What is 360 product photography and why it will work for your business

What is 360 Photography and why it will work for your business

This article is for all business owners, marketing types, and anyone trying to get their product to stand out from the competition.

In this article I hope to give you an overview of the world of 360 product photography and the value it can provide so you can decide if it’s right for your business. 

I’ll cover the following but feel free to skip to the part you need now.

  1. What is 360 Product photography?
  2. What is Multi-Axis photography?
  3. The Psychology behind 360 product photography.
  4. How much value can 360 product photography give you.
  5. This is all great but is there a downside?
  6. Can you do this yourself?
  7. Conclusion (key points if you have only 1 minute to pitch 360 product photography)
  1. What is 360 Product photography? 

Simply, it’s a way of spinning a product 360 degrees so the customer can see it displayed from multiple angles all in one viewer. It saves them the arduous task of swiping through 24/36/72 images to see it from multiple views.

To complete a 360-degree spin, a product is usually photographed on top of a turntable with the camera secured to a tripod. The turntable will spin at regular  increments with one photo taken each time. 

The benefits you’ll see from employing this are:

  1. An Increase in conversion rates
  2. Reduced returns and in turn reduced environmental impact
  3. Improved SEO results 
  4. Increased customer engagement with your product

360 product photography isn’t just for the sleek trainers, any business can see an impact on their conversion rates or customer engagement. Just take a look at this cleverly put together office cabinet spin by Manutan. the 360 spins implemented across their range of office furniture saw a 25% increase in conversion rate:

  1. What is Multi-Axis product photography?

While a standard single axis 360 spin will usually show the product from a side view , multi-axis spins will allow the user to view the product from above and below 

Like regular 360 photography, all of the images can be seen using a web viewer. The main difference is the ability to view a product from any angle. 

This allows you to show off an intricate design or tread pattern from every angle, just as a customer would in a bricks and mortar shop. A customer can be certain the product they’re buying from you meets their expectations.

This type of photography can be complex to produce but well worth the investment if you have a product a customer wants to see from every angle. To see this in action you can have a look at our own webpage

The same advantages of 360 product photography can be found for Multi-Axis photography but further enhanced by the multiple angles offered

  1. The psychology behind 360 product photography?

Strange question you might think at first, but the psychology of how we engage and interact with images drives our shopping behaviours. It determines why you’ll think about a product, if you mention it to a friend, or why it just seemingly appears everyday.

Two-thirds of people consider themselves as visual learners, this ties in to why consumers favour ads that utilise photography over words. 

Coupled with the above, 63% of shopping starts online, this makes the experience you provide online even more important. The experience a user has online will impact their decision to purchase with you online or in a bricks and mortar shop. 

Using 360 and multi-axis product photography can be an important tool to give a positive and lasting impression about your company to your customer. 

Scratching deeper into this, people only remember 10% of information 3 days after hearing it, adding a picture can improve recall by 65%.

This is important to e-commerce as we’re constantly flooded with imagery and information online. Engaging with a product will increase the chances of a customer remembering it, whether returning to buy online or in a store.

Neil Patel suggests this is one of the most important metrics to be measuring. When someone is interacting on your page you’re more likely to leverage these users to buy, sign up to subscriptions or newsletters.

Research on buyer behavior also shows customers value the quality of a product’s image over the Product-specific information, long description, ratings and reviews. 

Just think next time you buy a product, what is the first thing you scroll to look at?

  1. How much value can 360 photography give you?

Hopefully, you’ve started to see the narrative of how 360 spin photography and multi-axis photography can bring value to your company. But is there evidence of the value it can offer?

The value is two-fold, firstly through an increase in online conversions, secondly through a reduction in returns.

Practical e-commerce spoke to Sirv, webrotate360, and Home Depot, all told of an increase in conversions between 14% and 35%.

At our previous company Neptune360, we’ve seen the benefits for the office supply company Manutan. We shot a range of their office supplies increasing conversions by 35%.

Duematernity.com is another company that reported the benefits of 360 photography. They found images that rotated automatically saw a 27% higher conversion rate than for standard two-dimensional images.

As mentioned above, having control and increased interaction can improve conversion rates. However, there are other forces at work that can impact conversions.

Some of this can be attributed to the dark art that is SEO. Many SEO guides will exult the value of having original content and customers spending more time on a page will cause the google bots to drive more traffic to your page. 

With this in mind having a 360 or multi-axis spin on your page can improve your SEO.

Finally, an increasing amount of platforms have algorithms that favor those who use 360 product photography. One of these is Amazon who will rank pages with 360 product photography higher than pages without 360.

Can it reduce returns?

Harder to measure but well worth the consideration is the impact on product returns. An increasing problem for retailers as many companies move away from a brick and mortar business. 

The additional certainty created for the consumer by a multi-axis or 360 spin will reduce returns. Weebly found that 22% of returns were due to products not matching customer expectations. 

Multi-axis and 360 product photography can stop the unexpected surprise of when unboxing a product of it not being quite as intended.

  1. This is all great, but is there a downside?

Before jumping in and creating 360 spins for all of your products there are some important things that should be considered before going ahead. 

  1. Loading speeds can be a killer!

You’ve spent so much time carefully putting together your SEO strategy however 360 photography is multiple images optimized for one viewer. Poorly designed versions can have slow load times that inevitably frustrate your customers causing them to leave.

Poor speed can be a killer for conversions. A 2018 report by google analytics found 53% of mobile users leave a page if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds.

It’s important to ask how the images are being hosted. Ideally, you’d want the images to be hosted on a CDN using the nearest super-fast servers to provide the images seamlessly. 

When first trialing 360 product photography you should look to run A/B testing to understand whether the increased conversions offsets bounce rate.

In a recent article on digitalcommerce 360, they talk about the importance of making sure your images optimise for the web page and compress correctly for mobile devices. If you’re trying to download the full sized image on a smaller device it’ll cause longer load times and increase your bounce rate.

Really important is to check your Google Lighthouse score before and after embedding the 360 spin on your page. 

  1. Make the transition between images smooth

Similar to your quality, you want to ensure the company you use provides a smooth transition between images. 

Large jumps between images can be jolting for the eyes caused by big gaps between images, this will only put people off your product. We know user experience is everything on a webpage and having a poor quality viewer can ruin the image you’re trying to present.

Can you do 360 product photography in house?

In short, Yes, but the setup costs and learning curve for starting this can be steep. Whilst for a reliable good turntable will start around £800 for small products, you will need to invest in lighting, a backdrop and of course a good DSLR camera. Not to mention editing software. 

If you are shooting a large number of products it’ll be worth looking to invest in a purpose built 360 photography device. This dedicated equipment is expensive although can pay dividends in the long run. It’s worth conducting some A/B tests with 360 photography on your ecommerce platform before investing to understand its impact.

Unless you have a team at your disposal and enough stock to continuously fill their time, you’re best getting quotes from professional photography companies.

These can vary between £10 for a basic 360 product spin of a small product to £350 + for larger items such as furniture. Remember, this can be a case of you get what you pay for!

However, this is usually a small cost when you consider the potential ROI.

Setting up your own 360 photography studio is an entire article in itself. Expert photography has produced an in-depth guide on the subject.

Can this be done with all products?

Again the short answer is Yes, however, your ROI should be the most important factor in deciding which products you decide to deploy 360 photography with.

After doing A/B testing for one product you’ll have an understanding of the increase in your conversion rate. This data should then lead to how this is used across your platformwebpage whether it’s leading products or those that are the most intricate.

Remember, the complexity of the object i.e. it’s dimensions or intricacy will dictate the cost. Just because the ROI is good for one product it won’t be indicative of all the products on you sellr webpage. 

How is this integrated on a website?

This one will depend on how your webpage is hosted, for instance on Shopify some companies offer apps that integrate onto your page while others will create a private app completely customised to your page.

If working with an external company or freelancer you should be asking the steps needed to put this onto your page, whether they’ll support or if this is expected of your own developer.

To conclude; 

If you only had 1 minute to summarise the impacts of 360 Product photography and multi-axis photography these would be your best takeaways;

  1. Multiple industries have seen benefits from 360 product photography, usually an increase in conversions between 17% and 36% 
  2. Multi-Axis and 360 product photography helps create content that engages your customers. Remember most people are visual learners, seeing a product from every angle will help convert a sale.
  3. Complete A/B testing to understand the ROI and the impacts of bounce rate
  4. Seeing a product from every angle should reduce returns which is good for your bottom line and the environment.
  5. This can be completed in-house but you’re best seeking the advice of a professional company first to ensure the best experience is created. Pricing can vary between £50 to £300 for a fully interactive multi-axis spin.

Hopefully, you’ve found this article useful. This is the first in a line of blog posts designed to help you understand 360 photography and its impacts. 

Check back again soon for the latest post. 

In the meantime, why don’t you check our latest Multi-Axis spin