Creating the best user experience on an ecommerce website means the content has to be relatable, authentic, and informative. But for customers to convert, they need better context for products that many sites lack. User-generated content can fill a lot of this niche and pairs nicely with 3D Modeling, which presents many new opportunities for brands to get high-quality UGC.
In fact, computer-generated imagery, or CGI, is no longer the thing of movies and video games alone. It is something that we interact with on a daily basis. Whether it’s sharing a custom product design or hyping over a new release on social media, we are more used to CGI being a part of our lives than we probably realize. And that’s something brands should embrace in order to keep getting fresh and creative user-generated content.
1. 3D Configurators Allow Customers to Share Customized Product Designs
Now, what is a 3D configurator? It’s a tool that allows online shoppers to create customized products by combining different color, shape, and material options. The final look of the item is rendered instantly as the changes are applied. So, people can design, save, and share multiple product versions before placing an order. This degree of personalization takes a customer’s relationship with a brand to the next level, making the whole experience more enjoyable and memorable. Something that’s worth sharing.
Those custom designs create terrific UGC – which can be shared through other parts of the site and across social media. Some brands that offer product customization use 3D configurators on their websites. This way, customers can actually make their own computer graphics (CG) content and share it, promoting the brand.
A great example of a configurator tool integration is the Nike By You initiative from the beloved sportswear brand. It allows online buyers to fully customize some of the most iconic sneaker models from soles to laces. One can view the personalized pair from 6 different angles to make sure every detail is just as they want it. A “Share” button is placed conveniently right under the image so that eager creators can share their designs on social media. This kind of user-generated content sparks fresh interest in the brand even among seasoned sneakerheads, especially among Millennials and Gen Zers, who value personalization greatly.
2. AR Apps Improve Customer Experience, Leading to More Positive Reviews
Customer reviews are both the simplest and most powerful forms of UGC. For most, seeing negative reviews about a product is a strong reason to decide against buying it. This is why brands need to constantly improve their customer experience in order to get honest positive reviews. Plus, these can be used in promo campaigns to show authenticity. A great way to simplify this is to create an AR application with the help of 3D modeling.
Using augmented reality is another tactic brands can use to improve the online shopping experience. AR apps allow customers to virtually try on clothes and beauty products, as well as put digital life-sized furniture, decor, appliances, etc. right in their homes. According to Deloitte Insights, the furniture and automotive industries benefit the most from augmented shopping. Naturally, that’s because things like furniture are large in size and expensive to purchase and ship, making it more difficult for the consumer to try and return. In such cases, AR helps to increase the confidence of online shoppers and decrease return rates.
One of the most notable apps here is IKEA Place, which makes it possible for customers to see how furniture and decor pieces fit into their rooms in terms of dimensions and style. App users can select the most suitable size and color options, browse the gallery of lifestyle images for inspiration, and, of course, share the augmented photos of their places.
Even though IKEA is an international giant, smaller businesses shouldn’t hesitate to follow in their footsteps. To produce top-notch low-poly 3D models for an AR app, a brand only needs to find a 3D modeling company to work with. And, according to Deloitte, the ROI on this is worth venturing into this new territory. Increased conversions and decreased returns mean greater customer satisfaction. This, in turn, means that buyers will be more likely to share their experience and leave positive reviews about a product or a company. Ultimately, brands can use those forms of UGC to create their own communities of loyal customers.
3. 3D Modeling Helps to Build Up Hype around Products That Don’t Exist Yet
Last but not least, we have this type of UGC that’s quite similar to reviews, only it’s about products that are not out yet. Those early reviews and opinions can generate a great amount of interest in an upcoming release. Which, naturally, has a tremendous value for brands.
The greatest thing about CGI is that it allows consumers to visualize things that don’t physically exist. First, a 3D model of an item is created using specialized software. Then, it’s rendered as a photorealistic 2D image — a 3D render. Many companies use those to tease their upcoming products. They build up the hype around the release, making people want to share their opinions about it. Just think about what happened when Tesla first unveiled its Cybertruck design or all the discussions around the looks of Xbox Series X and PS5 consoles. And, of course, whenever a new iPhone render gets leaked, the internet goes insane. Posts, memes, and early reviews flood all of the social media and online forums.
Essentially, this is free advertising. A single image can fuel a whole user-generated promo campaign, where imagination and humor run wild. But, sure, the effect isn’t the same for all companies. People will never be as excited about kitchen appliances or furniture as they are about inventions and technologies. However, a brand can still gather valuable reviews from its audience with 3D renders of a product it’s about to launch. Plus, brands can hold giveaways, where people need to repost or tag friends in order to participate. Overall, sharing CG teasers opens a new kind of dialogue between a business and a customer, which keeps the latter interested and engaged until the very moment of purchase, and maybe even beyond that. And while they wait, they spread the word.
Today, anyone with internet access has an unimaginable variety of products to choose from. As a result, customers are expecting more, and brands are trying to keep up with those demands by offering a personalized approach, new technological solutions, and more open communication. Some companies are developing 3D configurators for product customization and AR apps for virtually trying out the goods to indulge their buyers with a fun, game-like experience. And, in return, satisfied customers help promote brands by sharing CG images made with those digital tools, as well as positive reviews and expectations for upcoming products.
Ana is a content writer for CGIFurniture. She has a passion for all things CGI, design, ecommerce. So Ana writes about the latest CGI industry developments and masterfully shows how 3D modeling and rendering changes the product management and marketing. Outside of work, Ana is a fan of sci-fi movies and a street food connoisseur.