SMITHFIELD, RI – Online retailers are increasingly using 360-degree rotatable product images – a digital technology that allows consumers to rotate and zoom in on a product to examine and inspect it from multiple angles – to enhance the virtual shopping experience.
A group of marketing researchers, including Sukki Yoon, Ph.D., Bryant University Professor of Marketing, recently tested the effectiveness of this digital marketing tactic on retail websites. The researchers found that these images were superior to static product images, but that using 360-degree rotatable product images can backfire when consumers are cognitively busy.
The article, “The effect of 360-degree rotatable product images on purchase intention,” was published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services in February, with co-authors Seeun Kim (College of Human Sciences, Auburn University) and Tae Hyun Baek (College of Communication and Information, University of Kentucky).
According to Yoon, Kim, and Baek, this is the first study – to their knowledge – that shows sensory vividness can strongly shape product evaluation for consumers who interact with 360-degree rotatable images.
Analyzing online shopping behavior
“While scholars have examined potential determinants of online shopping behavior using retail technology, few have tested the effect of 360-degree rotatable product images."
“While scholars have examined potential determinants of online shopping behavior using retail technology, few have tested the effect of 360-degree rotatable product images,” the article notes. “Our findings shed new light on the importance of cognitive busyness as a moderator of the effect."
The key takeaways and strategies for digital retailers
Given that online shoppers are often multitasking, the researchers recommend the following strategies to digital retailers:
Be cautious about using 360-degree rotatable images when the website is cluttered with distracting elements, such as call-to-action messages and banners ads
Aim to minimize cognitive busyness by providing clear product descriptions, an easy checkout process, and a simple navigation menu
Consider using static images, if the website layout is complex, to gain consumer attention more easily
Strategically use vivid imagery when implementing 360-degree rotatable images, as it can enhance the virtual shopping experience
About Bryant University
For 157 years, Bryant University has been at the forefront of delivering an exceptional education that anticipates the future and prepares students to be innovative leaders of character in a changing world. Located on a contemporary campus in Smithfield, R.I., Bryant enrolls approximately 3800 undergraduate students from 38 states and 49 countries. Bryant is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Money, Bloomberg Businessweek, Wall Street Journal, College Factual, and Barron's. Visit https://www.bryant.edu/.