Introduction to Interactive Product Visualization and Why Your Business Needs It

“Change is inevitable — except from a vending machine.”

— Robert C Gallagher

Interactive Product Visualization is the emerging trend of 2019 and 2020. Businesses that are ready to adapt to the changes have an enormous advantage over businesses that still rely on old methods. One such change is letting the user interact with product images.

Instead of presenting 2D images of your product, you can use 3D models that the customers can interact with and examine your product more comprehensively.

There are many benefits of using product visualization in business, both to the businesses and the consumers.

What is an Interactive Product Visualization?

Interactive Product Visualization makes use of 3D modelling software or 360° product photography that can be used to create a 3D model of your product. You can put this model on your website, and customers can interact with it using a mouse.

Some of the following industries can benefit highly from using interactive product visualization:-

  • Consumer product sellers (e.g. footwear, eyewear, apparel, electronics, furniture, safety equipment etc.)
  • Automobile manufacturers
  • Real estate agents
  • Interior designers

However, despite its advantages to a wide range of businesses, interactive product visualization is still not a main-stream feature of E-commerce websites.

A closer look at some benefits of interactive product visualization may change your mind.

Benefits to the customer

Interactive product visualization helps your business by providing a much better experience for your customers.

1. Reduction in return rates

According to the data, 30% of all the products bought online are returned. The main cause is the difference between what the customers expect and what they receive. This is particularly true for clothing and footwear.

Product visualization helps your customers by providing a comprehensive view that enables your customers to inspect your product from many angles. Thus, your customers can make better informed purchase decisions and potentially lead to fewer returns.

2. Strong sense of ownership

With product visualization, customers can try out all variants in your product range. They can play around with different color schemes, models and accessories.

Before buying a black almirah, people may want to see if it looks good against a red wall. Similarly, some other people may want to see if the eyewear that they are considering will suit their face or not.

If people can visualize how using the product will feel like in real life, they may gravitate more towards buying the product.

3. Ease of customization

Sometimes, with lots of customization options, the customer may become confused and feel the need to delay a purchase.

Customizing a product is a cumbersome process. The user has to click on several images for each and every product variation, such as colour and design. It will take many clicks and tries in order to customize a product according to one’s liking.

Interactive product visualization gives the customer the power to apply multiple product variations and then check the product from different angles by dragging it with a mouse. Eventually, they will come up with an end product that truly speaks to them.

The Ultimate benefit to you

Amidst intense competition among E-commerce businesses, the use of interactive product visualization will be your advantage.

People will remember your brand because of the superior shopping experience that your website provides. Dealing with fewer returns will, in turn, mean cost savings for you too.

In the long run, you can end up having more loyal customers because of the quality of your products and services, combined with the great customer experience that you provide.

With all these benefits, shouldn’t you be ready to embrace interactive product visualization?

Methods of implementation

You have 2 options for implementing interactive product visualization on your website.

1. DIY

  • Using 3D modelling

The basic requirements for making computer-generated 3D models are a high-end computer and 3D visualization software.

If you are good with 3D modelling, you can go DIY! What if you don’t know how to use these software programs? You can then learn to use 3D visualization software in about one to two months and be able to make simple 3D models.

In case you have decided to create the 3D models yourself, you will have to invest in a high-end PC. The average cost is around $800. You can get either a free or paid software to do the rendering.

The cost of paid software ranges from $200 to $2000 annually.

  • Using 360° product photography

This requires professional photography equipment and the know-how of operating the camera and processing images through a software.

The difference between 3D/CG models and 360° product photography is that CG models do not require a ready prototype of the product.

Sometimes businesses prepare the CG model before the prototype is ready, in order to get advanced insights about how the product may look and feel.

You can expect to pay anything between $450 — $1200 for a DSLR, depending on the features you want.

You will also need a tripod, lights and a turntable. All these will cost you roughly around $200 in total. Check out this guide for more information on 360° product photography.

Apart from spending money to invest in equipment and software, you will also have to factor in your time.

2. Outsourcing

Outsourcing may make more sense than attempting to create interactive product visualization end-product yourself. This way, you can focus on the core money-making activities while your website is being updated.

Many freelancers and professional firms offer 3D product rendering and photography services and their services are just an internet search away.

The price of the model will depend on its complexity. You can expect to pay around $300 for one simple CG product visualization (for example- shoes, clothing, helmets, etc). 360° product photography will cost you slightly lesser.

The price can go up to $10,000 for making very detailed and complex CG models.

Use this price calculator to find out how much your project can potentially cost you.

Why choose it over traditional product photography?

The average cost of professional product photography is $25-$125/product. To properly represent a product, at least 3–4 images are needed. The transportation cost also needs to be accounted for.

You may end up paying slightly more for product visualizations than traditional photography. However, given the long term benefits of offering interactive product visualization on your website, you are likely to break even quite soon.

And while you ponder on your preferred method of implementation, here are some really cool applications of interactive product visualization to excite you.

Examples of websites using interactive product visualization

FDomes

FDomes is a Poland based company that sells custom made domes designed for various accommodation needs. The size and purpose of the domes can be chosen by the customer.

Made

Made is a UK-based furniture brand. The customers can see the 3D image of the furniture on the product page along with traditional product images.

Groupe SEB

Group SEB is a large French Consortium specializing in home appliances. The interactive product images help the customers to understand complex products better.

Xenith

Xenith is a Michigan based sports equipment brand. Click on this link to see the 3D representation of one of their products.

Panic

Panic is developing a handheld gaming device (which is available for pre-order). The website features a 3D model of the handheld that can be rotated around with the mouse.

Sources-

  1. https://www.invespcro.com/blog/ecommerce-product-return-rate-statistics/
  2. https://www.format.com/magazine/resources/design/3d-modeling-software
  3. https://www.ecwid.com/blog/guide-to-360-product-photography.html
  4. https://3d.fdomes.com/
  5. http://www.rendermatic3d.com/3d-rendering-cost-calculator/
  6. https://www.made.com/kubrick-wing-back-chair-scuba-blue
  7. https://www.krups.nl/evidence#section3d
  8. https://www.xenith.com/products/shadow
  9. https://play.date/

Shubham is a freelance writer for hire. He work closely with companies in the E-commerce niche. Visit him at www.wordsinbound.com.