As e-commerce capabilities continue to evolve, retailers are attempting to up the ante with shoppable 3D photos and videos that incorporate AR and VR, on both desktop and mobile.
While such platforms are certainly innovative, it remains inconclusive if they are translating to higher conversion and click-through rates. Regardless, brands are clamoring to use 360-degree shoppable photos and videos for a diverse array of reasons, from showing the inside of their brick-and-mortar shop to allowing consumers to virtually try things through their mobile app.
Apu Gupta, CEO of marketing technology platform Curalate, said 360-degree offerings allow consumers to discover new products in a way traditional commerce has not. An immersive photo or video allows them to see items they may not have found while browsing a desktop site, browsing by categories.
“It’s no longer sufficient for us to make it easy for consumers to connect to the products they know exist,” he said. “Now, we must make it easier for them to stumble across things they never knew they needed in their lives.”
Craig Smith — director of marketing at Ted Baker, which recently launched a 360-degree shoppable video campaign on Instagram for its latest collection — said 3D programs have been a major focus for the brand, building upon the success of its interactive “Mission Impeccable” campaign in partnership with Google last year.
“[3D has] been a nice additional layer to everything we’ve done. It seems to be quite a sexy area of development — not just for us, but for others — and we like it,” Smith said. “For us, it’s an added facet which helped bring the campaign to life in a slightly different way.”
Several other brands, including Alice + Olivia, have also made waves using shoppable photo and video as a means to push campaigns. Last June, the brand incorporated a shoppable 360-degree photo on its website to showcase its Jean-Michel Basquiat-inspired collection at The Hole Gallery in New York City. Consumers who weren’t able to attend the event could make purchases through viewing the photo on the site and hovering over items of interest.
“360 allows us to bring our customers and fans into the room to see fashion in context,” said Aliza Licht, evp of marketing at Alice + Olivia. “It’s the closest thing to being at the actual event. 360 content provides depth and context.”
Gupta, who worked with Alice + Olivia on the program, said the goal was for the shoppable photos to allow international shoppers the ability to preview and order from the limited-edition collection.
“Alice + Olivia wanted to turn their launch event into an experience that people all over the world could participate in,” he said. “We created a new online experience where people could explore the exhibit virtually and buy the items on display. This was a new way for Alice + Olivia’s fans to experience and shop a collection.”
According to Gupta, consumers on average spend nine times longer on an interactive shoppable image or video than a traditional one.
“While it’s still early days for 360 content, we know that consumers don’t just find this content cool, they find it captivating,” Gupta said. “Ultimately, this leads to better awareness of a brand’s product assortment, which should translate into higher average order values.”
The capability has expanded to home goods, as well. Williams-Sonoma, Inc. — the parent company of Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and West Elm, among others — announced a 360-degree offering today for its Pottery Barn brand, which allows consumers to virtually design homes and make purchases directly on the Williams-Sonoma app.
According to John Strain, evp and chief digital and technology officer at Williams-Sonoma, the app will allow users to virtually test furniture in empty rooms within their own homes. It also has the ability to virtually clear rooms that are still furnished.
The program took a year-and-a-half to build and includes 80,000 Pottery Barn products. Williams-Sonoma Inc. has plans to expand it to the other brands, as well. Strain said the decision to focus on the app was a result of continued growth in mobile: Williams-Sonoma Inc. has experienced a 52 percent growth in mobile visitors between last year and this year, and a 20 percent increase in year-over-year conversions.
“We’re very keenly aware that decorating and designing is hard,” he said. “The app helps us reduce the angst and provide that certainty.”