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.
I remember being 12 and getting my arm stuck in a vending machine after my 6oz bag of Cheetos got its corner wrapper caught in the twist of death. It wasn’t that I loved the feeling of my tender, tweenaged under-arm skin being pinched, but rather the fact that I adored those dusty orange, deep-fried corn niblets. Cheetos’ jazzy carnivorous front man, Chester, has always stood out to me, as questionably related mascots of food brands should (here’s lookin’ at you Count Chocula). It’s no revelation that branded experiences guide everyday buying behavior. Furthermore, it’s no secret that, without branding, some shopping experiences turn into an uninspired browse down the generic cereal aisle. As Chester sits atop his swirly perch and beckons my name through the glass, I contemplate mega, mega-retailers whose brand experiences leave something to be desired.
In 1994, Amazon came onto the playing field like a juiced-up sophomore with his homecoming date in the stands. Amazon’s hormones raged, and his harem of products built the biggest vending machine ever. That is when the problem arose for brands; as a brand, “how do I separate myself from all the other brands that basically copied me, and now sell it for slightly cheaper?”
Nike was one of the first to figure out that, if a customer buys from its own online store, they make three times the profit. What most brands do not realize, is that the distributors and large retailers are not scared of the brand selling their own merchandise, but are really worried about being undercut by Amazon’s good looks and being attacked by a rogue Amazon drone.
Now, what we are left with, is a whole bunch of high-end brands that have never dealt with the pain of being a retailer. The new goal for brands is to create a better experience than billion dollar retailers. The answer: allowing customers to engage with products in a new way that leaves Amazon’s hands clean of orange dustiness. Just like the new Coke Freestyle machines that have 300 flavors, the future of eCommerce looks bright. One of their newest shining stars has emerged, click here to get the full experience.