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    June 24, 2021
    7 minute read

    How Brands Are Utilizing Virtual Photography, 3D, and AR to Increase Digital Sales

    by: Brian Johnson
    “As the industry rapidly shifts and grows, and more and more consumer interactions and sales are moving through digital endpoints, brands and retailers are faced with the hard challenge to create the in-store shopping experience online”
    — Ashley Krahn, VP of Customer Success at Salsify

    Think about all the engaging content we consume on a daily basis: We scroll through cleverly crafted TikToks on our phone, challenge ourselves through lifelike video games on our computers, and watch live entertainment on our TVs. 

    But what about when we shop? Most people are online shopping these days and the vast majority of those experiences are a few plain images and some copy. Why is it that the content all around us has transformed into engaging and immersive experiences, but the digital commerce experiences have largely remained the same?

    “As consumers, as humans we spend a lot of time looking at super engaging content on our phones and consuming media that is ultra-rich in visuals. When someone goes shopping, they don’t change their opinion … they want something just as visually rich,” says Marc Uible, vice president of marketing and alliances at Threekit.

    Uible joined Salsify’s SJ Petteruti, principal go-to-market strategist, for a webinar to discuss how the content within online shopping platforms can match the engaging and visually rich content experiences we’re used to.

    Through augmented reality (AR), visual photography, and 3D media, brands can bring their products to life on the digital shelf and recreate the in-store shopping experience to the best of their abilities.

    Why Enhanced Content Is Important to Your Ecommerce Strategy

    Without the tactile experiences of in-store shopping, consumers need a way to be confident in their online purchases. Good content is what fuels this confidence. Detailed product descriptions and numerous images are the foundation of strong product content. 

    But that’s now table stakes. Providing enhanced content to the product detail page (PDP) can further attract, convince, and delight customers shopping on digital channels.

    Rich content like 360-degree spins, comparison charts, editorialized imagery, and videos go above and beyond consumer expectations. These content-types help consumers grasp a better understanding of the product and make a more informed decision on whether to purchase. 

    Improving the Customer Journey 

    The importance of the sufficient product information and engaging product experiences on the digital shelf is bleeding into the in-store experience as well. 86% of consumers rely on digital information while shopping in-person. Shoppers stroll the aisles and will look at PDPs online: browsing reviews and scrolling through the product content. 

    “We recognize how important ecommerce is for any brand’s retail strategy. The digital influence is now part of your in-store experience, too.” — SJ Petteruti, Principal GTM Strategist, Salsify

    Enhanced content is crucial for the entire customer journey on the digital shelf. From discovery to conversion, a PDP leads customers through the entire purchase decision. In fact, Petteruti explains that “more product discovery is now happening on retail search sites than anywhere else … more than Google or going into stores.” 

    Richer and more engaging content will increase your discoverability by improving search rank across ecommerce platforms. 

    Winning the algorithm on each marketplace or retailer site is crucial — 64% of Amazon shoppers click on the first three items displayed on the search page, according to Search Engine Journal.

    A-rated content attracts and converts 21x more customers than F-rated content, and better-selling products will rank higher on retailer algorithms — a snowball effect for an improving ecommerce search engine optimization (SEO).

    How 3D, AR, and Virtual Photography Take PDPs to the Next Level

    Brands can go beyond even the comparison charts and 360-degree spins of the ecommerce world. Marc Uible of Threekit, a brand with roots in Hollywood graphics and one of the first forays into 3D on the web, explains that immersive visuals can have an outstanding impact on your PDPs. 

    Three options Uible and Petteruti discuss are 3D, augmented reality, and virtual photography. 

    A 3D configurator enables your customers with complete control of building, rotating, and adjusting products in a 3D visual environment. Customizable products can be built in immersive ways that give an in-person experience on the digital shelf. 

    Augmented reality (AR) gives your customers the option to place your product in their own space to make sure the product fits “just right.”

    This can be a game-changing point in the decision-making process for a number of industries, including apparel and accessories, home decor, and sports and fitness. 

    Virtual photography can turn a single design file into hundreds of thousands of photorealistic images in infinite combinations.

    For example, a home decor brand could show a kitchen sink, but have customizable features like the design, color, material, and background to showcase a best-fit for the individual’s home without having to photograph an infinite number of variabilities.

    Use Immersive Experiences to Stand Out Amongst Competition

    Shoppers are asking for these immersive experiences on the digital shelf more and more often. According to a recent study, 60% of shoppers say they want more interactive mediums like 3D and AR, and 42% say they’d pay more for products that incorporate these items on the digital shelf, according to GlobeNewswire.

    Shopify found that when 3D and AR are incorporated into product visualizations, there’s a 94% higher conversion rate than products lacking those options. Engaging product experiences give consumers the information they need to be able to confidently purchase online. 

    The PDP isn’t the only place that immersive content experiences can exist. Uible explains that immersive experiences can be expanded across the enterprise. Customer success agents could configure products virtually and marketing communications could include real-time configurations with personalized product content.

    Picture getting an email advertising a shoe with your name stitched into it, or customizing an engagement ring live in a virtual setting. While the PDP is the main use case here, the power of immersive experiences can be replicated across the organization.

    Replicating the in-store experience isn’t an easy feat on the digital shelf. But with above-and-beyond content such as 3D, AR, and virtual photography, brands can create an almost-reality experience on the digital shelf.

    Creating these experiences at scale is possible and expanding these ultra-rich experiences across the digital shelf is within our reach. 

    Watch the full webinar to learn more about how immersive content experiences could make an impact on your ecommerce strategy.

    WATCH NOW

     

     

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