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Everything You Need To Know About 3D Ecommerce

February 16, 2024
Written and researched by experts at AvadaLearn more about our methodology

By Sam Nguyen

CEO Avada Commerce

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about 3D eCommerce and how to use it to grow your business.

What Is 3D Ecommerce?

3D ecommerce is the use of three-dimensional modeling, product configuration, and VR/AR technologies in online product visualization, supporting digital marketing and sales. It offers a dynamic and immersive experience that blends in-store and online shopping experiences, allowing consumers to interact with the products.

What Is 3D Ecommerce

Types of 3D Ecommerce

The two most common 3D ecommerce are 3D product visualization and virtual try-on.

3D Product Visualization

3D product visualization allows for a meticulous and intricate representation of product details. Unlike traditional 2D images, it captures the depth, texture, and finer aspects of an item, providing consumers with a comprehensive view.


The 3D model has made far-reaching changes in showcasing products, for particular: 

  • 360-degree view of the products allows users can rotate, zoom in, and inspect every angle, simulating an in-store experience. This not only boosts customer confidence but also reduces the likelihood of returns due to mismatched expectations.
  • Interactive elements, such as zoom, pan, and rotate functionalities, foster a more engaging shopping experience. Consumers can interact with the product in a way that mirrors the tactile experience of physically handling an item in-store.

The technique has gained significant traction in high-end markets where the emphasis is on the aesthetic appeal and exclusivity of products. Despite the higher upfront cost, businesses can achieve long-term cost-effectiveness by reusing these models across various platforms, reducing the need for constant photoshoots.

Virtual Try-Ons

Virtual Try-Ons represent a groundbreaking facet of 3D ecommerce, transforming the way consumers experience and evaluate products online by leveraging augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) to allow users to superimpose virtual images of products onto real-world environments.

Virtual Try-Ons

More specifically, it often includes interactive features, allowing users to adjust sizes, colors, and styles in real time. Shoppers can approach this type through several methods, including:

  • Utilizing camera-enabled devices to virtually preview items and superimpose on the user’s body or places, assessing their sizing and fit.
  • Using body scanning technology, users create accurate 3D avatars that provide an exact representation of how products would look in the real world.

While applicable to various product categories, Virtual Try-Ons are particularly impactful in the fashion or interior industries. Users can virtually try on clothing, makeup, and even furniture in any place of their choice, enhancing their confidence in purchasing items online.

How Does 3D Modeling Work In Ecommerce?

How Does 3D Modeling Work In Ecommerce

To start with 3D eCommerce, you first need 3D models. These can be made from existing 3D CAD files used in manufacturing. There are three main methods to create 3D images:

  • 3D Scanning: This method uses a scanner to capture the size and shape of an object from different angles. The scanned data is then used to create a 3D model.
  • Photogrammetry: Here, a camera takes multiple pictures of an object. The software then uses these images to build a 3D model.
  • 3D Design: A graphic designer creates a 3D model from product descriptions and images using special software.

Once you have a 3D model, it can be used in various ways for eCommerce. This includes:

  • 3D Viewers: These show interactive 3D models on websites or mobile apps.
  • Virtual Reality (VR): VR uses 3D images to create a digital simulation of an object. For example, an architect might use VR to show a digital blueprint of a building.
  • Augmented Reality (AR): AR overlays 3D images onto the real world using a camera and screen. For instance, a furniture store might let customers see how a sofa looks in their room using AR.

VR and AR can also include other sensory experiences, like surround sound or haptic gloves and shoes, to make the experience more realistic. Thus, 3D eCommerce can closely mimic a physical shopping experience.

Benefits of 3D Ecommerce To Businesses And Customers

There is no doubt that the appearance of 3D Ecommerce has brought forth a myriad of benefits to both sellers and buyers on the market.

Benefits of 3D Ecommerce To Businesses And Customers

For businesses:

  • Enhanced product display: Businesses can showcase products with unprecedented detail, providing a more accurate and immersive representation, and enhancing product differentiation in a crowded online marketplace.
  • Costefficiency in visual content creation: The tool allows businesses to create versatile and reusable 3D models. This not only reduces production costs but also streamlines the process of updating visual content for new products or variations.
  • Increased customer engagement: The interactive nature of 3D models, coupled with features like 360° views and virtual try-ons, significantly boosts personalized shopping experiences, fostering a deeper connection between consumers and their products.
  • Adaptability across platforms: Being created in universal file formats, this adaptability ensures a consistent and cohesive brand experience for customers regardless of the platform they choose for online shopping.
  • Innovative marketing tools: Leveraging 3D models opens avenues for innovative marketing tools such as 3D configurators or animations, positioning the brand as forward-thinking and technologically advanced.

For customers:

  • Realistic product visualization: Customers benefit from a more realistic and detailed visualization of products, transcending the limitations of traditional 2D images. This clarity aids in informed decision-making.
  • Virtual tryon experiences: Customers can virtually test products before making a purchase, offering a personalized and risk-free exploration of how items look and fit, significantly reducing the uncertainty associated with online shopping.
  • Increased confidence in purchases: The immersive nature of 3D ecommerce instills confidence in customers, as they can thoroughly engage with products online, leading to increased conversion rates and a reduction in return rates.
  • Convenience and flexibility: Customers enjoy the convenience of exploring products from any location with an internet connection. This flexibility aligns with modern shopping preferences, where online experiences need to be seamless and accessible.

3D Ecommerce Challenges and Considerations

As 3D ecommerce continues to reshape the online shopping landscape, businesses can encounter a spectrum of challenges and considerations. Those typical intricacies surrounding the implementation of 3D technology in ecommerce can be:

3D Ecommerce Challenges and Considerations

Resource intensiveness: The creation of high-quality 3D models demands substantial resources, both in terms of skilled personnel and advanced technology. Businesses must weigh the investment against the potential benefits to ascertain the feasibility of 3D ecommerce adoption.

Data security concerns: Handling 3D models may involve significant data transfer and storage. Addressing potential security concerns, especially with personalization features like virtual try-ons, becomes paramount to safeguarding customer information.

Device limitations and accessibility: The immersive nature of 3D experiences may be constrained by device limitations. Ensuring accessibility across a wide range of devices and internet speeds is crucial to preventing the exclusion of certain user segments.

Costs of 3D modeling: While 3D modeling offers long-term cost savings in content creation, the initial investment in creating high-quality models can be significant. Businesses must carefully evaluate the cost-benefit ratio to justify the adoption of 3D ecommerce.

Consumer adoption and acceptance: Consumer familiarity and acceptance of 3D technology play a pivotal role in its success. Businesses need to gauge their target audience’s readiness for interactive 3D experiences and strategize accordingly to encourage adoption.

Content loading speed: The intricate details and interactivity of 3D models may impact content loading speed. Striking a balance between rich visual experiences and swift page loading times is essential to maintain a seamless online shopping journey.

Ongoing technological advancements: The rapid pace of technological advancements in 3D modeling and ecommerce necessitates continuous adaptation. Businesses must stay abreast of developments to ensure their 3D ecommerce strategies remain cutting-edge and competitive.

Success Stories in 3D Ecommerce

As businesses embrace the transformative power of 3D technology in the ecommerce realm, its successful usage by many small or giant brands emerges as a beacon of innovation.


One of the most prominent and pioneering cases in this sector is absolutely IKEA, a Swedish multinational retail giant that is globally renowned for its flat-packed furniture, home accessories, etc. With a worldwide presence and a commitment to affordable solutions, IKEA has embraced 3D ecommerce.

Success Stories in 3D Ecommerce IKEA

In 2017, IKEA entered this landscape with the launch of IKEA Place, a free iOS app. This app enables users to virtually position furniture in their living spaces through augmented reality with an accuracy of up to 98%, offering a groundbreaking approach to online shopping.

The technology is particularly established in:

  • Virtual showrooms and 3D visualization: Customers can explore lifelike digital representations of furniture and home decor items, offering a realistic preview of how products would fit into their homes through IKEA Kreativ, a feature on the app.
  • AR Applications: The Ikea app incorporates AR technology, allowing users to virtually place furniture in their living spaces using their smartphones. This immersive AR experience enables customers to assess the size, style, and compatibility of items.
  • Interactive 3D Configurators: Ikea’s 3D configurators empower customers to customize furniture pieces, altering colors, materials, and configurations in real time. 
Success Stories in 3D Ecommerce IKEA

Ikea’s adept use of 3D technology has significantly transformed the shopping experience. By reducing decision fatigue through efficient search functionalities, providing better context with virtualized models, and increasing convenience with digital shopping, Ikea has witnessed remarkable success. 

With an estimation of over 40,000 active designs, 10,000 room scans, and over 25% boost in omnichannel commerce since 2016, the initiative has proven to be a game-changer. 


Another typical example in the makeup and cosmetics industry is Sephora, a well-known international beauty retailer recognized for its extensive range of cosmetics, skincare, fragrances, and beauty products. 

Success Stories in 3D Ecommerce Sephora

The company has leveraged 3D technology in ecommerce based on industry trends up to this point:

  • Sephora is advancing its augmented reality (AR) shopping experience by integrating live 3D facial recognition into the Virtual Artist feature on its app and website. Developed by ModiFace, the update aims to boost conversions and user engagement by providing users with a view of themselves in real time with digital makeup.
  • Sephora’s commitment to a personalized mobile shopping journey is further exemplified by its foray into conversational commerce on the messaging app Kik, embracing chatbots to drive sales through one-to-one interactions.
Success Stories in 3D Ecommerce Sephora

Their focus is to alleviate the annoyance and inconvenience of online makeup orders that don’t align with the customer’s skin tone or preferences. The enhancement has addressed a 22% drop in conversion rates observed when virtual products didn’t align correctly on users’ faces.


The application of 3D models to the sportswear industry is necessary, and Adidas has successfully implemented them in its e-commerce operations, ​​from using AI in its supply chain to 3D printing sneakers.

Success Stories in 3D Ecommerce Addidas

Adidas launched an augmented reality (AR) footwear try-on feature in its iOS app in 2019. The app allows customers to virtually try on iconic models, including the recently released Alphaedge 4D running shoes. 

Partnering with AR technology company Vyking, the app utilizes real-time tracking of foot movements, enabling users to see virtual models of the shoes. The AR try-on experience even incorporates interactive elements like a live Death Star circling the Alphaedge 4D Star Wars model. 

Success Stories in 3D Ecommerce Adidas

The motivation behind such technology is to increase conversions, reduce returns driven by style concerns, and attract new customers to the brand. This innovative approach reshapes the online and in-store shopping experience for footwear, emphasizing the practicality and appeal of AR try-on technology for users of all ages.

Final Thoughts

3D e-commerce revolutionizes online shopping by providing immersive experiences, reducing decision fatigue, and boosting customer confidence, as the industry leaders mentioned above have proven with multiple tangible benefits.

The future of digital commerce hinges on the transformative potential of 3D technology, offering businesses invaluable insights and consumers a seamless, personalized journey.

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.