Intense competition in the retail industry drives increased levels of performance across the board, and a key impetus to success in this industry is the visual appeal and functionality of retail outlets. Detailed and attractive 3D rendered images, or computer-generated images (CGI), especially those created with the help of Building Information Modelling (BIM) can have a noticeable impact on clients, sales and marketing. Retail design drawings that achieve impressive photo-realistic views and effective 3D rendering services can help drive profits while saving costs.
To better understand how important rendering is to the retail industry, let’s look at what rendering is. In 3D graphic design, rendering is the process of adding shading, colour and lamination either to a 2D or 3D wireframe to produce lifelike digital images. Rendering enables the creation of images or animation that show the design traits of a proposed space. Both designers and clients benefit from rendered views. Though various techniques and software (Autodesk’s 3ds Max, VRay, SketchUp, Maya and Mental Ray being popular) can be used to create computer-generated renderings, the objective remains the same – improve presentations, support marketing and create design views for analysis. Clients can understand renders better than architectural drawings, and therefore, renders are generally more effective in communicating design intent. Accurate renders can effectively represent spatial constraints and possibilities and reach a wider audience as a result.
The use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) in rendering creates greater accuracy in the rendered image. BIM models can specify the count of cabinet fixtures, lighting fixtures, countertops, legs, handles, grommets, drawer pulls, equipment mounts and other details. A large amount of detail is incorporated into a BIM model, which can be used to generate accurate and detailed rendered images, which show how various elements fit in a space in relation to each other. BIM models are especially useful for space analysis in large retail spaces, such as department stores or malls. Square footage and department-wise lists of fixtures and furniture in display areas, with corresponding dimensions, can be represented. This means that with the use of retail BIM modelling, a 3D view can be created that shows how potential objects interact. Retail space shown in 3D can also include paint, laminate and wall coverings, so that the 3D visualisation is a close representation of what the actual space may appear as.
Rendered images are important for retail companies in several ways. The benefits of 3D renderings include:
- Realistic depiction of spaces
- Allows executives to view and approve new sites
- Ease and speed of creation
- Useful for marketing and project approvals
- Language barriers are minimised
- Renders look uncluttered and attractive compared to 2D elevations
High-quality photorealistic renders are as good as photos Renders also provide flexibility, as elements can be altered quickly and easily. Some of the precise features of retail spaces that renders portray can predict the store experience. For example, a well-designed store entrance must create expectation and offer options. High quality renders help achieve this. Renders can show lighting, signage and displays. The retailer’s image can be communicated through the kind of flooring and shelving used. For example, glass shelves and fixtures can suggest elegance. Smart lighting can improve how merchandise is displayed, thus contributing to increased sales. Walls can be used to store and display messages, and windows can be used to display the type of merchandise and market the image of the store.
A useful application of rendered images is by showcasing store layouts. Clients can be shown the basic layout of a retail space through 3D visualisation so that they can opt for a layout that enables a specific path for their customers. Essential design pointers for an effective layout include the width of walkways – wide enough for shopping carts (if necessary) and also for people to walk through without colliding. There are three basic types of retail layouts, and they can all be communicated through renders: grid layout, racetrack layout and free form layout.
- The grid layout involves parallel aisles with display items on shelves on both sides, often used for bakeries, display of fruits, vegetables, clothing, electrical and electronics goods.
- The racetrack, or loop, layout involves one major aisle that circles around the retail space to guide customers on a prescribed route.
- A free form layout arranges shelves, fixtures and aisles asymmetrically, used primarily in smaller stores, specialty stores or sections within larger department stores.
Approvals from the client for design can be significantly influenced by detailed and effective rendering. Rendering of retail space can show shelving to the benefit of each customer. Shelving and displays should be clutter-free and such that customers can easily locate items. The details of furniture in retail areas, such as cash counters, shelves, storage spaces, display counters and their placement are key factors that influence sales, and showing these details through rendering can be useful for client approvals.
Another key feature of retail space that influences sales is lighting. Light placement and rendering for lighting at different times of the day and night can influence display locations for merchandise, and 3D rendering can show the differences in effect that various types of lights and their reflections can have in the same space on the same merchandise.
Renders can also be used as planograms. Planograms are images/maps created by retailers to decide where to place merchandise for maximum benefit and take into account lighting and shelving. The space needs to be visually appealing to increase customer purchases. These planograms can be easily created, tested and altered in the virtual environment provided by rendering.
Approvals & Decision-making
The use of 3D rendering services can also be useful to obtain executive approvals for new sites and for decision-making purposes. Here’s why:
When the competition is fierce, a 3D visualisation of a project is almost as effective as a business card in that it represents and translates the uniqueness of the project. Presentation of work, past, ongoing and future, is a powerful tool. Rendering of high quality showcases design and enhances reputation.
High Quality Promotional Material
Promoting design intent is crucial for retail clients. Well-worked computer-generated images can represent interiors in greater clarity, influencing the decisions taken regarding placement and dimensions of furniture, flooring and wall finishes and coverings. Renders that promote branding can be included in brochures, pamphlets and other promotional material.
Multiple views of the same space through renders can help show the complete picture and support decision-making.
It costs much less to create a render than physical models, and since the renders are virtual they can be sent to a greater customer base.
Customers frequently change their minds and rendered images can be quickly edited to suit customer requirements. The 3D renderings can be sent to the client for quick approvals and changes.
Focus on Key USPs
Renderings show accurate and realistic representations and can simultaneously highlight the key unique selling points of the merchandise.
With an array of advantages, photorealistic 3D rendered images can be a valuable asset for retail success. The use of BIM to create detailed rendered views of retail space featuring walls, lighting, furniture, shelving and layout options provides an extra edge in gaining approvals and in the fields of sales and marketing. Changes are easy to execute, and multiple views can be generated to enable more informed decision-making. Rendering, therefore, is of prime importance in the retail industry.