It goes without saying that technology has transformed the way retailers interact and engage with their customers. However, what’s really astounding is how technology’s continued evolution keeps retailers adapting new concepts at an unprecedented rate.
For example, augmented reality (AR) is quickly gaining steam across many industries to create engaging, memorable experiences for their customers. AR involves taking a 3D representation of an object and placing it into the real world using an AR app on a smartphone or tablet. Pokémon Go is a great example of the entertainment, functionality, and brand awareness potential of AR, and helped inspire retailers to invest in AR technology to enhance their digital marketing efforts and customer experiences.
At the heart of AR technology are the different ways to render the 3D images that offer the possibility to represent almost any type of product imaginable.
Creating 3D AR Models with Photogrammetry and 3D Scanning
Currently, marketers commonly choose from two options that will create accurate 3D representations of their products for use in AR digital marketing experiences:
- Photogrammetry: This process involves taking photos of the object, and then using photogrammetry software to create a high-density “mesh”. The mesh is comprised of triangles that will form the shape and outline of the object. The software also creates textured images to help define the colour of the object.
- 3D Scanning: 3D scanning is a similar process to photogrammetry but instead of taking photos, you use a 3D scanner to capture the object. The 3D scan will need a good deal of manual work before being usable in an AR experience, but the quality of the result is well worth the effort.
Another way to create 3D objects is through 3D Modelling. Unlike photogrammetry and 3D scanning, 3D modelling doesn’t involve taking any pictures. Rather, an artist starts with a blank slate and creates the model from scratch. Because of the process’s manual nature, 3D modelling is too labour intensive and cost prohibitive for many companies, who can get comparable results from either photogrammetry or 3D scanning.
How 3D Technology is Revolutionizing At-Home Shopping
3D technology successfully merges the in-store and online shopping experiences by enabling shoppers to “place” products into their living space through AR apps on their smartphones and tablets. This way, they can see how the product looks in a real-world setting. Product sizing, quality, and colour are also virtually the same in your living room as they are in the showroom.
For example, Wayfair has built their own 3D image library that allows users to “place” furniture and accessories into the real world. These models can be viewed at all angles, and eliminates the guessing game of “How would this really look?” that comes with both online and in-person shopping.
AR can be applied to many different products, including clothing, sunglasses, and vehicles, healthcare, and education. In fact, Amazon also has a new 3D feature that allows this functionality on a wide range of products, raising the profile of the world’s biggest online marketplace even further.
The Future of AR in Digital Marketing
How far can AR technology go? There’s virtually no limit to what AR developers can dream up.
Here’s an interesting concept to chew on: imagine using AR to get a full 360° view a meal you’re about to order from a restaurant? You could view this anywhere: seated in the restaurant, standing outside, or even at home through a food delivery app. How will that food look on your table before the dinner party? Now you can find out! Talk about a mouth-watering experience that could catch on quickly across the food industry.
3D Food And Drink will be introducing this technology to the Toronto market. Businesses will be able to get their products scanned into amazing 3D objects, which we can develop into customized AR solutions for use on Snapchat or Facebook, or on your very own mobile app!