Virtual Showroom Displays: Boost Product Engagement with 3D and AR
Digital 3D virtual showroom innovations are the latest example of how technology is constantly changing and evolving how we do business. Just as dynamic video content has been known to increase sales and is now a standard in the business world for advertising, social media, and more, 3D is increasingly becoming the standard for today’s marketing and sales world. Just check the stats for the impact 3D is making across eCommerce and advertising channels! 3D models double online conversion rates while reducing returns by 40%. Additionally, 63% of US consumers say they’ll buy more from brands that offer 3D and Augmented Reality (AR) product previews!
Undoubtedly, 3D and AR technology is driving eCommerce sales across various industries today. The use of these immersive technologies in eCommerce began primarily with consumer use cases like product try-ons or augmented reality product placements. However, more opportunities exist to leverage 3D and AR digital experiences throughout your value chain.
What is a Virtual Showroom?
Virtual showrooms, also called digital showrooms, are interactive online shopping environments that allow customers to engage with products in realistic ways without necessarily being in physical store or showroom locations. Virtual showrooms use technology such as 3D models to let users see products from different angles, virtually try on products, and place full-scale 3D objects in their physical environments. Marketing and sales strategies that employ these technologies are sometimes referred to as visual merchandising.
Virtual showrooms help eCommerce brands make online shopping experiences more engaging for customers by bringing them visually closer to in-store experiences and even offering perspectives that retailers could not achieve in a store. This increased engagement helps explain why virtual showrooms generate higher sales and lower return rates.
Types of Virtual Showrooms
Virtual showrooms come in three main varieties:
- 3D digital showrooms, also known as web showrooms
- Augmented Reality showrooms
- Virtual reality showrooms
Let’s look at each type of virtual showroom:
3D Digital Showroom (Web Showroom)
VNTANA’s Digital Showroom allows users to instantly share 3D showrooms on the web so customers can see every detail of a product in full 3D and AR, just as if they were at a physical showroom. Clients can view products from different angles, zoom in, or see other product specs, such as color options.
Augmented Reality (AR) Virtual Showroom
VNTANA’s 3D web viewers have augmented reality functionality built-in so customers can virtually place the product in their environment. Your sales team can send a link, and the buyer can place the mannequin or furniture in their room and walk around the merchandise just like they would in a real-life showroom.
Virtual Reality (VR) Showroom
Virtual reality showrooms use multiple images of objects to create digital 3D environments which simulate the ability to move about in a physical store. To experience VR, shoppers normally must wear a special headset.
Why Are Virtual Showrooms Important?
Brands and retailers benefit from virtual showrooms in several ways:
- Virtual showrooms enhance customer experience by creating an immersive experience that mimics in-person showrooms, increasing shopper engagement
- 3D displays give shoppers a better, more realistic understanding of the product in real-time
- Providing more realistic product previews increases buyer conversion rates while reducing returns
- Retailers can quickly test new product lines before they are manufactured and make changes to designs in the early stages, cutting production costs
These benefits make virtual showrooms a valuable tool for eCommerce retailers.
Who Uses Virtual Showrooms?
Virtual showrooms are finding a home in a growing range of industries proving highly effective at increasing shopper engagement and boosting sales. Here are a few examples:
Selling furniture online has never been easier, thanks to virtual showrooms. Without leaving home, shoppers can view furniture items from different angles and see how they’d look in their homes in different colors and styles. For example, a homeowner can see precisely how a couch in their selected color would look in their living room.
Virtual showrooms work just as well outdoors as indoors. Shoppers can view Outdoor gear similarly to furniture. For example, a shopper can see how a tent would look in their backyard or against a natural outdoor scene they or you provide. Shoppers also can view how they’d look wearing items such as backpacks.
Clothing and Apparel
Clothing and apparel are perfectly suited to virtual showroom fashion displays. Shoppers can browse through selections and see how they’d look, trying on different items without going into a changing room. A virtual showroom fashion app can even save time for shoppers in physical store locations, enabling customers to try on many items without taking the time to try them on physically.
3D footwear is another virtual showroom success. Shoppers can use real-time selfie videos to try on digital shoe models and see how they’d look on their feet from different angles. As with clothing, this can save time trying on items for in-store customers.
3D jewelry is another product that lends itself perfectly to virtual shopping. Customers can try on rings, necklaces, bracelets, and other items without setting foot in a store. Virtual jewelry try-on can be highly useful for brands that offer customized jewelry options.
What Are the Benefits of a Digital Showroom for B2B Business?
For brands selling to B2B customers, digital showrooms offer an extended range of benefits. Here are seven ways 3D Digital Showrooms are doing great things for business owners:
The most significant bottom-line benefit of digital showrooms is increasing sales. When customers can view products from the comfort of their homes and get a realistic preview of items without going into a store, sales conversion rates go up. Meanwhile, returns drop, further increasing your profit margin.
Leveling up Your Virtual Merchandising
Adopting digital showroom technology helps you begin advancing your virtual commerce strategy. Technologies such as 3D, AR, and VR are playing a growing role in marketing. The sooner you adopt these cutting-edge technologies, the sooner you position yourself to compete in future markets.
Significantly Reducing or Eliminating Sample Costs
Many companies were using 3D and augmented reality technology to replace physical samples with digital samples by creating online 3D digital showrooms. Some businesses may be a bit cautious about altogether forgoing physical samples. That is why it is always great to start with a few products that will make good 3D samples and keep some physical samples of others so that they can send one physical sample of a product and then show the rest of the products virtually in a digital showroom.
Our client, Mamiye Brothers, used their 3D digital showroom to drive increased sales and speed to market with their Nordstrom and Bloomingdale accounts, all while saving thousands of dollars in sample production costs.
Reducing Carbon Footprint
Virtual showrooms help brands increase sustainability by reducing their carbon footprint. When customers don’t have to come into your store, they don’t have to burn fossil fuels. Reduced returns also cut energy consumption. Likewise, suppliers don’t have to burn as much fuel supplying your inventory when you can preview items digitally before ordering.
Increasing Speed to Market
Digital showrooms help you bring your product to market faster. You can test-market products virtually before putting them into production. This speeds up the research and development phase by avoiding the time which would have been wasted physically producing product samples.
Transcending Borders and Expanding Your Brand Globally
3D showrooms extend the reach of your brand beyond national borders. When your customers don’t need to visit a physical store, you can advertise anywhere shoppers can access the Internet. This opens up the potential for profitable international growth.
Staying Ahead of Competitors with a 3D and AR Strategy
While 3D and AR marketing adoption is growing, many companies have been slow to get on board. Adopting digital showroom technology now gives you a lead on competitors behind the curve, positioning you to maintain your edge in the future. In addition, it keeps you from being the one lagging behind the pack.
How Do You Make a Digital Showroom with 3D Assets?
At the beginning of your 3D journey, starting with one 3D asset is perfect, as there is a learning curve. Starting with just a few 3D assets allows buyers to learn how to look at virtual versions of products. Digital samples also help because retailers can send them to buyers before physical samples ever have to be created, saving money and time.
One of our partners Polygon Labs is creating digital showrooms that are simple and easy to use. They have plugged in directly via API throughout VNTANA’s system to allow businesses to quickly and easily create digital showrooms for their products by simply dragging and dropping products into the showroom where they want them. This ease of implementation is only possible when your 3D strategy is coupled with the right solutions. Digital showrooms remove the limitations of only being able to show a certain amount of products. With digital showrooms, you can showcase products by the thousands, which is helpful for displaying entire collections and product lines at once.
Barriers to Creating a 3D Digital Showroom
To enjoy the benefits of a 3D showroom experience, brands must overcome some common barriers. Here are some of the most common issues you may encounter when trying to implement virtual showroom technology:
Issues with 3D File Optimization and Compatibility
Currently, one of the most significant barriers in 3D revolves around accessibility issues. Oftentimes, multiple teams are working on different programs and exporting different file types. Every program out there exports a different file type, as there is no standard file format that everyone uses. Even textures are exported in different formats for every platform, making some textures not look quite the same.
On top of that, the various platforms, such as Google and Shopify, all require different file types for 3D assets. This inconsistency creates accessibility issues because not everyone can view the files in different formats, and it can take hours to convert to the proper format, costing time and money.
One solution is using .glTF and.GLB files when exporting. These files are king as they are the most reliable for publishing and the most reliable from Browzwear and Clo. Teams need to get well-defined exporting guidelines and processes. Establishing these guidelines is critical in scaling the use of 3D assets for sales.
Getting Buy-in from Leadership
Another barrier is getting leadership to buy into 3D technology. Leadership focuses on sales. Getting leadership within the company to see how 3D sample replacement can save money and how 3D assets are increasing sales is a great way to get funded and get the strategies and workflows in place to create a seamless process from beginning to end.
3D Asset Storage and Management
Many times 3D assets are decentralized, meaning they are spread out throughout the company’s network and not stored in one central location. This lack of organization can leave many in the company without the ability to visualize the asset or leave annotations or comments. Sharing files and comments through emails is slow and unproductive, making it nearly impossible to get 3D assets that are visually appealing and correct before it is moved to a digital showroom. What is the solution to this?
How To Overcome Barriers to 3D Digital Showrooms
Fortunately, the barriers to 3D digital showroom adoption have some simple solutions. Here are some steps you can take to get your 3D showroom up and running:
Optimize Your 3D Files for Use Everywhere on the web
Even after ensuring your workflows and export guidelines are in place and getting an excellent CMS built for 3D, one problem remains: file sizes are just too large. File optimization is the main challenge that can slow down the entire process and become costly. Though easily solved with the right CMS, the inability to correctly optimize files has the potential to directly impact sales and how quickly you can add your 3D assets to your digital showroom.
- Optimize File Types: There is a difference between having a 3D asset and being able to use that asset in digital showrooms, social media, ads, and more. Everything from polygon counts to oversized textures can inflate the file size. Poorly optimized files are inefficient and increase the loading time on web pages, causing customers to get bored and possibly lose sales.
- Optimize Loading Times: A quick loading time is especially important when working with 3D web viewers. Although 3D web viewers are everywhere, they do nothing to impact your sales if loading the assets into the viewer takes a long time. If the 3D web viewer takes too long to load, you risk losing buyers who become impatient and exit your site.
Getting these changes done by your team or hiring someone outside the company is costly and very time intensive. It can take someone incredibly skilled over 3 hours to convert the files into the proper format and optimize them. VNTANA has come up with a solution for this. We automatically optimize the files, including resizing and compressing textures, reducing 3D file sizes up to 99%!
Prepare Your Pitch to Leadership and Present Your Research
To help you get leadership buy-in on virtual showroom adoption, it will help to prepare a persuasive pitch. Focus on the benefits of 3D for B2B sales. VNTANA’s site provides case studies, demonstrations, and sales statistics you can use to enhance your presentation.
Use a 3D CMS Specifically Designed for 3D Assets and Workflow
VNTANA is one of the leaders in the industry looking to help solve this problem. We provide a place to centralize your 3D assets, making tracking files easier and creating a more cohesive workflow with all the attributes you need to create amazing 3D assets. Our platform can also pull Metadata from previous files, and comments and hotspot annotations can be directly added to 3D models and viewed just as easily. We are specifically designed for 3D assets from beginning to end, allowing companies to take the next step and truly build out the digital showroom they desire for their assets. Some great things about this are that files are automatically optimized, and you can add store locations where the product is available. Our platform allows you to add any attributes about the product as well as SKU numbers.
How to Integrate 3D Into Your Digital Showroom
Once your 3D assets have been made and are ready for the web and other platforms, the next step is integrating the 3D assets into your digital showroom. Here are a few methods you can use:
3D Design Platforms
The leading platforms most people use to create digital showrooms are Joor, NuORDER Virtual Showroom, Unreal Engine, and Unity.
iFrames are a great and easy way to drop your 3D products into your digital showroom. iFrames are 3D viewers and use the same process as embedding a video. Simply copy and paste the embed code and drop it in. With VNTANA, we create the iFrames for you, and they can be pulled directly from our platform into the digital showroom platforms.
QR codes are another great way to integrate 3D into digital showrooms. They take the consumer or buyer directly to the product, allowing them to pull out their phone, scan the code and interact with the product.
Plug-ins can also be used. VNTANA has plug-ins for Unreal and Unity, where your assets can be automatically loaded and transferred to the digital showroom.
VNTANA Can Help You Launch a 3D Digital Showroom in Hours, Not Weeks
VNTANA is the solution to these problems. We have strived to create a platform that can do everything, from automatically optimizing files to helping create a digital showroom. One Platform, Every Channel, Fully Automated is our motto. We are committed to democratizing 3D and AR for everyone! The sky’s the limit if 3D processes are done right from the beginning. Virtual try-ons can be done in AR with actual customers or buyers. With the right processes in place, buyers can see your product in their environment via QR code, get a sense of the product, and get up close and see the details of the product.
Contact one of our 3D experts to get started today!