It’s common and highly recommended for any business to not settle at a certain milestone and always strive for absolute excellence. The eCommerce industry seems to be following this mantra quite effectively. Thanks to the deep involvement of 3D modelling in eCommerce, the online shopping experience is on its way to revolutionizing one’s shopping experience even further. Let’s understand how 3d configuration is benefiting eCommerce dramatically.  

What is 3D Configuration Anyway?

For starters, the 3D configuration allows users to customize the appearance and behaviour of a product at will. All you need is a few simple taps and the product will behave accordingly. How’s this helpful? This allows shoppers to view the product from different sides and angles, assess every aspect of it without leaving their couch, and finally choose the product with a design that perfectly resonates with their taste, style, and preference. While shoppers get a more personalized experience while purchasing something online, businesses enjoy more sales, creating a win-win situation for both sides. 

How Does 3D Configuration Work?

3D configuration is achieved through 3D configurators that use multiple product files to create high-fidelity 3D renderings of the product. Businesses often utilize visual configuration software to enable the designing, housing, and distribution of the 3D models with a single tool. 3D product configurators integrate seamlessly into your current website or application without having to overload your system with too much tech. 

How Does 3D Configuration Benefit the eCommerce Industry?

  • Boosts Sales

Boosting sales is one of the primary objectives of implementing a 3D product configurator. Interactive 3D models of products have better buying appeal and tend to leave a deeper impression on the shopper. These models contribute heavily to raising the bar when it comes to online shopping experiences and simplify decision-making while increasing conversion rates drastically. Overall, 3D configurations can have a significant impact on the annual P&L statements of any eCommerce company.

  • Promotes Cost-efficiency

3D configurations in eCommerce enable real-time feedback from the user which helps shorten the sales cycle. Furthermore, you don’t need tons of images shot in costly studios, just a photorealistic 3D render of the product will do the trick. Making a 360° virtual replica of a product is much easier and cost-effective than doing a professional photoshoot.

  • Faster UX, Friendlier UI

Implementing a 3D interactive model significantly improves the user experience. That’s because a single interactive 3D model is much lighter on the system than dozens of images of the product from different angles. Images nowadays are boring, outdated, and make the UI cluttered. Furthermore, since this technology allows shoppers to see and experience the product from a 360° angle, they can make much more informed decisions.

  • Provides a Unique Shopping Experience

Probably the biggest con of shopping at an eCommerce platform is that you don’t get to experience the product. Not anymore, thorough implementation of 3D technology defeats the purpose of going to a supermarket. Further advancing 3D configurations with VR and AR increase the usability of this technology even further. This opens doors to countless new opportunities in personalized shopping without having to leave the comfort of your couch. No wonder business giants are adopting this technology at a rate faster than ever before.

  • Can Carve Out More Money from Shoppers

According to a report by Deloitte, more than 57% of shoppers from all across the globe agreed to pay a premium for a rather personalized product, around 35% weren’t sure, and less than 10% denied. These numbers perfectly represent the demand for 3D product configurators in the online shopping industry.

  • Boosts Engagement

With a never-ending range of products released each year, customers don’t want to settle for average anymore, they seek personalization. Thanks to the 3D configuration technology, the search is over. 3D configuration offers some of the most basic forms of personalization such as engraving. While engraving may not be tedious to implement, it has a tremendous impact on the buying appeal of a product. 3D configuration allows customers to see the product with the engravings of their choice with the desired font weight and size. Enabling engravings and multiple other customizations force shoppers to spend more time at the eCommerce platform. This significantly boosts engagement and improves conversion rates.

  • Reduces Cart Abandonment

Ever found yourself liking a product, but not purchasing it? Chances are the eCommerce platform you’ve been purchasing from didn’t have 3D configuration technology. Even adding a tiny bit of customer-specific personalization to the product increases sales conversion by tremendous margins. 

  • Enhanced Marketing

Not only does 3D configuration in eCommerce drive sales and benefits customers in multiple ways, but it also benefits the marketing industry. Almost every website on the internet uses cookies to personalize advertisements, according to users and their interests.

Since customers can freely customize the product according to their style, the eCommerce website, in that case, can capture and use this data to improve future product recommendations for a particular user even if the user didn’t end up purchasing any product previously. This data can be sold to other businesses as well so that you can see advertisements with as much relevance as possible.

What does 3D Configuration mean for the Shopper?

  • Less Pre-purchase Anxiety

Paying for something you haven’t properly experienced always has some bit of anxiety associated which experts refer to as pre-purchase anxiety. This pre-purchase anxiety has been one of the major causes for abandoned carts and cancelled transactions. With 3D configurations, however, customers can virtually experience the product with all the personalized tweaks, reducing the pre-purchase anxiety.

  • Confident Purchases

Multiple pieces of research and surveys have suggested that buyers often face a crisis of confidence while choosing a product for themselves. While incomplete details and sometimes-misleading images play a major part in this, buyer’s mentality is the primary culprit.

The severity of the confidence crisis increased many folds when it comes to purchasing products like jewellery. Thankfully, with 3D configuration technology, buyers can see exactly how the product will look from different angles and with different colour combinations. This can be enhanced even further with AR and VR technologies.

  • Higher Purchase Satisfaction

Nothing can be better than choosing a certain product and customizing it at will, all without physically going to the supermarket. Furthermore, it gives shoppers more freedom over their purchases. Online shopping platforms with 3D configuration technology experience lesser return/exchange requests and more positive reviews from their customers. Business giants like Gucci and Coalesse are effectively utilizing the combination of 3D configuration technology and AR/VR to boost sales and increase customer satisfaction.

Why Your eCommerce Business may not Make it to the Future without 3D Configurations?

3D configurations in eCommerce have become more of an essential thing rather than just an option, especially when almost every other business giant is adopting this technology. Marketing products online now involve more than uploading some pictures with long descriptions. Here are some stats surrounding 3D configurations in eCommerce which can give you an idea of why it’s so important for every eCommerce platform to adopt this technology:

  • Booming Market

3D rendering is revolutionizing industries down to their very foundations, some even consider 3D visualization the next step of human evolution. Thanks to all the well-deserved hype around 3D rendering, the 3D rendering market is one of the most rapidly growing markets in the world. The market size of 3D rendering was $2B in 2019 and is expected to grow many folds by 2025. The rapid growth will force almost every industry (including eCommerce) to adopt 3D at the earliest. Moreover, this adoption of 3D certainly provides retailers with a competitive edge in this extremely competitive market. 

  • 40% Higher Conversions 

The higher the information a consumer can gather before making the purchase, the higher the purchase confidence. This ultimately results in higher conversion rates as compared to purchases made without the assistance of 3D configurators. Studies suggest that the sales conversion of a product can be increased by as much as 40% with 3D configuration technology.

  • 82% of Customers Choose to Activate 3D View if Present

3D rendering is undoubtedly a cutting-edge technology and the numbers clearly represent the demand for it. Implementing it enhances the customer’s shopping experience tremendously. According to recent research by Capacity, 82% of product page visitors activate the 3D view feature that allows them to view the product from every angle. Every visitor who activates the 3D view spends at least 20 seconds interacting with the product in 3D on average.

  • 95% of Visitors Prefer 3D View of a Product over Video Playback 

A good detailed video of the product has been useful for decades when the 3D configuration technology wasn’t present. Things, however, have changed now. The study further concluded that 95% of visitors preferred the 3D view over conventional methods of representation such as images and video playback. These impressive numbers come as no surprise since interacting with photorealistic 3D visuals of a product provides a whole new experience to the customer. 

Combining 3D Configuration with Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Augmented Reality or AR for short has been around for quite a while and helped countless industries, eCommerce is no exception. AR bridges the gap between physical supermarkets and online shopping platforms. A 3D product configurator does let customers view the product from a 360° angle but it doesn’t allow the product to be viewed in the real environment. However, things are different with AR.

Not only does AR let users assess the product from different angles and customize it at will, but it also lets customers virtually experience the product in the real environment. The technology has helped consumers and businesses alike amidst the pandemic when no physical stores were allowed to open. The pandemic has forced consumers to switch to the online-only mode for shopping. 

According to a consumer survey by Google, as much as 66% of shoppers are interested in using AR for shopping purposes. And why not? AR lets you experience things in the real world, completely defeating the purpose of going to a supermarket. What’s more? According to one of the biggest eCommerce platforms Shopify, products advertised with AR experienced a 94% higher conversion rate than products of similar categories without AR content. This proves how AR can benefit the eCommerce industry as a whole. 

Virtual Reality (VR) has also been doing well in the eCommerce industry. In fact, the practicality of VR surpasses AR by tremendous margins. Imagine visiting a supermarket without leaving the comfort of your home, that’s precisely what VR offers. All you need is a VR headset and you can experience this cutting-edge technology in all its might. Entire buildings with interactive elements can be constructed in virtual reality,

VR, however, has a far lesser ROI than AR since accessing VR is a lot harder than accessing AR. This hinders the wider deployment of the technology while keeping the costs high. You can expect to pay a handsome amount of money to get one of these VR headsets. The introduction of Google Cardboard has made VR available to the masses but it’s still not enough. That being said, while every other business is showing interest in AR and most business giants such as Gucci and Nike have successfully adopted AR technology, VR isn’t getting any noticeable traction as of now. In any case, although the technology is in its infancy stage, the potential transformation that VR holds for the eCommerce industry is beyond comparison. 

Challenges Surrounding 3D Configuration in eCommerce

  • Performance Issues in Low-end Systems

WebGL is the most popular tool used to create interactive 3D experiences for consumers. While the tool is accepted by most web browsers and offers a huge javascript library, the renders won’t work ideally on systems with less powerful GPUs. The system, in that case, will render a low-quality version of the model which defeats the purpose of implementing 3D configuration in the first place. Although cloud streaming partially counters this limitation of 3D configuration in eCommerce, this still is an issue that needs consideration as it marginally hinders the global deployment of the technology. 

  • Hard to Offer a Consistent Experience

Solving everything through cloud streaming is not an easy task to do, businesses need a fully-managed and reliable cloud streaming provider. Websites with 3D product configurators often crash when a good flock of visitors hits at once. For example, the 2021 Chevy Corvette 3D visualizer launched by Chevrolet recently. The configurator allowed users to create their dream car with as much personalization as possible.

As expected, a huge number of Chevrolet fans and car enthusiasts rushed to the site and since the system was cloud-based, it crashed due to heavy traffic. In addition, the website could only display a lower-quality version of the actual 3D model for a few months, ruining the entire experience. 

  • Hard to Manage the Complexity of Interactive 3D

While 3D product configurators are easy to create and implement, managing them with cloud streaming can be a pain. Unlike images and videos, streaming 3D models is not that simple. Seamless integration of these 3D models and managing them for years without fail is a challenge that small businesses often don’t overcome due to a lack of experience and financial resources. Furthermore, keeping the ping or the interaction delay to the bare minimum is another major challenge that businesses have to face. 

  • Delays are Unacceptable

Since rendering 3D models on the customer’s hardware is out of the question, cloud streaming is your best friend. However, there are a lot of back-end procedures involved that can induce a noticeable delay in the 3D model. These delays are more annoying than you may think, you shouldn’t be surprised if customers lose interest in a particular product due to this delay. To somewhat counter that, choosing a reliable cloud streaming provider is of utmost importance. 

Conclusion

The recent covid-19 pandemic has proved the importance of online shopping or eCommerce pretty clearly. However, making well-informed decisions in online shopping has always been hard for most users. Well, not anymore, 3D rendering has penetrated deep into the eCommerce industry in the form of 3D product configurators.

These 3D configurators effectively bridge the gap between online and offline experience, allowing you to virtually experience the product as if you already have it. The ability to customize it according to one’s taste and style is a great bonus of implementing a 3D product configurator, talk about a modern and enhanced shopping experience! Combined with cutting-edge technologies like VR and AR, 3D configuration has the potential to revolutionize shopping as we know it.