Ecommerce & WebGL: Crafting an Immersive Experience

There is so much information and advice out there on how product images can boost your Ecommerce sales. Beautiful product imagery draws you in and showcases products in the best possible light. Online shops incorporate multiple photos of various views, some include high definition zoom and others video. Theses are all great ways to make products more tangible.

But what if you could have the edge over your competitors and make your products even more tangible online, going one step further than the rest? With the technology now available, WebGL has allowed for some truly innovative experiences.

Web browsers are brilliant at displaying 2D graphics and all of this processing is happening via the CPU (Central Processing Unit.) However, the CPU is not capable of rendering complex 3D graphics. Now we have the technology to access the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) which has opened up a whole new dimension, literally, to the web browser.

Constant developments in 3D scanning mean you can now create an exact replica of any item as a 3D Model. Using camera rigs to scan smaller items such as watches, and Lidar Scanning for the big beasts such as vehicles or even buildings; if you want something in 3D it can be done!

It all began when a chap called Vladimir Vukićević created the first Canvas 3D prototype in 2006 and it’s grown rapidly with the nonprofit technology association Khronos Group releasing a technology called WebGL along with the support from Apple, Google, Mozilla and Opera. All the big ones!

WebGL allows you render interactive 3D and 2D graphics within the web browser and the support for this technology is becoming more and more widely available.

So with all this happening, how will it change our web experiences? Well, it’s early days yet and people are still struggling to find that sweet spot for integrating it into the web in a meaningful way. Having said that, the simple fact is that you can display 3D models in the browser at lightning speed and this has created a surge of interactive 3D models and environments, if for no other reason than to simply showcase the technology.

Well here at FX we had a thought, “wouldn’t it be great to use this technology to showcase high value products for an Ecommerce site to bring users closer to a product and make it even more tangible?”. Giving users full control over camera angles to view a product, play animations and even change textures and colours gives users an immersive 3D experience. Applying this exciting technology to a real world purpose by improving conversion on an Ecommerce site is incredibly exciting. Obviously this would need to be tested to monitor conversion benefits, but this almost feels like a natural next step for high value Ecommerce business that want to outshine their competitors!

Here at FX, we are always working on WebGL demos to showcase how you can incorporate 3D technology into the web, and in this instance we have one on the way to demonstrate how to make your products interactive in a 3D environment. It’s safe to say our fully functioning demo is near completion and we are looking to it’s release early this October. If you’d like to have a play simply pop your email into our signup below and we will notify you when it’s ready! This is just a taster of things to come, and at FX we love exploring more adventurous technologies and pushing boundaries!