How To Use 3D To Optimize Your Retail Channels

2 May


Written by

Bella Foxwell




How To Use 3D To Optimize Your Retail Channels
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3D is no longer the darling of early adopters. It’s a strategic imperative for brands that want to enhance the customer experience, improve decision-making, and drive sales.

According to Consumers Want It All, a 2022 study by IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV), “hybrid shopping is the primary buying method for 27% of consumers and 36% of Gen Z—more than any other generation.” The line between online and offline shopping, physical and digital channels has become blurred. Whether they’re in store or browsing at home, consumers want realistic and immersive experiences. 

This is where 3D comes in. By allowing people to interact with products in three dimensions, retailers can help consumers visualize products in their intended context and make a more informed purchasing decision.  

Given the rise of hybrid shopping, providing an immersive shopping experience is essential if brands want to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive landscape. 

In this article we’ll take a look at some of the retail brands across furniture, fashion and DIY sectors who are embracing 3D to boost sales and deepen connections with customers.

How businesses are leveraging 3D imagery

One of the biggest drawbacks to shopping online is the uncertainty. Customers can’t assess the quality or suitability of a product before purchasing—and this is costing brands a huge amount in returns. Total retail returns in the US surpassed $620 billion in 2023

The good news is that this number has been decreasing year-on-year since 2021. In 2022, the percentage of online purchases that were returned dropped to 19.3%. In 2023 this number dropped again to 18.2% and is expected to fall to 14.7% in 2026.

One of the reasons for this is augmented reality (AR). AR overlays digital elements onto the real world and this—coupled with 3D commerce—helps to give consumers a better impression of a product. They can rotate, zoom, and explore products from different angles. 

They can virtually try on clothing, visualize furniture in their home, and see how a piece of art hangs in a space. Such a realistic representation of products minimizes the chances of dissatisfaction upon receiving the product in person. Not only does this strengthen customer loyalty, but it reduces return-related costs and streamlines the supply chain. 

So, which brands are using 3D to their advantage?


Ikea’s Place app, which launched in September 2017, allows customers to drop virtual furniture into their home and see what it looks like on their smartphone. It gives them a hassle-free way to redesign their living space and reduces the likelihood of returning pieces later. 


Amazon recently launched its ‘Virtual Try On Eyewear and Shoes’ feature that allows customers to visualize how a pair of shoes or glasses will look on themselves from multiple angles using their smartphone. Shoppers can swap out the colors and take a photo of the shoes or glasses to save for later or share on social media. 


Lego has a 3D catalog to allow customers to try before they buy. Once they’ve downloaded the app, all they have to do is hold their phone or tablet over the product in the catalog and 3D animations will appear alongside stories, product features and detailed views of the models.

The benefits of 3D for retailers and customers

Retail brands are now waking up to increased consumer demand for 3D experiences. Harvard Business Review reported that 61% of shoppers say they prefer to shop with retailers that offer AR experiences. More than half (56%) of shoppers say that AR gives them more confidence about the quality of a product. 

But for some companies, the decision to use AR and 3D content isn’t an easy one. Under pressure to scale content creation capabilities efficiently and affordably while providing unique customer experiences, brands are asking questions about the value of 3D visualization and AR technology: Will it really change the way customers engage with them? Will the investment be worth it? 

According to Shopify, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Getting products shot in 3D has shown to increase conversion rates by up to 250%. Giving customers a hands-on experience and allowing them to imagine what items will look like in their home creates an emotional attachment, which is great for brand loyalty and sales. 

Here are some of the other benefits of an immersive 3D ecommerce experience:

Competitive advantage

By using 3D imagery, brands can set themselves apart from competitors and offer customers a unique experience. This helps attract new customers and retain existing ones.

Faster decision making

With so many choices available to them, helping customers make a decision is essential. Immersive 3D imagery and experiences make this easier (and faster) by giving consumers confidence and mitigating concerns like: Will it look right? Will it suit the space?

Enhanced customer experience

3D makes the experience of shopping more engaging, interactive, and enjoyable. It keeps customers on a brand’s site for longer and helps make the decision to buy a no brainer.

Reduced return rates

Giving customers a realistic ecommerce experience reduces the risk of disappointment when a product arrives. They can feel confident about the size, shape, and suitability of an item before making a purchase, which means they’re less likely to return it. 

Increased sales

A more enjoyable and immersive shopping experience increases customer satisfaction and boosts sales. Customers are more likely to make a purchase when they can visualize a product in detail, leading to higher conversion rates and a positive impact on revenue. 

How brands can successfully implement 3D into their retail channels

In the ever-evolving world of 3D, creating, managing and organizing these assets in an effective and efficient way is essential. The first step is to create 3D models or convert physical inventory, existing 3D files or HD product images into immersive 3D and AR experiences. For example, a furniture brand creating a 3D model of a desk that showcases its quality, functionality, and material in lifelike detail. This can be achieved using visual merchandising software like Vectary and iONE360. These solutions offer real-time rendering, interactions, animation, and numerous presets that enable brands to create 3D assets quickly and easily. 

From there, the assets can be adopted by marketing and communication teams in order to be used in their communication strategies. They can as such be stored and managed in a collaborative Digital Asset Management (DAM) platform like Wedia. Once approved for brand consistency and legal compliance, they can be turned into high quality visuals and published across the brand’s website, ecommerce channels, app, and social media. 

This distribution of 3D assets across multiple platforms is made easy and efficient with DAM. So too is the ability to track and measure the success of content. With easy-to-understand analytics, marketing teams can see what content is resonating well with their audience (and what isn’t) and adapt their strategy accordingly to ensure every customer experience is as engaging and personalized as possible. 

Ready to get started with 3D?

Wedia’s DAM system serves as a pivotal hub for storing and distributing 3D assets, seamlessly tailoring them to suit various channels and devices.

Continuously expanding the repertoire, Wedia recently incorporated three new connectors into the DAM solution. These connectors interface with Dassault Systèmes’ groundbreaking suite of tools—3DPassport, 3DEXCITE, and 3DEXPERIENCE platforms—reshaping the convergence of product visualization, marketing, and customer experience.

Harnessing state-of-the-art technology, these connectors seamlessly merge with Wedia’s DAM, empowering clients to seamlessly integrate 3D assets into their DAM ecosystem and bridge product development with marketing efforts. This not only streamlines workflows but also cultivates collaboration, accelerating time-to-market strategies.

By integrating these systems with Wedia’s DAM, clients gain access to their premium-quality 3D imagery and can effortlessly disseminate them across their ecommerce platforms, constructing virtual showrooms that elevate customer experiences while bolstering sales and revenue strategies.

Book a demo today to find out how Wedia can help your brand deepen customer engagement and achieve sustainable growth.

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