3D and AR
Unlocking value: How 3D and AR can boost your returns on customer experience investment
3D and AR

Unlocking value: How 3D and AR can boost your returns on customer experience investment

Written by

Vickie Scullard


May 25, 2023

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Augmented reality (AR) is a big boost for conversion as it allows customers to see exactly how an item will fit into their lifestyle and can also be a practical tool for large items, such as sofas and other household furniture.

This technology is becoming increasingly popular in e-commerce, with a 40% increase in order conversion rate and 5% reduction in return rate, according to Shopify. This is due to the shift away from shopping in browsers to shopping in mobile apps, which means more sophisticated computing power that can easily handle these immersive experiences.


A recent report from Snapchat found that 93% of its users – dominated by Gen Z – are interested in using AR for shopping and are 1.6 times more likely than non-Snapchatters to have used AR to try on makeup or clothes.

This data is important because the future of shopping is led by Gen Z and Millennials. Due to this, businesses must look ahead and work out ways to cater to their demands for an immersive experience, while monitoring how this technology helps to boost both sales and the customer experience.

Using 3D and AR in modern businesses

The incorporation of 3D-related technologies into Google and e-commerce is spreading rapidly. Because of this, AR, virtual reality (VR), and extended reality (XR) will have a substantial impact on search results in the upcoming year – the furniture industry is a perfect example of how.

Augmented reality adds digital information to the shopper's environment in real-time, which means it is perfect for ‘trying before you buy’. Swedish furniture giant IKEA already uses AR technology in its mobile app so that customers can visualize their purchases in their homes, and more recently the store’s full product catalog was added in 3D to Google Search.

Google it

The progression of digital marketing for the coming year will be the integration of 3D and XR into Google and e-commerce, both of which have been shown to increase traffic and revenues. The search engine claims that 3D graphics receive over 50% more clicks than static ones, meaning that businesses who use this technology first may benefit from a larger market share.

Using 3D product models

The use of 3D interactive product models is one of the main ways that 3D and associated technologies will influence search results in 2023 and beyond. Customers will be able to see products in a more accurate manner as a result, giving them confidence about the product before making a purchase.  

Using 3D modeling software empowers brands to deliver real-life product renditions. However, they must choose the right software, gather accurate references, and optimize the model for greater accessibility. For e-commerce firms, Enhance makes 3D model creation and website integration simpler.

Augmented reality trends and forecasts

The Harvard Business Review said that AR is an “essential technology for retailers", which echoes recent data which says that 75% of corporate leaders expect to use AR or VR by the end of 2023.  

Additionally, 61% of online buyers favor making purchases on websites that offer AR or virtual reality (VR). Looking ahead, it is predicted that there will be a sixfold increase in global AR/VR spending by 2024.

Learn more: How Snap’s ARES suite is boosting business AR takeup  

Unlocking 3D and AR value

A better customer experience increases conversion rates, decreases returns, and increases customer lifetime value, according to research. Even better, the influence on these indicators is not insignificant.

Conversion rates  

According to this LinkedIn article, up to 90% of consumers surveyed by Adobe indicated a desire to be able to view products in 360° or 3D. Additionally, 60% of consumers indicated that they want to be able to view products specifically in 3D or AR, and they are willing to pay up to 20% more for those products.  

Whether a product comes in a single style or offers hundreds of options, the ability to view the products in 3D spaces promises significant returns.

Customer retention

Happy customers are returning customers. Interactive 3D provides shoppers with an accurate and detailed view of the product they are searching for, allowing them to see how accessories, additional features, or upgrades can enhance their purchase.  

Configuring a product for purchase stimulates a sense of ownership, as the buyer has chosen specific options to best fit their needs and desires. If they are presented with additional options that bring the product closer to their ideal, adding those options further customizes the item, and increases that sense of ownership.  

While they may have chosen to skip over accessories or not explore the upgrade options on a different page, their inclusion in a 3D configurator makes them highly accessible in a streamlined shopping experience, and more appealing when the buyer can see the value that they will add.  

Revenue growth

Establishing expectations for ROI growth is essential to driving successful digital transformation efforts. To maximize the functionality of available digital tools and increase revenue growth, consider the needs of your target market and keep your organization’s objectives in mind.  

Target the ideal audience to identify digital transformation opportunities that will help you diversify your customer base, increase touchpoints, and raise conversion rates.  

Introduce change in smaller increments to give employees ample time to appreciate the new workflow and allow an organization to experiment with evolving technologies. Leverage customer loyalty to increase ROI.

Evaluate performance regularly to increase ROI. To measure your organization’s ROI effectively, start by defining your business goals and identifying the key metrics that will enable you to analyze your organization’s strengths and weaknesses.

Learn more: Meta launches new AR-powered adverts to Facebook Stories and Reels  

3D and AR use cases

Successes from using 3D and AR are no longer the exception – they are becoming the rule. Home Depot claimed that when compared to those who did not utilize 3D and AR, their product visualization tool increased conversions by a factor of 2 to 3. Elsewhere, the US’ largest retailer Macy's revealed that return rates for furniture purchases fell to 2% (in contrast to the industry average of 5-7%).

3D visualization leads to fewer returns

Looking at the stats, 20% of all online purchases are refunded, and that percentage rises sharply for more expensive items, with 10% of the total cost of the supply chain is attributable to returns.

Returning to Shopify, the commerce platform revealed that it was able to double conversion rates by using 3D and AR applications. Don’t forget the incredible 40% fewer returns from their customers.

Using 3D technology differs significantly because customers can better visualize a product and how it fits into their environment when they interact with it in 3D and AR. They are less likely to be shocked by the products when they are delivered if configured products are graphically updated in real-time.

Augmented reality placement  

IKEA has developed its own 3D and AR technology that allows customers to place their desired item in the space they would like it to occupy, meaning there is no need for a tape measure.  

Not every brand has the luxury of building its own apps, of course. But the good news is, 3D and AR technology that allows you to place items in this way is available web-based and code-free – try it here now.

Product customization and configuration

Product configurators are interactive tools that help customers visualize products before buying them. Available as 2D and 3D configurators, these tools help improve customer journeys, product development, and sales.

Up to 66% more customers will be engaged in the purchasing process when a product configurator is integrated. This feature allows online shoppers to engage with virtual goods and users can alter them to suit their preferences. This results in a captivating shopping experience that keeps customers' interest.

A few product configurators today integrate augmented reality (AR) technology to make the consumer experience more dynamic. Here, customers may customize things and view them in their surroundings using their mobile devices.

Learn more: A complete guide to building 3D interactive product models for e-commerce

Successful case studies of businesses using augmented reality  

The use of augmented reality (AR) in e-commerce is expanding quickly, and it is proving to be a vital tool for giving customers a personalized and interactive buying experience.

Retail industry: Nike

The American apparel firm is known for having its fingers firmly in the 3D and AR pie. Not only has it produced some of the most impressive marketing campaigns, which includes a Nike Air-hovering 3D billboard in Japan, the company also has an app feature called Nike Fit that employs AR to measure a customer's feet and suggest the proper shoe size. This lessens the quantity of returns and exchanges brought on by uncomfortable shoes.  

Real estate industry: Sotheby's International Realty  

Sotheby’s International Realty launched the first real estate-branded AR app, Curate, built with ARCore, Google’s AR Software platform. The app allows consumers to visualize a home as their own before purchase by taking virtually staged images from a flat, 2D screen into the house itself through the power of AR.  

The Sotheby brand has also partnered with luxury furniture and accessories marketplace Viyet to launch shoppable AR scenes within the app, which are custom created to reflect the marketplace’s current inventory.

Automotive industry: Audi

Audi unveiled a new concept SUV that can turn into a pickup truck on-demand. The "Actisphere" vehicle features a range of over 600 km, 800-volt charging technology, and no local emissions. It also features support for AR technology, which works in tandem with AR glasses to display interactive 3D content over the real world.  

AR content will be "individually configurable for drivers and passengers," allowing drivers to access navigational information while passengers browse the web, adjust the interior temperature, or control the music.

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