Engineering exciting marketing experiences with interactive 3D

7 July 2021

2 min read

Something big is happening in retail, but it’s not what you may think.

Yes, we are making more purchases online. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated e-commerce to about 20% of retail sales, but even bigger shifts are coming. Experts predict that online purchases will account for 95% of all retail by 2040.

In the digital age, however, we no longer need to own something to benefit from it. Uber has taught us that owning a car to travel reliably and affordably isn't a requirement any longer.  We "order" a car when we want to go somewhere. If we can order a car, why not order different vehicles for different purposes: a minivan or SUV for a family vacation, a sports car for a weekend drive, a compact car for a quick errand?  Voila! We can have whatever we want, whenever we want it.

For marketers, this has profound implications for selling users on personalized-mobility-experience value. In ride services like Uber, a specialized app could offer passengers control of stereo settings and temperature levels. It could offer customized routes, beverages, additional stops and other amenities during the trip. You see where this is going.

Selling experiences presents a different challenge than selling a car. Consumer interactions will skyrocket, and the content itself will change. Product sales are driven by features and functions, and consumers live with their choices for months or years. An experience sale is driven by convenience, personalization and immediacy. Content must become more rewarding, always on and cloud-based.

The people driving these sales will be service packagers; they will acquire content from the product makers and build experiences for different types of consumers in varying situations.

If coders – not marketers – are creating content, it should be easier to develop and publish, but it needs to be more compelling. As with online commerce, technology is driving the change, but this time through powerful, interactive, mobile-accessible 3D content.

The emerging GL Transmission Format (glTF™) has laid the groundwork for a 3D marketing revolution. Much like the jpeg revolutionized the way we view images online, glTF is making it possible to view rich 3D material quickly and consistently across many different applications. This is poised to revolutionize how marketers introduce new products and experiences. Thanks to glTF, it’s possible to create 3D digital marketing assets directly from the design and engineering source data. This means new products, services and experiences will move from concept to marketplace faster than ever before.

glTF makes online demos both possible and powerful, using light 3D assets that look and act like the real thing. Unlike physical items, users can turn and even “explode” them on the screen to see the inner workings. This content is employable online months before manufacturing begins. The value is immediately evident. Soon, interactive 3D models will be on every ecommerce website and viewable on every mobile phone, making life better for consumers.

Public interactions with these models also provide product-makers and experience packagers instant insights to improve their offers. With a photograph or video, marketers can’t “see” which features draw consumer’s attention – or send them to a competitor’s offer. They can’t know which demographics respond to which offers. glTF 3D models give marketers precise “digital exhaust” to hone in on exactly what consumers want.

That’s key, and it opens the door to an understanding of how a product creates value for consumers. Which in turn is a boost for sustainability. If distributors, retailers and consumers don’t like a concept, it won’t be made. Pointless products will disappear. We’ll create satisfaction with fewer resources. And that’s a good thing.

Tom Acland, Chief Executive Officer, Dassault Systèmes 3DEXCITE

Read more about how companies are already starting to create realistic 3D marketing assets with glTF

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