Skip to content

What is visual commerce and how is it transforming the customer experience?

  • Gina 

Have you heard of the term ‘ROVI’ becoming more frequently used in the last 6 months? In the business world, we are all familiar with ROI – or return on investment. But, ROVI means return on visual investment. This is important because as COVID cases rise, some reopening plans are rolled back and fewer people are making the decision to shop in person. According to Atlatl, 93% of human communication is visual; humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than other forms of communication; and humans remember 80% of what we see. 


As interest in home remodeling has seen a sharp increase during the pandemic (the more time you spend at home, the more likely you are to want to customize your home), project, paint, and furniture stores like Lowes, Home Depot, WayFair, Sherman Williams, and the like are increasing their attention to augmented reality and virtual reality to help make visual commerce a high priority. You simply open their apps and tap your preferred paint color in real time to see the feel with your furniture before stopping at the store to pick up paint samples, or point your camera to the wall and choose the bed frame, pictures, mirrors, or couches you are eyeing for that room re-do. Just recently, one of our team members at Refinery Lab had her floors replaced and used the flooring company’s app to see the full picture of her new floor color in conjunction with her furniture. 

Visual commerce does not stop there – it can be used in many other markets, such as to sell a car – an extension of technologies that already exist on many dealer sites where  the consumer can experiment with different colors, packages, and trims. 

There are three important steps of visualization in the commerce process:

  • Product visualization
  • Visual configuration
  • Augmented reality

Consumers are being extra careful in the ways they choose to spend money, especially with all of the uncertainty – the focus in buyer experience in visual commerce is the emotional attachment to influence consumers to take the leap and purchase the product without buyers’ remorse. 


Now, as I mentioned above, let’s chat about ROVI. Committed visual commerce campaigns have significantly less overhead than physical experiences, and offer a prospective buyer flexibility and visual commerce experience 24 hours a day. We see companies like Apple and Nike embrace and push full force with visual commerce and adding their campaigns to the bottom line. Chris Beaudin, the director of marketing for Atlatl Software, says the “estimate on ROVI is a return of about 10 times the initial investment. According to Atlatl, 85% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better experience, which begins as soon as they physically step through the door, or visually lock eyes on that desired item.” With it being more difficult to step through the door these days, optimizing the experience when consumers visually lock eyes on that desired item online is even more important.