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Scandiweb

Written by:Scandiweb

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Technology solutions for eCommerce: Bringing Virtual Reality into Everyday Shopping

Virtual reality (VR) is slowly but surely becoming a large part of our lives. From video games to education and even watching sports, the possibilities are limitless. Now, imagine a shopping experience where you can actually see the products on display via a fully 3D VR experience. And the best part is you don’t need special hardware or applications — just a web browser!

Scandiweb recently teamed up with Country Casual Teak to create a comprehensive VR solution to present outdoor furniture on their eCommerce platform.

Crafting a One-Size-Fits-All Virtual Reality Technology Solution

In the past, everything related to virtual reality was app-based. You would need to have specific software installed on your phone, desktop or VR headset. Country Casual Teak wanted to make virtual tours much more accessible, and available to everyone, regardless of their device, browser or technical capability.

As a VR project of such scale had never been carried out for commercial purposes, the Scandiweb team had to come up with their own solution in a field that is relatively poorly explored. After the first prototype was created, it quickly became clear that to fully service their clients, the company would need a truly universal solution. That’s why the VR experience was designed to be compatible with Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard, as well as an on-site 360˚ VR option for desktop users, without the use of any applications or plugins. As a result, the new VR solution has transformed a classical furniture business with more than 40 years of tradition by infusing their website with an innovative 21st century eCommerce solution.

Early prototype of the VR technology developed.

In addition to creating an immersive desktop VR experience, the team also had to accommodate for third-party VR hardware. To ensure compatibility with all types of VR headsets, a multitude of resolutions and image sizes are available for different phone and headset types. While developing the software, Scandiweb utilized a number of open-source solutions that together ensure a seamless VR experience encompassing almost all types of VR. In order to achieve the desired VR effect we used stereoscopic cube mapped images and Three.js — a Javascript 3D library that helps us manipulate WebGL and create the needed 3D projection on an HTML5 canvas element.

Customer Focused Technology Solutions

The main benefit of using a VR solution for eCommerce is that Country Casual Teak can now upload multiple virtual reality locations and have multiple product types displayed in each of them. This enables the customers to easily find and purchase the most suitable furniture after experiencing it in VR. And secondly, without any additional plugins or software, and without any major page load slowdown, it ensures a seamless and comfortable shopping experience.

Throughout the development process, Scandiweb painstakingly carried out multiple phases of UX testing to ensure that the learning curve was not too steep for consumers not yet familiar with VR. As expected, the largest number of visitors comes from desktop devices, which is exactly why the on-site 360˚ VR solution was developed.

All in all, the solution introduced a brand new USP to Country Casual Teak’s sales drive. By offering a virtual tour of their products, the company has a leg up on competition. Comparing eCommerce metrics with those of the previous year, we can clearly see that the VR solution has brought in more traffic, and increased customer retention by reducing the bounce rate.

Let us help you:

To learn more about Scandiweb’s technology solutions for eCommerce? Maybe you want your own VR store experience? Check out our Technology Services page or shoot us a message to info@scandiweb.com.

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