Shoppers will develop a deeper emotional attachment to products they are able to physically touch. When consumers establish this attachment, they want to keep it in their possession. What this means for e-commerce is that the new technology of 3D product photography allows users to explore the shape and texture of a product and imagine themselves with the product.
There is a difference between 360 degree photography and 3D photography. 360 photography is defined as multiple images strung together to create a singular-axis experience with the product. True interactive 3D product photography is defined as a photorealistic scan of the item, representing the actual shape and texture, and can be interacted with on an infinite number angles and views at high resolution. This is what Prizmiq (previously 3D Product Imaging) can do for your product experience. When items can be full interacted with, spun, zoomed for detail, and “touched,“ it creates a experience similar to physical touch. In addition, consumers that have the opportunity to purchase from two different vendors will almost always choose a site with greater product detail and information about the product.
Although there are some key differences between the various forms of e-commerce rich media experiences, it is safe to say that continuing to enhance the product display experience with emerging technologies will be a benefit to the brand’s bottom line.
Don’t you hate it when the thing you need to say is so easily summed up with a tired cliché. Well, here it goes… A picture is worth a thousand words. There, I said it. In the case of e-commerce product photography and conversion, it is an unavoidable truth. For e-commerce brands far and wide, conversion is the lifeblood and presenting potential customers with an experience that does the product full justice is the means to that lifeblood.
All of this sounds pretty obvious, but in many cases we still don’t see e-tailers using product visibility to its full potential. One reason for this phenomenon is the fact that for some brands a photograph doesn’t convey the most ideal “thousand words”.
In a recent conversation with a local running shoe startup, we uncovered an interesting pain point. They have struggled with presenting their product in a way that that says enough but not too much. For example, they had tried traditional photography practices (2-3 angles) and a short blurb about product features, but what they found was that this approach wasn’t quite sufficient for more technically inclined runners who visited the page. Their products featured some really innovative construction and materials that differentiated them greatly from brands that could, to the undiscerning eye, be seen as comparable products. That’s when this company decided to take a different approach.
They decided to reduce the number of photos and ramp up the amount of detailed technical specs on their product pages. As you can imagine, to the layperson, deciphering the “arch angle, outsole contour and its correlation to your stride” requires a couple trips to trusty Google.com. So here they were…Stuck between too much information and minimalphotographs that show the true features of a product, an all-too-common problem that many e-commerce brands face.
The answer to this problem lies in yet another tired cliché: “Show, don’t tell”. If enough product specs can be visually conveyed, then there is no need for lengthy product descriptions. The customer should experience the difference as opposed to just reading about it.
The Information-to-Photograph Ratio
Our CEO, Darrick Morrison, in his work with an online retailer, once was tasked with identifying the optimal “information-to-photograph” ratio. What he found was that shoppers gravitate towards visibility. In A/B testing across thousands of products in dozens of verticals, the data told an interesting story. If a product page has a single image, customers appear skeptical of the product’s integrity and value. Often times a single image won’t do a product justice and many customers pass on buying online and go to a store. This phenomenon is commonly known as webrooming.
And that’s if the sale is made at all, in other words,“cart abandonment”. According to one study, people who abandon a cart more than once are 2.6x more likely to buy. But what if the sale could be made the first time around, sooner, and with less visits back to the cart?The only exception to this study Morrison found is when it relates to products that are standardized and commoditized, for instance, toilet paper.
Multiple shots, on the other hand, provided a huge bump in the customer’s confidence in a product, leading to a boost in the conversion rate. The fact that conversions rose was not the surprising part; the amount of the increase was astounding. When products can be viewed from multiple angles, consumers feel more secure in their expectations of the product, thus leading to a higher propensity to buy.
The next variable he tested was 360-degree product video. This category consists of product demonstration videos or 360-degree stitch photography, where the user can spin a product on a single axis. Again, the research found that product pages equipped with these assets saw even more of a conversion jump. From doubling to quadrupling, product videos are any business’s friend when they want to sell online. The same story was told in product returns. Returns can be a huge pain point and profit slasher for even the most established online stores. The inverse relationship between product visibility and returns allows retailers to hold onto the revenue that those increases in conversion have brought in.
An Interactive 3D Product Experience for E-commerce
Darrick’s findings are not just intriguing; they obviously have real business application. The next milestone for Darrick was to point out the next technology that would raise conversion, decrease returns and blow the mind of online shoppers. He asked “What would allow customers to fully interact with the product and mimic the in-store experience online?” and “What would allow the brands to provide more information for the spec-driven consumer while maintaining an optimal user interface and seamless experience?” And that’s about the time when Darrick gave birth to his beautiful new baby, prizmiq. You can read a little more about why interactive 3D product photography is good for your product from the comfort of this very blog.
The more comfortable a consumer is with a product, the more likely they are to buy. With online shopping forecasted to grow and grow over the coming years, it will be interesting to see how e-commerce practices evolve. Perhaps going to the mall will involve sitting down at your computer and putting on a virtual reality headset and browsing the aisles of your favorite boutique. The future of interactive online shopping is coming and coming quick…are you ready?
E-commerce turns 20 this year (if you count it’s birth being the introduction of selling books and pizza delivery online), and I think we can all agree it’s is anything but a few years past “minor” status. E-commerce is an integral part of our lives, credit card bills, and doorsteps. Check out the following infographic for some of my favorite moments in e-commerce of the last two decades.
1991 – Swreg creates the first online merchant account for selling software. 1994 – First ecommerce transaction by NetMarket.
1994 – Online pizza ordering and delivery made available by PizzaHut 1994 – Amazon is born.
1994/1995 – The first third-party services for processing online credit card sales began to appear (i.e. First Virtual and CyberCash).
1995 – Verisign begins developing digital IDs, or certificates, that verify the identity of online businesses. Verisign later certified that a Web site’s e-commerce servers were properly encrypted and secure.
People always expect marketers to keep up with the latest trends. As a marketer myself, I’m introduced to new technologies and services almost daily, sometimes hourly. It can get overwhelming. Product marketing on ecommerce is an area with plenty of options for enhancing your optimization efforts. Will this type of advanced photography, an interactive 3D photography platform, help us marketers realize our conversion goals? What are the real, verifiable reasons behind why 3D photography makes sense for ecommerce? Let me explain.
1. It’s true-to-life
3D scanning and 3D photography techniques are true-to-shape, true-to-texture, and true-to-color. Basically, it’s the closest thing to holding the product in your little hot hands. Once the assets are captured in a 3D studio, they are developed and rendered for display on ecommerce product pages.
2. It looks cool
…but not cool as in it will disappear in a few years. Uniqueness and standing out from the competition go hand in hand, especially when that competition could be nearby, or hanging out in the next browser tab.
3. It’s interactive
Instead of just paging through a couple of flat photos like a dusty old photo album, shoppers are able to spin, drag, pan and zoom the product at will. Freedom is a beautiful thing.
4. It’s a quality, high-resolution experience
There’s no room on the internet for blurry or visibly pixelated images, especially in a store setting when every impression counts. With a flick of the scroll on your mouse, you’ll be able to zoom in to the item and check out even the most tiny of details on the item in stunning resolution.
5. You can show more features
A great pair of laces on a pair of shoes, but also a fun tread? A lovely hem on an outdoor coat that also has ornate detail embroidery on the lapel? With 3D, all features can be explored and discovered by shoppers at their leisure.
6. Customers will be delighted
Happy shoppers turn into happy customers. Experiential marketing is valuable not just for brick & mortar, but for online as well. In the age of over-stimulation and issues around market saturation, it’s more important than ever to create experiences that draw in and delight customers.
7. Sales will increase
Studies show that the more viewable you make a product online and the better you display the product, the more you make it rain…in other words, the more you convert online.
8. Item returns will decrease
Good product imagery on your site should help manage the expectation of what the customer will receive in the mail. That means there are fewer uncertainties in the buying process and therefore less returns after purchase.
9. Shoppers won’t be kept waiting for the page to load
Aside from being annoying for the customer, the data speaks for itself in terms of load time’s impact on conversion. A case study by Intuit found that each 1-second improvement in page load times yielded a 3% increase in conversion rates. So 3D objects need to load quickly and act nimbly on the page for the best shopper experience possible and most optimal conversions.
10. Shoppers can view the model on any browser, any device
That’s right, desktop, laptop, mobile, tablet, or any other new fangled thing out on the market right now will support a 3D-enabled product detail page.
11. You’ll know what your customers like most about the product
Rich behavioral analytics will not just back up your decision to 3-dimensionalize an ecommerce experience, but also help your product development teams determine features to include or not include in upcoming product designs. This includes heat mapping of the shoppers’ specific interactions with the product viewer.
12. It’s a full-service platform
3D interactive photography includes 3D scanning, 3D object optimization, ecommerce platform integration, and analytics.
13. You can keep your other assets on the page
It’s still valuable to have in-context photos and videos of the item being used, so this does not need to be a complete replacement for your product display strategy. If it ain’t broke, optimize it instead with additional content to show it off!
14. It’s as easy to add to a site as other commercial photography options
Send your product to the scanning laboratory and production studio for processing, and be notified when the 3D object is ready to be integrated into the site. 3D objects are easily integratable into any and all ecommerce platforms (like Magento, Demandware, Shopify, etc.). Leave it to the professionals to make the magic happen, and it’ll be smooth sailing thereafter.
Seattle, WA – May 13, 2014 – Seattle start-up 3D Product Imaging has proudly announced the next wave of online customer interaction with their patent-pending 3D scanning process and interactive online viewer. Designed to create a more engaging customer experience, 3D Product Imaging is the first to offer a high-quality, fully rotational, seamless 3D image for online retailers.
From their experience at Amazon’s product imaging department, 3D Product Imaging’s founders have observed firsthand that advanced viewing technology increases the time a customer spends on a product page, produces a higher conversion rate, and reduces product returns. “After years of research,” commented co-founder Darrick Morrison, “we have finally found a way to replicate the in-store purchase experience online by giving customers total control of their viewing experience.”
3D Product Imaging offers a full scanning-to-viewing solution, including a very lightweight, cross-browser, no plugins required, interactive image viewer at prices comparable to existing product 360-degree photography and demo videos. With built-in behavior tracking and heat mapping, 3D Product Imaging is able to capture rich data about how customers interact with a product.
This cutting-edge technology offers brands the opportunity to get ahead of the competition by being among the first to embrace this exciting new technology. The company is now preparing to launch this product in the hands of a few initial clients and are looking for more first movers. We invite you to learn more by reaching out to us at www.3dproductimaging.com or contacting our CEO, Darrick Morrison, at email@example.com.
About 3D Product Imaging, Inc.
Established in 2013, 3D Product Imaging, Inc. is a Seattle-based startup revolutionizing the online product sales space. Pairing photo-realistic 3D product scanning with an interactive viewing experience, 3D Product Imaging offers online brands the ability to increase customer engagement to fuel greater conversions and reduce the number of product returns. From the 9Mile Labs accelerator, 3D Product Imaging is working closely with some of Seattle’s best entrepreneurial leaders. With experience from some of Seattle’s best startups including Amazon and Tableau, the founders are ready to hit the ground running, working with ecommerce brand partners to launch the technology on sites later this spring.