Wayfair has become an early adopter of Facebook's 3-D image posting technology, allowing users to view 3-D models of Wayfair furniture merchandise from multiple angles within the context of the Facebook News Feed, according to a Facebook blog post and Wayfair's own Facebook feed.
Retailers can build and quickly share 3-D images from their own libraries, and Facebook users can interact with the images by using their fingertips. The capability is made possible by Facebook's support gITF 2.0 file format technology.
Wayfair said in an e-mail that, "The ability to interact with 3-D models in the News Feed is an exciting step forward in how consumers will discover and explore products. Shopping for home is unique in that it's highly visual — and 3-D posts allow us to create an immersive experience while enabling our customers to engage with our products and brand in a meaningful way, which is why we've been working on AR/VR experiences and 3-D modeling since 2015."
Wayfair was one of just a few early adopters mentioned in Facebook's blog post, but this technology makes sense for any Facebook-savvy retailer or brand to be using in its own Facebook posts. It should be only a matter of time before we see others in the retail space leveraging this capability for marketing purposes, though it is not a surprise to see Wayfair among the initial adopters, since the online furniture retailer has been among the sector leaders in the development and use of 3-D technology in recent years.
In the past, Wayfair has built its own 3-D image library containing thousands of 3-D image models from its lines of furniture and home decor. That library has also been used to support its augmented reality apps on the Apple and Andoid mobile platforms.
Making 3-D available in mobile apps can certainly enhance the mobile shopping experience, but retailers also want to be able to recreate that experience on as many platforms as possible, regardless of how or where they are doing their shopping. That includes social media platforms like Facebook, which can allow retailers like Wayfair to reach a much broader audience than they can with their own mobile apps. Prospective Wayfair shoppers who are already browsing Facebook won't need to leave the platform to get a multi-angle 3-D view of a featured Wayfair item.
Retailers have been trying for a while now to figure out how to leverage their presence on various social media platforms into more than just brand visibility They want to make sales, and the key to doing that may lie in a familiar concept — the enabling of a rich shopping experience. Facebook's 3-D feature could help them down that path, and many will be watching Wayfair's experience to figure out whether they should do the same.