This episode features a conversation with Gaurav Baid, Founder & chief product officer at Avataar (avataar.ai). We discuss how augmented reality solutions can help increase conversions and sales for Shopify merchants.
On the Show Today You’ll Learn:
- How AI and 3D augmented reality solutions can benefit customers and merchants
- Best-case scenarios for using 3D augmented reality
- The process of converting products into interactive 3D images
- Which kind of size store would really profit from this technology
- How a merchant should prepare before using 3D augmented reality
- And more
Links & Resources
About Our Podcast Guests: Gaurav Baid
Gaurav Baid is co-founder and chief product officer at Avataar. Gaurav's entrepreneurial journey at Avataar has focused on delivering meaningful and delightful visual experience enhancements by deploying 3D computer vision and AI technological advancements. He is a TEDx Speaker and was named BizzTalk World's top Business Growth Leader in 2022.
Avataar is the world's first out-of-the-box 3D and interactive augmented reality solution that is shaping consumers’ online buying behavior. Avataar delivers life-size 3D and augmented reality (AR) first experiences across all consumer touchpoints (web, in-app, and social channels) using proprietary technology and 10+ US patents. We power some of the world's largest automobile, retail, and e-commerce brands in the United States, Asia, and Europe.
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Claus Lauter: Hello and welcome to another episode of the e-Commerce Coffee Break. Today we want to talk about interactive augmented reality, about 3d, about everything that makes a product a little bit more interesting on e-commerce than just having a plain image of the product. So therefore, I have Gaurav Baid with me.
He's the founder and chief product officer of a avatar at a avatar dot ai, and he's a. Entrepreneur and has been with Avatar for quite a while, and Avatar is focusing on delivering meaningful and delightful visual experience enhancements by deploying 3D computer vision and AI technology advancements.
He's also a text speaker and was named Biz Talk World's Top Business Growth Leader in 2022. Avatar, as we heard, is a 3D tool which helps people, understanding more about a product, getting a. Better idea of a product. So let's dive into this and get a bit of an insight on how you can implement that into your business, into your store, and get more sales out of it.
Garv, how are you today?
Gaurav Baid: Doing great Claus and thank you for having me on your show.
First of all, thank you for having me. , really appreciate. Being part of your show, and thank you for that kind intro as well and setting up the context on of that. So today morning ready with my copy over here to catch a break and discuss how merchants and Shopify can implement CD and on their store and improve conversions.
just double clicking on the aspect about Ofta. As you mentioned that we are in the process of bringing spatial. Two visual discovery experiences. , what we are doing is upgrading all existing 2D touchpoint that a brand has with because which could be in the form of images, videos that you see online today before making a purchase decision.
We are replacing that with lifestyle interactive 3D content. Now when it comes to the context of a product page, the PDP is , across different e stores and marketplaces that we see. All of us as consumers have been used to swiping through those images and videos, to get some view in terms of how the product could look, how it could fit in the context that you wanna buy, and then make the.
Now 3D and ai, , what you get is a life size form of the same product, which you can not only interact, , in six, , dimensions, like three dimensions with six degrees of freedom, which allows you to zoom in, zoom out. So we will rotate pan and everything, but more importantly, take that product to your own environment, which is, let's say, taking a couch that you wanna buy to your living.
See how it looks, whether it goes with the decor or not, or taking that refrigerator to your kitchen and see if it fits the narrow space that you have over there and , can you get the maximum out of the purchase when you go ahead to buy that product? So that's how 3D and AI have been helping the merchants on, , these platforms as well as the end consumer, more so in bringing value.
Claus Lauter: Okay. No, that's very interesting. I mean, obviously we all have seen at some point videos or 3D animations of a product mostly on a white background. Now bringing this into your own environment is something completely new, and obviously that helps a lot. I mean, this is even in an advantage of going to a brick and mortar store where you still do not see the product in your own environment.
You see it in a shop, and you can around and touch it. But that's just taking it one step further now, how does it work for the shopper? What kind of steps does the online shopper needs to do to get a product from a store in their living room?
Gaurav Baid: Well, it's very simple an end consumer as I land up on the product page, , you can see an activation. So we normally take this one of the tiles in the user discovery process. So as you swipe through the images, normally the first or the second tile could be your window to the 3D and AR experience.
So as soon as you land on that tile, you will see a 3D experience starting, then at a click of a. If you're on a mobile device, , and we work across 3.5 billion devices globally. , so if you are on one of those devices, you can just activate AR from then and there and place a product in the environment that you're in.
So it's that simple. From an end consumer, you don't need any additional app, you don't need any additional hardware. , it works across all browser. , so that's where the benefit of our technology comes into play in terms of bringing the power to every end consumer. So cross just by context, we are in the mission of democratizing 3D and ar, which basically means we want to get 3D and AR to everyone, to every consumer out there.
And that's why we have made it so.
Claus Lauter: Okay. I mean, it sounds amazing. You just use your mobile device, make a photo of wherever this product should then live if you buy it. And then you see it in this kind of environment. So that's really like a huge step forward in getting a better feeling of a product. Now, are there any specific products, I can't think of frontages, is there any other kind of products where this technology would work very well?
Gaurav Baid: the technology is agnostic of categories. It's agnostic of different surfaces that it can recreate in 3D and enable an end consumer to experience it. , to start off, in the early phase of our journey, we saw certain categories where, This conversion uplift, the seals increase over 2D that 3D used to bring was much higher, as you rightly mentioned, furniture and related categories.
So broadly, the home and home improvement segment, if I way to call it. So where the ones which benefited the most in the initial days of implementation of 3D and air. This would practically include furniture, home decor, durables, even sports and equipment, kitchen wear, and stuff like those, which I've seen huge benefit coming out of this, but over the course of last 12 months.
What we have also seen is that the categories also seeing the benefit. So it has now expanded to footwear. I wear other fashion accessories as well as duality, the remaining categories are also coming into the fore. For where end consumers have now started using it, , and seeing the, so in today's context, across all retail consumers out there, , there was a study done.
And from there, what we actually found out that 71% of the consumers. Prefer to buy with retailers who have AR 61 person wants to come back to retailers who have given them a 3D and AR experience and to the extent of 40% of the consumers ready to pay more for a product which they can customize in ai.
So that's where the uplift we are seeing across all categories, across all, , verticals. , in terms of power of ar being.
Claus Lauter: Okay, let's go a little bit on the technology side, on what the merchant has to do. Now, obviously, I'm a merchant. I have , my products. kind of steps do I need to go through to get my product ready to be presentable in a 3D way?
Gaurav Baid: staying true to the mission of democratizing 3D era, what we have built is a self-serve solution. Now it's sell, serve on both supply and demand context in terms of supply. Now today we have a set of images that a merchant already has. In terms of every product, which is live on their east to using those, they can put it into a proprietary platform, , it's a neural radiance fee enabled tech, which we unveiled earlier this year.
And now we are bringing it to the hands of the merchants as well, using our proprietary whole capture process. They can use a set of images or quick walk around video of the. Using any nuclear camera. So they don't need any special device. Any mobile device today can capture the video of that product, upload it to our platform, and in matter of less than 30 minutes, they'll get the life size 3D of it.
So what Uswa used to take days and sometimes weeks for a 3D artists to build. Can now be done in matter of minutes in an automated manner with no manual intervention. So on the supply side, that's how we are bringing in scalability for the context of merchants. When you come to the demand side, which is how the end consumer will get to see, how do I take it to my product page?
Again, we provide a no code to a low code environment. So any Shopify merchant who is on a standard template, . Would be able at a click of a button to go live with 3D and ar so our platform comes with that capability. They don't have to do any technical integration at their end. They don't have to do any additional work at their end.
, if it's on the standard template, they can go like immediately if it's on a customized template. Then also we allow them to use a platform, , with all the tools that the product has, , customize the code a bit and then take it live on the platform. Again. It's a very easy. Two step process. They don't have to do much and in matter of minutes, again, they can go live on across the east to, for all the products that they have.
So that's the kind of power in terms of self-serve tool that we have brought to the merchants.
Claus Lauter: Okay, so it's on, but it's very easy now and you don't need a 3D graphic artist, as you No. From a technology side, you said it's easy to implement this into Shopify. What happens if you have a Hatless store? Or you are on other platform? How does that support this?
Gaurav Baid: Oh, absolutely. We do support with, already live on Shopify and Commerce and for these merchants, if there's a headless integration where let's say they're using the backend of Shopify and using a front end, we support that integration. As with, our app is today built, , on marketplaces of Shopify and Commerce and their platforms, so, which is in the pipeline and would be available.
So, but basically we use that to get the backend data. From the merchant in terms of their existing product catalog and all the relevant details that we can source. And then we can give them an experience which they can not only integrate on a headless ecosystem, but they can integrate it across the full funnel.
And when I say full funnel, I basically mean they are ecosystems which you have. So today, given our, , plug and play integration with Facebook and Google, they can have a meta empowered with this and Instagram ad, , WhatsApp promotion to a Google. , search or display a, anything that they want across the whole funnel for the end consumer.
They can empower those using our platform. We basically wanted the consumer to have a consistent feel as they go through the whole journey of discovering and buying the product. And that's why we brought in this whole end to end integration. So that's where we tried to empower the merchants on the.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Sounds great. Now, coming to one very crucial topic that every Shopify owner has usually on their mind is speed. Having a speedy, fast loading site. How does that affect, or what kind of, , implementations might have a 3D visualization on that?
Gaurav Baid: No, absolutely. That's a very important point, , because when we started that journey, there were two key pillars for us. First was Photorealism, which is about creating a highly realistic rendition of the product that you're looking at. Second was compression. Which is to make the experiences bandwidth friendly across surfaces, across devices.
, if I were to just double click on compression, we have our proprietary topology preserve compression algorithms. We have our patents, , filed on those where we could bring down file sizes by 18 to 20 times from the traditional 3D mission. That's where our technology comes into. , where we do, , adaptive rendering solutions for the end consumer so that , they don't fee to start off, to answer the specific question on the page load, which you had.
First of all, there's no impact on the page load. So what they were seeing with the current implementation state as because of our adaptive integr. As the consumer gets into the experience, we deliver a very fast CD and enabled experience for them so that they turn around with the server is also quick and there's not much of, action needed, , in terms of download at the client site.
So that's why we try to optimize the whole architecture without adding to the page load. But also delivering a very fast experience in real time to the end consumer. That's, , where our focus has been since very early days of journey. Then several patents that we have filed.
Claus Lauter: Okay. No, that sounds great. And , obviously with speed, if that is solved, , I think a huge problem or a huge, growth block for a lot of Shopify merchants that. Will fall away. Now, who is your perfect customer? Which kind of size store would really profit from this technology?
Gaurav Baid: , that's again, a very important question because practically we today are available at a global state. We have seen all types of customers at different scale and level coming onto the platform and utilizing it and seeing the benefit. , but we definitely see, , a mid market to a mid-market press.
Kind of a customer who anyways have been looking for a very highly. Experience for their end consumers. They have benefited the maximum by using the technology. And there we have also seen agency partners playing a great role. So when you come to a mid-market or a mid-market plus kind of merchant, they usually have an agency which helps them to build the store to keep everything up to date.
using our platform. The agency could also deliver more, immersive experiences for the end consumer, do the full funnel integration as I was referring to earlier. So these kind of players have been able to extract the maximum value out of the platform, even though all our partners across all stages have seen a conversion uplift.
But when you talk about an agency, empowered play, The value that AAR can deliver, it just gets enhanced multifold, because then they can do a lot more because of the dedicated mind share that an agency partner brings into the equation. So that's where we have seen lot more benefit being delivered to the merchants.
Claus Lauter: Okay, now I see your solution is not only something within the store, within the product detail page, it goes through the whole funnel, and obviously this involves much more different parties within a organization. Now we're talking about the marketing department, eCommerce. Store manager and whoever's What kind of homework does a organization need to do before they approach you?
Gaurav Baid: in terms of what we have seen cross is that people who are already believers of Tri Air, we actually didn't have any sort of additional work required at their end. There's not much of technical expertise needed at their end. There's a need to prep for and come in to solve, , 3D and AR problem for their end consumers.
What we have seen people getting, faster adoption is when they have already seen the benefits of 3D and ar. They have experienced it firsthand or they have heard about it. When such a merchant comes under the platform, the cycle becomes much more. Because then they can bring the, , power of 3D R experiences to their end consumers in a much shorter time span and start seeing the, So as soon as you go live with 3D and air, you can start seeing the conversion uplift on our platform.
So only thing, which we have always found little helpful is that, , merchants who have seen 3D r or have had some sort of experience with 3D and. Faster means to get to the same goal, , than some of the other merchants who are exploring it for the first time. But having said that, as I earlier mentioned, there's no technical expertise needed, so anyone and everyone have been able to extract value out of the platform.
Claus Lauter: Okay, you're doing this now for a while. What's the biggest mistake that you have seen with merchants implementing any kind of 3D artificial tool into their stores?
Gaurav Baid: That's a very, , interesting one because we have seen our partners make, , different types of. Mistakes in terms of, activating this. , one thing which has been there is that when you see variance on a particular product, right? When you have, , different color variance, different size varis, and if they have not built, , 3D experiences, 3D , products for all the ratings, then we have seen.
Missing out on getting true power of it because as, a consumer, if I'm like looking at your one variant seeing 3D on that, and I switch over to the other and don't see 3d, then I'm lost in that journey. Because that's an inconsistent experience for me from an end consumer perspective. So that's where we have always advise our merchants, our partners, to have a very consistent flow of, , 3D experiences for the end consumer to make sure that they cover the entire spectrum of catalog to the extent possible, especially all the variance within a singular product.
Because on that pdp. it has to be a solid and a consistent experience for the end consumer. You can't take them into 3D and then not provide it for the other meeting. So that has been one advice, which we have always been giving them to get the maximum out of it.
Claus Lauter: Okay, so don't only show me the sulfur in black in 3d, but also show it to me in brown or red. Cool. Where can people find more about avatar?
Gaurav Baid: We are live on Shopify and BigCommerce. So on those marketplaces we are already there. Anyone can search for a avatar that's Ava t Soar within, additionally in between. Or they can come to our website, which is a avatar.ar where we can give them all the info about the platform as well as redirect them to.
Shopify or the Commerce State and help them go live with three.
Claus Lauter: Okay. I have been to your website obviously. It's quite impressive what you do there, so I can only recommend to our listeners to get the visual impression of what your solution can provide to them, and I think it's a no brainer. If you have products that would fit this category, then definitely worth trying it out to get higher conversion rates there.
thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate that and talk to you soon.
Gaurav Baid: Thanks guys for having me. Appreciate it.
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