Best Practices
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David Wischniewski

Augmented reality and 3D for shoe marketing — that's how you sell today

Woman uses smartphone with augmented reality app and tries out Virtual TryOn with sneakers
May 3, 2024

How often is there a new shoe in the shop?
How many different variants are there per shoe?
And in how many different colors are these shoes available?

Customers want to see the diversity of a single shoe model before they buy. It would be better if you could get a better idea in advance without having to go to the shopping center. Conversely, this also demonstrably reduces the return rate.

Anyone who wants to meet these customer needs and the corresponding user experience with photography has had a hard time for many years.
But anyone who wants to stick to it strictly will be squeezed out of competition.

The good news: You don't have to be Nike or Adidas to use the latest product visualization methods.

That's why: In this post, get an idea of what the status is in the product visualization for shoes.

Perhaps your customers will then be able to get an even better picture of your products in the future.

You will learn about these two most important methods in this article:

3D rendering and Augmented Reality for shoes.

Why 3D rendering for shoe product visualization?

There are actually a number of advantages of 3D rendering compared to classic photography.

  1. Cost efficiency: Traditional product photography can be expensive, especially when it comes to a large number of products and variants. 3D rendering makes physical photo shoots unnecessary and saves time and money in the long term.

  1. Flexibility and adaptability: With 3D rendering, product variants can be easily created and modified without the need to use and send physical samples. This allows quick adjustments of color, texture, or design, making it easy to serve different market segments or customer preferences.

  1. Consistency: Ensuring the consistency of all product images is critical to brand identity and customer experience. 3D rendering guarantees uniformity of lighting, viewing angles, and presentation, ensuring a consistent and professional appearance for all product presentations.

  1. Dynamic images: 3D rendering allows you to create dynamic and interactive product visualizations. Customers can look at shoes from different angles, zoom in for close-ups and adjust colors or materials in product configurators, making the shopping experience even more interesting.

  1. Time efficiency: Product launches can be accelerated with 3D rendering. Designs can be visualized and refined quickly and even before the product is completed, which speeds up the decision-making process and shortens the time until new shoe collections or variants are launched on the market.

  1. Adaptability in e-commerce: E-commerce platforms often have specific requirements for product images, such as dimensions and file formats. 3D rendering makes it easy to adapt to these requirements and ensures seamless integration of product images into online stores and websites.

  1. Future-proof: As technology advances, so do opportunities. 20 years ago, they had a product image on Amazon and were therefore well positioned. Today, platforms and social media require a wide variety of formats. Anyone who visualizes their products through 3D renderings can directly generate animations and even AR models for virtual tryons, 3D views or interactive advertisements, for example.

Why augmented reality for shoe marketing?

Depending on who you ask, you get very different opinions about augmented reality in marketing and as a tool for selling products. While there are decision makers who dismiss AR as a toy and gimmick, other companies have had almost 10 years of experience with how to interactively place products in customers' smartphones.

However, based on our experience and solid statistics, there is no way around augmented reality solutions for many product categories.

Here are the 3 arguments, maybe you can identify with them?

1. Augmented reality increases user experience and drives purchases

The conversion rate increases with the augmented reality display provided up to 94%.

The proportion of returns in e-commerce is reduced by up to 25%.

71% of companies, who use augmented reality report improvements in customer satisfaction

67% of advertising agencies are of the opinion that augmented reality significantly increases engagement and interest in advertising.

What is stored or encoded in memory is 70% higher in AR experiences.

Attention is on Augmented Reality 45% higher than the average watched on TV or online.

2. The pioneers and big players have had augmented reality in their portfolio for a long time

amazon introduced its own technology for using virtual testing in 2022.
was on SnapChat early on with the first Virtual TryOn.
released its own AR filters for new sneakers in 2019.
As early as 2018 has Adidas gained initial experience with Augmented Reality and Virtual TryOns:

In the meantime, initial experiences and experiments have become permanent benefits on major e-commerce platforms, in social media and in the online shops of many manufacturers. This is shown by further examples of armani, timberland or Nike

And Nike is trying the other way around here: The shoe in reality, but the customization added virtually.
Go one step further and have virtual clothes for the very young target group who are already eagerly exploring the metaverse.

And also other labels such as Hockerty or Allbirds in your own app use Virtual TryOns.

Augmented reality is the natural evolution of product content

The third argument is purely logical.
With technological progress, marketing opportunities and the expectations of users and customers have also increased significantly.

From product descriptions and pure texts with few and low resolution images to more and higher resolution product images and video content for products to 360 degree views and finally also interactive and mixed reality solutions such as AR and 3D models.

4 best practices for augmented reality in shoe marketing

Nike Virtual TryOn - formerly Nike Fit

Nike has its first big V in 2019Irtual TryOn app published and, according to their own statements, significantly increased new customer business and - no less important - be able to reduce the return rate for purchases by 28%.

Burberry is already improving user experience in search

Burberry uses Augmented reality in Google Shopping for exciting user experiences and personalized shopping.

Zalando relies on Virtual Fitting Room Experience

According to Zalando, customer engagement has been increased, with around half of customers trying on more than one size using the avatar function in the Virtual Fitting Room. The company wants the Using Virtual Try On Experiences scale.

Dior quadruples ROI with AR launch campaign

According to Dior Lens and Snapchat ads alone quadrupled the brand's return on ad spend by 3.8 times and an additional 2.3 million views.

What are the different augmented reality and 3D solutions?

  • Virtual Try On Virtual Try On Apps: These apps allow users to virtually try on shoes using their smartphones or tablets. Customers can see what the shoes look like on their feet without actually trying them on. These apps often use AR technology to display virtual shoes into the user's real environment.

  • WebAR/AR-based websites: Some shoe brands are incorporating AR technology into their websites so that customers can use their device's camera to see what the shoes will look like on their feet. This immersive experience enhances the online shopping experience and helps customers make an informed purchase decision.

  • AR social media filters: Brands are creating AR filters for popular social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, which allow users to try on virtual shoes through their camera lenses. These filters can be interactive and shared, increasing brand visibility and engagement on social media.

  • AR experiences in stores: Retailers can build AR experiences into their physical stores to engage customers and improve the shopping experience. For example, they can set up AR mirrors or kiosks where customers can virtually try on different shoe models and customize them according to their preferences.

  • 3D View/Product Visualization: Brands can offer interactive 3D visualizations of their shoes on their websites or mobile apps. Customers can rotate, zoom in and look at the shoes from different angles to get a better picture of the product before buying.

  • Google Search AR integration: Google search includes an AR feature that allows users to view 3D models of products directly in search results. This allows companies to present their products in a new dimension.

  • AR advertising campaigns: Brands can create AR-based advertising campaigns that enable users to interact with virtual shoe models in real environments. These campaigns can be used across various digital channels, such as social media, websites, and mobile apps, to attract and retain potential customers.

Infographic: The AR checklist - What questions should I check out as a marketing manager?

Infographic: The AR checklist for marketing shoes using augmented reality applications, Copyright: RenderThat GmbH, 2024


Allison Wood was CEO of Camera IQ, a Los Angeles-based agency specialized in augmented reality, from 2016 to 2022 and has A few basic but very clever things said about AR, which we would like to quote without comment at this stage:

“AR advertising is well received for two reasons:
The first is that it doesn't interfere. Augmented reality is more of a type of product placement. It is part of the content and contributes to the experience itself. What we remember is an incredible 70 percent higher when it comes to AR experiences.
Second, the user has control over AR advertising. All other types of advertising are forced upon us. AR ads are curious. They're invitations, not intrusions. They're artful, fun tools that consumers can play with and connect with the brands they love.”

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