Industry Trends

Beyond the 3D Buzz: People Think They Want It, but Don’t Know Why

March 8, 2023

3D is a buzzword in the e-commerce industry. Retailers are being told that they need interactive 3D in order to stay ahead of the trends. However, most retailers don’t understand what 3D is, how it works, and the impact it has on the customer experience. 

Let’s dive into what 3D is and why it may or may not be the best solution for your e-commerce business. 

What is 3D?

3D models are computer-generated graphics that provide the perception of depth similar to a real-world item. These 3D models are then embedded into an online website enabling shoppers to visualize a 3D representation of that product. These virtual 3D models can be utilized in the retail industry to provide shoppers with a visualization of a product from all angles. 

In order to create these 3D models, retailers must first take multiple photographs at specific angles, send those images to a 3D artist charging anywhere from $100 - $1,000 per SKU to manually create using multiple digital tools, wait up to several weeks to receive the final 3D model of said product, and finally allocate retailer-side personnel to audit the shared output, in many cases sending back the asset for revisions to be made.

This process must be followed for every SKU, across all colors and sizes, and given its manual nature, often fails to catch up to a large, static product catalog, resulting in only partial coverage, and an inconsistent online customer shopping experience.

Pros and Cons of 3D

3D modeling can be beneficial for specific industries like gaming, entertainment, architecture, and healthcare. It is highly customizable and interactive, making it an ideal solution for these types of industries. 

In retail, 3D models can be used to allow shoppers to interact with a 360-degree view of the product. 3D models help to remove guesswork before purchasing and allow shoppers to fully explore a product.  

However, for a fast-paced and ever-changing industry like retail, the 3D approach simply does not scale. Lengthy turnaround times required to complete a sufficient 3D model, coupled with the need to support large legacy catalogs and frequently added new arrivals, let alone the management of 3D model creators - the 3D approach for this use case simply does not scale.

Retailers need a solution that can provide support for their legacy catalogs in a timely manner. In parallel to needing an effective ramp up and total coverage of legacy products, retailers also require that newly added SKUs receive equal or higher priority in terms of 3D model creation. At present, the expectation is hundreds of 3D models per month.

Given their many priorities, retailers also require a low-touch, high-benefit, technology-based solution; something they don’t need to learn how to use, or worry about managing amidst their already long list of concerns and priorities. The 3D approach relies heavily on the sourcing and managing of a 3D artist to manually create said 3D model, which is then sent to the client for their review by one of their salaried personnel, after which it is either approved, or rejected and accompanied by notes to be followed in the reproduction process for the 3D model. This issue compounds exponentially as many, if not an entire network of 3D artists are then enlisted given the scale-related demands that must be met in order to serve an online retailer.

Luckily there are other solutions that are scalable, realistic, and less expensive than 3D.

Difference between Tangiblee and 3D

Tangiblee’s solution leverages 2D content to create interactive 3D-like experiences using AR technology. It does not rely on traditional 3D technology or models to create its scalable, consistent outputs. Tangiblee does this by crawling the client's website, or ingesting a product feed containing the relevant information. 

Tangiblee can add AR virtual try-on (VTO) to as many as 5,000 SKUs a day, accommodating the scale-related needs of a retailer’s legacy catalog, and simultaneously-added New Arrivals.

Clients don’t have to worry about auditing, maintaining, or managing outputs thanks to Tangiblee’s human-in-the-loop AI. As a Software with a Service (SwaS) company, Tangiblee manages the solution across all SKUs. All the client’s need to do is copy and paste a single-line of code. Clients can reap the benefits of a low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by only dedicating two hours/month to Tangiblee. 

Retailers keep asking for 3D, but do they really know what it is? 3D requires extensive time, resources, and money. Tangiblee offers an AR solution that creates a consistent and realistic shopping experience for online shoppers. Retailers may want to be a part of the 3D buzz, but after a little bit of research it becomes clear that a solution like Tangiblee provides the same benefits as 3D with much more flexibility and affordability. Tangiblee also offers the ability to scale to the world’s largest catalogs. 

To learn more about how Tangiblee can elevate your online e-commerce website experience, schedule a demo today.

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