AR, VR, and 3D product visualization are combined to visualize products or graphical content in 3D imagery either through AR or VR.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are technologies used to build interactive experiences with the virtual world. AR is a technology used to create virtual experiences in the real world, while VR is the tech used to create interactive experiences in the virtual world.
AR deals with merging the natural world and virtual environment to showcase a product in the real world, whereas VR deals with virtual world generation to showcase the product in a 3D virtual world.
Thus, AR for 3D product visualization brings a virtual product in the real world, usually equipped with traits like precision modeling & texturing cinematic animation, and photorealistic lighting. At the same time, VR is used to visualize the product with similar characteristics but in the virtual world instead of the real world.
According to Statista, the market for mobile AR in 2020 was about 6.87 Billion US dollars, while it is forecasted to reach 9.53 billion US dollars in 2021 and over 26 billion US dollars by 2025. These numbers show that the AR market is rapidly growing.
Similarly, the VR market also increases quickly, delivering more than 31% of VR headsets sales. It clearly shows the ability of AR and VR to be rapidly and widely adopted in the future.
Additionally, using 3D models and visualization in eCommerce possess advantages like photorealistic images, AR and VR experience of the product, creative animations, and allowing consumers to configure their product seamlessly.
Due to this, 3D product visualization is one of the new emerging marketing techniques used by different companies to provide an engaging customer experience, consequently boosting their sales.
How AR, VR, and 3D Product Visualization are being Used In E-Commerce
Many companies generally use 3D product visualization in their e-commerce listing, in which a digital 3D version of the product is showcased in place of regular product pictures. It allows the customers to interact with the product through actions like 3D inspection and choosing color preference by simply rotating the product or switching its color.
It would be visually reflected on the product instantly, allowing for a more seamless experience. Similarly, AR is generally used for size matching and style exploration of the product for the consumers.
In addition, some e-commerce sellers allow their products like glasses, clothes, furniture, etc., to be visually represented on their face, body, and home respectively with AR through their phone cameras.
For instance, Lenscart, Indian eyeglasses retail chain, allows its users to check the proper fitting and style of glasses on the consumer's face through AR. Through the use of the mo selfie camera, their apps would generate an overlay over the eyes and ears of the users imitating how they would look with the glasses on.
Similarly, Gucci, a fashion brand, allowed its users to check shoe fittings and styles on their legs by using an AR camera to generate an overlay of shoes over the customer's legs. Likewise, Franklin Sports, a US sports goods brand, also used 3D product visualization to allow their users to configure their sports goods in 3D space.
These technologies allow consumers to choose their products with a more pleasant experience and interact more while redefining product showcasing configuration and selection.
In response, 3D product visualization is becoming more and more common among e-commerce industries worldwide. As a result, many companies adopt AR technology to let their users "try on," inspector configure their products online before making a purchase decision.
Situation after the COVID-19 Pandemic
Especially after the COVID-19 pandemic and its "new normal" of working from home, consumers increasingly rely on e-commerce rather than physical shopping. For example, statistics show that e-commerce sales increased by 30% in the US while total retail sales increased by 4%, about 18.6% of the sales were the direct result of eCommerce.
It presents an immense opportunity regarding 3D product visualization and the eCommerce industry as a whole.
For example, in 2020, following the trend of social distancing and work from home, BMW Singapore, the Singaporean counterpart of the German luxury automaker, introduced a Digital Showroom to allow their customers to experience their showrooms digitally without having to visit their physical store.
Similarly, various travel agencies and companies are now using VR to showcase multiple travel destinations to their customers, allowing for a more engaging and intuitive experience of showcasing their goals. In addition, it resulted in an increased booking of the travel destinations.
While these practices are not widely adopted in all industries, some industries like eye-wear, furniture, shoes, and housing are actively developing their eCommerce front to be capable of 3D product visualization.
3D Product Visualization for Consumers in the E-Commerce Industry
One of the most common uses of 3D product visualization is the eCommerce industry, as the 3D product render of the product model is placed in pictures. It allows the users to visually see the product in different sizes, designs, and colors; it will enable them to visually observe product changes and make correct decisions without relying on photos of the products.
Apart from this, the marketing of the products using 3D renders also allows the company to maintain consistency on product showcases and simplify the process to get visual feedback on the product even before its release. It also allows the company to promote its products before they are ready or finished.
Apart from this, the websites showcasing the products also uplift the consumer experience by reducing load times of the web page since loading a pre-rendered image from render is fast compared to loading videos and other visualization materials. It is vital in eCommerce since consumers are more likely to stay on a web page if it loads faster than a website where pages and images load slower.
Research done by simicart.com showed that using AR and VR with 3D product visualization boosts sales due to more productive engagement of the consumers rather than the static images, due to an immersive experience of virtual product showcasing, pure curiosity and amazement of using AR and how it works so much so that users keep visiting the same place even only for using the AR and experiencing it again.
Apart from this, users also report advantages of using 3D product visualization as the product showcasing being more accurate and close to the real world compared to pictures and the ability to quickly "try on" or visualize their choices in products and the ability to change them quickly.
Overall, the research revealed that over 63% of consumers prefer AR product visualization to other traditional methods. In comparison, over 70% said they would be more loyal towards brands that implemented AR or VR 3D product visualization. It clearly shows the immense opportunities that lie in 3D product visualization in the eCommerce industry.
Similarly, TSUM, a luxury goods department store in Europe, reported increasing its eCommerce conversion rate by almost 40% due to 3D product visualization on its digital storefronts.
According to shopify.com, the use of AR and VR with 3D models can increase conversion rates by up to 250%. The CEO of Rebecca Minkoff, Uri Minkoff, has even said that consumers are more likely to purchase by about 65% when products are presented with 3D visualization and AR, with about 44% more chance of the product being added to the cart and 27% are more likely to order them than visitors who didn't.
Both AR and VR are transformative technologies that can shift the consumer experience in product visualization to the next level.
With the rapid adoption and availability of these technologies among consumers, marketers have started to take advantage of these technologies. In addition, with product visualization being one of the most critical parts of marketing, companies have begun to use AR and VR to enhance the consumer experience in product visualization.
The positive reception of 3D visualization among consumers means that these technologies are improving the consumer experience.
Although only a few companies have adopted AR and VR as their path forward in the next step towards enriching consumer experience, other companies are sure to join in the fray with the advantages of these technologies.
Moreover, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the noticeable rise in adoption of VR and AR technologies will present immense opportunities across the industry, especially in the e-commerce industry since it notably experienced a rapid increase during COVID-19.
Thus, not only will these technologies upgrade the consumer experience, but they will also reshape the whole eCommerce industry. Furthermore, since the eCommerce industry relies on consumer experience, 3D product visualization for a better consumer experience will undoubtedly be the next big step.