6 Reasons eCommerce Retailers Should be Using 3D and AR Right Now

December 21, 2022
Jake Irlam-Hughes

Shoppers are spending more time and money shopping online than ever before. In 2020 17.8% of total retail sales were online, growing to 18.8% in 2021 and further to 19.7% in 2022 [source]. This steady yet significant increase is forecast to continue as people more often turn to the internet to get their goods and services. The emphasis for eCommerce retailers has got to shift, because people are now not just ‘buying’ but rather ‘shopping’ online, and so the need for engaging and informative shopping experiences can’t be ignored. 

3D experiences are touted to be one of the biggest enablers of true online shopping, and they bring many benefits to retailers and shoppers. 

Here 6 of the benefits that retailers can get from immersive visual commerce experiences:

Grab more attention

Starting at the top of the funnel, aesthetically stunning visuals and the prospect of immersive 3D experiences are a strong draw to your website for online shoppers, especially Millennials and Gen Z. Plus once shoppers arrive, augmented reality experiences create a ‘surprise’ reaction in users, instantly engaging them and holding their attention for longer than flat, boring 2D sites.

3D and AR is not yet widespread on eCommerce websites. This is because despite the clear benefits of the technology, inertia is a powerful force, and realistically most retailers won’t take action until it’s absolutely necessary. This means they will be playing catch-up at a time when demand for the services are high, whilst the early adopters will have already integrated the processes and user journeys and they and their customers will be reaping the benefits.

Engage and excite

Humans tend to value items that they own more highly than those which aren’t in their possession. Richard Thaler called it ‘the endowment effect’, Daniel Kahneman called it ‘loss aversion’ (and both men won Nobel prizes for their research related to it), but whatever we call it, it’s a powerful, and very real cognitive bias.  Many businesses take advantage of loss aversion by offering free trial periods, but for most products this is logistically and financially unfeasible. 

Augmented reality gives those retailers a way to tap into this cognitive bias; by allowing shoppers to place items into their home and see it in their space, it gives them the feeling that they already physically have it, meaning they’re less likely to want to part with it and more likely to purchase it.

💡 Panera Bread were able to demonstrate an increase in ‘craveability’ of their dishes when they were viewed in AR. 

💡Shopify found that retailers using AR enjoy a 19% spike in customer engagement, according to data from Vertebrae, and the customer conversion rate increases by 90% for customers engaging with AR versus those that don't.

💡Research conducted by Shopify last year found that merchants who add 3D content to their stores see a 94% conversion lift, on average

Forge a deeper connection 

Spatial experiences like 3D and AR activate different parts of the brain compared to flat, 2D experiences, evoking more emotion. Emotion + information = memory, and the more emotion the better encoding of the memory and thus more frequent and accurate recall. 

Shoppers who experience your products in 3D are more likely to remember your brand and your product in the days and weeks following their visit to your site, so if they didn’t purchase the first time there is a higher likelihood that they’ll return to complete the transaction.

High-end lifestyle brands such as Dior are recognising the power 3D experiences in creating a lasting relationship with their customers.

Build trust and confidence

3D and augmented reality product experiences allow the shopper to see the product up close, from all angles, in their own space, customised to their preferences. This level of insight and transparency instils confidence in the shopper because all the important questions have been answered and they trust that the retailer has nothing to hide about the product. Trustworthiness is absolutely key for a retailer in creating the confidence to buy in shoppers.


The value of returned goods in the US last year was $418 billion, 65% of those cited an inaccurate description and 37% were put down to the customer ‘not liking the item’. Well if they’ve seen it from whatever angle they want, they’ve viewed it in their space and they’ve tried it in all different colours, shapes and styles, all this education means that when the product physically arrives there is a much lower chance that it doesn't meet their expectations and there will be no need to return it for an exchange or refund. 

Appeal to new customers

As Millenials and Gen Z mature they are gathering purchasing power and making up a bigger slice of total online sales, especially in the home sector as they buy and rent their own properties. They prefer to buy things online, but they have short attention spans and expect to be given an experience which allows them to really understand the product. Adding to this, they’re completely at ease navigating virtual spaces due to growing up with 3D video games, and they have a strong affinity with their phone cameras due to seminal smartphone applications like Snapchat and Instagram. This paints a pretty clear picture of how to win over this demographic… make it visual, engaging, intuitive and immersive and you’ll be down with the kids in no time.

The benefits of immersive shopping experiences are getting very hard to ignore for retailers. Those who dip their toes now will be the best-placed to make the most of the mass-adoption which is on the horizon, and those eCommerce managers who put it off risk playing a costly game of catch-up, or worse.

At Fixtuur we have a range of immersive shopping solutions to engage, retain and convert your shoppers better than ever before. Our easy to install widget allows you to adopt new, conversion-driving tech within a matter of minutes, while our studio team will be collaborate with you every step of the way to ensure a healthy ROI.

Click here to chat to our studio team and find out more.

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