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How will 3D digital signage impact retailers?

Retailers are continually adopting digital signage in great numbers, and are also using more advanced tools such as 3D technology to craft more immersive customer experiences. But its true impact remains uncertain.

How will 3D digital signage impact retailers?Image via

| by Bradley Cooper — Editor, ATM Marketplace

Retailers are continually adopting digital signage in great numbers, and are using more advanced tools such as 3D technology to craft more immersive customer experiences.

"3D is already pervasive in retail. Nearly every major retailer is using 3D content in some capacity — and it's growing," Beck Beseker, CEO and co-founder of virtual reality company Marxent, said in an email interview. "Case in point: Nearly every major furniture company has some 3D initiative underway."

What's the big deal?

There are a number of ways 3D is transforming retail spaces such as immersive interactive content. One of the most common 3D digital signage tools is the endless aisle where customers can customize products digitally.

"The majority of our clients are using 3D graphics for digital signage — the most popular is an endless aisle offering where consumers can configure and discover all product variations on in-store kiosks or laptops," Janus Jagd, CEO of product visualization solutions provider Cylindo, said in an email interview. "In addition, translating the online product personalization experience in-store provides a compelling reason for consumers to visit the store while getting some expert advice from the store personnel."

Visualization is another key way 3D content is transforming retailers. For example, when customers come to a furniture retailer, they often have trouble visualizing how a certain piece of furniture will fit in their houses. 3D content can help with that.

"The introduction of 3D augmented reality technology on mobile devices has democratized the ability to quickly imagine how design elements occupy space. Everyone can now virtually design their living areas and workplace in real time and in full scale," Boaz Ashkenazy, CEO, of augmented reality company Simply Augmented, said in a press release. "Decisions are made more quickly and there are fewer surprises once the final installation is complete."

Besecker, however, believes this is just a small slice of the 3D pie. He argues that by 2030, every adult will have a 3D digital mirror of their environment and possessions.

"3D Content standards will facilitate a revolutionary change in retail. Every facet of the shopping experience will be upended by 3D — from print/TV/Online advertising moving from 2D product photography to 3D content generated procedurally from business rules, to the in-store experience, ecommerce portals, store layout and design, and more," Beckeser said.

What's holding it back?

While 3D technology has been around for quite some time, there few industry specific standards for the technology. This has led to a lot of problems for retail clients.

"At Cylindo, we've felt the pain and the challenges involved in delivering 3D ecommerce content directly to consumers through many years, and we have built out our own standards," Jagd said.

What can help?

One way vendors are attempting to address this issue is by joining industry initiatives such as the The Khronos Group 3D Commerce Working Group. This group aims to develop standards to streamline 3D content creation, management and display.

"Developing a common base structure for the technology that enables retailers to show products in 3D online and standardizing creation and integration processes for Interactive 3D, AR and VR experiences, will largely facilitate access to these innovative technologies and democratize the engaging consumer experiences they make possible," Aurelien Vaysset, CEO of 3D product platform Emersya, said in an email interview.

"Essentially, the work of the Khronos initiative will make it easier for more brands and retailers to be able to create and deploy engaging product experiences in 3D, AR and VR on websites and across their digital retail networks," he added.

The initiative also aims to help create models that will work across multiple devices and platform so that retailers can have an easier process deploying 3D content.

"The models retailers buy or create will work across a wide range of platforms and devices, which makes it less risky, less time consuming, and less costly for them to implement a 3D content strategy," said Besecker.

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper is the editor of ATM Marketplace and was previously the editor of Digital Signage Today. His background is in information technology, advertising, and writing.

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