#253: Improving E-Commerce Conversions with 3D Models of Products with Prizmiq

Darrick-MorrisonDarrick Morrison is a the founder and CEO of Prizmiq, which is working as e-commerce tools to scan products with photogrammetry techniques, and then embed them within a shopping cart experience. Darrick comes from an ecommerce background, and he has found that seeing a 3D rendered product has been able to increase conversions and reduce returns. He sees that virtual reality has a huge potential to disrupt a lot of the brick and mortar retail stores by being able to better replicate the proportion and scale of products within a virtual reality experience. He also foresees that augmented reality experiences will start to be a much bigger part of adding a layer of marketing experience, but providing purely digital fashion items. He sees that VR and AR has the potential to unlock the creative potentials of our imagination, and has a visionary perspective for how VR and AR could help our culture mature as we’re heading towards a potential transhumanist singularity.

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Rough Transcript

[00:00:05.452] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast.

[00:00:11.975] Darrick Morrison: So my name is Derek Morrison. I'm the CEO of Prismic. Prismic is a company born of a lot of imaginative ideas that came out of a background in e-commerce. You know, initially we started by really getting obsessed with photogrammetry and reinventing the way that products are viewed online. In the long term, what we've developed is a system that essentially captures things like shoes, handbags, and other consumer products very efficiently into photorealistic, virtual reality-ready assets. They also work really great online in WebGL. So there's a WebGL-based viewer that is embeddable into retail websites. That's the core of what we do. We have a giant catalog of 3D assets, of things you can buy.

[00:00:57.987] Kent Bye: Yeah, and I think that's the thing about when you buy, like, say, a couch or something, you know, there's certain things that you just need to know how big they are in terms of the proportion and scale. And, you know, from your perspective, when you talk about and think about, like, being able to see an object in 3D, what are the things that you think are the most compelling in terms of what VR gives you? Sure.

[00:01:17.096] Darrick Morrison: I mean, well, okay. In the business of it, there's a couple things. I mean, it comes down to the fact that look, seeing something in 3d just converts better. There's better sales conversion. It's like, you're going to see 34% more sales. You're going to see about 50% more in terms of like revenue per visitor. If you just see something in 3d online and there's a host of other metrics that go with that. It's really about, I mean, when we're making an aesthetic purchase online, like when you go to the store and you see a shoe on the wall and you pick it up, There is a huge difference in the percentage of what makes you convert into a sale there versus when you see it online, which is about 2% on average. In store, it's more like 10 to 40, depending on the product line, depending on the product, of course. But, I mean, there's something very experiential about seeing something visually that is, you know, it's an aesthetic purchase. You don't buy a shoe because... Yes, you buy it because it fits, right? Yes, you buy it because it's the right price point. But also you buy it because it just looks rad and it feels good on you and it's something you can visualize in your life. We're helping people visualize that online in a way that they used to only be able to do in brick-and-mortar. by being able to see the product from any direction and zoom in and out, really feel like that thing is in your hands. So, we've empowered that online and now we're empowering that in VR and AR.

[00:02:39.255] Kent Bye: And so, where does Prism IQ kind of fit in the technology stack in terms of like, would people use your technology to be able to get a 3D scan and then embed it within their checkout system online? Or what is your approach in terms of like, how are people going to be using your technology?

[00:02:57.538] Darrick Morrison: And it's actually not Prism IQ, but it's Prismic, which is okay. I like that too. I mean, because there is an IQ status of most of the people on our team. We have very intelligent people working on the problem. But where we fit into the technology stack is that we essentially, we've built in a very simple integration system for retailers online so that they can, in a few hours, integrate what we have. It's going to auto-populate a bunch of products in 3D to their pages. Now, we encourage Retailers to pilot test this first and see how it impacts their traffic conversion, etc But you know really what we have is a catalog of top-selling items that you can integrate right off the bat We charge a very small fee at this point because we've highly scaled the process of capturing a real-world object into 3d and that's one of the big things that we've worked on is like a taking a CAD model from manufacturers and making that a photorealistic thing that actually looks and feels like the product in 3D, both online and in VR. We've also done that through photogrammetry, so you can send us the real product if a CAD model doesn't exist, or you don't have access to that. So we've streamlined that pipeline. But what I was saying to you just a minute earlier is that, I mean, I think that Retail is a huge part of what is going to propel revenue in AR and VR. It's one of many, honestly. There's many different aspects, not just gaming. It extends to many different sectors. But, I mean, what excites us is the creative space of VR, even outside of what we do. I mean, I think It's just the potential for the experience, right? I mean, if you're shopping for shoes, why not, if you're shopping for like something that is a hiking shoe, why not be on top of a mountain, be on a trail, be visually somewhere else, not be in a store, a stuffy place, or on a webpage that doesn't really give you any context with the product. We're trying to help bring context and also trying to bring realism to the product experience without needing physical products right there in front of you.

[00:05:02.222] Kent Bye: So it sounds like, you know, that you see VR is going to be unlocking a lot of new potential in terms of people and experiencing products in these different contexts. And so what do you see as kind of like the best case outcome of that?

[00:05:16.143] Darrick Morrison: I think the best case outcome, I mean, for us is that right now there's a huge dependence. I mean, the retail industry is $11 trillion industry worldwide. You know, I mean, there's different estimates of that, but basically 92% of that is happening in store. 8% of that is happening online currently, and you know, 8 to 9%. And, you know, that requires a lot of overhead. You have a physical store, you have physical employees, you have a lot of things that cost a lot of money in order to propel that sale. And that's part of the infrastructure of retail fundamentally. And the challenge has always been with online retail to increase conversion and reduce returns. I mean, that's really the basis of it. I mean, you're channeling traffic into a website and hoping to turn 2% of those eyeballs into sales and that means you're succeeding. I mean what we do right now based on pilot tests is increasing that by about 33% so far. Um, we're always improving things. I mean, and the revenue per visitor and drop in returns is a huge part of what we do to add to the bottom line of retailers. And so we tell retailers, Hey, try out what we have, see how it impacts your business and, you know, move from there. But I mean, I think in general, retail is going to be really disrupted by this. I mean, I think this is a huge thing because I mean, fundamentally we go to malls, we look around us. I mean, how much space that we're around is a retail space. That's like a lot of the world. It's physical space with physical people with physical products. And obviously online has disrupted that significantly, but VR is going to take it to a level that online just started to scratch the surface of. Because now you're about to see something visually on par with really being there in front of it. I mean, you go three, four years out, you bring haptic feedback into the mix and all these other things, and it's going to get even more extreme. You go to a mall. augmented reality is going to be a real thing. I mean, omni-channel shopping. Like if I'm able to go into a mall and I see all that omni-channel data surrounding a product as I look at it, because that store or that mall has provided me with augmented reality glasses, or, I mean, you take this four or five years out, you've seen the talks today, like that's going to be something in a lot of customers' hands. They're going to be empowered with these devices. That's going to allow a revolution in retail, along with so many other industries. So, you know, what we're building is empowering retail to take a big step, bold leap, and reduce the barrier to entry for that. So we're helping brands. We're helping retailers get on board with something that's really new.

[00:07:55.101] Kent Bye: What that makes me think of is that so much of our physical space is dedicated to retail consumerism, and what if we were to offload that into the virtual space, then we would suddenly have so much physical space that we could do other things with.

[00:08:09.513] Darrick Morrison: Absolutely. Let's save that space. Let's change the planet into a more efficient place. And look, I'm not saying this to threaten malls. I'm not saying this to threaten the retailers that they're out there. I mean, like, look, if we're going to not necessarily take away the place, but transform the place, like if I walk into a mall and it's more than just looking at a bunch of physical products, but now it is something that It's almost like going to a theme park. I mean, you can imagine now that brands have a huge opportunity on their hands. Like, I go into a Gap, I go into an American Apparel, whatever. I go into, you know, some of these stores that have been so, it's been the same thing for so long. and now I have this pair of glasses and I'm able to see either in virtual reality a complete branded experience where I'm transported to another place and I'm transported to a place where these products don't take up any space in the store. Now a store that used to hold maybe 600 products can hold infinite numbers of products. And not only just the products, but you know, I can be on a mountaintop, I can be on a basketball court, I can be in a swimming pool, I can do a lot of things. I mean, there's a lot of places you can teleport people to with what we're doing that, you know, we're just trying to make that easier for brands. But I mean, okay, look, I'm gonna be real. I'm gonna be really real. I think that virtual and augmented reality is much more about empowering the imagination. than it is about empowering, selling more products, selling more things. This is a way to get us away from physical things eventually and I know that probably is a weird thing to say given that I am running a startup that's empowering retail. But what I'm excited for is the magic. I'm excited for the magic it's going to empower. And I think brands can take that and innovate with that and evolve from that or they can get left behind because I think three-dimensional assets, whether they be virtualized or physical, that I'm buying something physical, that's going to be a real thing that's entering the picture here in a very short order of time. I mean, the time frame is just a few years. Five years, ten years, but no more than seven or ten. And, you know, people are going to be wearing virtual reality fashion. People are going to be living in very virtualized homes. I mean, in just an apartment you'll be able to see the rainforest around you. You'll be able to see whatever you want. Like, I don't think you're going to need to have a mansion anymore. And I think, furthermore, that the people that have a lot of resources are going to start to change their focus because I mean you're now allowing visual experiences that don't require having a ton of physical stuff. So that is what I'm really excited for. I'm excited for the disruption and the evolution of our sort of product-based reality system to shift to more of a virtualized good reality system. And I think that's going to take a lot of time. I think retailers, you have a lot of time to evolve. So don't take this as a, you are doomed, no. Take this as a, this is time to evolve, no. and shift your focus to creative development, to empowering your designers to create items that, you know, eventually are going to be, I mean, this is the creative designer's time to shine. This is the time for the creatives to really rise and be able to empower visual experiences without having physical things. Physical things that are tied to many different visual experiences. Imagine a shoe that I can have my family at home see as a purple shoe. Maybe my friends at school see it as a neon shoe. Maybe my friends outside of that see it as a flaming shoe. That's all possible with augmented reality. I can create fashion that transcends what it currently does, and I think that's coming. So, I mean, I think there's a really exciting future, but the present has its current challenges and what we're doing is addressing those current challenges which are take your physical products and make them virtualized so that people both online with WebGL empowered environments can see those products more realistically instead of just a picture, instead of just a video, instead of something like that. Be able to see them in a virtual reality environment where you can really almost feel as if you're touching it. And that is going to drive sales. It's going to reduce your returns because people know what they're getting. People are excited about the aesthetics of that product. They can comment on the aesthetics of a specific part of the product. They can do a lot of things they can't do currently in the current e-commerce system, in the current brick and mortar system. So, you know, you get the idea. There's a lot here and a lot in virtual and definitely augmented reality in general. And I'm really excited about that.

[00:13:00.037] Kent Bye: And finally, what do you see as kind of the ultimate potential of virtual reality and what it might be able to enable?

[00:13:08.376] Darrick Morrison: Wow. When I really think about that, like, I mean, my soul kind of expands. I mean, I feel like what this potentially can do for society is that, A, the empathy machine. I really believe in what Mr. Milk has said. I think that's true. I think that people are going to be able to transport themselves into other existences and thereby understand what it means to be someone that grew up in Sudan, understand what it means to be someone that grew up as, you know, a slum dog in India. They're going to see it from a first-person perspective. So it's going to transform society in a big way. You're going to have connectivity and really, okay, look, I'm going to get conceptual on you for a second. Let's think about in the beginning, we had roads, we developed cities, we connected them. It was almost like a brain building neurons in the beginning. It was connecting different conscious entities to other conscious entities We had communication we had language from that we developed telephone lines, and it further connected it We developed cell phones it got even crazier, then we got Facebook got even crazier. We got text messages We got met now you map the interconnection of communication inside of society and it is literally a brain developing. If you pull back and look at it from the metasocial level, like the meta level. Now what is virtual reality going to do? I mean that is kind of the ultimate connector. What does augmented reality do? It's all going to be the ultimate connector. I mean, I think it's taking that to the final level where we get this, you know, Ray Kurzweil likes to call it the singularity. People look at this point where hyper-awareness happens. I think virtual and augmented reality is a big piece in that puzzle. Connecting that final step where I can be you and you can be me We can be we all at the same time and we can really move through that very quickly and efficiently inside of that space and that's actually not that far away and so that really kind of blows my mind and I'm where I think about where it's going to answer your original question is that I Think really the world is growing up Society is growing up. It's getting towards its moment of sentience if you will and That moment where when you were 12 or 11 or whatever, you looked in the mirror and realized you were you. Maybe it happened at 6, maybe it happened at 8. But that moment there was millions and billions of neurons in your mind that connected the dots and had such communication between them that they decided, we are one and what are we going to do with this? And I think that perhaps, perhaps, virtual and augmented reality is sort of the meta brain of society, if you will, if we're all neurons, if we're sort of symbolically that, just like trees might be lungs and like waters might be I mean, I'm not going to go all the way out, but there's a lot of analogs. I think it might be empowering that moment where we all realize that this is a collective consciousness and that we're all really connected. And I mean, I think you don't get that with text messages. You don't get that with Facebook you don't get that with a lot of other mediums that you do with I mean look anyone that's tried Google jump anyone that's tried to like jump into another perspective there's something almost like eerily powerful about it and When that sinks in and when that is commonplace and when that is accessible to a large percentage of the planet I think you're gonna get a huge shift and so that is what excites me and about virtual and augmented reality. I think that's what's coming.

[00:16:44.410] Kent Bye: Okay, great. Thank you. Yeah, anytime. And thank you for listening. If you'd like to support the Voices of VR podcast, then please consider becoming a patron at patreon.com slash voices of VR.

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