In September, Shopify, one of the world’s largest eCommerce platforms, unveiled its latest integration—Apple’s iOS 17 Object Capture—for creating augmented reality (AR) 3D digital assets on-the-fly. Using an iPhone Pro with a LiDAR scanner, online stores can now have access to a completely free, cutting-edge platform to upload items directly from the physical to the virtual.

Stores can dive right into the platform without the need for additional hardware, software, or costs, allowing shops to build massive 3D catalogues of marketplace items. The tool also helps to democratise 3D asset scanning with Apple’s incredible Object Capture solution and significantly change how online stores buy and sell their goods.

3D assets can reshape purchasing power by allowing people to move from 2D images to fully 3D, scalable content. For example, people can see items in greater detail or superimpose objects in their physical space to view them in a room.

Furthermore, sellers can showcase their entire product catalogues, allowing people to interact with items physically to view their shape, texture, finish, and sizing with special head-mounted displays (HMDs). The new platform also requires no 3D modelling knowledge and guides vendors as they scan and upload their products in less than 20 minutes.

This is massively beneficial by boosting conversion rates from viewing the product online to putting it in the shopping cart. Modelling objects with AR technologies allows people to become more confident in their purchases, leading to lower returns and waste.

Perks to Shopify-Apple AR Collaboration

Some of the biggest benefits of using Shopify’s AR integration include:

    1. Saving money and time by avoiding expensive equipment, studios, and services formerly used in the object-capturing process. With Apple, these tools are no longer a part of the development pipeline, and the company has unlocked substantial potential for the platform to save money, time, costs, and resources previously required. This has led to the democratisation of the image-capturing process by rapidly upscaling these capabilities for shop owners.

    1. Boosting conversion rates and shopper confidence by allowing potential buyers to familiarise with products spatially, rather than with 2D content. By boosting the scale, fidelity, and interactivity with products and integrating AR ‘view in the room’ features, customers can gain greater insights into the products they wish to buy, leading to fewer returns due to limited sensory information.

Furthermore, AAVVGG has helped support the initiative by leveraging the fresh integrations into their eCommerce platform. Doing so has allowed those shopping for furniture, decorations, and other items to buy luxury products confidently.

Converting meta-field data on fabric, measurements, and other spatial parameters challenged AAVVGG to tap the object capture software. In order to communicate more of the product’s features, AAVVGG leveraged Shopify’s item scanning technologies to show texture, dimension, lighting, and others to its user base, right from the comfort of their homes and offices.

This is especially key as customers shop increasingly more with their smartphones rather than with PCs and laptops. This can allow shoppers to create bespoke versions of their desired products while combining brick-and-mortar stores with online storefronts.

News of the announcement comes as multiple eCommerce heavyweights compete for the market with novel AR solutions, including Amazon, Avataar, Zero10, Walmart, L’oreal, and many others. After the pandemic, companies began to focus on immersive technologies to streamline buying processes, expand brand awareness, and meet sustainability pledges, among other goals.

Interview with Shopify’s Russ Maschmeyer

To gain more insights on the new feature, XR Today spoke to Russ Maschmeyer, Product Lead, AR/VR, Shopify, to discuss the company’s integration of Apple’s iOS 17 Object Capture technology.

To date, the Ottowa-based company is one of Canada’s top 20 firms by market capitalisation, hosting multiple services for payment, shipping, and marketing processes. It also hosts over two million businesses across 175 countries, with over 55 percent of its business taking place in North America alone. It also posted merchandise volumes of 197 billion USD in 2022 alone.

Boosting Adoption Rates

When asked how the new integration boosted adoption rates for object scanning for product catalogues, Maschmeyer explained that the technology “democratizes the ability for more merchants to create their own 3D product content to display on their storefronts.”

In the past, scanners provided similar services for their online storefronts, but with Apple’s iOS 17 Object Scan technology, it was “the first time there’s been this high quality of an API with a clear, simple user experience anyone can use.”

He said that items like apparel, shoes, hard goods, and furniture scanned “beautifully” with the new tool and integration, which Shopify provided for users for free.

He explained further,

“Traditionally, these models would cost hundreds to thousands of dollars and take weeks to create. Delivering this simple user experience in the Shopify app to all of our merchants with iOS Pro devices is already opening the doors to 3D / Spatial Commerce to many new merchants. These small and medium sized businesses can now interact in a richer way with customers prior to a sale”

Using Shopify: From 0 to 100 Digital Assets in No Time

Also, Maschmeyer explained the process for capturing and uploading physical assets onto the platform and how it differed from previous methodologies.

For the process, he stated that the “real breakthrough is the quality and simplicity of the capture UX.

He added: “Simple instructions and on-screen visual cues before, during, and after the scanning process make it easy to produce great scans quickly. Merchants can capture the iPhone or iPad Pro, but generated models can be displayed everywhere.”

Further into the discussion, the executive discussed how the new technology allowed for customers to interact with retailers in new ways. He also told XR Today that the merchant tool would “unlock a tremendous amount of new 3D product content on Shopify storefronts” for vendors.

Maschmeyer said,

“As merchants scan and add models to their storefronts, shoppers will see an increase in 360° product viewers, websites with animated 3D product content, in-room product previews, and other immersive experiences driven by 3D product content. Merchants can create so many powerful experiences with these scanned product models”

Looking to the Future of AR eCommerce

Finally, he explained that customers had provided feedback on the new integration tool. With it, Shopify had begun “seeing amazing scans streaming in from merchants” using the platform for the first time.

For the company, it spoke “volumes about the ease of adopting this new technology from a merchant perspective,” Maschmeyer continued. For many consumers, Shopify had “made it incredibly easy to open the app, start scanning, and publish” new models to storefronts “in minutes for AR and 3D previews.”

“We can’t wait to see the variety of amazing experiences merchants create with these powerful assets,” he concluded.