4 reasons you are ready for a 3D e-commerce project



Updated May 5th, 2019

Congratulations!  You’ve decided that you want to transform your customer's buying journey and draw your audience in with interactive 3D product experiences.  You know that putting your customer in the driver’s seat will lead to increased brand loyalty, improved conversion rates, and accelerated revenue growth.

But there’s something nagging at you: Am I ready for the project?

Don’t worry;  you’re not alone.  Whether you’re a startup company with 10 products or a Fortune 500 retailer with millions of SKUs, every business needs to assess whether their organization is prepared for the project.  To gauge your organization’s readiness, there are 4 key considerations that you need to be able to answer. 

1. You know the ROI of an interactive 3D experience?

Being able to assess the expected return on investment (ROI) is vital.  What is your goal in pursuing the project and how will it impact top-line growth and bottom-line savings?

Each organization needs to be able to answer these questions, and the good news is that there are consistent themes:

Top-Line:  Revenue Growth

Bottom-Line:  Cost-Savings

Increase Conversion Rates

Reduce Digital Photography Spend

Increase Price Premium

Mitigate Order Errors

Increase Brand Loyalty & Repeat Purchases

Reduce Returns

Increase Brand Awareness

Reduce Time-to-Market


What are the key metrics to analyze the impact to Top-Line Revenue Growth. Answer these questions and you will get the first set of stats.

  • How many views does your website receive annually?

  • What is your current web conversion rate?

  • What is your average sales price?

  • What is your average customer lifetime value?

  • What percentage of your business comes from word of mouth referrals?

Now that you have reviewed the top-line, what are the key metrics to analyze the impact to bottom-line cost savings?

  • How much are you currently spending on digital photography?

    • Manufacturing physical goods

    • Photography services

    • Product staging services

  • How many order errors occur each year and what is your company policy to solve for these issues?

    • Do you refund?

    • Do you pay for return shipping?

  • For products sold online, what percentage of those products are returned?

  • From product design to product launch, how long does it take to monetize new product releases?

Obviously, it makes no sense to pursue a project when there’s no benefit.  Without quantifying the impact on your organization, you can’t budget effectively. There are many stats that provide guidelines for measuring ROI, but these go to the heart of your business. Notice that these are not specific to the 3D configurator or interactive 3D. These are simply measures for your e-commerce store and are the baseline that you will use. 

2.  Are your products ready for 3D?

Let's start by ensuring we understand exactly what kind of a 3D e-commerce project you have at hand. Are you looking to ditch photography studios and provide beautiful images on your shopify or woocommerce store with virtual product photographs? Then start with this guide about what is 3D product rendering. Not convinced yet? We have a series of guidelines describing how virtual product photography is taking over the product image space. 

If you are past the 2D images and ready for 3D, then start with the guide about what is a 3D product configurator and then the description about why it's here to stay

Want interactive product tours or a 360 degree viewer? No problem. Those guidelines will set you on the right path. 

HERE IS THE REAL TRICK!! All of these have a 'one asset to rule them all' approach. So you create one 3D asset and you can do it all. So, the natural question is - do you have your 3D assets? There are several important elements to assess in product readiness:  

  1. Does my company have existing 3D or CAD files of my products?  Are they web-ready? If not, have you budgeted to create those assets?

  2. Does my company have a catalog of the materials used in my manufacturing process (ie. fabric swatches, colors, textures)?

  3. Have we documented the rules that govern how products are sold (ie. the red lighting finish is only available on sports cars, not sedans.)?

    Check out our our guide on what makes for high-performance visual assets to learn more.

3.  Is now the right time to implement 3D?

In life, timing is everything.  The same holds true whenever you deploy new technology.  If you’ve been able to answer “why” you’re interested in deploying product visualization, you should also know when your organization needs it to be up, live, and running.

When you think about your business, keep in mind the following:

  • What is your company’s fiscal year?  Can you deploy new technology at the end of the quarter?

  • When will deploying new technology make the biggest impact?

  • Does your company have certain budgeting timelines that could prevent you from moving forward with your project?  When do you need to submit the budget request?

  • When will your team members have the bandwidth to support the rollout? 

4. How will you manage these 3D assets?

This is every organization’s Achilles’ heel.  What happens as your product catalog changes over time?  What will you do when you launch new products, create new collections, or incorporate new materials and designs?  

It’s tough to plan for the future when the short-term objective is staring you in the face.  But digital asset management is vitally important because any solution needs to be able to scale with the evolving needs of your customers and business.


Here is the TL;DR version: 

1. Do you know the ROI of an interactive 3D experience?

2.  Are your products ready for 3D?

3. Is now the right time to implement 3D?

4. How will you manage your 3D assets once you go live?

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