How can your brand and customer experience stand out online?Internet penetration rates in North America and Europe sit at almost 90 percent with internet traffic in North American growing at a sluggish rate of 0.1 percent. Today’s marketers are dealing with an oversaturated digital space. To generate return on their digital marketing spend, they can no longer rely on new users hopping online each day. They’ve got to offer a compelling reason for people to stop scrolling. But where should they start?
The answer lies in the emergence of an important trend:
As customers start trusting the internet for higher value purchases like luxury goods, jewelry, and cars, they will expect companies to design immersive, almost tangible marketing materials for an enhanced shopping experience. In other words, marketers need to create a connection between the online and offline world.
Photorealistic 3D Models Made Interactive Allow Brands To Stand Out In The Saturated Digital World
Buyer’s remorse is a familiar experience for most consumers. A customer receives a product, and it doesn’t match their expectations. This is a negative outcome for brands. Even if the customer keeps the product, they won’t recommend the product to friends and family. In fact, sixty percent of millennials share their negative post-purchase experience with others, according to a global e-commerce study conducted by Pitney Bowes.
Oftentimes, traditional visual marketing tools aren’t adequate. Image galleries and video demos don’t provide a 360-degree view or an accurate representation of lighting, shading, and other physical features that are important when buying expensive products like cars or furniture.
In addition, video demos and photo galleries don’t offer the “wow” factor needed to stop online consumers in their tracks. And since every company with a decent marketing budget includes these photo or video libraries, great products get lost in a sea of digital content.
Moreover, standard digital marketing no longer generates a significant amount of buzz. In the past, companies could generate high traffic numbers simply due to the fact that new people were joining the internet every day. With plateauing internet growth rate in developed countries and consumers underwhelmed by virality, websites with booming traffic or popular content don’t receive the mainstream press attention they once did.
On the other hand, interactive 3D applications and photo-realistic content experiences address these issues of tangibility and impact. Rather than guessing how a car will look in a specific environment or imagining how a piece of furniture will look under the lighting in your living room, your customers can stream high-fidelity models directly to their laptop, tablet, or mobile device while conducting product research.
Interactive 3D Experiences Encourage Community Building and Engagement
Product configurations offer a highly interactive way for marketers to apply interactive 3D streaming technology. For personal, high-value purchases like cars or expensive running shoes, customers have the option to create and share with friends, family, or members of that specific brand community.
When brands empower customers to personalize their products, they can introduce gamification to their marketing. By incorporating gaming features like rewards, badges, leaderboards, and ratings to enhance engagement, brands can encourage healthy competition, and build customer loyalty.
But there needs to be a compelling reason to participate in the gamified experience to begin with.
For instance, an athletic apparel brand trying to build a community of users on its platform can attract a significantly higher number of participants by offering a 3D configurator that plays more like a game and allows shoe fanatics to design and order a custom shoe.
Interactive 3D Experiences Increases Conversions and Average Purchase Value
Digital marketers are tour guides through the awareness, consideration, and decision stages. The end goal is a conversion. Throughout the customer journey, brands are giving consumers all the information they need to clearly define a problem, compare solutions with other brands, and hopefully settle on their product.
Interactive 3D content helps make this journey more relevant for consumers. It also helps digital marketers integrate powerful consumer insights into the construction of their sales funnel in real time. In essence, this turns the sales funnel into a flywheel. Marketers don’t start from scratch each time a new customer enters the funnel. Instead, the sales funnel becomes a flywheel that uses the momentum of previous customer engagements, data, and insights to push the customer forward.
For example, a product configurator provides marketers with specifics on what exactly customers want from the brand’s products. A marketing team can identify trends and conduct product development based on these variables. Or, it can create new messaging about its existing products based on identified pain points.
This notion of “curated personalization” supports consumers during the consideration and decision stages when they are overwhelmed with choices, features, and specifications. When brands strike the balance between providing choice and curation, it shows in their conversions. A Salesforce study of 150 million online shopping sessions found that logical product recommendations led to 26 percent of e-commerce stores’ revenue.
Data about customer preferences also raises the average purchase value of your products. According to Deloitte, one-fifth of consumers would be happy to pay a 20 percent premium for personalized products. That said, this doesn’t eliminate the marketer’s job of messaging and positioning since 42 percent of consumers want brands to provide them with curated options.
Of course, if marketers want this data, they need to convince customers to share it and these customers are increasingly hesitant to do so. As a result, marketers must provide compelling digital products and experiences that consumers consider worth the exchange.
Photorealistic and interactive 3D product configurators fit the bill, as Chevrolet learned when it used a car configurator to launch its hotly anticipated 2020 Chevy. The automaker offered a way for customers to build their dream car. In exchange, they wound up with 1.3 million user sessions on their configurator, generating an outstanding amount of data to power their predictive analytics efforts.
How To Justify Budgeting for an Interactive 3D Experience
Marketers spend billions of dollars on PPC ads, and at first, the numbers appear to justify this spend. PPC web traffic has a conversion rate that’s 50 percent higher than organic traffic, which makes sense considering nearly 90 percent of shoppers start their research online before making a purchase.
But a closer look suggests that not all companies may be receiving the level of engagement they desire through PPC ads.
Customers buying expensive products spend a greater amount of time in the consideration and decision stages before converting into a paying customers. In the auto industry, customers visit an average of 4.2 websites before making a purchase. And in the home furnishing industry, nearly two-thirds of customers visit multiple sites before making a purchase while over a third spend a month making their decision.
In other words, marketers are spending money to drive consumers to underwhelming landing pages that cause consumers to quickly bounce away. Rather than diving deeper on one brand’s product offering, the lack of a “sticky” brand experience encourages them to continue their buying journey elsewhere.
Consumers spend an average of 2 minutes at best and 15 seconds at worst on a standard website.
Through interactive 3D experiences with ultra-realistic products and environments, the average length of a user session is 5 minutes. And that number goes up as more features are added to the 3D application.
In addition, conversion rates are exponentially higher when consumers have access to 3D product configurators. Companies using 3D configurators have experienced conversion rates 40 percent higher than traditional online methods and a 30 percent improvement in average sales prices. And this is only by using standard deployment tools. A professional, photorealistic model deployed through a high fidelity platform offers even greater conversion potential.
In Case You Missed It: How Unreal Engine is creating new possibilities for the automotive industry
By comparison, traditional PPC ads only offer the following conversion rates:
Table 1: Average conversion rate by industry (Source)
Finally, while the average cost per user engagement in an interactive 3D application is $0.40 the average cost per action is several times higher. Notably, average cost per acquisition is not necessarily the same as average cost per acquisition. It can include anything from an email newsletter sign up for a purchase, meaning brands may be spending premium bottom-of-funnel dollars for top-of-funnel marketing activities.
Table 2: Average cost per action by industry (Source)
Interactive 3D Experiences Enhance The Customer Experience and Conversion Rates
Interactive 3D content keeps both a brand’s customer experience and bottom line healthy, and early adopters are already reaping the rewards. As digital marketing becomes the new normal, marketers will need new ways to stand out in the virtual world, and photorealistic, interactive 3D streaming experiences present an exciting new world of digital content to help them do so.
If you’ve created a photo-real, interactive configurator with a game engine like Unreal or Unity and need to distribute your real-time 3D application to customers on any web or mobile platform, PureWeb can help you with scalable cloud streaming. Drop us a line to discuss your project in greater detail.