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Expert: What retailers need to know about 3D shopping
Some experts believe we will see a shift from 2D online shopping to 3D. Just what will the shift entail and how can retailers prepare? I had the chance to chat with Marty Duffy at G2 Crowd about the changes.
Kristina: What does a 3d experience look like?
Marty Duffy, Director of Research, G2 Crowd: A 2d online shopping experience at its purest is Amazon.com. It's a website that sells products that you interact with through a screen. For a 3D experience, there are a couple variations:
• 2D version of 3D. This is a space that has been around. Companies like Lumographics have been doing 3D designs since the 90's. The interaction with these 3D layouts is still executed through a 2D screen.
• 3D Immersion: This is more interesting and what people are talking about now. This is where you take a 3D environment or object and pair it with a piece of hardware that allows you to interact with it in a fully immersive experience. The hardware in this case is typically something like Google Cardboard on your mobile phone or Occulus. This is a much more interactive experience, but it is limited by access to the necessary hardware.
Kristina: What is pushing this shift?
Marty: The availability of the hardware at a cheaper price. This not the first time 3D Immersion has been around. In the 90's the buzz-word was virtual reality. There were quite a few devices made then, many of which were created for gaming. The difference now is the availability and price difference of the devices and based on that availability and the ability to deliver it on the internet. Today it is more accessible and applicable for more uses, online shopping being one of them.
Kristina: What do retailers need to know about 3D e-commerce?
Marty: It is still new and things need to be figured out. 2D e-commerce has been around for a long time and the populace is 'trained' on how to interact with it and what to expect from it. 3D will still be figuring out those expectations on interactions which can mean changes needed for early adopters. In addition, consider the full cost of this effort: 3D media and any 3rd party costs to create it or the hardware costs to create it yourself. One should also consider the additional expense for each product in your inventory, what potential impact to profits you think that will create and if it will sufficiently benefit the bottom-line.
Kristina: How can retailers prep for this shift?
Marty: Decide on an experience. Do you want to go with an online environment for browsing for your items to encompass the full e-commerce experience of exploration and purchase? Or do you want to use the experience for just the exploration of your products without the purchase. An example here can be allowing people to interact with your products in a 3d Immersion, but then follow that up with a purchase in store or on a traditional 2D e-commerce shop. Common examples could be non-profits, like World Vision that can give a 3D experience of the people or area that they want a potential donor to see without having to travel.
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