Whether we like it or not, we tend to make judgments based on appearance. Sure we could hope that our clients are reasonable enough to make decisions based solely on the product's features, functions, and quality and thus it’s your brand that they will choose.
But the sad truth is that we all make decisions based on what we envision the product to be like, and this very vision is built on how the product is presented, and not necessarily on how it’s designed.
It’s not just common sense. In a study conducted by Yoo and Kim (2012) where the researchers tested how the presentation of product, either shown on a concrete* or solid background, influenced the decision-making process of clients, they came up with some interesting conclusions:
"The results provided empirical evidence that concrete pictures are effective in facilitating virtual product experience (...), which ultimately increases behavioral intentions via positive emotions. "
Which means that people are more likely to buy your lamp if it’s presented in a comfy living room, rather than on a solid background.
And it really works on many different levels.
Firstly, a well presented product will easily catch clients’ attention. Either on a website or in an ad, the background on which the product is presented is a big part of the picture. That means that gray, white, or any other type of solid background makes the product look bland or cheap. Many companies still don't take this fact under consideration, so any use of concrete background would make your product stand out among those naysayers.
Seeing a product in a realistic environment can be a good substitute for the real life shopping experience. It’s very common that people want to see “how the product really looks”. They search for the pictures that would best represent this reality, and not such with a solid background, which instantly gives off a feeling of artificiality.
Your product’s 3D environment could be designed so it would specifically fit your target clientele. A lawyer would be much more prone to buy a certain lamp if he saw it on a desk in an elegant office rather than on a white background. Not everyone can sense a style of the product just from its design. Such clues can be very helpful for the clients, and they’ll prove their gratitude by making the purchase.