Digital twins are digital copies of physical objects which can be used to run simulations, refine designs, and make changes when required. They were initially used as engineering tools in the space sector. However, digital twins are finding a niche in eCommerce, urban planning, wind and hydro energy, and many other industries.

In this blog, we’ll look at how the concept works, and how a library of digital twins will benefit your eCommerce business.

Understanding the benefits of digital twins for eCommerce

Traditionally, digital twins have allowed industrial companies and public bodies to model how physical objects function in real world situations.

A good example is aeronautics, where engineers routinely create 3D digital models of engines. By placing sensors on physical engines, they can generate relevant data such as pressure and temperature. This data can then be applied to a 3D digital twin, enabling engineers to test engines in different situations.

Companies can use AI technology to model how spaces are used, how physical structures respond to external forces, and even how consumers behave when shopping in stores.

These capabilities make eCommerce digital twins increasingly useful. There are several reasons for this, and they should apply to most online sellers.

  • Businesses can create physical models of real world stores and understand the optimal layout for different situations.
  • With a digital twin supply chain products can be modeled extensively before manufacturing or entering online inventories. This enables designers to improve quality and serve audiences much more efficiently.
  • IoT sensors make it possible to capture information from shopfloors or customers while they use products. This data can instantly feed into product refinements.
  • Logistics processes such as inventory management and shipping can be modeled via digital twins, boosting efficiency and customer service.
  • AR digital twin modeling allows companies to track how customers use interactive ads and fine tune their offerings as a result.
  • In the near future, it will be possible to create commerce digital twins of customer groups. These dynamic digital profiles will provide invaluable insights into customer behavior.

Digital twins offer flexibility, control, and efficiency. They make it easier to alter designs as tastes change. They enhance knowledge about how products work, and they deliver insights into customer needs. That’s a powerful set of benefits for almost any eCommerce operation.

How brands are using digital twins

The use of digital twins in eCommerce is still developing. However, forward-thinking companies have already added twinning into their everyday operations.

  • Some brands are using digital twins to create virtual environments. They might create twins of customer living rooms and test different furnishing designs to understand how they look and perform.
  • Other companies are using twins to fine tune the aesthetics of their designs. Fashion brands are building libraries of 3D assets that can be remodeled at will. With models of every design, they can drastically reduce the time taken to bring products to market.
  • Packaging is another area where twinning is making an impact. Digital twins can model how packaging performs during and after deliveries. They can also simulate how products will fit into stores or warehouses.

Innovative case studies from the cutting edge

Furniture retailer Lowes has been an early adopter. The company is using digital twins to create what it calls “intelligent stores”. These stores are 3D models of actual stores. Data produced by real world customers can be used to direct robots, change stock levels, or alter in-store displays.

According to Cheryl Friedman, vice president of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, “A retail twin can be the foundation for getting our customers the products and help they need, when and where they need them.”

Groceries retailer Kroger is also using digital twins to great effect. At GTC 2022, the company announced a partnership with Nvidia that would see digital twinning optimize logistics and in-store experiences.

According to the company, in-store sensors will gather data about food freshness and customer flows. They will alsol use AI analysis to generate relevant insights to inform Kroger’s overall strategy..

In the fashion sector, major labels like Versace, Valentino and Diesel are weaving digital twins into their design processes. These twins go beyond 3D visuals, adding information about materials, colors, advertising, prices, sizes and much more.

The idea is that these twins will generate masses of useful data for stores and designers to consult. They will make it easier for companies to unify their brand presence across all channels. It should also make collaborating with third party retailers much simpler..

It’s never too late to catch up: starting a digital twins process

Entering the world of digital twins is not complex. Most retail companies can create flexible twinning systems based on 3D assets and the process can be completed in a matter of weeks.

In most cases, 3D models will be at the heart of the digital twins process. Whether you sell boutique bedroom furnishings or winter fashion accessories, creating large quantities of models is not a problem thanks to partners like CGTrader.

The next step is establishing relevant data flows and which KPIs to use when assessing the effectiveness of digital twins.

For instance, if you are monitoring garment sales, you may want to establish colours, price and sizes as core metrics. Spoilage rates or packaging issues could also be relevant for food and drink.

Environmental KPIs such as material usage and carbon emissions may be relevant for many digital twins. It’s also possible to link models with customer satisfaction metrics such as review scores or return rates. Ideally, using digital twins would improve both ratings, and this can be tested with relative ease.

Partner with CGTrader to benefit from digital twin innovation

CGTrader offers a simple way to convert 2D assets into 3D digital twins. Our team of modeling experts can create a library of models that mimic physical products of all varieties.. 

An accurate library of digital twins allows you to apply relevant KPIs and data flows, make instant adjustments, and combine assets for every sales channel. The whole process is painless and affordable, and you can get started straight away.

Contact the CGTrader team and we will talk you through the digital twin creation process and make cutting edge eCommerce a reality.

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Why You Need Digital Twins in Your Ecommerce Strategy

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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