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Visual Landscape Terminology Defined

By Christina Burnley | January 10, 2020

2020 is the year of Visual Commerce, but what does that actually mean? The Experience Economy continues to rapidly change the way we shop, with customer experience surpassing product and price as top differentiators. 

As we kick off the next decade, we want to set the record straight on what it means to be Visual. That’s why we have created an easy, jargon-free guide to understanding digital landscape terminology. 

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Static imagery

This is the most basic level of visualization. Anytime you come across a traditionally 

photographed product image while surfing the web, you are looking at static imagery. This form of visualization is by far the most passive, as you won’t be able to interact with the image or customize it to your specifications. 

CGI/Photorealistic Imagery Interactive

CGI, also known as computer-generated imagery, is the implementation of computerized graphics to create realistic 2D images. While this is a step ahead of traditional photography, photorealistic imagery only allows for simple edits like color changes to a product. 

Product Visualization

At this level of visualization, products are eCommerce ready. Product visualization leverages three-dimensional renderings of products to put end-users in the driver’s seat by giving customers the ability to interact with the product online and use AR technology to see products in various physical spaces. 

3D Visual Configuration/Configurator

Visual configuration uses 3D models of products to provide the ability to configure product options. The user interacts with the digital version of a product, makes configurations and instantly sees an updated visual representation of their choices. This experience occurs on-screen but can also translate to viewing in AR.

Visual Configuration + Integration

Through integration, 3D visual configuration can extend into the next step of your buyer’s journey. Post-configuration, information will be translated into a CRM, Commerce, or CPQ platform to complete the process.

Virtual Reality vs Augmented Reality

While virtual reality leverages a wearable to fully immerse users into an artificial environment created by computer-generated technology, augmented reality superimposes digital imagery onto a user’s real-world environment through a device. 


Rather than accessing the market directly, manufacturers sell their products and/or services to the end consumer via a distributor. While the manufacturer is selling through a channel, it is crucial to remain focused on the customer experience, as the end-consumer is the one that makes the final purchase decision. 

Digital Twins

A digital twin is a virtual replica of a physical product. DTs are used to test products digitally before they enter production, and give users a chance to interact with the product visually so they know they are getting exactly what they paid for.

Visual Commerce

Visual Commerce relies on Product Visualization which is the act of using renderings, images, and artwork to visually communicate your products to customers. Today, many companies are doing this through visual product configurators on their customer-facing websites. 

Questions? We'd love to discuss the Visual landscape further. Connect with us here!

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