Wherever you look, companies are exploring the potential of 3D modeling, whether that’s expanding their catalog features with a 3D viewer or creating immersive experiences via AR technology.

However, just having a portfolio of 3D models isn’t enough. To get the most from this tech, it's vital to know what you can do with a 3D model, and what’s currently possible within realistic budgets.

In this blog, we’ll answer that question and provide practical guidance about the best ways to exploit 3D modeling from simple viewers to AR experiences and virtual showrooms. That way, you can really connect with customers and take your business forward.

Why do companies implement 3D and AR solutions?

If you haven’t been persuaded by the benefits of 3D modeling, it’s time to think again. Companies across the world are seeing huge benefits from adopting AR and 3D visualization, and they are using the technology in multiple ways.

There are many business reasons to adopt 3D and AR:

  • Connecting products and real-world situations – AR technology allows customers to place furniture in their own bedrooms or even style fashion and cosmetics on themselves without stepping inside a store. This helps to build confidence that purchasing decisions are correct, which boosts conversions.
  • Increasing user engagement – Standard eCommerce websites can feel bland. Adding a 3D viewer or even 3D lifestyle scenes to the mix can make sites more interactive and more enjoyable to use. This results in longer visits and - eventually - more purchases.
  • Catering for mobile shoppers – 3D modeling works brilliantly with smartphone-based eCommerce. Shoppers browsing on mobile devices appreciate being able to explore every aspect of a product’s features and aesthetics in a format that’s fast and easy to use - exactly what a 3D viewer provides.
  • Punching above their weight – Forward thinking companies have used AR and 3D modeling to gain an advantage over the competition. As Tom de Vos of Dutch beanbag specialists Fatboy puts it, “a relatively small design brand [can] suddenly be one of the frontrunners in augmented reality”. That's gold dust in a world of intense competition.

Given those advantages, it's no surprise that adopting a 3D viewer or AR app is becoming ever more popular. But what are the best tools available to capitalize on the potential of 3D models? Let’s run through some popular options.

3D Viewers

3D viewers are tools which take 3D models and display them for customers to manipulate and explore.

They allow users to rotate models through 360 degrees, or adjust the viewer to zoom in for a better look. That way, they let buyers inspect every angle of a product, and get a sense of the proportions and texture of their materials – all useful information to consider when deciding whether to purchase.

The best 3D viewer will deliver high definition visuals with minimal flaws. It will integrate animations which showcase product features in engaging ways. And it will plug directly into eCommerce platforms like Shopify or Wordpress.

A more advanced 3D viewer can also put model owners in control via customization options. Autoplay, autorotation, background management, locked ceilings, and tone mapping can all be toggled to find the perfect setting for any product.

In many cases, you won't need to create complex solutions to see positive results. Even a simple 3D viewer can drive sales higher.

For instance, upscale furniture retailer Buster + Punch saw visit times double when a 3D viewer was added to the company store. Shoppers love interactivity, choice, and the freedom to play with a product as they see fit. That's exactly what a well-configured 3D viewer can provide.

AR Technology

AR technology is a game-changer especially for products where the size and dimensions really matter.

AR (Augmented Reality) can make your 3D viewer extra powerful. AR connects with real life in ways that a basic 3D viewer can't. Also known as mixed reality, AR superimposes digital content over the real world, presenting huge untapped potential for eCommerce sellers.

Simple and accessible AR apps can add 3D models to footage from standard smartphones or webcams. Companies can then integrate their products with this video backdrop, virtually adding products to the homes of shoppers.

An AR viewer has a series of benefits that make investment in AR well worth it.

  • Customers can use a mixed reality viewer to see products in front of them and know for sure whether they will fit into their home or fashion collection.
  • AR lets companies show off the most important details of their products, highlighting why they are exceptional and why customers need to have them.
  • Added certainty means that customers tend to make better decisions when browsing with AR technology, and this drives down return rates.
  • Customers also feel empowered by AR. They appreciate having the power to manipulate 3D models, and this has positive branding effects for companies that embrace it.

Adding an AR mode to your app or store can seem like an expensive option, but it’s really not. Tools like Modelry put AR technology within virtually any company’s reach.

When 65% of customers report they are more likely to purchase after using AR viewers and return rates drop by a factor of 3, any costs are quickly forgotten.

3D Lifestyle Scenes

3D lifestyle scenes add context and creativity to your product visualizations, with the same photorealistic result as real photography.

3D lifestyle scenes are a specific type of AR technology based around 3D models, and they could be the most powerful application for many product retailers.

This involves creating life-like scenes in the locations that products will be used. So, for example, a 3D lifestyle scene for a food processor would include a detailed rendering of a realistic kitchen.

Designers can then add high-quality 3D models on top of that backdrop. Customers can rotate and resize these models as in a normal 3D viewer, and they can see products in action just like in their own homes or other settings.

This works particularly well when marketing new, innovative products.

Smart vacuum cleaners are a great example. Many people are new to these devices. But if they see smart cleaners navigating their homes, recharging automatically, and fitting into existing furnishings, they will be more likely to give them a try.

Lifestyle scenes allow companies to get creative about how they use 3D models. They can seduce buyers with attractive backdrops, making products more appealing than ever – a huge bonus for any online seller.

Room Planners

With Room Planner you can plan every last detail of a room without any physical effort involved.

Sometimes, sellers need to go beyond simple lifestyle scenes and add extra interactivity to entice customers to purchase.

In these situations, room planner tools come into their own. A room planner allows website visitors to style rooms or even entire homes and offices. Customers can populate virtual spaces with 3D models of products, change colors, check out different perspectives, and generally get a feel for how items fit into specific spaces.

This is great if you intend to sell furniture suites which are costly and take up a lot of space. But it also works well for B2B sellers who furnish professional workspaces.

Whenever clients need to be sure of how products physically slot into their environment, room planner tools will make a difference. They also speed up design processes, making life smoother for home buyers and renovators, as well as businesses who are redesigning their offices.

Virtual Showrooms

As the name suggests, virtual showrooms are digital versions of physical stores. They became increasingly popular during the 2020-21 COVID lockdown as a way to market products without in-person viewing. And likely to be a major component of operations in furnishings, art, household appliances, apparel and many other sectors in the near future.

The beautiful thing about modern virtual showrooms is that they offer a truly immersive experience. An ideal choice for exhibiting works, this solution was also a main attraction in the annual London Design Festival. 

The Virtual Design Destination by ADORNO selected CGTrader to create 3D models for a fully digital gallery for the best of collectible design and craft from around the globe.

When the world is forced to change, you have to find alternatives - fast. As 3D modeling experts, we were in a position to create realistic 3D models of art of any form. All the artists had to do was provide us with some snapshots of their diverse contemporary pieces, and our 3D designers' community could realise their projects in a digital format
Marius Kalytis, Co-founder of CGTrader.

Designers can configure walls and furnishings in the virtual space to represent brand identities and make browsing more appealing. They can adjust lighting to suit different products, add animations, and provide information via digital assistants or product hotspots.

The result is a service that caters for mobile users and complements physical locations, helping businesses reach more customers in the process.

3D Configurators

3D configurations support all your customization needs, letting your customers visualize and place orders for exactly what they want.

Finally, 3D configurators provide a user interface which allows customers to adjust a range of purchasing options, customizing products to suit their individual needs. They are slightly more complex to create and apply than a standard 3D viewer, but have major advantages in some situations.

Buyers of premium furnishings may want chairs or tables to have a certain size or shape. They might be unsure about which color or wood texture to buy. A 3D configurator will let them cycle through a few different options until they find the right option.

With 3D models, footwear brands can allow customers to toggle colorways, material textures and sizes until they come up with something that’s in keeping with their personal style. It’s a great way to accommodate individual tastes, while still using a centralized library of 3D models.

How integrated 3D digital asset management makes models come to life

Before we finish, it's important to note that these use cases require reliable infrastructure to work well. That's where digital asset management enters the picture.

With the right 3D digital asset management system, owners of 3D models can integrate them seamlessly with eCommerce platforms, map out exactly how their assets should be used, and leave room to re-organize their assets in the future.

Not all modeling companies offer an asset management suite as a standard feature. However, systems like Modelry feature intuitive asset management systems which are designed to be easy to use, integrating seamlessly with platforms like Wordpress, Magento, Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, WooCommerce, and WebFlow.

This lets you store all your 3D models in one place. It also links models with AR and 3D viewer tools, making it easy to turn those models into interactive customer experiences. Models can slot seamlessly into whatever themes or layout you use, taking the hassle out of upgrading your store.

We offer a free version of Modelry for all customers to try, featuring free storage and features like AR apps, 3D viewer tools and 3D data analytics. That way, you can get a taste for how easy asset management can be. It’s the perfect foundation for successfully exploiting AR or 3D modeling.

Find the perfect partner for managing and using 3D models

It’s easy to incorporate 3D modeling and AR into your eCommerce operations, so why not start today?

Whether you want to build a simple 3D viewer, create realistic 3D lifestyle scenes, set up a virtual showroom, or provide interactive experiences via AR technology, anything is possible.

At Modelry, we can help you realize those possibilities. Our team of modelers and AR experts can take your products and turn them into 3D models accurately and affordably. And our 3D digital asset management system makes it easy to manage those models however you wish.

To find out more, contact the CGTrader team or sign up for a free account and start exploring today.

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What can you do with your 3D models? The ultimate comparison for all 3D solutions

Haidi Kelly is the CMO at Modelry. Formerly at WeWork, Haidi loves the challenges the B2B space brings. Excited about the transformative power of digital assets and content in eCommerce, Haidi helps individuals, teams, and companies reach their full potential. In her downtime, she is also a foodie, world traveler, and enjoys live music.

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