How do you make your e-commerce site standout? While platforms like Shopify have made it easier than ever to create beautiful online storefronts, these days it takes more for than just a nice looking storefront to beat the competition.
Here’s where 3D & augmented reality (aka AR) can help. While it may sound like advanced technology that might be difficult to implement, the truth is, it’s actually pretty accessible.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality can be defined as placing the digital into the real world. Most often, people are referring to mobile AR which utilizes your phone’s camera to look at the world and then overlay digital objects. Imagine placing a couch in your living room or walking around an avatar that’s wearing an outfit you’re thinking about buying.
The Benefits of 3D and AR Web
So why do you care? 3D & AR have been proven to over double conversion rates and reduce returns by up to 40%. Why? Because they help consumers get a better understanding of products. 3D allows them to see it from all angles and zoom in which can be really helpful for complicated or detailed procuts. AR allows consumers to see products in their environment true to size, which is really helpful for things like furniture, suitcases, and bags where sizing is important. Finally, both 3D & AR result in much higher engagement rates, making it more likely that a customer will make a purchase.
OK, so you understand what AR is and how it can help you, the next question is how do you get started?
Step 1 – Identify or Create 3D Models of your products
Creating 3D models of your products can be done in one of 3 ways. If your company already designs in 3D using programs like Browzwear, Clo, Solidworks, Rhino, etc. then you can actually leverage those existing assets. Platforms like VNTANA can automatically optimize & convert existing 3D assets so they are ready for web, mobile, & AR.
If you don’t already have 3D models, don’t worry. You can scan your products or have a team of 3D artists create a digital twin. Scanning often works better when the products are smaller & not shiny or transparent, like a shoe. For products like furniture, creating a digital twin with 3D artists is probably a better option.
The process of finding the right vendor for scanning or modeling can be cumbersome if you don’t know much about 3D. That is why VNTANA offers to create digital twins for you to get started quickly. Our network of trusted partners can 3D scan your products and upload to the VNTANA platform to instantly share on your ecommerce website.
Step 2 – Make sure they are optimized correctly for web & AR
Now that you have your 3D models, you need to make sure they are ready to be used on your website or in an AR experience. Think of it the same way you would 2D photography. You want to make sure that any product images that go on your website are in the right format & compressed, but without sacrificing too much quality so they load quickly and look great.
For 3D, this file-size reduction is something that’s usually done by hand with a 3D artist spending time to optimize various aspects of the model and convert the format so it’s ready to be used on the web, mobile, & AR. However, more automated solutions like VNTANA can handle this process automatically, saving you a lot of time and money.
Step 3 – Deploy to Website
You have your 3D models, they’re optimized for web & AR, now what? The next step is to embed your models on your website. There are a few different ways to do this. If you’re using Shopify, they support 3D & AR natively on their platform. You just need to make sure that it’s formatted correctly and small enough (VNTANA is Shopify’s preferred partner for this). Or if you’re not a Shopify user, you can use a platform like VNTANA that allows you to simply copy the embed code (just like you would for a video) and paste it to your website. You can see just how easy it is to add 3D to sites like WordPress, Wix, & Squarespace here.
Now that your model is hosted on your website, how do you make it AR enabled? QR codes are one quick and easy way to accomplish this. Adding a QR code to the desktop version of your site allows users to scan it with their mobile device and it should automatically take them to an AR experience – no app download required!
If you use a platform like VNTANA, users that are shopping on their mobile devices will see an icon in the top left corner of the 3D web viewer that when clicked generates an AR experience.
Hopefully, this offered a helpful guide on how to get started with 3D & AR in e-commerce. If you’d like to learn more about adding 3D & AR capabilities to your e-commerce site, you can contact us here.