Business transformation
The importance of ecommerce photography in online shopping
Business transformation

The importance of ecommerce photography in online shopping

Written by

Rod Reynolds


May 17, 2024

Table of contents

TOC Example

Traditional customer journeys are changing as buyers seek more immersive and engaging purchase experiences. Visuals are at the heart of that shift, as innovative formats offer greater levels of detail and realism which, in turn, enable better-informed and more confident buying decisions.  

The evolution of product visuals has seen innovative brands go beyond the photo, offering lifelike 3D visualizations onscreen and in augmented reality (AR). By meeting the demands of the 77% of people who want to use 3D and AR when making buying decisions, companies can gain a significant competitive advantage.  

Key takeaways

  • As customer expectations evolve, brands can no longer stand out with traditional ecommerce photography
  • Including augmented reality technology into the buyer journey is a smart way to elevate the shopping experience  
  • Brands such as ByLogstrup and Wayfair are deploying innovative ways to leverage technologies popular with the Gen Z consumer base

Unlike in-store shopping, online shopping cannot offer a tactile experience to buyers. This is why ecommerce photography plays a big role in the purchase journey.  

Customers rely on pictures depicting what a product looks like before making a decision to buy it. The research backs this up, with 75% of online shoppers needing product photos to decide on a purchase.

But as technology blurs the lines between the real-world and virtual realms, traditional ecommerce photography is falling short on giving customers all the data they need about a product.

Drawbacks of traditional ecommerce photography


Traditional ecommerce photography requires a store to hire professional photographers. These professionals capture and then edit product pictures, which get added to product descriptions. Given that brands need ecommerce photography for a large number of products, this can be a significant cost.  


From scheduling product photoshoots to ensuring each product is captured from the right angles, this takes time. Further, ecommerce photography involves heavy editing to drive product interest. This requires additional manpower and hours to deliver product photos which pique customer interest.


Today’s online buyer expects personalization in marketing efforts, but traditional ecommerce photography cannot meet this demand. Customers want to engage with products in a personal way even before clicking ‘buy’, so brands looking to stay relevant in the digital age must upgrade.

Augmented reality and 3D visualization: The ‘try before you buy’ method

Augmented reality allows customers to view products in a 3D setting. It adds a layer of digital content over the real-world environment to deliver immersive experiences to customers. This allows customers to interact with the product as if they were in-store.

The importance of ecommerce photography in online shopping

Customers can virtually ‘try on’ products to make a purchase decision. These features make AR integration essential for the modern ecommerce store.

1.Improved product visualization

AR removes uncertainty from the purchase decision by improving product visualization. With 3D product rendition, customers get a clear idea about the product’s features. For example, they are able to accurately understand the size, color, and materials used.  

2.Educating customers about products

Car makers including Mercedes Benz, Toyota, and Volvo introduced AR-powered experiences when launching new models, enabling buyers to better navigate the vehicle’s features and controls. By pointing their phone at the car and its interior, customers were shown all related information, as well as how-to videos and virtual guides. Offering a convenient and contextualized way to learn more about the car, these AR experiences represented a significant upgrade over flipping through instruction manuals.  

3.Personalized customer journeys

By empowering customers to visualize a product in their own space, AR delivers a highly personalized journey. Take Sephora’s Virtual Assistant for example, which allows customers to try on products such as eye shadow, concealer, lipsticks and more. This helps a customer understand how the product will suit their needs, allowing them to pick the right one.  

4.Better user engagement

While 77% of people want to use 3D and AR to help with purchase decisions, a survey for Snapchat found that number rose to 92% for Gen-Z buyers. Further, AR content can increase conversion rates by 94% and reduce return rates by 25%.

These numbers indicate what the new customer base expects from brands, and how incorporating AR translates to better brand visibility and user engagement. These features of AR help brands improve their reach while reducing return rates.  

How does augmented reality benefit brands?

1.Increased customer satisfaction

By enabling customers to rotate, zoom, and even visualize products on themselves or in their homes, AR enables them to form a more complete understanding of potential purchases. This enhanced buying journey boosts customer satisfaction, with 80% of buyers saying they feel more confident in purchase decisions made with the help of AR.  

2.Enhances brand image

Customers have come to rely on 3D and AR when buying. Snapchat’s report finds that brands are 41% more likely to be considered if they have a branded AR experience. Further, 94% of Gen Z customers say they’ll use AR the same or more when shopping in the future. Brands that offer AR-enabled customer journeys automatically scale up in customer preferences.  

3.Competitive advantage

Snapchat’s survey finds that over half of Gen Z consumers say they’d pay more attention to an AR advertisement. An example of this is a clever advertising campaign by Pepsi Max. They converted a London bus stop’s walls into AR screens, delivering immersive visuals to commuters as they waited for the bus. These ranged from UFOs in the sky to robots on the street. As a result, Pepsi Max saw a 35% YoY rise in sales.  

Brands in focus: ByLogstrup and Wayfair  


ByLogstrup, the Danish outdoor kitchen brand, caught on to what customers missed the most: the ‘feeling’ part of the buying experience. This prompted them to consider incorporating AR into their buyer journey. The brand partnered with Enhance and witnessed a 600% increase in sales compared to the previous year.  

Try a 3D product configurator from Enhance XR | Furniture: ByLogstrup


Wayfair’s View in Room is another great example of how brands are driving their customer journeys with augmented reality in the furniture sector.

The app enables customers to visualize items from the company’s product range in their own homes, using just a mobile phone. Simply by selecting the product and pointing their phone camera at the desired space, buyers can view a lifelike 3D visualization that allows them to check for fit, color, and aesthetic match.  

“AR/VR is certainly a space we’ve been playing with for quite a while now, and we do believe that over time it can have a meaningful impact in terms of making it easier to shop for your home from your home.”

- Steven Conine, Co-founder and Co-chairman of Wayfair

How can ecommerce platforms integrate augmented reality?

The first step toward integrating AR technology into the buyer journey is reviewing your business goals. This will help you narrow down a list of AR tools. Once you find the one that suits your needs, it is time to market it aggressively.  

Joining forces with the right partner is crucial to delivering memorable customer journeys. By leveraging 3D and AR technology, Enhance helps brands curate superior customer experiences. Further, by offering immersive customer interaction insights, it helps brands understand their audience better. Enhance takes ecommerce photography to the next level, creating interactive customer journeys.

A visual economy  

The Snapchat Consumer AR Global Report found that 76% of people want to use 3D and AR technology as a tool in their everyday lives. Further, nearly three in every four consumers are willing to pay more for products that promise an AR experience.  

The world is moving towards a visual economy where the volume, quality, and interactivity of product images define the shopping experience. Traditional ecommerce photography cannot keep up with this rapidly evolving landscape, but 3D and AR is leading the way.  

As consumer expectations grow to include personalization and transparency, brands must look to meet these efficiently, and the way to do it is by integrating immersive experiences into their customer journeys.

To discuss bringing enhanced product visuals to your e-commerce, talk to an expert today.

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