Marketers' relationship with 3D and augmented reality (AR) has been a roller coaster for the last several years. From the highest hopes of immersive experiences, to glitches, to dashed expectations often seen at the most inopportune times, the history is complicated to say the least.
Despite the headaches and heartbreaks, product visualization has emerged a new partner for marketers, finally delivering on most, if not all, of the promises made so long ago.
The Belief: 3D Models Never Look As Good As The Real Thing
Unless you’re looking to achieve the look of this pixelated collection from Loewe, high quality imagery is key to a successful digital presence. Unfortunately for many early adopters of 3D and AR, the quality standard was subpar for a number of years.
Luckily, we have come leaps and bounds in recent years, and 3D product renderings can now be referred to as digital twins, with image fidelity that impresses the masses and the critics. Brands such as Apple have leveraged 3D models in place of traditional photo and video for a number of years, with many consumers never realizing the image they see on billboards or in ads are not physical devices.
Using 3D models for product imagery offers brands benefits that are two-fold, creating 3D product models is an average of 1/6th the cost of a traditional photo or video shoot, and 3D assets can be edited or updated in a much more seamless manner. New features, complementary products, and new materials can be integrated into 3D product imagery on the backend, instead of needing a new photoshoot or expensive editing capabilities.
3D product configurators have also come far in their realism, capabilities, and functionality in recent years. Consumers should no longer be stuck with clunky experiences that do little to showcase products or the options a buyer has in making a purchase.
The Belief: 3D Experience Slow Down Websites
It is true, rich media and heavy digital experiences, including 3D, can slow down a website. Poorly designed sites can be found all over the internet, but a lack of optimization skills on someone’s part should not limit marketers’ view of 3D and augmented reality in general.
3D configurators offer buyers an immersive view of products, increasing confidence in purchase and reducing friction as buyers are able to view the specific product as it will arrive. Brands deploying 3D and AR for ecommerce have also seen double digit reductions in returns. Buyers using 3D/AR during a purchase are 64% less likely to make a return. But what about poorly performing immersive experiences?
3D assets are heavy, and logic tied to a 3D configurator can be a lot to load on a page; however, well engineered 3D experiences do not need to be a burden on website performance. Dopple delivers high fidelity, performant 3D and AR solutions to ecommerce brands, leaving buyers impressed by both the product, and the overall brand experience.
The Belief: Augmented Reality Requires Users to Download An App
At one point, “there’s an app for that,” was a positive selling point, but that quickly faded as users became tired of constantly downloading apps that were used once and took up space on their devices. In general, marketers aim to remove friction between discovery and purchase, as buyers are quick to abandon a process deemed more effort than it is worth. While many brands still operate a branded app, more and more they are choosing to integrate 3D and AR into mobile friendly experiences through webAR and the native capabilities of popular smart devices
WebAR allows users to activate and interact with augmented reality experiences using the camera on their smart device; no app required. From the marketer’s point of view, the elimination of the need for an app not only removes a point of friction that may have stopped the consumer from interacting, it allows AR experiences to be designed, launched, and updated far more easily and across a multitude of branded touch points.
Not only have AR capabilities at scale improved, consumers are looking for them. 66% of buyers say they would be interested in shopping a particular website if AR shopping was offered.
3D product visualization and AR are now dominating the wish lists of marketers across verticals as more and more evidence of success with 3D configurators and immersive shopping experiences comes to light. Top industries adopting 3D visualization include sporting goods, home and decor, apparel, and beauty, with more joining every day to drive more conversions, lower returns, and higher average cart values.
It is safe to say. marketers no longer hate 3D and AR.