‘3D Commerce – Physical to Digital’: The New Product Life Cycle

In partnership with Autodesk, AnimationXpress launched a webinar titled, ‘3D Commerce – Physical to Digital: The New Product Life Cycle’ in an effort to understand the post-pandemic consumer behaviour, the e-commerce techniques, trends and the way 3D images, visual imagery and technology can notch up the consumer experience, drive up the sales and make shopping online more convenient.

Moderated by Indian Television Dot Com Group Founder CEO & Editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari and Hive Minds E-head of commerce marketplace Manav Khurana, the session included DE BEERS MD Sachin Jain, CaratLane – A Tanishq Partnership Co-founder & VP Gurukeerthi Gurunathan, FUTURE GROUP CMO (Marketing, Digital & E-commerce) Pawan Sarda, Omnichannel Officer Spencer’s Retail & Nature’s Basket VP- Chief Marketing Harshavardhan Chauhan and Autodesk India & SAARC Technical Solutions Specialist -M&E Samit Shetty.

With the onset of the pandemic, the ecosystem has seen a fast-paced revolution in the direction of digitisation with e-commerce brands recalibrating their fundamental strategies to make the shopping experience more convenient.

As more and more people move towards online shopping, enhancing the experience has never been more relevant than now. Market players are progressively looking for ways to adjust to the drastic changes in consumer behaviour in the post pandemic age.

Khurana informs that initially customers laid more emphasis on pricing but now more and more consumers are seeking convenience. He shares, “What we are seeing in terms of overall product experience is that the customers expect authentic product, images and videos. They are gaining more traction on the platforms as we see more advertisement formats like sponsored brand videos pushed very heavily by publishers like Amazon. We see a lot of interaction when there is audio plus visual. You can show the product in 3D and show the use-cases of the product. For example; you are shopping for a fan and you see how it will look in your house. Flipkart recently launched the feature when you can see the products in AR technology.” Khurana believes that 3D technology has indeed helped them establish the much-needed trust factor while also leading to higher customer satisfaction.

Echoing the same theme, Gurunathan shares that the trust factor is the biggest point of need that they have observed in customers. Spanning past purchasing experiences, brand recognition and customer testimonials, he informs that building that trust factor takes a combination of factors.

Jewellery, apart from carrying a sentimental value, is fundamentally a touch-and-feel product which is why it becomes imperative to ensure that what is being claimed is exactly what the product is.

Apart from the underlying trust factor, he informs that factors like convenience of purchasing, return policies and digital presence along with the presence of physical showrooms play a vital role in driving the customer. “Trust is the most important factor that consumers are banking on in our category,” he shares. Jain shares that as a traditional industry, they need to be cognisant of where the world is moving. “Visual tools allow augmentation of products. A.I can enable us to know whether customers are liking the product or not,” he observes, adding that audio and visual or ‘voice’ are very crucial in influencing consumers.

Shetty who comes from a tech background speaks from the standpoint of a consumer who has spent a considerable amount of time shopping on digital platforms. He reaffirms, “It is trust. Unless and until I don’t touch it, I am not going to have that trust. Pandemic pushed us to buy things online. We don’t care whether it is digitally touched image or not. What matters is what they have selected is what they get at the doorstep. Behind enabling this, there is a lot of technology.”

Speaking of the current scenario, he reflects, “It has become very easy for a company to create 3D models out of a product so that at any given point of time, they can change the lighting, change the atmosphere, change the colours, change the schemes and the headache of shooting so many products inside the studio gets eliminated. E-commerce companies have started adopting our tools to create CG products.”

Gurunathan took the attendees through their website as to how conveniently can consumers view the products in various angles with the help their mouse cursor and check their product in precise and intricate details by hovering the pointer over its replica. “People want to see the product on a model. The online presence is the combination of video and image on the 3d with great rendering capability. We have a concept of try at home which is available close to 15 cities,” he informs.

Jain shared the unique and personalised ways in which they have augmented the customer experience. By documenting the journey of a diamond and allowing each diamond purchaser to register their names and become a part of its legacy. “It is important to understand why customer is buying a diamond. Can we bring all the elements alive when the customer gets it in the package? The last mile is so critical. We also use AR VR tools where we display the journey of the diamond right from the mind to the finger,” he shared, speaking about various tools they use to enhance the shopping experience.

Shetty recounted how studios have approached them to offer solutions to their complex problems in a short space of time. “We’ve had studios catering to the e-commerce companies asking us to create an exact replica in CG and 3. We created those gold and diamond looking jewellery. There are many companies catering to the 3D part,” he shared.

While Gurunathan informed that they have an in-house studio of graphic designers working for them, Jain shared that they have a combination of solutions providers helping them meet their requirements.

“Our own platform caters to different levels of consumers. We work with partners and about 1000 retailers across the world. Our design and innovation center is in Milan and it is a team of 11 people. It is a collaborative effort and we love to work with young people brimming with ideas. There are no fixed workflows and it is a combination of things that we do to advertise it,” Jain noted.

Speaking about the myriad capabilities of the software like 3D max, auto-CAD and rendering tools like Arnold, he dived into the technicalities that enable them to create realistic 3D replicas, thereby helping the companies build a digital catalogue and avoid hefty spends on creating the product and physically producing them on a large scale before customers can view it.

He shared, “From design to rendering, all happens under the same roof. We help with the launching of the product too. Designs go to the marketing division. You can open the screws and nuts to show that this is the technology present inside the product using software.”

Praising the way Autodesk has revolutionised e-commerce with their prowess, they expressed their desire to employ the tools in the future. While some stressed that artists need to be skilled in order to bring out the beauty of the product, others felt that this could definitely play a big role in enhancing the shopping experience.

“Digital in these areas of storytelling really matters. Especially when they are with their loved once. That’s when good storytelling matters,” asserted Jain, speaking about the importance of the new-age methods of advertising that involve visual imagery.