Alexandre de Vigan, CEO at Nfinite comments on the increasing use and benefits of interactive 3D experiences in modern retail:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat, Alexandre; tell us about yourself and more about your role at Nfinite
After finishing law school, I became an attorney focused on Mergers and Acquisitions. Despite finding the work enjoyable, I felt unfulfilled in my ability to make a meaningful impact in the business world. To take more control over business outcomes, I decided to leave law to pursue entrepreneurship. I am now the founder and CEO of Nfinite.
Nfinite is an end-to-end e-merchandising platform that enables brands and retailers to create, display and manage unlimited high-quality product visuals in real time. It offers next-generation photorealistic CGI product imagery, including interactive and lifestyle images, to create immersive shopping experiences for customers.
The platform uses CGI and 3D technology to support brands in making their online operations more dynamic and seamless across channels. It offers multiple benefits over traditional photography, including reducing costs, increasing market speed, reducing product returns, and increasing sales conversion.
How has the platform evolved over the years?
Founded in 2017, our company initially provided computer-based imagery to rent and sell apartments. After realizing a larger market in e-commerce, we shifted focus to creating next-generation imagery for brands and retailers across categories like home and living, home improvement, CPG, and consumer electronics.
We recognize that web and e-commerce are turning virtual, and consumers want an immersive experience, yet retailers cannot match today’s e-merchandising needs. E-merchandising is broken, and retailers need a solution to match e-commerce merchandising needs. E-merchandising struggles with a legacy content stack that hampers the creation of high-quality, flexible imagery and genuinely immersive product experiences for online consumers.
This inspired us to develop an end-to-end one-stop SaaS platform solution for instantly creating, displaying, and managing unlimited product visuals. Over the last couple of years, we have scaled the Nfinite platform through different industries and officially launched the Nfinite Platform in 2022.
Last year we were excited that our platform had been adopted by three of the world’s top five global retailers, and we saw ten times growth in annual recurring revenue year over year. Over the past several years, we have executed well on our vision to deliver next-generation visualization and e-commerce merchandising. In our series B funding this year, we secured an investment of $100 million.
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Can you take us through some of the top challenges of today’s modern-day retailers (including their visual merchandising challenges) and how recent retail tech can enable them?
In the cutthroat world of e-commerce, capturing and retaining the attention of online shoppers is a make-or-break factor that can heavily influence purchasing decisions. Product images are the only means for consumers to gauge the value and quality of their potential purchases.
However, creating compelling product imagery can be a daunting challenge for retailers, with 96% admitting to struggling with the task, according to a recent Nfinite commissioned survey. From changing products too quickly to keep images current to the cost of photo shoots, retailers face numerous obstacles in creating compelling product imagery.
According to Coresight Research, 55% of brands and retailers said more than 10% of their products sold online in 2021 were returned because product visuals/images displayed did not match the products customers received.
With such a demand for product imagery, it’s no wonder that annual product photography budgets are enormous. According to marketing and e-commerce executives, 86% say that their typical photo shoot budget is more than half a million dollars ($500,000) per year.
Companies are now opting for CGI as a substitute for traditional photo shoots to address these challenges. CGI provides a flexible and cost-effective way to create hyper-realistic images and interactive visualizations, resulting in up to a 40% increase in sales, according to WebRotate 360. Leading brands and retailers, including Apple, IKEA, and Nike, are already taking advantage of the benefits of CGI in a virtual imaging studio.
How can retailers today use immersive experiences for their betterment and stand out? A few examples from brands who have been doing this in the recent past?
Providing consumers with an interactive 3D image of products allows for a more comprehensive examination of the product from all angles, creates deeper shopper engagement, and drives higher average order value.
Nfinite’s Dynamic Display tool, which enables real-time product mixing and matching in a scene, has resulted in significant improvements in website and conversion performance, including a 2.5X increase in click-through rate, a 55% increase in conversion rate, and a 2.8X improvement in repeat customer engagement.
Investing in high-quality product visuals, such as CGI, that offer 360-degree views can significantly reduce product returns for brands and retailers and increase shopper trust. According to Coresight Research, 52% of brands and retailers utilizing CGI believe that product returns reduction is a significant advantage of using CGI to produce product visuals. Moreover, 3D models are reusable and easily configurable, making it simpler for brands and retailers to edit product visuals and create different product variants more quickly, which is crucial for managing visuals across various channels.
E.Leclerc, a hypermarket chain, achieved rapid success with Nfinite by producing high-quality visuals that fit its marketing channels. The Nfinite platform offers an unlimited range of possibilities through each 3D model, including easily adapting to customer experiences by changing colors, angles, lighting, seasons, and contexts. Using CGI, E.Leclerc could produce high-quality visuals faster and cost-effectively without requiring new technical skills from their team. In the first year of our partnership, Nfinite helped E.Leclerc save 30% on product imagery costs. By reusing 3D assets to create new variations and images in the second year, they were able to save even more.
We’d love to hear more about the benefits of immersive retail based on the recent research your team conducted?
As online shopping experiences become increasingly personalized and immersive, e-commerce companies must prioritize turning the customer journey into a memorable and engaging experience. Gen Z shoppers are 42% more likely to purchase when engaging with immersive technology, according to a recent Nfinite consumer study, The State of Shopper Sentiment”.
For instance, imagine you’re an online furniture seller, and a customer visits your site searching for a new office chair. Providing tools to show what the chair looks like in someone’s home office can significantly increase the likelihood of a purchase. e. By utilizing augmented reality, you can offer a digitally immersive visualization that allows the customer to see how the chair looks in context and decide whether it’s the right choice. Not only does this strategy boost sales, but it also decreases the probability of returns caused by an unsatisfactory choice.
Can you highlight more about the future of retail and what tech-enabled features you foresee will dominate the market?
High-quality product images are crucial for online retailers as they play a similar role to product displays in physical storefronts. Next-generation product imagery, such as lifestyle and interactive images, can help brands and retailers create more engaging and effective product visuals, driving sales and enhancing the customer experience.
CGI and 3D image creation are increasingly important for product visualization, offering benefits such as speed to market, reduction in product returns, and improved conversion rates. The cost-saving benefits of CGI can also help brands and retailers weather economic challenges. By investing in next-generation product imagery and CGI, brands, and retailers can improve their online operations, enhance their visual content, and provide a better shopping experience for their customers.
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Nfinite is a leading e-merchandising platform that empowers retailers to grow their business and deliver better customer experiences through powerful, customizable visual content.
Alexandre de Vigan is CEO at Nfinite
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