Should you consider adding 3D product visualization to your store?

November 16, 2023
3D visualization article cover image

In the competitive world of eCommerce, standing out and providing a unique, personalized experience for your customers is more important than ever in order to be successful online. As eCommerce gradually becomes a more significant part of all worldwide sales each year, it’s safe to say that the effort you put into having an outstanding online store is definitely worth it. Let’s look at some data: in 2019, just above 14% of global retail sales were made online, while in 2022, it was already nearly 19%, according to Statista. That’s a rather big jump in just three years. Of course, the lockdowns have undoubtedly made the shift to online shopping even faster and the eCommerce environment ever more crowded. As a result, it is more challenging for brands to stand out from the competition and keep up with customers’ needs, but remember, every step you take toward your goal brings you one step closer to achieving it.

The Soaring Impact of 3D Product Visualization

In order to grab customers’ attention and gain a larger part of the growing eCommerce market, some businesses started to utilize more immersive ways of presenting their products online. One of the most exciting ways to do so is with 3D product visualization. This form of presenting products online is getting more popular every year, as we can observe from the data. The market value of the “3D model rendering sector” has already surpassed 3 billion USD in 2022 and is expected to reach a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20% in the upcoming years, according to GMI. This kind of growth rate for the whole market is truly incredible. It’s also a clear indication that companies are devoting a lot of money to 3D technology and will continue to invest even more in the approaching years.

Of course, 3D modeling has a lot of different use cases, but in this article, we will focus solely on how 3D product visualization helps online businesses succeed by generating sales. We will also explore how well it works with personalized products. Let’s start by briefly examining the technology itself.

What is 3D product visualization in eCommerce?

Simply put, 3D visualization in eCommerce is a method of showcasing a product that allows your customers to view an exact 3D copy of the object from all angles and interact with it on their device. This technique requires the creation of digital three-dimensional models representing the physical products. As an example, look at the 3D model of a coffee mug added below.

One of the reasons why this form of presenting the goods is progressively getting more popular every year is the interactive aspect of it. Users can affect the product preview and manipulate it in many ways. Rotating the object in all directions, zooming in and out or even controlling functional parts of it.

By interacting with the product, the consumer can get familiar with it and receive information about its features and characteristics in a fun and engaging way. It brings the online shopping experience closer than previously possible to that of a real-world store visit, where you’d pick up an item to examine it further before making a purchase.

Now, it is only fair to mention and compare the more traditional way of presenting products, which is product photography. Let’s dive into the differences between those two techniques.

What’s the difference between 3D-rendered visualization and product photography?

3D visualization and product photography, or commercial photography, are both useful tools for showcasing products, but they have some key distinctions:

  1. Interactiveness: 3D visualization allows customers to inspect and even use the product in a way that traditional photography does not. Customers can manipulate and interact with the product in a 3D environment, providing a more immersive and realistic experience.
  2. Customization: Traditional photography can only display existing variations of a product, whereas 3D visualization allows design changes to be applied to a product. Moreover, the customers can tailor the product in real-time, compare variations and choose the one that best suits their needs and preferences.
  3. Product understanding: 3D visualization can help customers better understand the features and dimensions of a product, which can be incredibly useful for complex or customized products. Traditional photography may not always provide enough detail or context for customers to fully understand the product and feel confident about buying it.
  4. Technical limitations: Traditional photography is limited to showing a single perspective of the product per photo. 3D visualization, on the other hand, allows customers to view the product from multiple angles and perspectives.

Traditional photography can still work well in some cases, such as capturing high-quality product images for advertising purposes or when you sell non-personalized products. However, in general, it’s way less versatile than the usage of 3D visualization, which overall is a more interactive and customizable tool for showcasing products online compared to traditional photography. Especially if we talk about the personalized products market, where you want to showcase the products created by users in real-time.

Why is 3D visualization a hot topic in the personalization sector?

The personalized products market is one of the global market segments in which 3D visualization can indeed perform to its full potential. The possibility of viewing a customized product in 3D while shopping in an online store has proven to be useful and valued by customers.

However, when paired with product personalization options, which are applied in real-time to the interactive model – it’s simply becoming a next-level eCommerce experience. If done properly, it results in a superb customer shopping experience. Let us dive into why that is.

3D visualization complements personalization so well because it allows businesses to create highly customized and realistic representations of products or experiences. For example, a clothing retailer could use 3D visualization to enable customers to design and preview their own custom garments, choosing from a range of colors, patterns, and styles. A furniture retailer could use 3D visualization to empower their clients to design and preview their custom furniture, selecting from different materials, finishes, and configurations.

By providing customers with the ability to create and preview personalized products or experiences in a realistic and interactive way, businesses can increase customer engagement and satisfaction. This can lead to a higher conversion rate, more sales, and improved customer loyalty. Additionally, 3D visualization can reduce the number of returns and exchanges by allowing customers to better understand the product before making a purchase. Overall, 3D visualization is an important tool for personalization that can help businesses grow and succeed in the digital age.

How do 3D and personalization increase sales?

There are several ways in which 3D visualization and personalization can increase sales:

  1. Improved customer engagement: Businesses can increase customer engagement and interest in the product by providing customers with an immersive and interactive product experience. Who wouldn’t like to rotate an interesting object online? This can lead to improved conversions and more sales.
  2. Vast customization options: Allowing customers to tweak the products to their specific needs and preferences can boost customer satisfaction and loyalty, leading to memorable experiences resulting in bigger sales over time.
  3. Reduced returns: Providing customers with a realistic and detailed understanding of the product can reduce the number of returns and exchanges, bringing your costs down and profit up. Some reports show that brands using 3D record up to 40% decline in e-commerce returns after implementing 3D visualization.
  4. Increased conversion rates: A realistic and thorough understanding of the product causes users to be more keen to make the purchase, driving a higher conversion rate. Incorporating 3D visualization can also help with word-of-mouth marketing, thus driving more high-quality traffic to the store, as users can easily share their creations with friends and family in a captivating way.

3D product visualization is a powerful tool that delivers an immersive and interactive product experience to customers who are starting to expect nothing less from an online store. It helps businesses to differentiate themselves from the competition in the ever-so-crowded online space and proves to be especially useful in specific market sectors, including personalized products. 3D visualization allows your users to work on their customized product and view the realistic representation of it in real-time. Interested to see what it looks like firsthand? Check out our Demo, go to the Gift section and pick a mug to customize and view it in 3D. Also, feel free to Contact us to get more information regarding Printbox and its features or get a Demo walk-through.

What’s possible now?

Printbox provides detailed 3D model documentation and guidance to help you with the creation process of the 3D models by third-party designers or your in-house specialists. We are currently not providing any ready-made 3D models, as every store has its unique product line with specific dimensions and shapes. As of right now, you can enable 3D visualization for any “simple product” sold with Printbox, including:

  • cards, mugs, and other gifts;
  • t-shirts, sweaters, hats and other apparel items;
  • personalized jewelry, canvas or other household items;

Every one of those “simple products” has one common characteristic that allows us to implement the 3D view – a single customizable area where personalized content can be applied.

It’s worth noting that when deciding to create 3D models for your products, you only need one model for each product type you want to display in 3D. As an example, let’s say you are selling personalized coffee mugs in your store, and they come in two different shapes but have over a hundred different customizable themes. To enable your users to create and view countless variations of the mugs in 3D, you’d only need to create two 3D models corresponding with two mug shapes. The various themes are then applied to the models during the product designing and adjusting process by the user. The users can admire their own personalized products in real-time with the 3D view as they interact with them and change them to craft something unique in a fun and engaging way.

What might the future bring for 3D?

At Printbox, we are constantly looking for ways to create a better user experience and to implement the latest and best technology on the market, just like our latest product does – Masterpiece AI (click to learn more). That’s the reason we are also planning to implement some great new improvements for the 3D view in the upcoming year. One of the things we are currently working on releasing is a more interesting, scenic light setup for the 3D product view, which will make for an even more immersive experience for consumers.

Regarding other future plans, Printbox development team intends to roll out some more complex and awesome improvements and features. One of the ideas for 3D view is an automatic 3D model creation for flat products, such as cards. If implemented, it’d be a much faster and cheaper process than model creation by a professional studio or an artist. There is still a lot of work ahead of us, but we would love to hear your thoughts and opinions about that.

Would you like us to make it a reality? If that would be of interest to you, please let us know by sending an email to The more value we see for our partners in each feature idea, the sooner it can become a reality.