Mairead Mc Keown, Librarian & Information Specialist, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board

Are you an Irish supplier who wants to make it easier for mobile shoppers to shop your brands whilst increasing your online sales? This FoodAlert will look at image guidelines that will improve mobile shopping experiences for shoppers worldwide and help make your brands upwardly mobile.

Once upon a time, most online transactions took place on a laptop or desktop but now more than 50% of e-commerce transactions are conducted on mobile in some countries including Japan, Norway, Sweden and the UK. In other countries, the trend towards mobile transactions is also increasing, and it’s only a matter of time before they too pass the 50% point (Statista, 2018). Against this backdrop, it’s important to note that shoppers tend to focus on the images on e-commerce websites, rather than the text. However many conventional pack shots fail to convey critical information to shoppers.

The best way to help mobile shoppers make the right decisions faster is to convey the following four pieces of information:

  • Brand
  • Product type e.g. cheddar cheese
  • Product variant e.g. grated or block
  • Size

The good news is there’s no need to reinvent the wheel on this because Unilever have collaborated with the University of Cambridge to develop Mobile Hero Ready Images. These images provide a clear, readable and consistent alternative to conventional pack shots.

A Mobile Ready Hero Image:

  • Is created specifically for e-commerce to act as the primary image in thumbnail results (e.g. with search, favourites and store categories).
  • Makes better use of space than a conventional packshot — see image below.
  • Is designed to work well on all screen sizes that are typical for online retail (approximate 16mm on mobile, 23mm on tablet and 48mm on laptop/desktop).
  • Helps the online shopper to better recognise four key pieces of information (brand, product type, variant and size), especially when scrolling through images quickly.
  • Includes a pack shot which may be zoomed and/or cropped to deliver better legibility and recognition of the brand and variant, especially on tall thin products such as bottles.
  • May include (if necessary) a box containing the size in the bottom right (see standard layouts for more details).
  • May include (if necessary) a stripe on the right-hand side or bottom specifying the product type (see standard layouts for more details). (University of Cambridge, 2018)

Aligning with two of the biggest lifestyle trends (Fuller Lives and Engaging Experiences) shaping the lives of consumers around the world, Mobile Hero Ready Images keep the needs of the shopper at the heart of the mobile shopping experience. Fuller Lives – “I want to use my time to be as productive and sociable as possible, flowing from one thing to the next, and helped, not hindered by tech”; and Engaging Experiences – “I want moments of discovery that delight and enhance my day.” (Bord Bia, 2018). Shoppers choose to use mobile grocery shopping for convenience and to “save time”. Mobile Ready Hero Images reduce the need for shoppers to check the text on the screen so their shopping experiences are more engaging, and the right decisions can be made faster. They have also been shown to have a positive impact on brand sales. According to Oliver Bradley, e-commerce director at Unilever, “During an eight-week A/B split test with a retailer, Magnum’s hero images led to a sales increase of 24%.”

The bottom line is Irish suppliers who want to make mobile shopping easier for shoppers and grow their brands online should check out the Unilever commissioned website with freely accessible guidelines and templates on Mobile Ready Hero Images. Please note GS1 have produced their own mobile-ready hero image guidelines which were developed in the quest for a global standard. The GS1 guidelines set out recommendations for creating images that allow shoppers to make quick and accurate purchase decisions. Both sets of guidelines should be consulted when undertaking further research on Mobile Ready Hero Images.


Fuller Lives – Bordbia. (2018). Retrieved from

Engaging Experiences – Bordbia. (2018). Retrieved from

GS1 Mobile Ready Hero Images Guideline. (2018). Retrieved from

Mobile commerce share by country 2018 | Statistic. (2018). Retrieved from