Updated: Jun 13, 2019
Credit by Robert Williams
More than 140 companies including retailers and tech companies formed a group to create a common set of standards for 3D imagery used for augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) shopping, per an announcement shared with sister publication Mobile Marketer. Retailers including Target, Ikea, Lowe's, Houzz, Wayfair and Williams-Sonoma set aside their rivalries to work together on improving AR/VR experiences for customers.
"We believe 3D will be ubiquitous in the coming years and that it is imperative to standardize 3D content so it can be exchanged effectively and experienced consistently," Shrenik Sadalgi, Wayfair's director of next-gen experiences and chair of the newly formed 3D Commerce Exploratory Group, said in the statement. The Khronos Group, an open consortium of companies creating advanced 3D standards, formed the exploratory group to bring the retailing, manufacturing and tech industries together for clearer communication and better tech development.Adobe, Deloitte Consulting, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, NVidia, Pinterest, Qualcomm, Samsung and Shopify are among the tech companies participating in the exploratory group.
Khronos aims to drum up interest in creating a set of common technical standards for the 3D rendering of products as more brands incorporate AR/VR into their shopping offerings. If the exploratory group finds solid support, Khronos will create a working group that will develop the standards and support the growth of AR/VR shopping.
Retailers, especially in the home furnishings industry, in the past few years have experimented with AR/VR tech that lets mobile users place virtual furniture in their homes and offices to see how it looks and fits. By working together, retailers, manufacturers and tech companies can make these shopping experiences more compelling for consumers, potentially guiding them to make better purchasing decisions and leading to fewer returns.
Khronos cited a study by Gartner that predicts massive growth for AR/VR shopping in the next few years as high-speed 5G technology expands worldwide. By next year, more than 100 million consumers will shop using AR technology, the researcher predicts. Almost half (46%) of retailers plan to deploy AR/VR tech by next year, per Gartner. 5G's higher speeds promise to better enable real-time rendering for immersive experiences, as well as allow for brands to extend their shopping platforms beyond stores and traditional websites onto mobile devices.
Furniture retailer Ikea was among the first few companies to try out AR technology for shopping. The goal was to improve customer satisfaction and reduce product returns by helping shoppers to visualize home decorations before making a purchase. Since then, Home Depot, Houzz, Lowe's, Macy's, Wayfair and Williams-Sonoma, among others, have added AR features to their mobile apps to ease customers' shopping journeys.