8 Ways to Use Product Configurators & AR for Commerce

Katherine McInnes
4 min readFeb 22, 2023

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3D and augmented reality are having a moment and rocketing to the top of marketers’ wish lists. Though many may still view 3D product configurators and AR as novelties, or a “nice to have but not necessary” component of an ecommerce experience, data shows those who make the investment are seeing compelling results.

In case you are not familiar, here are five stats that show why 3D/AR for ecommerce is gaining traction:

  • Shopify product pages enabled with 3D/AR drive 94% higher conversions
  • 4.5x time spent on product pages
  • 77% of buyer prefer to view product variations, such as colors and materials, in AR
  • 35% reduction in ecommerce returns after enabling 3D
  • $57.8 billion in 2025 retail sales are expected to be influenced by AR product visualization

Now that we know the type of results 3D and augmented are driving for ecommerce brands, let’s talk about some of the ways brands are 3D product visualization software is being put to work.

3D Product Configurator

The number one way brands are using 3D/AR is to improve the shopping experience on product detail pages and brand websites. 3D product configurators bring products to life through high fidelity, interactive experiences that go far beyond traditional product imagery. Product configuration software also drives significant value for brands on the backend, with 3D products models costing a sixth of traditional photoshoots, and cross platform asset use that enables brands to quickly and efficiently update, maintain, and create marketing collateral.

Social Commerce

Social media is no longer simply a source for product and brand discovery, it is an active shopping destination representing over $45 billion in sales in 2022. 3D product models and augmented reality experiences offer brands opportunities to engage buyers with highly customizable content at scale. Driving viewers to interactive content increases time spent with the brand and raises the likelihood of purchase.

Mixed Medium Experiences

Ecommerce has grown exponentially in the last few years, but it has not and will not replace brick and mortar. Instead, brands are turning to digital tools to blend the online and offline experience. A buyer may visit a furniture store to test out a couch, but to determine if they really want to make a purchase, they want to see it in a specific color or in their own space. Enabling this path to purchase through product configurators augmented reality solves common customer pain points and delivers a more valuable buying experience.

Virtual Try On

The growth of ecommerce has driven an acceleration in the number of consumers interested in and actively searching for virtual try on capabilities. 71% of consumers say they would shop more if they could experience products in AR.

Trade Show Activations & Live Events

Live events offer brands great opportunities to get in front of potential buyers, but transporting physical products to a site is often cost or location prohibitive. 3D and augmented reality allow brands to bring an entire product catalog to a show, demonstrate functions and features, and create engaging experiences designed to attract and keep attention.

B2B Sales

Consumer-facing brands are not the only ones who can benefit from 3D and augmented reality; B2B professionals have seen the trend of success and are rapidly adopting 3D tools for their sales efforts. Whether they are reviewing a product catalog on a call, demoing a product, or showcasing exactly what a configuration could look like on site through AR, product visualization is now a key tool in the B2B sales process.

Consumer/Business Education

Among the greatest benefits of 3D product visualization software is the ability to enable and encourage product education and exploration from anywhere, anytime. 3D product models allow viewers to explore products from all angles, product configurators showcase their specific options as they will appear in real life, and augmented reality brings the product to life in their space at scale. Additional features such as annotated hot spots and animation further the experience, providing an interactive method for product education.

NFTs

The jury is still out for many on non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, but despite the doubts, many brands have leveraged and generated value from the digital creations. Many of these brands have turned to 3D models to create the NFTs, deploying them in advertising, live events, and as access tokens to exclusive content, experiences, and loyalty programs.

The world of commerce is quickly evolving, challenging brands to adopt tools and techniques designed to deliver against consumers’ rising expectations. Product visualization and augmented reality are among the top choices for brands leading the wave in ecommerce innovation.

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Katherine McInnes

Data-driven creative spirit, marketer by trade, golfer and plant mom by chance.