3 Ways Shopify Partners Can Leverage Video and 3D to Help Merchants Boost Conversion

shopify 3D

When it comes to the world of retail, it’s no secret that showing off products in a way that impacts conversion is key for merchants. 

Their customers are always trying to figure out if the product they’re looking at is the right product for them. Product photography helps, but often falls short when compared to in-person retail experiences, where customers can pick up, hold, and try on a product. 

Furthermore, current usage of Shopify AR shows us that interacting with a product in augmented reality can more than double conversion rates.

"Furthermore, current usage of Shopify AR shows us that interacting with a product in augmented reality can more than double conversion rates."

That’s why we’re excited to invest further in video and 3D support for products. In fact, in the coming weeks, Shopify will become the only major platform with end-to-end support for video and 3D, meaning all of our merchants will be able to use any combination of up to 250 images, videos, and 3D models to show off their products.

With video, Shopify merchants can display products from all sides, and show how they move, how they are assembled, and how they fit.

shopify 3d: video

With 3D, a new range of experiences are unlocked. Shopify’s themes will be updated to offer an in-browser 3D experience—supported in all modern browsers and devices—that allows zooming, spinning, and the inspection of every little detail.

Users on mobile devices (Apple or Android) can also view 3D models in the world around them via augmented reality (AR), which allows them to see what the product looks like in their life, without having to purchase or ship the product.

shopify 3d: product

Over the coming weeks, Shopify will start rolling out all of these features to merchants around the world. This means we'll be delivering a baseline, end-to-end experience to every one of our customers. To take advantage of this, encourage your existing Shopify clients to update their themes, and start gathering video and 3D content.

In this article, we'll cover how these features will create new opportunities for Shopify Partners and Developers to support merchants with their video and 3D needs. We'll look at three specific areas of opportunity for partners: acquiring and editing media, building brand new customer experiences, and managing product information.

1. Acquiring and editing media

You can’t use video and 3D to show off products without having video and 3D models. With this in mind, we’re encouraging interested developers to build apps that help with the creation and editing of media. 

While several apps of this kind already exist in the Shopify App Store, we still see vast opportunities to develop apps that help merchants create and tweak their media, especially for these newly supported media types. 

A great example of this for video creation is Videofy, an app that quickly builds promotional and product videos from existing product images and other shop data. There are similar opportunities for 3D models, such as using 3D product models as inputs to create product videos and photography.

To make media creation and editing an even better experience for merchants, you can expect to see Shopify release additions to Admin Links and App Bridge that will allow your apps to be launched and embedded where merchants interact with media within the Shopify Admin.

Since the launch of Shopify AR in late 2018, there’s also been a 3D model category in the Shopify Experts Marketplace that makes it easy for Shopify Partners and merchants to connect with experienced 3D modellers for quick, affordable, and high-quality modelling support. While the space is changing quickly, the best path forward for partners and merchants looking to test the waters with 3D product experiences is to source 3D models from an experienced modeller. 

2. Building customer experiences

Video and 3D media is available to you, regardless of whether you’re using Liquid to build themes for Shopify’s online store, or leveraging the Storefront API to build a custom storefront.

Beyond what Shopify has added to our themes, 3D models also now enable a range of new experiences, including product try on, product configuration, and more. We can’t wait to see what Shopify Partners and Developers build in this space! 

Theme updates

Theme updates are required for any shop that wants to make use of the new media types. At a high level, you’ll want to replace theme support for product images with support for product media. The bulk of the changes required are on the product page and include:

  • Adding a video player
  • Adding a 3D model viewer
  • Updating the thumbnails to display the preview images for all types of media
  • Updating any custom JavaScript to support media

Some additional changes you can make throughout the theme include: 

  • Modifying collection grids to use featured_media instead of featured_image
  • Modifying Open Graph meta tags to support the preview images of the new media types
  • Renaming CSS/JavaScript selectors to use media instead of image

Here is a bare-bones example of a product gallery that has been updated to support for media. Pay particular attention to the fact that the main for loop iterates over product.media, and the case statement within that loop renders each of the different media formats. 

For more information and examples of theme changes, check out these resources:

3. Managing product information

Merchants commonly rely on apps to synchronize product information, including images from external sources. This includes dropshippers, merchants who offer print-on-demand, product importers, and more. 

All apps that currently use the REST Admin Product Image API to create images should begin adopting the new GraphQL Admin Media API. Adopting this new GraphQL API means your app can also begin syncing video and 3D models, along with all of the other benefits of GraphQL, including performance and reliability. Note that the new Media API will be GraphQL only—we have no plans to add support for video or 3D into the REST Admin API.

Improve conversion for your merchants

While 3D experiences may sound futuristic, using new forms of media to better display products is a great way to boost conversion, and deliver engaging product experiences. They can even serve as a part of your pitch to potential clients considering Shopify.

That’s why we’re asking partners to invest in video and 3D. These experiences are not the future of commerce; they are an integral part of commerce today.

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