That image is likely not a photo. It’s a 3D render of the product.
No professional photographer can compete with the quality, time to completion, and cost of 3D renders for many products.
But what exactly is a 3D render, and are you even allowed to use them in your Amazon store?
Today, I’m going to show you what 3D renders are and how you can leverage them to drive conversions on your Amazon FBA listing.
A 3D render is an alternate version of a subject generated from a photo or a model (and in some cases 3D data). And when done correctly, a 3D render can make your Amazon FBA product look amazing.
If your product would benefit from a 3D render, you can use one to make a product photo or even use one in place of your Amazon product listing’s featured photo.
Are 3D renders against Amazon’s TOS?
Well…as with many aspects of life, some things fall into a gray area around permissibility, including facets of Amazon’s seller terms of service (TOS).
Here is what Amazon says in regards to product photos (as they might pertain to including 3D renders or not):
“Choose images that are clear, information-rich, and attractive … Main images must have a pure white background, must be a photo (not a drawing), and must not contain excluded accessories.”
If you choose to stick exclusively to the “photo” language, then 3D renders are a no-no.
If instead you choose to view 3D renders as “clear, information-rich, and attractive” representations of the objects they depict, you can swing them.
If you choose to use 3D renders in your Amazon product photos, ensure that the render is of your specific product or offering, not just a generic version of your product type. This would only be an issue if you choose to start with a generic 3D rendering and then ask an artist to customize the original image (more on that later). If you make your own 3D render from scratch, or based on your product’s mold, you should be good, provided that the render exactly mimics the product you’re selling.
Additionally, consider if a 3D render will add value to shoppers. In other words, is there a benefit to the shopper of using a 3D render over a photo?
For example, if your 3D render looks identical to or worse than a basic image of your product, it’s probably not worth the time or TOS gray area. If, however, your 3D render can help the customer to emotionally connect with your product and envision it in their lives, it’s a strong asset within your product listing.
Remember that Amazon's number one concern (always) is the customer. As long as your images (3D renders or photos) accurately display the product a customer will receive when they buy from you, there is no issue.
If, however, your 3D renders don’t align with what the customer receives, you might find your customers filing A to Z Guarantee claims against you (although we help navigate those if you ever do receive one).
For example, let’s say you sell multivitamin supplements. Your featured image (the one in search results) is a 3D render of the supplement bottle, from the back side. It shows the amount of each vitamin in the supplement and its percentage. When customer Bobby McGee orders your supplement, the back of his bottle is word-for-word the exact same as your 3D render. Bobby is happy with his purchase.
However, if instead the bottle that Bobby receives has no mention of the individual vitamin ingredients or ratios in the supplement whatsoever, Bobby would have no way of knowing what’s actually in his supplement. He returns it and files a complaint. And that’s bad for business.
If you’re on the fence about using a 3D render, ask yourself these questions:
- Would a 3D render add value to the customer?
- Would my 3D render be an exact representation of my product?
- Can a 3D render of my product be photorealistic?
If the answer to all questions is yes, go forth with your 3D render. Otherwise, stick to normal photos.
When should you use 3D renders?
3D renders can be a fantastic way to highlight your product in a sharp, clean way that truly helps shoppers understand exactly what they’ll be getting if and when they buy your product. In some cases, 3D renders can better accomplish your product photos’ job than actual photos.
That said, you might also employ 3D renders before you even create your product to sell on Amazon FBA.
Split test product photos
You can use 3D renders to test products before you commit to a large scale, expensive manufacturing run. This can help you to get your prospective products, and packaging, in front of customers similar to the ones you wish to sell to. That way, you have a preemptive, objective understanding of how a particular demographic will respond to your product and if you should reassess the product itself, the packaging, or both. And in doing so you can save yourself from wasting valuable time and money on a manufacturing run of a product that doesn’t resonate with shoppers.
You can also use 3D renders to split test product photos before you create your Amazon product listing.
Split testing product photos is an excellent way to gauge which (types of) photos customers will respond best to. Put another way, by testing product photos, you can get a better idea of which photos will drive conversions better on Amazon.
When it comes to both testing product ideas (and packaging) and split testing listing photos, you can go the traditional focus group route. Alternatively, you can use an expedited service such as Pickfu to split test your photos in as little as a few minutes (a few hours, max). By contrast, most other focus group services take several days if not weeks.
Additionally, Pickfu allows you to choose your product test group based on the demographics you’re most interested in targeting. For example, if you sell trendy, fruit-shaped purses, you might elect a test group of 15 to 40 year old women.
You can even target your audience based on extremely specific attributes including gender identification, religious affiliation, number of credit cards, travel frequency, and Amazon Prime shoppers v non-Prime shoppers.
Types of products
3D renders work best for products that are predominantly smooth. Additionally, any product with prominent metallic or reflective surfaces is likely a strong candidate for a 3D render.
Types of products that work well with 3D renders include anything from a vacuum cleaner to a boombox to sunglasses, to jewelry, and beyond.
Avoid using 3D renders for the following product types:
- Fabric-dominant products, such as a banner or carseat cover
- Organic products, such as foods, plants, dirt, etc.
- Products with complex textures such as a rug
While you can use 3D renders on a blank white background alone (as you should if you will use a 3D render in place of your featured image), there are other scenarios where 3D renders can add massive consumer value.
If you’re thinking, “Great, but can you get even more specific and guide me thoroughly through every part of the Amazon FBA listing creation optimization journey?” we have you covered. Click on this link here. We will meet with you one-on-one (over the phone or video) and find a plan that suits where you are at as an Amazon seller.
Imagine you’re a shopper. Maybe you’re looking to buy a phone case. You find one you like, however it comes in four colors. You like both orange and blue cases. But which do you like better? You could click back and forth between the two options for hours. Or, you could view them both in one image and make your purchase decision dozens of times faster.
If you offer your Amazon product in several size, color, and/or pattern variations, use a 3D render to gather them all in one image.
Rather than attempting to secure each individual variation from your manufacturer for a photo—which could cost you a large chunk of money—you can grab a 3D render of each variation and arrange them in an image as you please.
Images that display all options of a particular product add immense buyer value. Shoppers can view each variation in one image, select the one they prefer, and then simply click to buy that version.
The alternative is your customer selecting each individual variation on your Amazon product listing to get an idea of each and then deciding. This process can be quite time consuming for shoppers and does not allow them to view a side-by-side comparison. A 3D render of all variations in one image, however, removes the hassle factor.
Unless you have a super high definition camera, ultra-zoomed in and/or detailed shots can get blurry pretty quickly. A 3D render, however, is by definition a computer model, which means you can zoom in on your product as much as you want without compromising image quality.
If there is a detailed aspect of your products customers want to examine and/or you want to highlight, opt for a 3D render (provided that detail isn’t fabric texture) to exhibit even the smallest details in high definition.
Let’s say you need to take photos of the stand up paddle (SUP) boards you sell on Amazon. Except you don’t live near a body of water and you’re not the strongest SUP rider, nor do you know anybody who is.
How are you supposed to get a strong lifestyle image of your product without dropping thousands of dollars on an expensive, on-location photoshoot with athletic models?
By now you probably already know the answer: a 3D render!
Once you have your render, you can add it to anything you want, including other photos. Grab a few stock photos and add the 3D render of your product to create stunning lifestyle photos at a fraction of the cost of a full-blown photoshoot. You could even add a 3D render of yourself “riding” atop the SUP board.
You could even use a stock photo of an entire room. If you sell something like console tables, simply add your 3D render to a furnished living room with a similar aesthetic to your product. Now, you’ve got a catalog quality image for next to nothing.
Alternatively, you might add your 3D render to a photo of store shelves.
When it comes to online retail, customers often have more confidence buying online if the company has physical retail locations in addition to their online store. Considering that brick and mortar sales still constitute roughly 80% of all retail purchases in the US this makes sense: Shoppers are more familiar with the brick and mortar model, so it holds a certain degree of authority.
Even if you purely sell on Amazon and in the realm of ecommerce, you can still grab an image of your product on a shelf to offer a sense of familiarity to shoppers. If they can imagine your product on a store shelf, they might just pick it over a competitors’.
If you do have a little more expendable photo money, you might take this option one step farther.
High dynamic range image (HDRI) maps are light images in which a camera has created a highly accurate light map of a photo. This leads to the image looking exactly as it would in real life, without the shadowing and light adjustments that you get from a typical camera.
HDRI maps are most commonly used with 3D graphics, which makes them perfect companions to 3D renders.
Consider HDRI maps this way: When you view a stunning beach sunset, the world around you
looks magnificent. But when you take a photo, the image is lackluster compared to actuality. HDRI maps help to make these images mirror reality.
And if you can afford it, you can use the same trick of adding a 3D render of your product to the HDRI image to help your customers visualize your product in a real life setting.
So if you use an HDRI map and a 3D render of your SUP board, your customer will get to see a real life rendition of what it might look like to use your SUP board at sunset!
Oversized and/or bulky items
When you take traditional product photos, you typically have to request a product sample from your supplier so that you or a professional photographer can take the pictures.
These samples typically arrive via air express (door-to-door) shipping. However, the cost for these samples exponentially increases if your product is extremely heavy or bulky. In fact, with current shipping rates, it might cost you almost as much to ship the sample from your manufacturer to your address as it does to pay for a professional photoshoot.
Instead, skip the expensive air transit—or lengthy freight shipping—and use 3D renders for your featured photo, your lifestyle photo, and more (in fact, there are five different photo types we at Just One Dime recommend you take for your Amazon product listing).
Of course, in an ideal world you’d still want your own copy of your product just in case. But it’s also important to be realistic and practical. So if you sell SUP boards, large boxes of cotton swabs, minifridges, or something similarly large and heavy, 3D renders might just be your life raft in a sea of overpriced shipping fares.
Photos of your product are your main conversion drivers. However, it is important that you include at least one image featuring your product’s packaging, especially if you’ve gone above and beyond and created exceptional packaging (which we teach our students to do).
If you don’t have a copy of your product packaging on hand, or you’re concerned it will get bunged up in air express transport from your manufacturer to you, a 3D render is an excellent way to showcase your product’s packaging in your listing photos.
Create a 3D render of your product packaging to give shoppers a crisp clear iteration of what they’ll receive when they buy from you.
It’s hard to go wrong with this option, especially considering most product packaging is either smooth plastic or cardboard (if your packaging is something akin to a canvas bag, however, you might opt out of this strategy).
Just be sure that the package in your render matches the actual packaging that accompanies your product exactly.
Additionally, if you’re still deciding on your product packaging, you might use a 3D render to split test your packaging options with an audience of your target shopper demographic. That way, you can pick the option that resonates best with those you most hope to convert into customers.
Virtual elements that enhance
Two of our 15 tips and tricks for exceptional product photos are to include props that enhance and to use photoshop…only when it’s excellent (and looks realistic). Well, without a costly photoshop subscription, you can achieve both of these phenomena simultaneously with a 3D render.
Keep in mind that your 3D renders don’t have to be exclusively of your product. You might create a 3D render of a straw, a stack of books, or any other object that could help shoppers to envision your product and how it would function in their lives.
If you sell bookends, for example, you might find a stock image of a bookshelf and then add a 3D render of your product along with a 3D render of old books to squeeze in the middle.
If you sell coolers, you might find a stock image of the beach or a boat and then add a 3D render of your open cooler filled with 3D renders of ice and cold beverages.
As you create these images, keep in mind that your goal is to help customers to feel emotionally attached to your product and to help them envision how your product would work in their lives. Don’t go overboard by adding a dinosaur wearing a birthday hat onto your SUP board or anything else similarly wacky.
How do you create a 3D render?
3D renders come in the form of STP—or step—files. These are also known as assembly files.
We’re only going high-level for you so that you’ll understand your options. You do not need to take computer arts lessons to be an Amazon seller, even in our Amazon FBA Mastery training.
Generally speaking, there are three ways you will acquire your 3D render.
1. Purchase a 3D render from your product designer or manufacturer.
If you’ve created an original product mold to have your product manufactured, the designer who created the mold (or your manufacturer) already has a 3D render of your product. They used it to make the mold. And you can usually buy it from them fairly easily and inexpensively.
2. Purchase a generic 3D render and edit it to match your product.
If you didn’t have a mold created for your product, you can purchase a basic 3D render of a generic version of your product and then hire a designer to customize the template to match your item. For example, if you sell chef’s knives, a 3D render of a generic chef’s knife likely exists. Rather than creating your own from scratch, you can purchase that basic image and update it with your colors, logo, and extraneous features.
Sites such as TurboSquid and 3DOcean offer competitive rates on 3D render templates.
3. Create a totally unique 3D render from scratch.
You can also generate a totally unique and customized 3D render with the help of an artist. This will be your most expensive (up to $550 per image) but most customizable option.
In any case, you will work with a digital artist to create your model. So while 3D renderings can save you lots of money (traveling to and setting up complex photoshoots, hiring models, shipping large products transoceanic), they’re not free by any means. But they can help drive your Amazon product conversions and even recuperate their own costs!
As with anything pertaining to your Amazon FBA product and listing, ensure your 3D renders are done well. They should be sharp, clear, and stunning.
Additionally, consider adding subtle, realistic imperfections so that customers aren’t as aware
they’re viewing a 3D render of an image rather than an actual photo of the product in question.
Interested in building passive income through an Amazon FBA store? Curious about how to build a high-profile product and create a stunning Amazon product listing that drives conversions?
Visit JOD.com/freedom. There you can speak with a member of our team who will listen to and understand your goals and show you how we can work with you to make them happen, so that you can do the things you love with the people you love.
Will you use 3D renders in your Amazon product images? Let me know in the comments.