How 360 Product Photography Can Improve Your Business
Updated: May 9, 2019
360 degree product photography is sweeping the internet and online retail stores at an alarming rate, but what can it do for your business?
What is 360 degree product photography?
3D product images are a relatively new technology that gives the freedom to view all sides of a product directly from your computer, tablet or mobile device. Viewers can zoom, rotate and view the product from any angle, giving them a better understanding of the product's size, quality and design. You can check out examples here.
“360 Degree product photos increase conversion rates by up to 51% and decrease return rates by up to 48%...”
So, what’s the big deal?
The big deal is that compared to a regular two-dimensional product photograph, 360 product photos bring the user one step closer to a real-life experience. It’s as close as they can get to handling the physical product in store without actually having to be there.
At first that might not seem like much of an advantage over traditional online shopping, but the statistics tell a vastly different story. 360 Degree product photos increase conversion rates by up to 51%, but perhaps more importantly they also significantly reduce the return rate from customers back to the store by almost 48%. That’s not just an increase in turnover; it’s an increase in net profit.
For any online business those statistics are staggering, but when you consider that some market types also struggle with naturally high rates of return, it becomes a real blessing.
20% of apparel and soft goods are returned from online purchases.
50% of expensive electronic items purchased online are returned.
As consumers, we can all relate to this. We order a jacket online, only for it to arrive and look completely different from the back than you envisaged from the model in the photograph. Or perhaps you ordered a state-of-the-art TV that claimed to have 3 HDMI ports in the product description, yet only has 2 upon arrival, rendering half your home entertainment setup completely useless. With 360 product images those issues are completely eradicated (provided you take the precious few seconds to look), because you can see any and all the “defects” before you commit buying.
By contrast, people who are notoriously fussy when it comes to making purchasing decisions are suddenly confronted with a wealth of additional useful information, meaning that they are more likely to make their decision immediately and purchase from your store. Does that mean they want to buy the product more seeing it from all angles? Not necessarily. But it does mean that they are more likely to drop it into their shopping cart if they were on the fence to begin with, and perhaps more importantly, stop wasting their time (and messing with your website statistics) by spending large amounts of time on a web page that ultimately they won’t purchase from.
Alright, so you're almost sold on the idea, but won’t it mess up your website? Nope. If you’re using the right type of company to complete your 360 spins for you, you’ll end up with something that you can “plug & play” directly into your website. What’s more is that viewers can get the experience directly to their mobile device or computer without having to download any additional software. Still worried? Many 360 services also provide image hosting, meaning that your website could actually get faster as you’re replacing old images!
Okay, let's talk costs:
Product photography used to be one of those things that if you were serious about selling online, then you would need a serious photography budget to match. There is no denying that true product photography is a skill rather than just a process. Photographers come with a great deal of experience in composition, lighting, environment and presentation, all of which is not lost on the customer and their final experience. That level of competency, experience and skill naturally costs money.
Miraculously, even though 360 degree product photos require arguably more skill and time, the trend has attracted photography wannabees who have driven the market price down. This new brand of self-proclaimed entrepreneurs can create 3D product images in a matter of minutes using little more than their iPhone and some thrifty bedroom lighting. The result is somewhat lacking in professionalism, and while no business owner would want that level of imagery at the forefront of their business hub, it has had the rather fortunate effect of driving the 360 photograph market price down lower than traditional 2D photography.
So there you have it. Proven to increase your sales, drive down your return rates, compatible across all platforms and at a snip of the price of regular two-dimensional product photography. The real question is, can your business afford not to go 360?