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Digital Shopping Gears Up for a 3D Future

Online shopping is morphing from two dimensions into three.

Consumers have shown their unquestionable affinity for the ease of purchasing through digital channels, yet e-commerce often fails to deliver on the interactivity possible when shopping in a real-world store. But 3D technology could change that.

Vntana joins a growing list of innovators working to make 3D engagement the new norm for digital commerce. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles-based startup released its omnichannel 3D automation software, which it claims can optimize, convert and distribute three-dimensional digital assets for use across the web and in augmented and virtual reality experiences.

The move marks a pivot for Vntana, which got its start building immersive hologram experiences for major brands like Nike, Disney, Microsoft and Nickelodeon. Adidas x Stella McCartney, for example, leveraged Vntana’s services to celebrate the launch of the collaborators’ “most environmentally friendly” exercise capsule in 2018 with yoga and kickboxing classes—hosted by fitness instructor Julie Nelson, who was beamed into New York and London studios via hologram.

Vntana is “constantly innovating technology that will allow people to see new realities,” according to CEO Ashley Crowder, who co-founded the company eight years ago. Now, it’s building from a legacy of creating holograms to help brands and 3D artists “create content that’s more impactful for their audiences,” she said, using Vntana’s proprietary optimization algorithm and 3D viewer.

Pinchable, zoomable, spinnable 3D assets can spark consumer engagement on the path to purchase, enabling shoppers to virtually try on clothing, shoes and accessories—which Vntana says can improve conversion rates by 50 percent. And because brands can publish 3D images online before actual product is greenlit for manufacturing, companies can gauge consumer reaction to new concepts before committing to the potential waste and cost of producing what could be a flop.

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With millions of AR-enabled smartphones on the planet and more consumers bringing digital into their purchasing experience, 3D images could buoy the fast-moving e-commerce market.

“There have been amazing shifts in the ecosystem and demand is rising for 3D and AR tools that will help connect consumers with the right products and eliminate uncertainty in the buying journey,” Crowder said. “Virtual and augmented reality allows consumers to interact with a product, including manipulating it, visualizing it and trying it on. Our new platform is designed to help brands and creators realize that goal, and bring their products to life in minutes rather than weeks.”

Companies like NexTech AR, Threekit, Embodee, Vertebrae and Glimpse Group-owned QReal also play in the 3D e-commerce, product visualization and augmented reality space, fueling the next wave of innovation and interaction in digital shopping.