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Not every product is self-explanatory, which can be a problem. If customers aren’t sure what they’re looking at, they might accidentally pass up the exact product they need.

Take gardening supplies like plant supports and fasteners. Experienced gardeners recognize them right away, but beginner gardeners who don’t are the ones who need them most!

In this PickFu Ranked poll, a German retailer wasn’t sure how best to showcase a gardening kit containing plant supports, fastening staples, and plant-friendly tape in a product photo. So, it tested seven different image options.

Using PickFu’s custom audience targeting, the user asked 50 people interested in gardening which image they preferred. The results came back in less than 3 hours, with one conclusive favorite.

Can you guess which one won?

The winner, after four rounds of vote counting, was Option C with a score of 60. The winning image shows a person’s hands securing the stem of a plant with the green tape. There’s no textual description or other items in the image.

Which One Won: first set of gardening products image test options
Which One Won: second set of gardening tools image test options

Option B, the runner-up with a score of 40, shows the plant from a distance with inset images of the staples and tape.

So why did Option C win? Why not one of the images showing all the tools in the package? Let’s take a deeper look. 

Show how the product works

Respondents who ranked Option C highest did so because they liked that it shows how the product works. Most of the other images focus on the items included, or the plant from a distance.

Only Options C and D — which scored a zero — showed people actually using the product. 

But why the low score for Option D, which demonstrates the staples instead of the tape? According to respondents, the image wasn’t descriptive enough and didn’t show enough of the plant. One respondent said it was “too zoomed in.” 

It’s also worth noting that this poll targeted only people interested in gardening. People who like gardening also like pictures of plants. This may sound obvious, but the poll results back it up. Respondents chose plant images over photos that showed more of the product.

You could apply this insight to other industries. For example, if you sell pet products, you might use images of animals to help illustrate your products in use.

The winning image from a PickFu poll, showing plant tape being secured to a plant
Respondents liked this image best out of the seven options.

Other highlights

  • Female respondents favored Option C while male respondents were split between Options C and E
Which One Won: gender breakdown for PickFu poll testing gardening product photo
Female respondents had a clear favorite, while male respondents were more divided.
  • Support for Option C waned as respondents’ income increased, except among the highest earners; of those, 60% preferred Option C and 40% liked Option E
Which One Won: income breakdown for PickFu poll testing gardening product photo
Option C was the top vote-getter among those with the lowest and highest incomes.

What they said

“I prefer the option that allows for you to see how the product is used and demonstrated on a real plant. Just seeing the product itself is hard to visualize how it is used.”

“I had trouble figuring out what this product was for. That is why I prefer any image that shows me that it is tape for a plant.”

“I prefer Option C because it actually shows the tape’s application on the plant, which gives me an idea of the ways I can use it.”

“I was very confused by [Options] F and A since those images were not clear enough about what I should be using this product to do. I liked the option that showed the person fastening the product to the plant to make it stay up and also appreciated the options that gave close-up views of how the product would hold a plant up.”

Key takeaway

If most customers don’t know what your product is just by looking at it, a photo with a demonstration can go a long way.

Sometimes it’s more effective to show all the items in a set. But for this particular product — which serious gardeners use and novice gardeners should use — showing how it works is more important than seeing what’s included.

Learn more about how to create product images that sell in this article on e-commerce photography

Want to dive deeper?

Results by commonly used words:

Results by gender (there were no non-binary respondents in this poll):

Results by income


Matt Ellis

Matt Ellis (he/him) is a freelance content writer specializing in design and e-commerce. For over a decade he's been sharing his industry knowledge through e-books, website copy, and blog articles. You can learn more about his career and writing services on his portfolio site,

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