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  • goodr? Who are they, you ask? You’ll want to bookmark this small, quirky, fantastic brand of athletic sunglasses if you do any kind of exercise. Here’s why.  When founder Stephen Lease was training for a marathon, he was ready to go:

  • “I have a product that I want to generate augmented reality (AR) content for. I am by no means a 3D expert and I don't even know where to begin. I don't want to make content myself and I need

  • The benefit of 3D and Augmented Reality (AR) has become vastly evident in today’s eCommerce market. Those that engage see increased conversion rates, revenue per visit, and average order value. Check out our case studies here. But these

  • [vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Now more than ever, immersive commerce experiences in 3D and augmented reality (AR) that blend virtual products with real-world context are a vital tool to engage and convert online shoppers. With Vertebrae as their immersive commerce partner, retailers gain access to industry-leading technology with proven results.

  • The customer experience has never been more important for retailers as they fight to differentiate themselves from Amazon and other giant mass merchants. Now that the coronavirus has shuttered stores worldwide, sellers are striving to translate that experience online -- and they’re discovering how immersive technologies that place goods in real-life context engage consumers where they shop, boost purchase confidence, and deliver new insights into the product functions and features that matter most.

  • Heading into 2020, immersive commerce was already high on the priority list for leading brands -- and now that the coronavirus has upended the industry, demand for 3D and augmented reality (AR) is accelerating. For brands that have already begun the journey toward immersive commerce using 3D assets, the transition to advanced virtual experiences with AR can be both speedy and straightforward, opening up the potential to engage consumers with product experiences in real-life context wherever they shop.

  • You may have been hearing a lot about “AR” recently. This term is up-and-coming, #trending, and a total buzz word. But what exactly is AR? Why should you care about it? In this blog, I will spell out A-U-G-M-E-N-T-E-D R-E-A-L-I-T-Y in the most basic way possible so that everyone, not just the techys, can understand why AR is so disruptive for eCommerce.

  • Vertebrae’s immersive commerce tools are now more integrated with purchasing than ever, thanks to the addition of a new feature that enables transactions using ApplePay directly from augmented-reality (AR) experiences.

  • We’re just a few weeks into 2020, and it’s clear this is the year of AR. Immersive technology was all the rage at both CES in Las Vegas and NRF in New York, and analysts are predicting explosive market growth.

  • AR and VR was a hot topic at CES this year. Anyone walking through the Las Vegas Convention Center could find VR and AR offerings everywhere, and 2020 is definitely the year that AR and VR moved beyond the realm of sci-fi to real-world applications across every industry. Vertebrae was excited to be part of the CES buzz through our partnership with Microsoft., announced today -or- earlier this week. Together, we showcased groundbreaking 3D and AR functionality that helps brands create outstanding shopping experiences across all channels. In the Microsoft booth, Vertebrae demonstrated how its patented 3D and AR technology enables shoppers to fully visualize and try out virtual products as they research and buy on Microsoft’s commerce sites, in brick and mortar stores, and on partner sites where Microsoft products are sold -- all without requiring an app download. Shoppers considering Microsoft’s Surface Pro X laptops can rotate and flip the embedded 3D image, zoom in on ports and buttons to assess compatibility and function, and see how a hidden pen tray opened and closed -- telling the

  • After a record breaking holiday season, retailers are poised to undertake an ambitious slate of initiatives for 2020 -- from omnichannel integration to speedier last-mile delivery to customer service chatbots. Now, thanks to their growing accessibility and potential impact on the bottom line, augmented reality (AR) and 3D are moving to the top of the priority list.

  • In the past year, we’ve seen multiple pioneering brands and retailers implement 3D and AR for e-commerce, and data from these early integrations inspired the wider segment of companies who are beginning to leverage the technology today.  As mainstream adoption continues to grow, we wanted to take a moment to highlight the innovators who jumped in early, paving the way for each e-commerce vertical to redefine the consumer journey via the smartphone.

  • We're hard at work adding new features and optimizations to our 3D & AR production and content management platform, as well as our 3D & AR players.  The following is an overview of what's new and how it affects you.

  • How to Maximize Your Holiday Sales Strategy in Time for Code Freeze

    Back to school sales are still available and retailers are already planning for Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) 2019.  It is, afterall, one of the biggest retail events of the year. Much like the last few years, we expect spending overall to increase. Cyber Monday is projected to bring in more than $9B. Meanwhile, Thanksgiving lands on November 28th this year, meaning a closer proximity to the Christmas holiday. Shoppers will be looking for those doorbuster deals they’re used to seeing, as well as finding sales to fit their holiday shopping lists. So how can retailers maximize their opportunities to win with consumers during the holiday season?  Let’s take a stroll through what happened during BFCM 2018 for a better understanding of what we’re up against and the opportunities to maximize sales before BFCM code freeze this year.
  • B2B sales have evolved over the years, thanks to the increased efficiencies provided by advanced communication technology and enhanced product visualizations. Meanwhile, 3D and augmented reality (AR) are about to shift the paradigm for B2B commerce even more, especially in the case of complex or sizeable products. We’ve written before on the topic of AR and how large and small merchants are applying it to their own marketing and sales strategies to improve the buying journey. Enterprise sales comes with its own set of challenges different from those experienced by B2C sellers. Coming up, we’ll cover a few of the challenges B2B sellers face and how 3D and AR is setting new standards for B2B sales enablement.

  • From a news perspective, the past month has been exciting. And interesting. So we rounded up the biggest AR announcements out of Facebook, Google, and Apple, and packed them into a blog post.  

  • F8 2019 has come to a close and with multiple updates across Facebook’s suite of apps, which currently house 2.7 billion users, it can be difficult to tell what is on the horizon for brands and retailers.  For the most part, updates fell into two categories: those focused on building community and those focused on consumer experience (CX). Since our focus as an augmented reality commerce platform is intertwined with innovative CX, we’ve been following these announcements closely. From expanded platform access to simplified shopping to more augmented reality, Facebook’s upcoming updates are laying the groundwork for a shopping experience that just might give Amazon a run for its money.

  • Consumer Questions Answered: 3D & Augmented Reality Jewelry

    Augmented reality (AR) eCommerce implementations are popping up left and right across retail categories from makeup to furniture to enterprise, and all with impressive results. After all, 3D product visualizations produce a more holistic view of an online product. In addition, contextualizing that product to the user via AR closes the information gap, enabling more informed purchase decisions. The benefits of AR for eCommerce are numerous, and when applied at a category level, they are especially compelling. Jewelry, for example, comes with its own set of unique eCommerce challenges. Merchants are tasked with establishing standards of brand excellence and luxury via 2-dimensional product imagery. Meanwhile, for shoppers, jewelry is often a statement purchase, in celebration of things to come or time that has passed.  While there are many ways AR is driving consumer confidence in the jewelry department, we’ve honed in on five in particular, based on the specific questions shoppers are trying to answer in order to make a purchase. Consider how you can provide answers to these consumer concerns in your own digital merchandising strategy. For more on getting started with immersive e-commerce, check out our complete guide for brands and retailers.
  • From a news perspective, this week was exciting. And interesting. So we rounded up our favorite stories and packed them into a newsletter.  It's a quick one, because just like wraparound sunglasses, we'll be back next week.

  • How In-Store Experiences can Benefit from Augmented Reality

    eCommerce is on the rise, bringing in $517B in U.S. sales in 2018. Still, a considerable 85% of retail sales happen in-store. Consumers are on the hunt for information, and physical product interactions currently lead the pack in experience value. For many digital shoppers, visualization of a product is tricky, especially when attempting to gauge color, texture, size, and fit. In-store product experiences solve these problems with one caveat – the physical product must actually be in stock. Of course guaranteeing inventory would require unlimited space and planning, an unrealistic undertaking for most retailers. The concept of “endless aisles” was introduced to solve this very issue – ensuring that all product options, variations, and alternatives are seemingly available in-store via external inventory. Savvy retailers recognize that just because something isn’t currently on the shelves doesn’t mean that a customer won’t buy it. The only problem? The in-store experience is lacking valuable product information without the physical product available in-store. This is where 3D and augmented reality (AR) come into play, enabling a simple solution to this complex problem. Endless aisle kiosks act as a digital extension to in-store inventory, while 3D and AR product experiences supplement the physical information that digital experiences are currently missing. Sound complicated? Let’s start from the beginning.
  • The 2019 Essential Retail Innovations

    Since the dawn of the internet, the constant and rapid growth of eCommerce has categorically changed the way we shop, ensuring brands and retailers must evolve their selling strategies in order to remain competitive. According to Statista, eCommerce sales are projected to make up 17.5% of all retail sales worldwide by 2021, accounting for roughly 4.88 trillion USD in revenue. Clever merchants are pioneering the trends that have elevated the online shopping journey to what it is today. This year brings a fresh set of consumer-driven trends guiding the eCommerce evolution. They aren’t entirely new, but they are entirely necessary for brands looking to inspire and keep consumer loyalty. From leading with mobile to integrating artificial intelligence, we’ve highlighted the essential innovations for 2019.
  • 3D Product Visualizations: Interactivity, Augmented Reality, and More

    Traditionally, shopping has been a tactile experience with in-store product displays, try-on opportunities, and staged show rooms. Touch, after all, is intuitive and one of the most proficient ways in which we learn and connect with the world around us, something current e-commerce experiences are lacking. It is logical then, that pushing e-commerce toward something more tangible would resonate with both retailers and consumers alike. Thanks to developments in 3D technology, implementing high-quality 3D e-commerce experiences on online product pages is now possible. But is it worth it? Here are 4 substantial reasons retailers and brands should invest in a 3D e-commerce strategy now, so that you can decide for yourself.
  • 2019 seems to be the year of immersive commerce. Pioneering brands are already implementing 3D and AR products into the online purchase journey, and conversion reports based on those integrations are incredibly promising. As adoption becomes widespread, many brands are looking to understand and develop a roadmap for supporting their own 3D & AR e-commerce strategies. Whether companies are currently creating 3D assets in-house, working with external partners, or have yet to dabble in 3D at all, having a birds eye view of the 3D creative process will make planning for 3D and AR e-commerce more accessible. In this post, we’ll discuss the various approaches to 3D asset creation, followed by a high level overview of how to set up an asset pipeline that scales. Finally, we’ll share some insights we’ve discovered from setting up our own 3D & AR creative process.

  • We created a guide to Immersive Commerce for brands & retailers to better understand the lay of the 3D & AR land and how they can be a part of it.

  • We conducted a survey to illuminate consumer intent and attitude toward AR experiences. The study shows that AR usage is fairly widespread, and consumers are overwhelmingly positive about the new technology. Of those who’ve already used some form of AR, the majority felt that AR will be most desirable in retail. However, only 1 in 5 have experienced retail-based AR today.

  •   The dust has settled on BFCM 2018, and most retailers are seeing dollar signs.  In short, it was a record year for Cyber Week spending, particularly on mobile. Sales reached all time highs, leading retailers won big with omni-channel strategies, and consumers proved they knew what they were looking for long before the holiday began.  There’s a lot of data to sort through, so we’ve aggregated the finer points on how it all went so that you can apply these insights to your BFCM strategy in 2019. Starting with sales by day, then the channels these sales took place in and how consumers got there, followed by the top products of BFCM this year, and finally our key takeaways, let’s talk about Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2018.

  • It's the most wonderful time of the year... 

    The holidays are nearly upon us which means equal parts excitement, stress, and opportunity for both retailers and shoppers alike.  And for good reason. According to Deloitte, holiday retail sales could top $1.1 trillion this year, a 5% increase from 2017.  So how can large and small retailers compete in the very crowded space that is holiday shopping?  How about bridging the gap between physical and digital product experiences? With the recent release of Apple’s AR Quick Look and advances in open-source WebXR, the magic of high-fidelity augmented reality is now possible not only in-app, but also on the web.  Thanks to platforms like Shopify and our very own Axis, it’s easier than ever for retailers to implement 3D and AR directly on their online product pages.  So now that AR for retail is easy, let’s talk about why it’s important.  We’ve already established that 3D and AR increase consumer confidence and conversion.  Interior design platform, Houzz, reported consumers exposed to AR products were 11 times more likely to purchase and spent 2.7 times more time in the Houzz app.  But how does that tie into your holiday marketing strategy? To keep it simple, we’ve made a list of the top 5 ways retailers can use 3D and AR to significantly increase conversion while creating a better holiday buying experience for their shoppers.
  • 3D and AR Take the Stage

    The integration of immersive media like 3D & AR into the consumer buying journey is establishing an entirely new standard for omni-channel retail and brand experiences.  The reasons for this are twofold. For one, it is easier than ever for retailers to incorporate 3D & AR into their marketing and sales strategies across platforms and the web.  Apple’s AR Quick Look along with advancements in web-based AR have made 3D & AR ecommerce more readily available. Additionally, this integration of 3D & AR with  ecommerce, something we're calling "immersive commerce", is more effective than traditional storytelling methods, which leads to a better shopping experience – one based on interactivity.  This interactivity increases the likelihood that a consumer will make a purchase. And when it comes to delivering interactivity online, 3D & AR are king.
  • Integrating 3D & AR Commerce on the Web

    Immersive media is opening up new pathways for turning curious consumers into brand champions.  With the release of Apple’s AR Quick Look in iOS 12, 3D products can now be previewed in AR directly from the browser without having to download an app.  Why is this significant? Implementing 3D products into the consideration phase of the buying journey improves consumer confidence, which increases the likelihood of a purchase.  But to deliver 3D & AR everywhere, reach needs to be extended beyond iOS. Integration needs to be quick and painless, with a scalable process for high-fidelity 3D asset creation.  And of course, it all needs to be measurable. Meet Axis, a new platform for implementing immersive commerce on every device and web browser, from Vertebrae.
  • 3D & AR Asset Creation for the Web

    In today’s mobile social ecosystem, if you own a smartphone (and most of us do), you are likely to stumble upon augmented reality experiences in some form. According to a recent report from the Boston Consulting Group, "more than 80mm people in the US, or ~1/3 of all smartphone users, engage with AR at least monthly." Whether it's on Snapchat, Facebook, or an AR-enabled app, the result is often comparable. AR is awesome.  It’s transformative and memorable and exciting. That said, the delivery mechanism makes a difference. If viewing in-app, you’d need to have already downloaded the app, typically built with massive libraries that can project an augmented experience via your phone’s camera. Unless the experience is being served directly through Facebook or Snapchat, the reach of said app may be questionable.  

  • Save the Date - Augmented Reality Advertising - August 14

    Most advertising methods today are static, expensive, and have limited engagement.  Even with high foot traffic, ROI in advertising spend is incredibly difficult to quantify, particularly in brick and mortar retail. With multiple mobile platforms and endless new social media channels available, the customer journey has become decidedly less predictable. So what now?
  • Augmented reality history is a longer story than one might expect.  Magical AR glasses existed in novel form as early as 1901 and AR technology was conveying the weather long before global warming was a topic of conversation.  To read more about these early developments, check out Part 1 of this particular series, covering the history of augmented reality from the beginning.  Part 2, on the other hand, involves AR as most of us know it – social, mobile, making waves.  But what are the defining moments that got us to now?  Stay tuned. We're about to find out. 

  • Many think of augmented reality as recent technology, but there have been iterations of it since the early 1900s. From the sword of Manocles (more on this later) to an app that features users vomiting rainbows, this story is not linear.  But it is pretty interesting.  So come along as we unpack the fits and starts that make up the history of augmented reality.  Let's go.

    In the Beginning, There was AR-ish

    Once upon a time in 1901, L. Frank Baum, beloved author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, referenced something AR-like in his novel, The Master Key. He used the term “Character Marker” to describe a set of special glasses.  These glasses could project a key onto the foreheads of others.  The wearer could tell from a single letter whether someone was good (G), evil (E), wise (W), foolish (F), kind (K), or cruel (C). “Thus you may determine by a single look the true natures of all those you encounter.”
  • When it comes to augmented reality advertising, there are currently two routes to consumers: in-app and web AR. Both have benefits and limitations, though they may not be immediately clear to marketers looking to maximize their advertising efforts. To better understand these distribution channels, let’s take a look under the hood of AR as a whole, from both a technological and user experience perspective. By the end of this post, we’ll know, unequivocally, the answer to one of 2018's great mysteries...

    Native vs Web AR – Which is Better?

    From the top, augmented reality involves placing 2D and 3D content into a user’s environment in real time. Mobile AR, made possible via the high-fidelity camera built into later model smartphones, is the focus of this particular post. Down the road, we’ll all come to expect hands-free AR experiences as part of our daily lives, but for now, the reach of AR is through the lens of the smartphone.
  • If you’re new to our blog, this is a 3-parter. Check out parts 1, AR Advertising on Snapchat, & 2, How to Advertise in Augmented Reality on Facebook, for a deeper dive into in-app AR campaigns. And now for the good stuff… mobile web AR - a how to.

    AR Advertising on Mobile Web

    Many people may not be aware of this, but you don’t have to be on Snapchat or Facebook or even in-app to experience augmented reality ads. Thanks to updates in the latest versions of Chrome and Safari in 2017, AR is possible just about everywhere… with the right technology, of course.  What does this mean for marketers? For one, AR experiences can be delivered on mobile web programmatically via standard ad tags which means the transparency of browser-based advertising, as opposed to in-app, can be applied to AR. Furthermore, it allows marketers to track traditional online advertising metrics, use mature datasets for targeting, and get AR-specific engagement measurements.  More on that later. Finally, scale. Delivery on the web means access to literally anyone browsing the internet on their camera-equipped mobile device. Sounds great, right? But how? Let’s start with the creative.
  • If you're new to our blog, this is a 3-parter.  Check out Part 1, Augmented Reality Advertising on Snapchat.  In this second post, we cover everything you need to know to launch an AR advertising campaign on Facebook. High level: Facebook AR advertising experiences are available in-app and on mobile web. The two major apps where brands can build and deploy AR creative are Facebook and Snapchat. An alternative to the walled gardens, the route with the greatest scale, and our bread and butter, is mobile web. Comprehensive AR campaigns may leverage all three. But how? And where to start? Not to worry, we’re here to help! In this three-part series, we’ll explain best practices for augmented reality advertising on Snapchat, Facebook, & Mobile Web, as well as how to use the same assets across platforms. And now for the good stuff: how to advertise in AR, this time on Facebook.

    Facebook AR Advertising – How It Works

    Facebook, similar to Snapchat, allows branded AR lenses within the Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger ecosystems. These include both front- and rear-facing camera experiences. Unlike Snapchat, brand access to sponsored lenses started purely as a content play, without any media-based distribution into the platform. This is great for creators looking to explore what works in AR, as Facebook has made it relatively easy from the start for users to create and deploy their own AR experiences. Upon activating branded lenses found in the camera carousel, marketers must rely on organic sharing and posting of their AR advertising experiences by Facebook users. At Facebook’s annual conference, F8 2018, the company announced numerous updates to its AR product.  These include media-based opportunities for bot-delivered AR experiences in Messenger, thereby allowing marketers a more direct path to AR experiences as ads. Furthermore, Facebook just announced direct to AR media opportunities via the News Feed.  But, more on that later.
  • Save the Date - Augmented Reality Advertising - May 15

    Thanks to platforms like Snapchat and Facebook and advances in software and hardware from the likes of Apple and Google, augmented reality advertising is becoming mainstream among innovative brands with the technological capabilities to make truly captivating experiences at scale. But it isn’t so simple. AR advertising requires advanced computer vision technology packaged up into tiny, extremely creative experiences.
  • Augmented Reality advertising has arrived and while marketers are eager to get their brands in on the action, many aren’t entirely sure where to start or what their options are. High level: AR ad experiences are available in-app and on mobile web. The two major apps where brands can build and deploy AR creative are Facebook and Snapchat. Alternative to the walled gardens, the route with the greatest scale, and our bread and butter, is mobile web.  Comprehensive AR campaigns may leverage all three. But how? And where to start? Not to worry, we’re here to help! In the following pieces, we’ll explain best practices for augmented reality advertising on Snapchat, Facebook, & Mobile Web, as well as how to use the same assets across platforms. We’re going to focus this first post on in-app augmented reality advertising experiences, specifically within Snapchat. For a deeper dive into what makes a compelling AR ad campaign, check out our most recent blog post aggregating our favorite AR campaigns to date.  In the meantime, let’s review the basics.

    Augmented Reality Advertising on Snapchat - How It Works

    There are two types of “sponsored” interactive AR lenses on Snapchat: World lenses (using the rear-facing camera) and face lenses (using the front-facing camera). Both include 2 & 3-dimensional designs tracked to points in the user’s world.
  • There have been a slew of new AR advertising tools unveiled in the last year, and the medium is flinging the door wide open for a new kind of consumer engagement at scale. We've aggregated a few of our favorite, and arguably the best AR ad campaigns from Snapchat, Facebook, and mobile web below: