This interview made by HEC Paris really sums up what we were working on for the last months and our new positioning. So, is now the best time to invest in the e-commerce experience?
Nicolas, can you tell us a bit more about what 3D is and especially how you use it in your daily life?
To be honest, 2 years ago, I didn't understand anythingabout 3D. Like everyone else I knew it, but rather in Avengers or video games. It became my universe a little later.
Valentin, my friend and co-founder of Naker, was the first to use it. In fact, 3 YEARS ago he created a whole video game online to learn how to code and put some 3D into it. At the end of the day, his website was a real video game playable in the browser !
However, almost all of the websites we were using in our daily life were still very standardized and in 2D. Why is there such a big difference betweenwhat we can do and what really exists? That's what Naker is all about. Naker was born.
What is slowing down the development of 3D in websites?
There are probably a ton of reasons, but in my opinion, there are mainly 3:
1 - Lack of knowledge:
People just don't know that we can put some 3D on the Web.The web is not only about static 2D content ! It is important, even primordial, to give an experience to web users, that something happens between the machine and the user…
When you’re interacting with 3D, you have the impression to touch the object, to move it, to go around it,to play with it, to change its color or its shape. Putting some life to the website means making the end user more actor, therefore moreengaged. "I act, therefore Iremember".
2 - Inaccessibility:
Many people might have been interested in3D in the past but didn’t found accessible tools, or talked to expensive agencies. 3D web experts in France are less than an hundred. In short, it was complicated.
For the last couple of years, a few agencies have developed great expertise in the interactive web like MerciMichel, ImmersiveGarden, Ultranoir, Makemepulse or Wanadev to name only the French ones - they have been raking in all the web design prices on AWWWards for a few years now butsell complete experiential websites for 300k euros. That's why we realised that there was a room for no-code and easy solutions in the 3D web area, like Naker.
3 – The requirements:
3D is complicated ? Yes, 5 years ago, it didn't work on all machines, it made the systems buggy, in short this techno required important resources.
Today, from a software point of view, all connected devices are compatible with 3D on the web, and today, a 3D model can be hardly heavier than an image.
Concretely, what does Naker do with 3D?
For 2 years, we've been relying on our community (there are 8000 users to date) to understand their needs. It started with a common vision: to democratize access to 3D on the web. We naturally started with very simple tools to do small things, including interactive backgrounds reacting to the mouse (Naker.back),a tool that worked quite well, actually.
Then comes March 2020 and the first lockdown in Europe; we received a lot of requests for online shopping experiences one-commerce sites, so we changed our focus and efforts.
The aim of 3D is to reproduce the physical discovery experience of a product. If you take a step back, you go in a shopping mall tomorrow and you only have photos of the products, would you buy them? That’s what’s happening on e-commerce! Our credo is to help brands to better show their products to better sell them thanks to 3D.
Speaking of use cases, can you detail what needs have been identified withyour e-commerce customers?
We first assumed that our customers would all want and/ or need to have 3D product configurators on their website (= make end users configure their product online and then buy it) but, during the first lockdown, I called all our customers and partners to suggest them this 3D configurator and ask their opinion. The result of this market research: we had gone much too far! Most of them had more basic needs: to be able to have a 3D model of their product, to display it interactively on a website and to be able to generate content from this model 😳.
So we focused on that: today, with Naker, we help brands transform the way they create their digital content, especially those around the product.
We do this in two different ways:
1/ Virtualize the production of classic content
It is important to know that the main marketing expense of an e-commerce company is the creation of digital content (photos and videos of their products). Of course, the more you show your product, the more you sell it. But generating this content is expensive, time-consuming and complicated to organize...
On e-commerce websites you will find two types of photos:
1. Packshots: neutral photos on neutral backgrounds. It's raw, but essential.
2. Lifestyle: products are staged, we add life and emotions. It's alive.
To have a quality packshot photo, it requires a lot of organization and setup: for example, you need 300 photos to get 3 usable photos. 3D is the solution to this problem, especially because you are the true master of the lighting. The cool thing is that with only one 3D model, you can manage infinite point of views and color variations which will make you save a lot of time compare to photoshoot.. Also, you can generate an infinite number of viewing angles according to your needs without having to organize a new photo shoot!
2/ Production of interactive content (Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality,interactive 3D, and configurators)
It’s our main activity at the moment. How does it work?
We create a 3D version of the product, the brand inserts it on its e-commerce site, and users can interact by "playing with it". We created a small demonstration e-commerce, the Naker.shop!
What is the interest of producing interactive content?
On e-commerce, 93% of baskets are abandoned (it is as if 93% of customers enter a store, test a product, and leave without buying it). There are two main causes for this 93%loss: Reinsurance in relation to the product and Delivery options.
With Naker, we act on the reinsurance: I see the product so I trust and I'm more willing to buy. The direct consequence is that we increase the conversion rate (+10 - 20%) and lower the return rate (-5-10 %).
In your opinion, is the period we're living in today an ideal time to invest in the online shopping experience? Has Covid-19 and the lockdown been a threat or should it be seen as an opportunity for e-commerce?
This is a sensitive question and complicated but it depends on the level of digital maturity of the brands and their activity: for example, the fashion sector has suffered much more than the furniture sector (when you stay at home it is your home that you want to spoil). Contentsquare has done a fascinating study on the impact of Covid in e-commerce, by country and by sector.
Overall, yes, I think it's the right time to invest in the digital shopping experience. The e-commerce trend has existed for several years already and the modification of purchasing behaviours in B2C has also existed for several years: indeed, the people who were the most resistant to buying online are the most seniors. Meanwhile, more and more people are accepting online purchases in their consumption habits.
On the other hand, the number of e-commerce businesses has doubled between 2016 and early 2020. The lockdown has certainly imposed itself on us, but the trend has been there for several years. What used to be a niche trend will now become the norm. Today, buying in physics has almost become a militant act, in support of our small local businesses, and the lockdown only speed things up. Potentially, being locked down will be a partner of our generation, I think we have to learn to dance with it now.
And precisely, what is the place of small businesses in all this?
They are the ones who need the most to transform themselves today ! Of course, I'm team booksellers, but what have they done in the last few years to adapt to their customers and to the changes in their behavior ? The challenge for them today is to digitalize the social bond. 3D is not the only solution, it certainly reproduces the reality of the product discovery, but it will never replace the human link found in these small convenience stores. There’s plenty of room for solutions that will help to improve the shopping experience online on this part.
Tell me finally, what are your nextsteps?
We decided that until the end of the year, Naker would be free for our existing and new customers (learn more here). We also asked our freelancers to make reduced prices to make it easy for any company looking to improve its ecommerce performance at the moment to do so and try.
It’s a win-win situation, this can also help us acquire new customers and retain them, because from the moment you set foot in 3D, once you realize how effective it is, you never get out of it.
Otherwise, at the business level, the goal is to raise funds by July 2021.
Thanks a lot to Lisa Gerbe, program manager of the HEC Incubator in Station F for this interview. The two last months were incredible for us in terms of acceleration, and the HEC's team really helped us. We can only recommend you to apply to the January batch right now!
We are just at the beginning of our journey to make the web cool again with our community, and 2020 will be key in our development. You will discover the few important things we expect for us and our community for this new year!
Naker has created a 3D web design tool to allow anyone to make room for their creativity to create interactive and immersive digital experiences like never before and share it anywhere on the internet for computers and mobiles!