Today, eCommerce is a $3.5 trillion business and is projected to be worth $4.9 trillion by 2021.
If you sell products online, you already know that competition is fierce and every vendor is looking for an edge. Science suggests you’d be likely to find that edge through your customer’s visual experience. After all, 90% of what our brains process is visual.
Whether we realize it or not, visuals are incredibly persuasive. 83% of online shoppers point to product imagery as the most influential factor in their buying decisions. Complementing your product copy with stunning visuals will help you sell products while you sleep. And in order to do so, you don’t need to invest in a pricey photoshoot. Platforms that offer virtual product photography features are a cost-effective way to create the right product images for your customers.
What is virtual product photography?
A virtual product photograph is a highly realistic 2D computer generated image, or CGI. The final result, when done well and with the right tools, is indistinguishable from a photograph taken with a camera in a traditional photography studio.
The goal isn’t just to show an image of the product, but to show off its features in a way that evokes a feeling in potential customers.
Creating a virtual product photo, requires utilizing product sketches, photos, samples, or existing CAD files. Those are used to build a model and then add shadow, color, and texture to create a photorealistic image.
4 ways virtual product photography can drive eCommerce revenue
Virtual product photography may sound expensive or time-consuming, but it’s just the opposite. Compared to the traditional methods at your disposal, it’s incredibly effective and can significantly impact your bottom line in the following ways:
1. Decreases customer returns
Nobody likes dealing with customer returns. From a financial perspective, returns can be a significant drain on your resources.
After all, it can get expensive to ship and restock items on your dime, all in the name of keeping the customer happy.
Avoid these pesky returns in the first place with photorealistic images. Skillfully rendered images allow your users to see features that traditional photography might gloss over.
Combine virtual product photographs with a 360-degree 3D experience to give customers a full view of the item before they buy. Something as simple as a visual can cut down on extraneous customer returns by as much as 20%, putting more cash in your pocket.
2. High-quality visuals
Research suggests that high-quality images increase the likelihood of customer purchase.
Perception matters in eCommerce. High-quality images justify the price tag to your potential customers.
That’s why you need the quality that comes with virtual photography. Normal photographs require a lot of editing and often don’t properly highlight product features. Product hero shots are a matter of adjusting angles and lighting and you have a superior quality image at your disposal.
Virtual product photography is so realistic that people can’t tell the difference between a virtual rendering and a high-end photoshoot.
3. Saves money and time
Traditional photoshoots can be expensive. It costs a lot of money to rent studio space, find equipment, hire photographers, and contract graphic designers. Even with these high costs, you often don’t get a wide variety of shots.
What if you photograph the products and have to redo the shoot to get a certain angle?
At the end of it all, your images will still need a lot of editing to get your desired result. That means you spend more money to get quality images.
Skip the lengthy, expensive process of setting up a professional photo shoot. Instead, you can control the outcome with virtual photography. Additionally, if you use an E-commerce platform, you can save even more time thanks to smart integrations.
Virtual photography helps you not only on the customer-facing side of your business but also in product iteration.
With virtual photography, you don’t need to build a physical model for each product iteration. Best of all, with virtual photography, you can adjust angles, colors, and more with a few clicks.
You can even share images of your product before it’s manufactured. This is great for product launches and rollouts so you can build excitement while scaling production.
4. Enhances image versatility and agility
The greatest thing about virtual photography is that, once you’ve built the model, you can use it in various applications.
For example, the Threekit platform offers virtual product photography as a feature among a myriad of other complementary features. The added benefit is that the same 3D model can be used elsewhere, like VR experiences and 3D interactive models, to get the most mileage out of your visuals.
Virtual product photography isn’t exclusive to any one industry; it can be used for any industry and any product.
Brands can be more flexible with product offerings. You can change the configuration, color, or material in a flash with 3D product configurator, allowing you to cater to customer needs quickly.
As an eCommerce brand, you need to protect your time and your margins. Virtual photography and 3D modeling heighten your offerings to build trust with wary online shoppers.
Get in touch now to see a personalized sample of our work with your product.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in April of 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and with additional detail.