensive product catalog leaves massive room for human error. Furthermore, even small mistakes can lead to problems.
Without a proper fix, such as a management solution that automates ordering images on Shopify across multiple stores, merchants may encounter adverse effects; consequently, including:
- Customer confusion – Inconsistent or irrelevant images on different stores for the same products leave shoppers unclear about what they are buying.
- Lower conversions – Unoptimized image orders fail to showcase the most compelling product features and visuals to persuade shoppers to purchase.
- Higher return rates – When product photos are scattered or unclear, customers often receive items that do not match expectations, forcing returns.
- Duplicate work – Assigning images store-by-store requires wasteful, repetitive efforts to organize inventory already uploaded.
- Slower product launches – Onboarding new products may stall when images must be slowly re-processed for each added store.
- Negative brand perception – Disjointed imaging makes product quality and branding seem haphazard to customers.
- Difficulty scaling – More SKUs and stores multiply an already unmanageable manual image ordering process.
Granted, a multi-store approach on Shopify is challenging; however, that doesn’t take the shine off the platform’s robustness in the eCommerce space. The siloed approach to how each store handles product content is a small matter that you can handle easily with the help of solutions like digital asset management (DAM) software. Let’s see how to approach image ordering on Shopify using this tool.
Overcoming Image Ordering Challenges with DAM Tools - A Hypothetical Example
A DAM platform is a critical aspect of product content management: it enables you to manage and optimize documents, branding materials, videos, images, and other digital media related to your products. The tool is essential for businesses of any size as it reduces the time spent searching for files, ensures brand consistency, and improves team collaboration. But precisely how does it enable Shopify merchants to overcome the challenges of ordering images across several stores? Let’s see how Rockwell Power Tools, a hypothetical company that manufactures and sells electric power drills, saws, sanders, grinders, pneumatic tools, yard tools like trimmers and blowers, and accessories like batteries, chargers, cases, blades, etc., leverages the DAM software.
The company has built an online presence using Shopify and operates four stores:
- RockwellTools.com – Main eCommerce store focused on consumers
- RockwellPro.com – Separate store for professional contractors
- RockwellWholesale.com – Bulk ordering and discounts for resellers
- RockwellUK.co.uk – UK-specific store for British consumers
As part of the strategy to boost sales, the management deployed a DAM tool to manage digital assets for all four stores centrally. Among other things, they intend to use the platform to order images because it was flagged as one of the main reasons for poor sales. Here is how the DAM tool helps the company:
Consolidates Images from All Stores Into One Unified Library
The company struggled with scattered image storage across individual folders and drives for each Shopify store. This made it extremely tedious for teams to locate and share the correct product images in each store.
The DAM consolidated every image for the products in all stores into a single unified digital library. All its electric drill photos, power saw pictures, sander images, and pneumatic tool visuals now existed in one place. This eliminated the fragmented storage challenges Rockwell faced—no more digging through scattered folders and external drives containing incomplete image subsets. Every approved asset was now in the DAM for their marketing team to easily find and distribute to any store.
Most importantly, the consolidated library ensured Rockwell had one source of truth for each power tool image. There was no more confusion about which scattered folder contained the latest image version. The DAM became the definitive repository, housing the definitive visuals.
With simplified access to all creative assets in one view, Rockwell gained control over their image management process. Their marketers could swiftly locate, share, and enhance images as needed to optimize the customer experience on each Shopify store.
Allows Bulk Image Editing and Reordering Across All Stores Simultaneously
With one source of truth for each product image, the company can now perform any process in bulk, including ordering and editing, without worrying about completeness or appropriateness. Previously, Rockwell’s marketers had to tediously reorder and edit images on each store individually; making a simple image update across stores resulted in a substantial redundant effort. With the DAM platform, Rockwell can now bulk edit, rearrange, tag, and modify hundreds of images for multiple products and stores simultaneously.
For example, let’s say the company wants its cordless power drill hero shots to appear first on the pro contractor site while highlighting lifestyle photos on its main site. Rather than manually rearranging the sequence on each site, they can use the DAM to reorder those images in bulk instantly.
You can make any image modifications, like cropping and re-sizing, once in the DAM, and it will automatically sync out to all your stores. Even better, you can color-correct an image and add text overlays in Adobe Photoshop, which the DAM seamlessly updates and then maps to all connected Shopify stores. Catsy DAM has a Photoshop plugin that enables this, saving massive amounts of repetitive work.
Syncs Ordered Images To All Connected Stores Automatically
Although the company could maintain consistent product image order across its stores, it was challenging, and room for error was common. For instance, if they wanted to update the sequence for a cordless drill, it required manually reordering on each store.
The DAM software makes things much easier and eliminates the room for error. The DAM platform automatically syncs any image changes across the company’s connected stores. When they reorder and optimize the product photos in the central repository (the DAM’s database), those new sequences instantly propagate to all stores. This process is more seamless when the DAM software directly connects with Shopify, and a great example is Catsy DAM. Catsy is one of the market’s most capable product information management (PIM) and DAM solutions. It offers the PIM and DAM as a single package, so users can seamlessly access all crucial product content management capabilities under one roof. The tool is excellent when it comes to transferring data with Shopify. It has a native API connection to Shopify, which enables users to push assets to multiple Shopify stores.
If Rockwell adopted Catsy DAM, the automated sync would ensure that existing sequences remain undisturbed, even as the company adds new products and images. Any new store brought online inherits the optimized foundation sequencing without extra work. Consequently, the company can launch new stores faster by quickly replicating existing organized image libraries.
As illustrated throughout this article, multi-store Shopify merchants face numerous challenges ordering images on Shopify – from scattered storage to inconsistent ordering. Manually managing these assets across stores is enormously cumbersome, leading to issues with ordering images on Shopify. This article has demonstrated how implementing a purpose-built DAM like Catsy is an indispensable solution.
The DAM provides centralized access to all product images in one place, eliminating fragmented libraries and ensuring that the ordering of images on Shopify is no longer a challenge. Bulk editing effortlessly allows mapping images to multiple stores with tailored hierarchies that stay synced, ensuring that the process of ordering images on Shopify changes for the better. It preserves any image sequence optimizations when pushing visuals back into Shopify, offering an efficient way to check and maintain the ordering of images on Shopify.
For multi-store Shopify users, this centralized control and automation save massive time organizing inventories already uploaded while making new product launches exponentially more scalable, thus revolutionizing how they handle ordering images on Shopify.
See how Catsy can help you with your multi-store Shopify management. Book a customized demo today!
Major challenges arise from the lack of native Shopify tools to map images to stores, differentiate primary vs. variant images across stores, have a unified central image repository, bulk reorder images, and override arbitrary upload order. This forces repetitive, manual work to organize images differently for each store. As merchants scale more products and stores, mapping appropriate photos becomes highly laborious and fragmented.
Thoughtful image order improves customer experience by showcasing the most relevant, high-quality photos first. It boosts SEO as search engines factor image prominence into relevancy. Logical sequence enhances storytelling and branding by connecting visuals with product details seamlessly. Hero images draw attention to critical features and aesthetics to highlight. Hierarchy guides the customer’s eye through key visuals. Comparisons enable easy visual contrast of options. Overall, optimized order builds trust and compels customers to purchase.
A DAM provides a centralized library of all product images. This enables bulk editing and reordering of images across multiple stores simultaneously. Any changes made in the DAM can automatically sync to connected Shopify stores. Eliminating repetitive manual work ensures a consistent, optimized foundation as new stores are added. A unified repository also aids collaboration and makes it easy to locate the right approved assets.
Without a streamlined way to scale image management, merchants risk customer confusion from inconsistent visuals, lower conversions from suboptimal sequences, higher returns from unclear photos, duplicate effort to reorganize images, slower product launches from greater onboarding overhead, negative branding from disjointed images, and extreme difficulty efficiently scaling more products and stores.
Catsy has a native API connection to Shopify, allowing automated propagation of assets and sequences. This saves error-prone manual work. Bulk edits made in Catsy’s centralized library instantly sync across stores. New stores added inherit the optimized foundation without extra work. This makes launches faster and gives merchants full control over image presentation.