Using 3D & Augmented Reality in Retail Sales and Marketing

3D and augmented reality are buzzwords that are getting used more and more these days. And for good reason. 3D has been proven to increase conversion rates by up to 2x and reduce returns by 40%. According to a recent study by Deloitte and Snap, “interacting with products that have AR (augmented reality) experiences leads to a 94% higher conversion rate, as individuals can better assess them and feel connected with the brands. All of that is great news, but many retailers and businesses are still left wondering how exactly they go about implementing them into their business. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to start implementing 3D and augmented reality in retail sales. In this blog post, we break down a few of the ways to get started.

3D & Augmented Reality in Retail Starts with the 3D Models

The first thing that brands need to do before they can take advantage of augmented reality and 3D eCommerce is to build a 3D version of their product. There are really 2 ways to go about this. The first is by using a 3D creation program like Browzwear for apparel or 3DS Max for furniture. You can hire a company like VNTANA to help with this or you can use an internal team. The cost to create a 3D model is dependent on the complexity of the product but is generally around $150 – $350 per product. The reason you may want to create a 3D model this way is that it could be difficult to scan due to shiny materials or size or you need a fast turnaround. This method can also be more cost-effective at scale.

The second way to create a 3D model is to scan your product. There are 3D scanning companies that you can send your products to or you can use a partner like VNTANA who can leverage their global network of 3D scanning partners to create the 3D models for you. The big benefit of scanning is that you are using hundreds photos of the real product to create the 3D model so it is likely to be very realistic. Below is an example of a shoe that we scanned for our client Staud. The cost to do this is somewhere between $300 – $500 depending on the complexity of the product. 

Deploying 3D & Augmented Reality in eCommerce

Now that you have a 3D model, the next question is where do you use it? The 3 most popular ways to use it are: 3D on eCommerce, Augmented Reality in eCommerce, & 3D in advertising. One thing that’s important to note is that you always want to make sure you are using 3D models that have been optimized for these channels, just like you optimize videos and images for eCommerce sites. The original 3D models that are created can often be large and will result in slow load times or incompatibility with AR if they are not properly optimized. An automated solution like VNTANA can handle this for you ensuring you have ultra-fast load speeds and compatibility across all channels.

Augmented Reality

3D on eCommerce

Using 3D on eCommerce is a great way to increase conversions and provide your customers with a better understanding of your product. To implement this, you will need a 3D Content Management System, such as VNTANA, that provides an embeddable web viewer. Simply upload your 3D model to the platform and then you can copy and paste the iFrame that’s automatically generated. It’s the exact same code you would copy if you were to embed a YouTube video for example.

While copying and pasting is great if you only have a few products, if you are going to add 3D at scale it’s important to make sure you’re using a solution that can automatically associate the 3D viewer with product data page (PDP) via an API. This will allow you to quickly and easily deploy 3D at scale. 

Another benefit of 3D in eCommerce is that you can use hotspots like on the model below to highlight features of your product. Using hotspots, you can attach text, video, or images to allow customers to learn more about your product.

Augmented Reality in eCommerce

Using AR in eCommerce can often feel very daunting to people who are just getting started, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. In its simplest form, eCommerce AR is just an extension of 3D on eCommerce. Very often you will see an icon in the corner of 3D web viewers that allow customers to launch an AR experience on their mobile devices simply by scanning a QR code. What’s great about this implementation is that no app is required to use it. While Ikea, Target, & others offer AR within their apps, the truth is that the vast majority of consumers don’t want to download another application to try Augmented Reality. Using a solution like VNTANA will allow you to automatically generate 3D viewers and web based AR experiences, ensuring maximum user engagement and conversion.

Below is an example of AR experience that one of our customers, Ice Barrel, has deployed to help their customer better understand the size of their product. Scan the QR code to see it in your space.

3D in Advertising

This is one of the least thought of but most impactful ways to leverage 3D in retail and eCommerce. You can think of a good 3D model as the highest level of content. From it, you can generate photorealistic 2D images, video, augmented reality & virtual reality experiences. In the ad below, our customer Staud used a 3D shoe that we scanned for them to create a Facebook ad that outperformed all the other ads in this campaign by X. The ad was automatically created using our software and is something that could easily be done at scale. What’s so great about this content is that it’s super engaging but can be produced cost-effectively and at scale – a huge savings over traditional photo and video shoots.



These are just some of the ways that brands and retailers can start leveraging 3D and augmented reality in eCommerce. Social media platforms like Snapchat, Facebook, & Instagram have all made huge bets on brands selling through the use of 3D and augmented reality. You can expect this list to grow over time, but these are a great first entry point for brands & retailers who are looking to increase conversions, reduce returns, and provide a differentiated experience for their customers.