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It’s not just for movies or gaming anymore. For many kinds of products ranging from machine tools to greeting cards, visualization tools for e-commerce can have a powerful influence on shoppers’ buying decisions. When they can see a full 3D version of the product, or visualize how a piece of furniture or decor will look in a room, it increases trust and removes the uncertainty that stops conversion.
There are some compelling statistics that sum up the value of product visualization tools for e-commerce:
- People process images 60X faster than they do words.
- Images are the key factor for 59% of online consumers surveyed.
- Purchases can rise by up to 40% for brands that add 3D images to their product pages.
- Because consumers can really “examine” an item before they purchase, using 3D tools reduces returns by as much as 35%.
The investment in product visualization tools yields a blockbuster ROI.
In the world of e-commerce, the deft use of product visualizations can boost sales and decrease returns. The resulting increase to your bottom line will make the investment worthwhile. In many cases, it’s actually more attainable than using a team of professional photographers to take still photos or video.
Manual production of a similar number of images that a Digital product visualization would yield will cost about a thousand times more than the cost of the digital product. The ROI of product visualization tools is a decided advantage!
The most popular types of product visualization tools
There are four categories of product visualization tools:
- Augmented reality (AR)
- Interactive 3D
- Photorealistic 2D
- Virtual reality (VR)
AR is a means of digitally placing your product inside an image generated by the camera on a user’s smartphone, so that it becomes a part of the scene. AR is becoming highly popular in the Home & Garden space. If your product line features large, expensive items that are costly to ship or return, featuring AR in your product pages will prompt more consumers to buy from you — and fewer of them will seek returns. They’ll already be to tell if your product will work in their home setting, overcoming that frequent cause of hesitation or disappointment once it’s received.
Interactive 3D allows a user to manipulate a 3D image to see all of its dimensions and facets. It comes in various forms:
- Clickable points within the image that show how different parts move and the operations they can perform. They let you illustrate better how a product works when it’s put into use. They can also be used for trouble-shooting mechanical parts.
- Full rotations: The allow the user to see every side and angle of the product. Full rotations are very useful for technical and customizable products where the user needs to see how components or replaceable parts fit together.
- Image explosions: Similar to “sliced” images that show all the layers of a product’s construction, these actually appear in a 3D rendering to make them even more realistic.
Photorealistic 2D uses computer-generated 2D images instead of actual photographs. The quality is better, and the cost is lower. These are great for fashion or furniture products where a shopper might want to swap out colors and features using the same base image. Instead of asking your photographer to take thousands of dull, repetitive photos of the same thing in different colors or with different features, you can free them up to focus more on creative tasks.
Virtual Reality, which actually places the users inside a virtual environment where they can interact with objects found there, is still most popular for gaming, rather than for e-commerce. Few consumers have the VR headset required to fully experience your product in VR. It can also be disorienting, so unless there’s a compelling reason to place your product in a VR environment, this technology should stay on the back burner.
However, keep watching this “space.” If the Oculus Quest, a new and more affordable VR headset, could be heading for mass adoption. If it does, VR could be an open door to building a content community of loyal buyers.
Where to find product visualization tools
Once the province of medical device manufacturers, game developers, and blockbuster movie animation teams, product visualization tools are making deep inroads into the e-commerce space. Keeping your product listings on this cutting edge will place you leagues ahead of your competition at a surprisingly low cost.
disruptors and forward-thinking brands are the ones that have top-tier visualizations (including interactive 3D, photorealistic and configurable 2D, and AR). Soon, that will be the new normal.
My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.
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