Many retailers struggle to choose which product categories to focus on first when embracing AR/VR technology. Here’s what our experience has taught us.

With an attention span of 8 seconds and higher standards than ever, getting shoppers to complete an online purchase is no easy task. It is one worth investing in, however, since eCommerce sales accounted for 14.1% of all global retail sales in 2019 and are expected to reach 22% by 2023. In the US alone, these numbers translate to more than $500 billion

One of the factors known to influence online shoppers is the level of visual experience they are provided with when visiting a retail website. In fact, 75% describe the inability to feel and try a product as their biggest drawback. For retailers of all kinds, that's the cue to start investing further efforts in improving the visual experience on their website, which very much includes using 3D images that provide a realistic vibe. 

But what may first seem like a perfect solution to the problem immediately encounters additional obstacles, as retailers operating in a wide range of product categories struggle to embrace 3D visuals across the board. Their first challenge is prioritizing the various product categories and choosing the best ones to focus on first. This decision is far from being intuitive, because while some may think that retailers should simply start with their most popular products, reality proves otherwise. Having worked with multiple global brands that serve more than 320 million online shoppers, we’ve learned that specific product categories respond more positively to an enhanced visual experience. These top three categories are (drumroll, please) Fashion & Accessories (including Jewelry), Furniture and Home Décor, and Consumer Electronics. Why does enhancing the visual aspect within these categories using 3D technology move the needle more effectively? Here are a few reasons:

1. Looks take the lead

The visual aspect of many products is important, but for some products it is crucial. Unlike an iPhone, which is beautifully designed but is mainly judged based on performance, a top that turns out to be made of a fabric we dislike, or a jewelry that just doesn’t seem to have the right shine will turn a purchase into a huge disappointment. Pick the product categories that have the most to gain from an improved visual experience. The more shoppers can learn in advance about the way certain products look, the greater the chances of a successful buy. 

2. A live experience

With some products, a positive purchasing experience depends not only on what the product looks like on its own, but also on how it works with the space it is meant for. Let customers know that the new furniture or TV screen they’re interested in would blend seamlessly with the current design of their living room by improving the visual experience using AR ads and WebAR. Giving shoppers a better understanding of these products will translate to a sales uplift for your business. 

3. The blind bit

Sometimes, the problem lies with what we don’t see. The product categories of  Fashion, Home Décor, and Consumer Electronics can benefit from 3D/AR visuals because they include many blind spots that are hard to overcome using 2D images. Instead of uploading multiple images, which is costly and still doesn’t cover all angles, use 3D/AR visuals to give shoppers all the visual information they need, and you’ll soon attract more value where it counts.

Understanding where to focus when putting new technology to use is key in turning innovation into profit. Retailers looking to boost their sales by providing a better visual experience should start by understanding which product categories can benefit the most from such improvement. Retailers’ focus should be on product categories that lean on appearance and the coordination with the overall design, as well as those that are hard to present properly using 2D visuals. With this clear starting point in mind and the help of  strong visualization tools and professionals, the path to success, much like their products, becomes more visible than ever. 

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