Visual commerce: what is it, and why should your business use it?

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In the contemporary competitive ecommerce market, it’s important to use every tool available. Utilizing visual commerce can make your website more engaging and user-focused. This article focuses on visual commerce, its types, benefits, trends, and how to integrate it effectively into your ecommerce business.

What is visual commerce?

Visual commerce is a strategy in ecommerce that uses lifelike visuals across platforms to enhance the shopping experience. By using dynamic, interactive visual models instead of standard product images, customers can view products from all angles, helping them understand their purchase better.

Visual commerce goes beyond traditional images by incorporating elements such as 3D views, interactive videos, and user-generated content. This allows customers to feel more experienced with your product, as if they have interacted with it in a physical store, increasing conversion rates. The integration of augmented reality further enhances this experience by enabling customers to visualize products in picture-perfect quality, all within their own environment.

Types of visual commerce

Visual commerce includes various methods to showcase products effectively:

  1. Visual configuration: This allows customers to personalize products with live-updated 3D visuals, letting them see the final product before buying. For example, a bakery might offer a tool for customers to design custom cakes with their choice of frosting and colors, providing a realistic preview and cost estimate. Another example is furniture stores offering tools for customers to design their own furniture pieces, selecting materials, colors, and styles to suit their preferences.

  2. 3D product photography: This uses virtual rendering software to create marketing-ready images from design files without a physical photoshoot. It lets customers view products from multiple angles, enhancing understanding while reducing marketing costs and time.

    3D render refrigerator
  3. Configurable augmented reality: By creating 3D versions of products, customers can view how items would look in their environment before buying. Virtual try-ons for glasses, for example, help customers visualize their purchase. AR is currently generally used in the home decor and fashion industries, where it is used to see how a new piece of furniture would look in a customer's bedroom, or how a dress would compliment their body.

  4. User-generated content (UGC): Adding photos and videos created by customers can also build trust and boost conversions. Shoppable posts on social media, where customers can click through to the product page, effectively use UGC. Encouraging customers to share their experiences not only increases engagement but also provides authentic content that can influence potential buyers.

Advantages of visual commerce

In the digital shopping space, customers mainly depend on sight, sound, and touch. By improving the tech that interacts with these senses, visual commerce bridges the gap between digital and physical storefronts.

Enhanced customer experience

Visual commerce replicates in-store browsing, offering an engaging shopping experience. Augmented reality allows customers to explore products from their homes. This immersive shopping experience is crucial for building customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Higher sales

Visual commerce increases conversion rates by allowing customers to see products more vividly. When customers can interact with your products and see them in various contexts, they are probably more likely to make a purchase.

Unique brand identity

Strong visual commerce sets your brand apart, making it recognizable and distinct. By creating memorable visual experiences, you can build a stronger brand presence in the market.

Reduced costs

Visual commerce tools can greatly reduce the need for costly photoshoots. By using a visual commerce solution to create product images, you can lower your photography expenses. This not only saves money but also lowers the time it takes to get marketing material online.

Examples of visual commerce in action

Visual commerce is being used effectively by numerous companies to enhance engagement and satisfaction. Here are a couple of examples of visual commerce in action:

American Bath Group uses visual commerce to let customers and showroom staff visualize products in realistic settings. The 3D Source product configurator helps customers design their ideal bathroom on an engaging visual commerce platform. This approach not only improves customer satisfaction but also reduces buyers remorse with customers being more certain about their purchases.

Additionally, custom car-maker Gateway Bronco utilizes the 3D product configurator to allow customers to visualize their custom-designed car directly in their web browser. By enabling customers to see their customized car in detail, Gateway Bronco makes it easier to imagine their product in their customers hands, and increases customer engagement.

Implementing visual commerce in your ecommerce business

To effectively implement visual commerce, consider these tools and strategies:

  • Invest in the right tools: Select tools that create and manage high-quality visual content. These tools should produce high-resolution images and interactive models of your products.
  • Create engaging visual content: Focus on making high-quality visual content for your brand. Use lifestyle photos and vlogs to show off your products. Consistent, high-quality visuals build up trust and keep customers interested.
  • Use UGC: Encourage customers to share photos and videos of your products. Feature UGC on product pages to help build trust in customers, boosting conversion rates. User-generated content also adds trust and can be an effective tool for word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Optimize your website: Ensure your website is optimized for your visual content. A seamless and responsive website experience is crucial to keep customers engaged and reduce cart bounce rates.

Measuring the success of visual commerce

To gauge the effectiveness of your visual commerce strategy, it is vital to track these metrics:

  • Conversion rate: Higher conversion rates indicate that your visual content is effective in driving sales. By comparing conversion rates before and after implementing visual commerce, you can measure its impact.

  • Customer engagement: Measure engagement with your visual content, including time spent on product pages and interactions with visual elements. Higher engagement levels often correlate with increased customer interest and sales.

    3D render of social media marketing platforms
  • Customer feedback: Collect feedback to understand customer preferences and where you can improve. Surveys, reviews, and direct feedback can provide valuable insights into how customers perceive your visual content.

Visual commerce is constantly evolving, with a few trends defining modern visual commerce strategies. Here are some key trends to watch.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)

AR and VR are becoming mainstream in digital commerce, offering enticing shopping experiences by allowing virtual product interaction. As AR and VR technologies advance, they will provide even more immersive shopping experiences.

Increased use of User-Generated Content

Modern day brands are leveraging user-generated content more than ever. By offering authentic visuals to build trust among potential buyers, they are able to foster stronger communities around their brands than ever before.

The future of visual commerce

Advanced AI, personalized shopping experiences, and enhanced virtual reality will redefine visual commerce. These technologies will create immersive, interactive shopping experiences, boosting customer satisfaction and sales, and setting your brand apart in the ecommerce landscape.

Advanced AI

Future advancements will further enhance visual commerce, creating more realistic and interactive visuals for a superior shopping experience. AI can also help in personalizing the user experience by analyzing customer interaction with visual commerce mediums.

Personalized shopping experiences

AI can personalize shopping by recommending products based on customer preferences and behavior, such as recommending certain products after a user spends a long time interacting with a different, similar one’s model.

Visual commerce is changing online shopping. Using visual content and interactive tools, brands can create more engaging shopping experiences. This not only makes customers happier and more connected, but also increases sales and sets your brand apart. Look into 3D eCommerce and product configuration to improve your business.

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