How to Reduce Return Rate

Through the Use of Computer Generated (CG) Imagery

Research in 2020 showed that the total value of returned online purchases topped $41 billion US dollars. eCommerce sellers are losing money both on the goods themselves and the time it takes to process the return, which often includes communication with the customer, the e-platforms, the warehouse managers, and others — often, all at the same time. 

By reducing your online returns, your business will see real savings. But how can you reduce returns? This article has been written to help answer this question.

Why Do Returns Happen?

As a first step, let’s get to the bottom of why people return goods. According to statistics, 20% of returns are due to damaged products, 23% are because the wrong item was sent, and 22% are because the item ‘looks different in real life compared to the website listing. This 22% is our area of focus, namely because it can be dramatically reduced by creating website listings that are as realistic and life-like as possible.

Using Computer Generated (CG) Imagery

As a 3D rendering company, we create CG imagery for eCommerce brands to help them create realistic and accurate website listings. Through our years of experience, we know which CG tools work best to highlight a product’s features and to give customers a true representation of what they are buying. By giving customers the ability to closely examine a product, you will see a decrease in returns which will save your business time and money.

Here are the 5 most effective 3D solutions for your eCommerce site:

#1. Provide Buyers with a Realistic 360° View of a Product

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    Customers buying online don’t have the benefit of being able to physically inspect goods before purchasing. Although photos are provided (often a large number of them), is this enough to get a true feeling for the product’s design and features?  Often, the answer is no, which means the goods end up being returned and the customer is unlikely to buy again. 

    This is why a 360° view makes such a difference. By using an interactive 360° spin model of a furniture piece, buyers can rotate a model in any direction and examine every detail. A 360° spin model boosts buyers’ confidence in the product and decreases the return rate, saving you time and money.

    #2. Add High Resolution 3D Renders So that Customers Can Zoom in on the Details

    A Close-Up View of a Pink Couch that Showcases the Design Hence Reduces Return Rate

    Often, sellers make the fatal mistake of using poor-quality images for listings. When a customer tries zooming in to see product details, the image becomes pixelated and blurry. The customer either doesn’t buy at all or does buy then returns the product later, because it wasn’t what they were looking for.     

    By using high-resolution renderings for listings and product pages, customers can easily zoom in and out without affecting the quality of the picture. Buyers are given the opportunity to closely scrutinize a furniture piece, examining the stitching, fastenings, and fittings. This, in turn, allows consumers to make well-informed decisions which leads to fewer returns, and savings for the eCommerce store.

    #3. Show the Internal Design Using Cut-Out Views

    A Cutaway 3D Model of an Armchair That Potentially Can Reduce Return Rate as It Shows Design in Detail

    One of the most challenging aspects of online shopping is the buyer’s need to evaluate a product based on mere visuals. It is impossible to touch, feel, or experience an item being sold online. Because of this, sellers must use ingenious ways to convey the quality of the piece via images.  

    One creative tool to achieve this goal is a cutaway — or cut-out view — made from a realistic 3D model. With this CG tool, furniture manufacturers and retailers can show the internal structure of a piece of furniture without having to actually dissect it. Showing a section view is especially important for upholstered furniture as it demonstrates the layers of materials, frame and springs. Cut-out views help eliminate doubts about the quality of a piece and increase the probability of a sale while decreasing the chances of a return after delivery.

    #4. Use 3D Videos to Demonstrate Furniture in Action

    Another way that CGI can help bring products to life is through the use of 3D animation. A 3D video is able to show a product in a real environment with beautiful camera spans and close-up views. With photorealistic 3D product animation, consumers are able to get a much clearer idea of the size and proportions of the item. A demonstration that features 3D animation and a voiceover that walks the customer through the product’s advantages and features is a powerful online sales tool.

    ‘How-to’ and ‘assembly’ videos are also extremely helpful for an online buyer, as they can show a buyer exactly how a furniture piece is assembled/disassembled. This removes any worry a buyer may have regarding the piece being overly difficult to put together. It also allows the customer to see how drawers open and close, how the couch folds/unfolds, etc. By clearly showing every design detail, sellers not only reduce the return rate but also boost customer engagement.

    #5. Use Life-Like Augmented Reality (AR) Models for Shopping Applications

    Augmented Reality (‘AR’) tools for eCommerce are not used to recreate the experience of in-person shopping, but rather, are used to revolutionize the very concept of buying furniture online. AR provides consumers with a unique opportunity to ‘try on’ pieces in their homes before they purchase. Consumers simply pick goods from the catalog, point their devices onto any area of their room and the object appears on the screen. This technology has a massively positive effect on customers. Shopify statistics claim that AR and 3D solutions reduce returns by 5%, increase add-to-cart conversion by 3%, and increase order conversion by 40%.

    AR apps typically require life-like 3D models of products specifically optimized for smartphones and tablets. CG artists then take 3D items and make them low enough resolution to be easy to download, but high enough resolution enough to look realistic (a process called ‘retopology’). The results of using 3D modeling for AR apps are incredible and succeed in revolutionizing the entire online shopping experience.

    Examine case-studies of CGI projects to see real examples of using 3D technology for marketing purposes.

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    Although online shopping returns are a real issue that costs eCommerce businesses millions of dollars each month, the use of computer-generated imagery can help reduce returns. By reducing returns, your business saves time and money.  

    If you’d like to explore the use of first-class eCommerce visuals for your business, contact us to discuss 3D rendering services that are best suited for your eCommerce site. We look forward to assisting!

    Irene Lewis

    Content Writer

    Irene is a content writer. She previously worked for interior and chess magazines. When not writing articles, Irene finds great pleasure in collecting Star Trek memorabilia, reading Medieval poetry and playing banjo.

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