One of the most common complaints among online shoppers is when they receive an item that looks so different from what was advertised on a website. Some buyers even think they were scammed by the seller. This is one of the limitations of online selling which relies on plain flat pictures. Sellers often try to remedy this by writing long and detailed product descriptions. But even these were seldom read, much less understood, by online shoppers.
In recent years, however, interactive three-dimensional (3D) technology has been introduced in online selling. Interactive 3D is being used in eCommerce listings of consumer goods such as shoes, bags, clothes, mobile phones, electronics. Even jewelers have been boosting their sales with the help of a 3D configurator. More recently, big-ticket items such as cars, real estate, heavy equipment, and industrial machinery are now adopting interactive 3D tech.
The use of 3D tech is certainly ushering in a new era in eCommerce and online shopping. Here are several ways in which 3D tech is improving the online buying experience.
- 3D Product Inspection
The most direct way interactive 3D technology is improving the online buying experience of customers is through 3D product imaging inspection. Prior to the application and use of 3D, the only way that product images were posted on eCommerce sites was through non-interactive pictures or two-dimensional flat photographs.
This is one of the primary objections or criticisms to online selling or eCommerce. Many of their buyers and shoppers say they find it difficult to check thoroughly the features of the products sold online just by looking at all those pictures with white backgrounds. They would ask how, for instance, they could thoroughly inspect the quality and features of a handbag just by clicking and viewing the pictures.
With the introduction of 3D product imaging, online shoppers can now turn the product around in any direction needed so they can view a specific side of the product. Another feature of interactive 3D tech is that it allows shoppers to expand, focus, or zoom in on a product image. They can even stretch the image to take a closer look, much like how they’d do so inside a physical store.
- Immersive Experience
Marketing experts and professionals are now saying that the introduction of interactive 3D tech gives the online shopper an immersive buying experience. With 3D tech, the online shopper can now take a closer look into the physical features of a certain product or listing. Online stores should definitely look into this technology.
For instance, buyers of handbags who used to shy from online shopping have become more interested in online listings of bags because of the ability to inspect the bags as if they were inside a store. For hotel bookings, 3D views of the rooms and amenities, as well as window views of specific rooms, give the prospective guest an immersive experience into how exactly it would feel like to stay in a specific hotel or resort. This interactive tech has increased interest and sales.
Some online buyers who used to say they wouldn’t buy a car listed online are now becoming increasingly interested in buying cars online. With interactive 3D tech, they can now view almost all features, parts, and angles of a car for sale. There are even pictures that give them the immersion experience of being seated inside the car itself. This has also increased online car sales.
- Data Analytics
The third way that interactive 3D tech is improving the online buying experience is through the use of data analytics. Digital marketers are now using the data they get from hundreds of millions of product images viewed by millions of online shoppers to get a better sense of what makes online shoppers happy and satisfied.
For instance, they collect data on how online shoppers turned these product images around. They gather data on what parts of the product were most frequently viewed by shoppers. They can measure this quantitatively based on how long an online shopper viewed or focused on a specific part of an item. All these data are then processed and interpreted by their data analysts.
Based on these data, online and digital marketers have further developed marketing techniques on how to optimize 3D product imaging. They use a great deal of this data to develop the best product images possible in terms of dimensions, angling, colors, shading, and zoom-in views. They try to make the experience as close as possible to what a shopper would see, feel, and experience inside a physical store.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Another aspect of interactive 3D tech is the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in product imaging. Before the adoption of AI, data analytics of all product image clicks and views collated from online shoppers were done by human data analysts using computer software.
But AI is pushing data analytics to the next level. Whereas data analytics done by humans could only make slow and limited calculations based on their own investigation.
With AI, however, the program itself makes calculations based on data fed into it. By training the AI program to process the data based on an algorithm, the program itself is able to make sense of all the billions of product image views. It can create analytics for a specific item, as well as for analytics for entire stores.
With this capability, the AI program can push product recommendations to online shoppers. While the shopper is still looking for a specific item to buy, the AI program is already showing suggested products similar or related to the previous product searches of the buyer.
This can be likened to the experience of a store clerk walking up to a shopper with recommendations on what to buy, but with so much more precision and accuracy because the AI knows the product images you’ve been browsing.
Taking A Closer Look
With interactive 3D tech, online shoppers can now take a closer look at the billions of products and items being sold online. And as eCommerce sites and online marketplaces continue to rake in higher sales and a greater share of consumer spending, more and more online stores are likely to embrace the adoption of 3D product imaging to present their products more attractively and realistically.