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ECommerce companies must develop 3D strategy says Tom Connard, Co-founder, and COO of 3D Source

3D images are no longer an option in ecommerce stores. With 3D the conversion increases dramatically, and returns reduce significantly. Team eCommerce Next interviewed Tom Connard, Co-founder, and COO of 3D source to get an insight on 3D and its significance. Read this exciting conversation below:

Please tell us about yourself, your work, and the company.

I am the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of 3D Source, founded in 2016. With more than 12 years of experience, I promote 3D Source’s “turn-key” solutions for industries such as manufacturing and retail. I am responsible for establishing partnerships and educating retailers and manufacturers on the value of photorealistic 3D models as a foundational asset, as well as the advantages of implementing 3D configurations and environments. Before 3D Source, I worked for over a decade at Autodesk, a multinational software corporation most known for AutoCAD, where I served as the senior leader in cloud collaboration, enterprise consulting and consumer technology divisions.


Isn’t 3D expensive and time-consuming?

Building a 3D image library is much faster, easier, and less costly than arranging photoshoots, particularly for multiple products or variations of one product. The savings can be up to 95% in subsequent cycles when minor product updates can be done very quickly.

Do you think eCommerce Businesses should have a 3D strategy?

Yes, every company selling a product needs a 3D strategy. Those who do not will be locked out from the currently emerging generation of ecommerce and web experiences driven by nVidia, Apple, Google and Samsung on the hardware side and Amazon, Wayfair and other big-box companies on the retail side. 3D technology already allows an infinite amount of detail. The challenge is how to represent it given the constraints of current consumer technology and budget. Finding a partner to help navigate the world of 3D and connect it to one’s desired business outcomes is critical. 3D Source is the ideal partner to help develop a 3D strategy and to begin or extend 3D goals to achieve business goals.

AR, VR, 3D and many others…..where do you see it going?

It’s imperative for companies to adopt a 3D strategy, which is the transformative umbrella initiative, from there, the supporting plan could include anything from photography replacement, configurators, and AR/VR tools as they prove their value to the business goals you’re after. Approaching it in a broader view, in terms of a 3D strategy, it is a more effective and disruptive way for companies to benefit from 3D configurations and have the benefit of interactive features such as changing colors and materials etc. Companies

need to start evolving the way customers think about marketing and product visualization to be foundational. A digital twin of each product is the key to unlock improved product visualizations and experiences today and be ready for what’s just around the corner.

How do you see the transition of interactive experiences using 3D configurations during this new ecommerce era, post COVID?

Unlike photography, production of 3D product visualization was not negatively impacted by COVID-19. In the current social climate, customers will want to understand products deeply, without touching them or visiting a retail store. Even when customers do visit retail stores, they will want to be well informed and limit their time in store, leading to more research done online and driving in store sales conversions. The niche we found is interactive experiences. We have created products that look just as good as rendering because it is a rendering, but it is still interactive through multiple angles and still configurable making the products look more visually appealing.

Where do you see the 3D strategy to be used for other industries?

3D Source is already disrupting a diverse selection of industries all the way from baby strollers to touchscreen displays. If you sell a product made of atoms, you need a 3D model of that product for marketing. Beyond just viewing the product more effectively, 3D based configurator experiences improve brand identity and loyalty by reassuring the customer the product will look as ordered once delivered.

How will industries change their way of viewing products online?

Just as the pandemic has permanently altered marketing workflows, it has also changed how consumers approach researching and buying products. People have been forced to shop online for nearly three months and have learned the value of understanding products without being able to touch them. Brands have been forced to create customer experiences based entirely on compelling imagery. As a result, those who have utilized 3D imagery have been able to foster favorable brand identities and loyalty that will carry over as they re-open their brick-and-mortar locations.

Will 3D be used beyond marketing?

Beyond marketing, tools for 3D enhanced customer support, assembly and part identification and ordering are just a few ways teams beyond marketing can leverage a photorealistic 3D model.

What are some industry trends/insights from 3D Source on the evolution of ecommerce?

Visualization will remain at the forefront of things most effective for conversion and the area that needs the most improvement for most brands. Beyond that, personalization, recommendation engines and B2B marketplaces will grow, especially when paired with 3D capabilities.

Describe the exponential growth in ecommerce and web experiences using 3D configurations for product description.

Our clients see nothing less than double digit conversion rate improvements. The common refrain when showing our tools is, “why isn’t everything I shop for online enabled like this?” Our clients see clients playing with the products for 20+ minutes, really getting into the configuration options and enjoying the experience. When so many brand interactions are measured in seconds, it is tough to place a price on what it does to embed your brand in their minds as the ‘go to’ for online shopping.

How is 3D Configurator technology taking ecommerce to the next level in terms of viewing products in variations of materials, colors, etc?

With the use of the same technology used by Hollywood visual effects and top tier video gaming, 3D Source makes products into flexible 3D assets to produce web/mobile product configurators to show size, material, color and accessory options from any angle.

Describe 3D Source’s virtual photography/repository tools for marketing teams.

The Virtual Photography platform provides on demand production of photo realistic product images from one’s library of 3D models. Simply choose a product from one’s library of 3D models, rotate it to the desired angle and order the shot. Within minutes it will arrive via email as a high-resolution layered Photoshop file ready for compositing.

The 3D Source Repository is a private, cloud based digital asset management system (DAM) for all of one’s 3D and 2D product assets. As a brand builds a library of 3D models, they will have quick access to all the 3D Source tools such as 3D spinners, social media quick share links and virtual photography. With a quick search bar and the ability to load all new and existing product data it is bound to become the starting point for virtually any product marketing project.

How can the use of 3D configurations be a valuable advantage in improving sales and lead generation?

It is not only possible for retailers to create these e-commerce and in-store experiences today, it’s a necessity. 3D Configurator technology is proven to drive at least a 10% increase in sales/conversions over traditional methods. They are also highly effective at promoting premium product options and addons due to the ability to see and compare these options immediately. Consumers who can customize a product consider the final result as a tailored product *they designed* to suit their needs rather than existing in the typical mind frame of base product plus accessory. Typically, a retailer will recoup the cost of a 3D image configurator system within 3-6 months.

In what ways can the use of 3D photography lower costs while also exemplifying better quality and value than traditional photography?

Creating 2D photography assets is a tedious, time-consuming process, particularly if the manufacturer must supply various products (or build individual prototypes). The coronavirus pandemic amplified how cost-prohibitive traditional workflow has become. Building a 3D image library is much faster, easier, and less costly than arranging photoshoots, particularly for multiple products or variations of one product. The cost savings can be significant because creating realistic 3D product images through virtual photography can be done much faster than scheduling a traditional 2D photography shoot with no compromise in image quality. It is always golden hour if you want it to be in a 3D studio, so lifestyle shots are particularly great when natural light is fully controllable

Describe what features 3D Source offers to provide in-depth visual representation for products now with the transition to relying more on the ecommerce industry.

With the demand for in-depth visual representation during this transition in the ecommerce industry, it’s imperative for brands to work with a 3D partner not only as a solution to more online purchases, but also in leading the shift in users’ mindsets as they experience this change in shopping online. 3D Source has developed a wide array of tools to expedite the 3D model development process for brands including:

● Visual CPQ solution: Where products can be viewed up close and personal for all necessary visual decisions

● A project management portal tailored to 3D asset production

● Annotation tools to allow immediate

● Precise review and feedback of 3D assets to get them completed and in your library quickly

● Tools to visualize the differences in 3D quality levels.

These improvements for a brand catapults them toward more innovative and user-friendly technology.

About Tom Connard

Tom Connard is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of 3D Source, bringing over 12 years of veteran experience, promoting 3D Source solutions for manufacturing and retail. In his role, Connard is responsible for establishing partnerships and educating retailers and manufacturers on the value of photorealistic 3D models as a foundational asset, as well as the advantages of implementing 3D configurations and environments. Prior to 3D Source, Connard was the senior manager for Autodesk, a multinational software corporation, where he served as the senior leader in cloud collaboration, enterprise consulting and consumer technology divisions.

About 3D Source

3D Source is an on demand photorealistic 3D content and solution provider led by industry veterans committed to transforming product marketing for companies of all sizes by leveraging revolutionary, cost-effective 3D technologies. Founded in 2016 in San Francisco, 3D Source’s specialization in photorealistic 3D content, 3D interactive product configurators and other 3D services are empowering companies to utilize flexibility, quality and efficiency of 3D assets. For more information, please visit:

Alf Alferez
Alf Alferez
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