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Kathrin Geldmacher
Digital Marketing Manager

How the WebP image format helps optimize product images for websites

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March 24, 2023

As a marketing manager, you are constantly faced with the task of managing the complicated balancing act between exciting creatives and small, fast-loading formats. Especially if you are partly responsible for presenting many products and their variants in an online shop, you know how quickly numerous media can accumulate and slow down the loading time of the product pages, possibly even overstraining the patience of potential buyers.

In order to optimize the performance, size and loading speed of your e-commerce shop for the benefit of your buyers, it is therefore worthwhile to always stay informed about technological innovations and try out new options promptly.

This is where the WebP image format developed in 2010 comes into play.

WebP is the open source answer from Internet giant Google to the selection of older image formats that existed so far. The innovative image format is intended to help website managers reduce media storage space in the long term without restricting the user experience.

What is the WebP image format?

WebP is a compact image format, which is used in Compared to other image formats, such as JPEG and PNG, offers excellent compression and quality for the web. It is particularly interesting that this image format was specifically intended and developed for the web in order to reduce the size of images without sacrificing quality. This feature makes WebP as an export format the ideal choice for Product images in e-commerce or in online shops.

WebP images come in two variants — lossy and lossless. Lossy WebP images are highly compressed, making them smaller but still maintaining good image quality. WebP lossless images also offer better compression without sacrificing image quality.

Both variants can - without affecting the image quality of your website - actively contribute to significantly improving the weight and performance of your website for your “impatient” users. Not to forget that your website can load faster with smaller product images and is therefore more suitable for the current search engines and their quality criteria of a “good website.”

How can using the WebP image format improve my website performance?

The file size of a product image is an important factor for a powerful product page. As the digital world grew, usable image formats also evolved for product images; knowing and using the right image format can therefore make a big difference.

As a relatively new image format, WebP promises to reduce the file size of your image and improve website performance. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of this new image format and how does it differ from older formats such as JPG or PNG?

Comparing WebP image format with other image formats

In order to be able to sort the power of the WebP image format - such as better compression and compactness - into the format landscape, you have to look at the WebP image format in comparison to other common export formats such as JPG and PNG. The following table shows the main differences between the formats:

Format Erfunden Transparent Verlustfrei Verlustbehaftet Animierbar Pixelanzahl Browser Unterstützung
JPEG 1991 Nein Nein Ja Nein Max. 65.535 x 65.535 Pixel 100%
PNG 1995 Ja Ja Nein Ja (Theoretisch) unbegrenzt viele Pixel 100%
WebP 2010 Ja Ja Ja Ja Max. 16.383 × 16.383 Pixel 97%

Overall, less pixelation is shown when using WebP images, resulting in much smaller file sizes. Lossy compression removes some or all of the raw data in an image while retaining some information about that image. Lossless compression, on the other hand, preserves all raw data in an original file as it existed before compression.

Pros and cons of using the WebP image format

WebP is an image format that improves your website performance in many ways by reducing the size of images through an innovative compression method.

The benefits of using the WebP image format are:

Better compression with very good image quality

Both WebP image format types - lossless and lossy - impress with their excellent compression: Lossless WebP images are approximately 26% smaller. Lossy WebP images also have approx. 25 to 34% smaller Images on, as comparable JPEG images.

WebP transparent product images

Without ifs or buts, the WebP image format also enables transparency within product images. Lossless WebPs support the necessary transparency in a product image with file sizes up to 3 times as small as standard PNGs. Where PNGs were previously the logical choice for released product images, you no longer need to make tactical considerations today.

WebP animated product images

And it gets even better: unlike a classic JPEG, the web image format can also be animated just like a typical GIF. Animated WebP images are of course also smaller than a standard GIF file.

Embedded properties in WebP product images

For the digital context and for SEO, you usually add helpful descriptions to product images in the metadata. The WebP image format also provides the option to add XMP and EXIF metadata to product images. The same applies to color management: You can embed an ICC profile in a WebP file to manage the colors in a file across devices.

Comprehensive WebP image format support in browsers

Another big plus of WebP is support from various operating systems and browsers (97% market coverage). Most modern devices already support WebP, so WebP images can also be used without plug-ins and market coverage is constantly improving.

Modern WebP images therefore not only ensure that your product pages load faster and become more user-friendly thanks to smaller formats. They also require less storage space for media, possibly saving money on hosting and relieving you of annoying image format decisions.

The drawbacks of using the WebP image format are:

Open graph preview and social media support

Unfortunately, some major social media platforms do not yet support the WebP format when sharing a product page preview (also known as Open Graph). This allows you or your customers to share links as usual, but a preview image may not be displayed within the platform. Not optimal, but fortunately, many platforms are expanding the format gap and in the future, WebP product images should also work as a preview.

Tools and plug-ins for converting images to WebP

Until recently, extra tools or plugins were required to convert a jpeg or png image into the WebP image format. Many graphics programs, such as Adobe Photoshop native export options or CMS providers, now offer conversion to the popular format via plug-ins. Developers' effort or fallback solutions, such as uploading additional PNG or JPEG fallback formats, are now off the table.

How do I use WebP images without sacrificing the user experience?

WebP images are a great way to reduce product page load times and therefore improve the performance of an online store. By taking advantage of WebP images and using the right techniques, you can ensure that your users have the best experience possible.

In principle, you should start by converting your existing product images in PNG or JPEG into WebP format and planning new images in the WebP image format; if necessary, directly when ordering new product images. There are simple solutions for both requirements that help you easily and efficiently publish your product images in WebP image format.

How do I convert my existing images to WebP format?

Image conversion to WebP format is becoming increasingly popular due to the smaller file size and better quality. If you have a lot of product images in JPG or PNG format, you can easily convert them to WebP using an online image converter, CMS platform plugin or graphics program. Some image converters even allow you to convert multiple images at once, saving time. The costs of converting to WebP also depend on the tool used, and many online image converters or CMS plugins are free of charge. Graphics programs, on the other hand, are chargeable as a complete package, even if the export is included in WebP format.

What tools and services help create and optimize WebP images easily?

To be able to use WebP images on your website or in your e-commerce shop, you need a CMS that supports the WebP image format. Many popular CMS platforms already automatically support the WebP image format today. However, if you have a self-developed website or shop system that does not natively offer the necessary format support, developers can integrate web image format support with Google documentation.

Once support for the WebP image format is resolved, you can either convert your existing product images to WebP format or create new product images directly in graphics software that allows you to save and export files as WebP format.

Product imagesr with onlineConvert e-image converters or software to WebP format

Online image converter

For all non-techies or people who just want to try out the WebP image format before optimizing all product pages with the WebP image format, online image converter tools are just the right thing to test. Recommended (free) tools include e.g. Convertio, Anywebp or ADOR design. Alternatively, you can quickly and easily choose a free tool of your choice in a browser search and get to know the WebP image format.

Online software

If you have a tech-savvy team in your company, you can pre-compile the CWebP conversion tool Download from Google and use it to convert your product images to WebP image format.

There are also great opportunities for e-commerce teams with developers: With Google's libWebP API, developers can also code and decode WebP files or with the API from TinyPNG batch conversions carry out.

Create WebP product images with (native) CMS plugins

Many CMS platforms have recognized the need for WebP support for quite some time and are helping content managers create the popular WebP image format with native integrations or extra plug-ins.


Webflow and the associated CMS have been supporting the WebP image format since spring 2022. You can either import product images directly in the new format or convert already uploaded images to the WebP image format using the Asset Manager. that WebP conversion tool from Webflow then converts and replaces images you're already using into WebP.


WordPress supports the WebP image format starting with the WordPress 5.8 version. So simply upload WebP images like other image formats, manage them in the media library and use them for your product pages. WordPress unfortunately doesn't have a native integrated conversion tool. However, there is a plugin called WebP Express, which allows you to automatically create WebP files and also compress JPEG files losslessly.


Shopify has a native and automatic support for lossless WebP images: No settings or code changes are required to use this feature.

Create WebP product images using graphics software

You can also create WebP files natively using many different graphics programs, including Photoshop, Google Photos, Blender, and many others. When you save a finished image in a graphics program that supports WebP, WebP is one of the export options.

Adobe Photoshop

(Product) marketing teams that work with Adobe Creative Cloud and Photoshop benefit from the native support of the WebP image format from version 23.2, both for product image creation and export. For older versions, Adobe provides a free plugin on their Website for download available.

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo has also supported importing and exporting the WebP image format since version 2, to the delight of its users. However, anyone who still uses version 1 of Affinity Photo will unfortunately have to pay for the upgrade to the next version in order to be able to use the function.

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