【Furniture Today 原文】
3 Cost-Effective Marketing Tactics That Will Help You Get Ahead of Your Competition in the Furniture Market
If there were one way to describe 2020 for home furnishing retailers, it would be “add it to cart”.
Of course, the furniture industry was already in the midst of a digital transformation before the black swan year, but the sudden onset of the global pandemic accelerated the transition.
What seemed like a nice-to-have in the business-as-usual context became an essential part of the “new normal” survival strategy. What’s that, you’re thinking?
We’re talking about a streamlined, cost-effective eCommerce presence.
In traditional retail, the convenient location and skilled sales reps might have been the main influencers on customers’ choice to purchase a particular item, but eCommerce has different rules. Or very few rules, to put it in perspective.
With brick-and-mortar shops closed, retailers of all types and sizes jumped online, fueling the competition for consumers’ attention and wallet share.
They quickly learned that online shoppers value a smooth user experience, detailed product descriptions, reviews, and an endless supply of compelling product visuals.
Millennial and Gen Z shoppers expect a minimum of 8 images and 4 videos per product to be able to “add it to cart” with confidence.
If you’re under pressure to increase online sales, reduce returns and retain customers, we give you 3 tried-and-tested ways on how to boost your eCommerce strategy while cutting costs.
#1 Experiment with 3D product visualizations…and reduce your marketing expenses by up to 10x
Traditionally, product photo shoots have been a complex, pricey process.
Here’s how it usually goes: you select the products, ship the prototypes to the right location, stage and light them, photograph them, and finally, return them to the warehouse. Then comes the post-production stage, when photographers have to edit and retouch the images to develop the final version.
But how many of us live in a perfect world?
In a less ideal but highly likely scenario, a creative brief will change, there will be a shipment delay, or photographers will let you down, and if the photoshoot isn’t salvageable, you’ll need to go through the same process again.
And even if things go to plan, the turnarounds of product photoshoots are ridiculously long. You’ll spend vast amounts of time and money dealing with logistics, rising expenses, and talent management. Plus, in situations where physical product photoshoots are not an option or products are not ready to be photographed, you’ll be in hot waters.
Enter 3D product visualization.
Advancements in 3D modeling technology have ushered in a new virtual product visualization era, offering brands a cheaper, more convenient alternative. Digital artists can now create photorealistic 1:1 models of products and use digital environments, lighting, and cameras to create a limitless number of image variants at a fraction of the cost traditional product photographers would charge.
IKEA, one of the earliest adopters of 3D product visuals, had already begun placing computer-generated models of their furniture in their catalog in the early 2000s. Today, over 75% of their marketing images are 3D renderings.
Just this past year, when the pandemic forced many non-essential businesses to shut down, Crate & Barrel almost canceled their seasonal campaign launch as no photo studio could execute a photo shoot. Switching to 3D rendering helped the company avoid losing a high-impact marketing campaign and saving money in the process.
So, where do you start?
The upfront costs and effort are minimal ? retailers can snap a few reference images with their smartphones and submit them to 3D artists through an enterprise platform like CGTrader ARsenal. Prices vary depending on 3D model complexity but tend to hover around the $50 mark for 3D modeling and post-production of each product.
One whitespace 3D rendering ? a 3D product model against a white background ? allows you to ‘shoot’ multiple images from every possible angle and perspective, giving consumers plenty of visual proof of the product’s quality and characteristics. Besides, you can easily change the colors, patterns, and textures of a product without producing and assembling each option.
#2 Create compelling product placements in lifestyle scenes…without time-consuming photoshoots
Lifestyle scenes have the power to ‘turn on’ customers’ imagination.
While browsing whitespace product renderings helps shoppers assess the quality and features from every possible angle, lifestyle scenes tap into the visual part of the brain, increasing the product’s desirability.
If you had to stage physical room-sets to showcase your products in various environments, it would weigh really heavy on your budget. 3D furniture visualizations, on the other hand, offer an incredibly cost-effective way of getting enticing, multi-purpose product visuals that work for digital and print.
The same classy leather chair can be inserted into different interiors ? from a photorealistic Scandi-style office to a cozy rustic style living room ? helping you capture the attention of customers of all tastes and budgets.
OTTO, the German-market leader in online furniture retail, provides a compelling example of leveraging 3D product visualizations as a competitive advantage. The company offers around 2.8 million unique items in its online store. Making professional photos of these products through physical photoshoots would require incredible amounts of time, effort, and financial resources. Imagine lugging these 2.8 million items into a studio or to picturesque locations worldwide, setting up a backdrop, hiring a photographer with the right equipment, taking at least 25 pictures of each product from various angles, editing them, and then selecting the best ones. Afterward, you’d also have to dismantle, pack and cart everything away 2.8 million times.
If it sounds like too much work, it’s because it is!
Computer-generated lifestyle scenes give brands creative freedom at a drastically reduced price. Nowadays, you can cut the workflow to just three simple steps:
Select a setting from a catalog of pre-made lifestyle scenes
Provide reference images of your product from various angles so that 3D designers can create photorealistic 3D models
Grab the files of the final 3D renderings and put them to work
The catalogs typically include a vast selection of photorealistic, high-quality scenes that can be edited to the tiniest detail ? adding or removing items from the scene to meet your project needs is a simple task. These services’ cost starts as low as $250 per rendering, helping you get the best visuals at the most affordable prices.
Browse CGTrader’s lifestyle product visualization catalog to get a better idea of what computer-generated imagery can do for your business!
#3 Bridge online and offline with Augmented Reality…and dramatically reduce product returns
Enticing product visuals have a tremendous impact on consumers’ engagement and quality perception. But we can’t ignore the fact that online shopping presents its own challenges ? for one, shoppers struggle to understand whether the selected product will fit in their home space and match the current aesthetic.
For furniture retailers, in particular, not resolving these doubts can cost sales and customer retention.
Augmented Reality empowers retailers to create an in-store experience online by enabling consumers to interact with and virtually try products before purchasing. Retailers making full use of ‘View in your space’ Augmented Reality in their online stores report having up to a 65% increase in their visitors’ purchase intention.
Better still, adopting “try before you buy” AR and VR product visualization can help retailers significantly reduce product returns. With the average return rates in the furniture industry ranging between 5 and 7 percent, even the smallest improvements can have a tangible impact on the bottom line.
One such example comes from the online retail giant Macy’s. After rolling out the technology, the retailer noticed their products return rates had decreased to less than 2 percent for these VR-assisted furniture purchases.
See how 3D viewers work by opening this product in AR with an Android or iOs device. 3D model by CGTrader.
The 3D Viewer tool allows users to interact with your products in any way they want: view, rotate, zoom in and out using web or mobile browsers on any device. The AR function takes the experience further: by merely pointing their phone camera at QR codes or using the ‘View in your space’ option, shoppers can check virtual to-scale product visualizations in their home ? with the ability to walk around them or get a realistic view of product size.
A growing number of market leaders are betting on the power of 3D product visuals and AR experiences. Wayfair has used 3D models to better inform consumers about their product specifications while also leveraging them in their advertising. And in early 2021, Ashley Furniture announced a major investment in technology, including AR and VR applications.
These are just a few yet telling examples of how mainstream 3D and AR technologies are becoming among home furnishing retailers.
And while we know the lockdowns will end this year, it’s more than likely that new consumer habits and expectations will stick post-pandemic.
If you’re ready to tap into the first-mover advantage and help your customers make better purchasing decisions, now is the time to act.
Let’s sum up…
Whitespace 3D renderings are relatively cheap and easy to produce and help you hit the ‘minimum of eight visuals’ expectation with modern shoppers
3D renderings of lifestyle scenes help you place your products in context and enhance their desirability
AR-powered shopping experiences help consumers see how products look and fit in their home space, eliminating the effects of buyer’s remorse
The transition to 3D imagery online is at a tipping point. As the world’s largest provider of 3D content, CGTrader can help you experiment with all or any of the ideas discussed in this article. Plus, with our free CGTrader ARsenal plan, you can host and manage all of your 3D assets from one seamlessly integrated platform.