Enhancing your online store with a 3D Viewer

ten uses of augmented reality

David Long
24th April 2023

It can difficult for consumers to determine the quality and suitability of a product online, without being able to touch and see it in person. Online shopping also lacks the important "try before you buy" experience.

3D and immersive technologies (augmented reality and virtual reality) help to bridge the gap between the physical and online shopping experience, helping consumers make more informed and more confident purchasing decisions. E-commerce companies are using these technologies to provide better ways of shopping for their customers, gain a competitive advantage and increase revenue.

3D product viewers encapsulate 3D, AR and VR technologies in a single application. Customers can interact with a realistic 3D model online, rotate it and zoom in for more detail, and even view it in the home. They provide engaging and practical ways for consumers to experience and try out brands without even visiting a store. Customers that are better able to assess the quality and suitability of a product, will have more confidence in purchasing it, giving rise to more sales and fewer returns.

One of the biggest benefits of having a 3D viewer on an online store is augmented reality. Smartphone users can switch views from a 3D viewer to AR and virtually place an object on any surface in the home. I go into more detail about the benefits of AR in this article. An example is the The Ikea Place app which can be used by customers to see how furniture looks and fits in their home before buying. Innovative virtual AR try-on apps enable consumers to try out products such as glasses, shoes and makeup. The Snap Global Consumer AR Report found that interacting with products that have AR experiences leads to a 94% higher conversion rate.

3D viewers have a number of other ingenious features to assist customers in their decision making. Many viewers feature personalization, a customer can try all the available color and material options of a running shoe in 3D. This is invaluable when in AR mode, a customer can match the color and fabric of a sofa with their room decor. 3D animations make it possible to showcase product features, show information visually and demonstrate moving parts. They can help customers interact and connect with a brand in entertaining and educational ways. 3D annotations highlight the features of a product, when a user clicks an annotation, the camera zooms in and displays text, video, or sound.

When considering a strategy for incorporating 3D and AR, a 3D viewer is one of the most straightforward and cost-effective ways to get started. A viewer is usually provided by a B2B service. An online platform allows users to upload, manage, and configure 3D content and services to provide the functionality of the application that runs on a web page. Integration with a website or site builder can be quite straightforward, in most cases the viewer is embedded on a web page with a single iframe tag.

For any application, you'll also need realistic and detailed 3D models optimized for the web. Most visualization companies also offer services to turn product photography into models. An alternative way is to scan objects using photogrammetry software on your smartphone. Although it can be tricky to set up it can produce very detailed results. Kiri Engine is one of the best smartphone scanning apps on the market and it's free.

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