eCommerce websites have been a huge success for many years now and customers are becoming less hesitant to buy expensive and complicated products like TVs or furniture online. And the COVID-19 pandemic certainly made online shopping a necessity and gave a boom to the industry.
But there’s still a hesitancy among customers to buy products where aesthetics or appearance matter, for example, clothes, furniture, etc. This has been a problem since the beginning of eCommerce platforms; customers are worried if what they see is what they get. And these platforms have tried to address these issues by adding detailed product information and multiple pictures. But now we have the technology to offer a better perspective using 3D models.
Let’s explore how you can leverage 3D models to improve customer experience on eCommerce websites.
3D models on websites
This is the simplest use-case for 3D models in eCommerce and is widely implemented. While many online stores offer pictures from multiple angles, a 3D model offers a better perspective to the users. Users can view the product from multiple angles and up-close before making a decision.
The better a customer understands a product, the less likely they’re to regret the purchase. And customer regrets can be costly to the business; in the short term they may have to deal with returns and refunds, and in the long run, can affect their reputation and result in loss of business.
There are businesses that have mapped their entire store into a 3D model through which customers can walk through.
3D models let’s view products almost as if they’re in a physical store. Sure, there are still limitations, but customers can view these using their existing devices. They can use their mouse on a desktop or their fingers on their mobile devices to scroll, turn, or zoom into these models. And this makes the tech more accessible; customers don’t have to invest in tech just for an enhanced shopping experience.
AR and VR
Augmented reality and virtual reality are two technologies that are finding their space in eCommerce. While 3D models let you see products from multiple angles, VR and AR add an extra sense of realism to these products. VR can help users walk around virtual products exactly as they would in a physical store, while in AR users can place the products in their homes and see how it looks.
For example, Ikea’s AR app lets you view their furniture and place them in your home before making a purchase. And they’re not the lone player; with the COVID-19 pandemic, many home décor firms are exploring VR and AR apps for their products.
The growing interest in AR and VR can also be attributed to the technological innovations in the field and how it has made them more accessible. Earlier smartphones didn’t have the processing capabilities or the hardware for VR and AR. Even dedicated VR headsets were expensive and bulky. But now both Android and Apple phones have SDKs for building AR and VR apps.
Some of the latest iPhone apps even have LiDAR sensors that can map out environments in high detail. Customers have used these to create 3D models of furniture in a physical store, place them in their homes, and tested them out before making a decision.
eCommerce owners can certainly leverage these trends to create a better shopping experience for their customers and improve conversion rates.
Trials for clothing and accessories
Clothing and accessories purchases are complicated. Even when we get clothes from a physical store, we try out different ones to see how they look on us. While there are many online stores for buying clothes, we often end up looking up the styles and buying them from a physical store. And the sizing standards that vary with brands don’t help this situation. VR and AR can help turn this around.
Businesses like Lenskart have been using this for a couple of years. With their AR feature, you can try on different frames before making a purchase. Similarly, Burberry presented its products in AR for customers to view at their homes. And Gucci collaborated with Snapchat to create filters with which users can try on their sneakers.
By leveraging 3D modeling and AR, organizations have a lot of opportunities to let users try their products before making a purchase. By leveraging smartphone sensors, they can even ensure that the products fit the users, reducing returns and refunds.
Custom product design
When buying something from a physical store, you’re often able to go through the products and mix and match different combos. For example, if you’re buying a set of furniture, you can get a table and a set of chairs together and see what they look like. Or you’re mixing up parts of modular furniture sets to find something that works for you.
This is difficult in online shopping, it’s not easy to tell if two pieces of furniture or bedsheets go together. Or if you’re buying a set of furniture, it’s not easy to see if they all fit together.
Businesses have used 3D modeling to solve this problem. They’re offering virtual rooms and a drag and drop interface so that customers can just drop their purchases in and see what they all look like. These solutions are fairly intuitive and don’t need any training to use.