Nfinite and Coresight research find retailers increasingly investing in CGI and AI for visually engaging online shopping experiences

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This article is brought to you by Retail Technology Review: Nfinite and Coresight research find retailers increasingly investing in CGI and AI for visually engaging online shopping experiences.

Nfinite, the next-generation visualisation and e-commerce merchandising solutions provider, partnering with Coresight Research, has announced the findings of Coresight Research's report CGI and 3D Product Imagery: The Future of Visual Merchandising in E-Commerce.

The research uncovers that retailers are bolstering e-commerce shopping capabilities with CGI and AI to deliver more personalised and visually engaging online shopping experiences.

As brands and retailers increasingly realise the benefits of using context-rich and immersive product imagery in e-commerce, the adoption of these product visuals is growing. The survey found that more than three in five (63%) brands and retailers currently use lifestyle product photos/images for e-commerce, and 58% use interactive images, putting these types of product visuals among the top three most used.

Further insights from the research include the following:

  • 41% of brands and retailers find high costs challenging when managing and producing product visuals.
  • 55% of brands and retailers said more than 10% of their products sold online in 2021 were returned because product visuals displayed did not match the products delivered.
  • Among those investing in CGI for product visuals, almost all brands and retailers think that CGI has benefited their production and management of product visuals to some extent—with 49% reporting "significant" benefits. The topmost benefits, cited by around half of brands and retailers investing in CGI, are reduced product returns and improved speed to market.
  • 40% of brands and retailers reported that they are currently investing in CGI, and 58% are planning to invest in CGI in the future, while 60% plan to invest in AI to automate visual product content.

The study also found that AI, an emerging topic in product visual creation, can multiply the benefits of CGI through automation. AI is mainly used in decision-making and to generate simple CGI models. However, as AI continues to evolve, the technology will be able to generate complex shapes and 3D models without human effort—which will become a must-have for faster CGI development, enabling brands and retailers to deliver more seamless and personalised visual experiences to consumers. 

"Technology innovation is critical to online retailers as they seek to outpace their competitors and connect with consumers," said Coresight CEO and founder Deborah Weinswig. "CGI and 3D image creation are must-haves for brands' and retailers' product visualisation strategies, offering multiple benefits over traditional photography, including improved speed to market, product returns reduction, and increased sales conversion. The cost-saving benefits of CGI can also help brands and retailers survive in an era of macroeconomic turbulence."

"This year, the pressure will be on e-commerce companies to turn the customer journey into a memorable and engaging process," said Nfinite founder and CEO Alexandre de Vigan. "Immersive technologies like CGI and 3D product images will be critical to meet consumers' growing expectations and evolving preferences. Coresight Research confirms what we see every day - innovative technologies are helping leading online retailers win in the race for consumer engagement."

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