With the advent of 3D modeling for online product experiences the brick and mortar store is watching its market share shrink at an even more accelerated rate than the online shopping experience had already advanced.
Computer Modeling has long been a staple in the entertainment industry and the fundamental building block in the gaming world and CAD models have been part and parcel of operations in the manufacturing world for decades, but the strengths of 3D visualization have yet to reach their full potential in the worlds of both marketing and learning.
3D modeling helps launch products faster than ever. Before a prototype has even been fabricated a good 3D model can adequately represent the product to potential investors as well as testing a prospective market. It also offers the possibility for visualization of customization of the product to a specific customer need without necessitating actual customized fabrication of the product. All of this is possible at an enormous cost savings to the manufacturer and, ultimately, the customer.
Examples of how 3D eCommerce has made use of new 3D technologies:
View in Room Augmented Reality, allowing the user to place a 3D visualization into a real environment. For example, IKEA has an app with which you can place any of their selection of furniture in your living room just by holding up your phone camera and pointing it at your room of choice. The Weather Channel has begun to utilize AR to simulate a 3D tornado on the set or show what the height of a storm surge might do to cause damage from flooding.
3D product views with full 360° viewing capability. 360° Photography also offers similar capabilities but the product is usually constrained to a particular plane so the product, for instance, might only rotate on its vertical axis. On the other hand, a fully configured 3D model can be viewed from any angle and even take the viewer inside the product. This affords the viewer an opportunity to explore and search otherwise invisible features that previously could only be talked about.
Customization configuration provides ability to visualize the product in a fully customized configuration before the customer commits to the expense of tailoring everything from color, materials, and feature sets, even all the way to full reconfiguration is a game changing advantage over conventional retail models in addressing the customer’s specific needs. With 3D modeling these benefits can be actualized and be available for review to the customer to augment a model without the seller ever touching a needle and thread, a drill press or a dye lot.
Virtual Reality can actually provide the opportunity to “try on” an item and even inhabit the product environment in a full 360° world. Or you can feel what it’s like to drive a formula one car at LeMans.
CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) can change features on a product in the blink of an eye as well as placing it in any context you can imagine with equal readiness. Feature films have been utilizing it for many years whether it’s dropping a T-Rex in your living room or enabling you to take a stroll through the Pantheon in Ancient Rome. The possibilities are limitless.