Welcome to the Make it a great podcast, a bi-weekly audio series on e-commerce by BigCommerce.
Bring experiences to life with AR and VR. Marc Uible, VP of Marketing and Alliances at Threekit, and Lindsey Scoggins, Founder and CEO of Lindsey Scoggins Studio, discuss how the power of augmented and virtual reality can create user experiences out of this world.
Find out why digital innovation is trending in a post-COVID world and how Lindsey Scoggins Studio is transforming the shopping experience of its customers with personalized products.
All episodes of The Make it Big Podcast are now available on Spotify, Apple and Google.
The podcast “Make It Big”: Episode 3
Taylor Stockwell: How do you define the difference between AR and VR?
Mark uible: “Augmented Reality uses a device that places objects in the space that is already visible. So if you hold up your phone, you can still see your office. Like taking a picture, but you can now put things in this scene or up here in this scene. Most notable is Pokemon GO, the video game. So if you try to catch Pikachu, Pikachu will show up in your office and you can see Pikachu jumping around.
“Virtual reality is completely immersive, so put on a headset and that’s a completely immersive scene that may not have anything to do with the office you are sitting in. You might be sitting in a forest. [AR is] slightly immersive versus fully immersive with virtual reality. “
TS: Lindsey, what was your experience like before you saw Threekit and what were some of the reasons for you to change and transform to achieve your ideal that you had of creating scalable one-on-one experiences?
Lindsey Scoggins: “I had seen other jewelers try to use this rendering application and create some kind of ‘custom’ application. Ecommerce 1.0 for the jewelry industry was: pick this, pick this, we put it together, we assemble it for you, and then we ship it.
“I remember when I started I had previous managers of mine asking for advice and things and they were like, ‘How do you scale habits?’ I would say, ‘I’m not entirely sure yet, but I’m sure I’ll find out. But right now I have the luxury of having some time to figure out what the scaling options are. ‘ Many jewelry companies have done this in different ways.
“My hesitation in doing the same has always been that it felt like the technology was ahead of the actual commodity. The technology was in the foreground of the experience. I make jewelry, I want people to feel like they are actually immersed in the jewelry. Not only am I a cool rendering that doesn’t really look like the finished piece, but it also looks like you don’t have to do the inventory. There are so many different ways to render a product, but it was really a coincidence that I met a contact of mine who is at Threekit. “
TS: What experiences have you created for your buyers on your website? What has been created and what makes it unique and different?
LS: “I knew I wanted to reproduce as much of the personal experience as possible. When clients come to my studio I sketch with them and we talk about gems and diamonds and we source diamonds. Some things are technical and some are more creative, but that’s the part that fascinates people and it should be because it’s a very fun process.
“That drove me to develop my so-called signature designs, which are very well used in the virtual studio we created with Threekit. I knew I didn’t want just a mix and match thing. I wanted it to be very, very curated with unique pieces, but the sketching process was so important to me too, so we came up with this really nice kind of sketchpad effect while you were designing your ring. “
MU: “It’s this idea to go through and on the right side of the screen it looks like a sketch of the ring. It really models what Lindsey would do in the studio as you configure different parts of the ring, whether it’s rose gold or gold or platinum. What kind of stone? What kind of shape? The setting? All of these things, and then being able to just rotate and examine the drawing seamlessly, and then it ends up being rendered into a perfectly perfect drawing of what this ring would actually look like. It does a good job of showing what it would actually look like in the studio, except that you can now see the full ring, not just a drawing of it. “
LS: “I say it’s a little counter-intuitive, or I think it might go against the normal ecommerce experience. I want people to spend as much time on this site as possible. I don’t want them to just skip through and go to the cart right away. I want them to really think and create as much as possible. “
TS: How has that affected shoppers as we’ve seen this really big boom in e-commerce over the past year, a year and a half, and what has it really done for you and your business?
LS: “It was very interesting. We started December 1st, which is such a crazy time of year anyway. But what we’ve seen so far is that it’s definitely not the traditional ecommerce buying experience. Our customers get on the platform and at this point, instead of doing the traditional “Let’s add the shopping cart and let’s check out”, since my price points are so high and it’s an emotional investment, we are contacted the regular way. You will send us an email; they will call us; they come by the studio and that’s where they convert.
“It has this really nice effect of doing pretty much exactly what I wanted to do. It brings these beautiful rings to customers that I can’t see in New York, and it also enables us to get to know our customers the way we like to. It also had that really great halo effect that I wasn’t sure what to expect from our existing custom business with the one-offs. It’s going in a really nice direction this year. Especially after the pandemic, but it had a halo effect on everything. Just that the website becomes more professional and has such an immersive experience with the virtual studio. “
TS: How would you help others overcome this confusion to understand the value of creating a truly truly innovative shopping experience for your business?
LS: “I didn’t have a choice for me not to do it. As I said, a small brand in New York. I’m in the middle of the Diamond District so I compete with 1,000 other people next door. So I had no choice but to bring my designs to a wider audience as would be expected when it came to New York. And then add to that, when I first spoke to Threekit, it was before the pandemic and so this would be a real extension for me, and then when the pandemic happened I was like, ‘Well, I’m not me have an ecommerce business and can’t bring people into my studio anymore so I have to build this up. This is the time. ‘
“For everyone else, I would really understand what type of experience you are trying to provide and make sure that is in line with the product you are selling. Jewelry is a very broad category. I still feel like I’m kind of a void in the jewelry industry itself because there are the luxury brands that haven’t quite reached this full ecommerce capability for many reasons, and then there are brands that have their entire business dedicated to e-commerce. I kind of feel right in the middle of it, but yes. For everyone else, I would just try to see what your company’s DNA is and how you can grow it. “
MU: “I’m a marketer and I ask my teams, ‘Hey. What is the ROI of this activity? ‘ But I also know I’ve been in teams before, just looking at the ROI of saying, “Hey, you’re only going to invest in AdWords.” In time you will … what is it? That frog in the boiling pot, right? So over time you turn up the temperature and the frog can jump out of that boiling pot, but it won’t jump if you raise the temperature slowly enough. I think everyone knows if you are not innovative, if you just push on the lowest and clearest ROI you will get in trouble.
“This visual world is early days, but it shows a high ROI for people like Lindsey Scoggins or dozens of dozen other brands. Platforms like Shopify, Facebook, and Apple invest heavily in them, and at the end of the day, you can get started for a pretty low price.
“We encourage people to start. Start with a product. Experience it. You will see ROI because people love the experience. Buyers love to get involved – – we’ve been talking about this all along – – and then you can expand. We haven’t had a single customer in two years because they say: “It doesn’t work.” So we haven’t lost a single customer who says, ‘Oh, people just aren’t engaged, they don’t like it.’ ”
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