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A New Dimension of Customer Experience: How 3D is Changing the Retail Game

Thirukumaran Saravanan

Thirukumaran Saravanan

January 16, 2024

Ever stumbled upon those hilarious ‘what I ordered vs what I got’ memes? Most online shoppers will relate to the disappointment of unboxing a highly anticipated package and seeing that the color, size, or fabric is nothing like what they saw on the website. These buyers’ experiences highlight a long-standing challenge in shopping – the gap between what's advertised and what actually shows up at the door. And that’s just the first letdown in the long line of negative customer experiences to follow. Don’t even get started on the return hassles!

Online shopping used to be a bit like looking through a window—you saw what was there, but could not really try it on. But with retail giants catching wind of revolutionary immersive and interactive technologies like 3D and augmented reality (AR), we now have the power to experience and customize the products! Want to see that jacket in blue instead of black? No problem! Curious about how that car looks under the hood? Easy! Retailers are not just showcasing products; they're offering interactive 3D experiences that put the power back in the buyer's hands. Whether it is clothing, houses, or cars, these brands are letting us virtually test drive our choices – all from the comfort of our couch.

3D is Changing the Game!

3D technology is not simply transforming online shopping; it is redefining it. Imagine browsing a furniture website, tapping a button, and suddenly seeing how that couch looks in your living room. Or checking out a pair of sneakers from every angle imaginable. It is like having a mini-preview before you commit.

Big-name Retailers Using 3D

  • IKEA: The Place App enables shoppers to virtually place furniture in their homes using AR
  • L’Oréal: In collaboration with Facebook, L’Oréal uses AI to allow shoppers to try on make-up from some of the world’s leading brands
  • BMW: Uses both AR and VR to give customers a virtual driving experience in its cars
  • LVMH: Partnered with Epic Games to offer virtual fitting rooms, fashion shows and virtual twins for physical items
  • WatchBox: Uses AR to let customers try on its luxury watches

3D is turning those iffy purchase decisions into informed choices. It's making online shopping feel as real as browsing in a store, but without the queues, noise, and fluorescent lighting. And with shoppers feeling more confident in their choices, there will be fewer abandoned carts, fewer changes of heart, and way fewer returns. Already, retailers like Ulta, with its virtual try-on beauty tool, GLAMlab, has seen a 7x increase in engagement, while Shopify revealed that products with AR-powered content had a 94 percent higher conversion rate than those without!1

A Win-Win for Everyone!

So, what's the deal with 3D in retail? It's a win-win for everyone. Shoppers get a more immersive experience, making online buying feel as real as strolling through a store, and retailers see fewer returns and happier customers, which is the ultimate state in eCommerce. 3D is transforming our shopping trips from uncertain leaps of faith into assertive decisions. So, the next time you're browsing online and see that 3D button, give it a click. You might just discover a whole new way to shop!

To know how your business can help customers make confident decisions by delivering ‘wow’ experiences, drop me a line at: thirukumaran.saravanan@rrd.com.

1 https://hbr.org/2020/10/how-ar-is-redefining-retail-in-the-pandemic

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