The Challenges of Digital Experiential Retail

Technology gave us the opportunity to buy products online, a comfortable option to remotely pick your desired product and get it delivered to your doorstep.  So, what’s left in order to enjoy your new purchase and mark it as a good shopping experience?  – opening your package and seeing that it is exactly what you’ve ordered.

Simple enough? Well, in an ideal world – sure.   In reality, Retailers in the US report a return rate of between 20% and 40% for online sales. What is the main obstacle? Where is the broken link that creates this revenue loss snowball?   The main reason consumer’s eCommerce experience falls flat is because of that reason exactly. It’s flat.

There is a lack of ability to illustrate or display enough details and provide the ability for buyers to sufficiently inspect the products displayed. The shoppers see an image that looks like what they want to buy and there is a detailed description written under it -is it enough to help them to decide?

The answer is no, It creates a huge gap that is eventually measured as “return rate”. The gap is even more vivid and further enhanced in the fashion and Home decor industries,Where the level of details required in order to get a sufficient impression of the product is quite high – when we look at the odds of a user making an order and being actually satisfied with the delivered product in these industries, well, they are not high – to say the least.

Besides the visual challenges, there is also the technical side of things which affects conversions;  Let’s take page loading time for example, Users attention is expensive and has a very short span which creates an expectation to have a seamless experience.  It’s too natural, our human minds do not like to be in a “waiting mode” because its too busy in being in “exploration mode” and it uses attention to do that, attention to details which in our case can be easily broken once the flow stops and the page needs to load.

Retailers around the world know every second that page is loading is minimizing the chance of a transaction and causing a revenue loss of millions of dollars.

Yes. Time is money.  Every technical improvement on the website must maintain the performance level. So how the visual and technical challenges come in to play? How does it create the main challenge which causes shoppers to return products?

 

Since we can not feel the fabric of the dress we want to purchase while sitting in front of our computer at home, we need something that will look more real and make us comfortable and satisfied once clicking the”add to cart” button.  Creating photo-realistic levels of rendering for 3D products can do exactly that, digital visual merchandising, some call it Vcommerce as in virtual or augmented eCommerce and it is the future of experiential retail.    Customers are delighted by the experience which boosts sales and they are happy with the new purchase so the return rate is decreasing as well.

BUT, how do we make these cutting edge technology load fast and run seamlessly across all platforms?  A high-quality model of a dress can be GB in size with different textures and many complexities in drawing it – It’s mostly handled on a strong desktop computer with a specific software that makes it work, the biggest challenge is to be able to make it work on the simplest device and still present the highest quality of details.

So how the heck do we keep a similar level of quality but on a mobile phone browser over a regular network… well, we have done some great strides towards this goal.   We can’t reveal it all but can definitely give you a 3D taste 🙂
Next in our series of posts, we will take you on a journey, sharing our research department’s findings which led to building our pipeline for capturing and ingesting Apparel and Furniture items as 3D models.   We’ll dive into these solutions and the different approaches of tackling it – by scanning, modeling, photogrammetry software and more.

Stay tuned.

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