Google has launched a new way to shop for shoes – in 3D.
On Thursday, the Mountain View, Calif.-based tech company announced it has expanded the three-dimensional and augmented reality (AR) shopping technology it uses for home goods and beauty to the footwear space.
Now, consumers can shop for shoes using AR, allowing the user to spin and zoom in on details and rotate them to view every angle before buying. What’s more, users can also go a step further and view a lifelike AR version of the sneaker in their own physical space.
In an interview with FN, Shyam Sunder, group product manager at Google, said that this way of shopping is designed to replicate the experience a consumer would have at a retail store. “When we were designing this, we thought about the experience consumers would have in a store,” Sunder said. “Now you can see the shoe’s details up close on your phone, from any texture the sneaker might have, or if you need a closer look at the sole or upper.”
To use this function, Sunder explained that a consumer can use search terms like “Shop blue Vans sneakers” on a mobile device, and in the results, there will be a label for a “3D” viewing option. From there, users can have a 360-degree view of the shoes. Going a step further by tapping “View in my space,” will project an AR image of the sneaker on a physical space in their surroundings.
Sunder added that four brands are participating in this initial launch including Vans, Saucony, Merrell and Sperry, but insisted any brand with a 3D shoe asset can now participate.
Of course, not all brands or merchants have 3D images or the resources to create them. To remove that barrier, Google developed a new tool that uses machine learning to render “spinnable” images by stitching together standard 2D merchandise pics. Another limited pilot program is getting underway to test this tool through the Google Manufacturer Center, as detailed on a help page in the support section.
“The reason we are so bullish on this function is that we’ve found that consumers are 50% more likely to engage with an item with 3D images than they do with static photos,” Sunder told FN. “So, if brands are benefiting from this feature, it’s a win-win for everyone.”
This launch is the latest investment the tech company has made in the fashion shopping arena. In September, Google introduced nine new tools with the stated goal of making shopping more visual and immersive, while helping consumers stay better informed. Among these features includes “Shop the Look,” which aims to help people “assemble the perfect outfit,” and “Trending Now,” which highlights popular apparel items.