Toronto-based entrepreneur Warren Vandal has launched an innovative 3D virtual walk-through camera technology that allows viewers to tour stores, and click on products for sale within. The Matterport technology provides a unique opportunity for retailers to extend their open hours to 24/7, as well as allowing their customers to buy from their e-commerce site.
In addition, Mr. Vandal is now also able to create Google Street View tours, allowing the world to come and virtually tour a store within Google Maps.
Last week, we profiled the Azadi Jewellery store at Toronto’s CF Shops at Don Mills. Mr. Vandal photographed the store using his Matterport technology, creating a 3D floor plan of the store that leads to a virtual walk-through of the interior space. It’s as if one is actually in the store, with a high-resolution technology that can also be edited and hyper-linked. The technology allows viewers to click on a product in the store, for example, taking them directly to the retailer’s e-commerce site for purchase. For example, in the Azadi tour below, you can click and link directly to some notable jewellery pieces that are on the retailer’s website.
“It’s like Google Street View on steroids,” said Mr. Vandal, describing the new technology that he expects to roll-out with selected retailers across the country. The process is quite simple, he explains — the 3D camera gently spins, capturing colours and contours of retail spaces. The camera then calculates dimensions and spatial relationships between objects. The Matterport Cloud then analyzes data uploaded from the camera, automatically creating an immersive 3D model. The end result is “users feel just like they are in the space”, according to Mr. Vandal, noting that the simplicity of the technology makes it cost-effective to the end-user, which means that even small retailers can afford to have their stores 3D photographed.
The technology further joins the gap between physical retail and e-commerce, and may be particularly of interest to retailers that have beautiful store interiors, and want to show them off to the world. The functionality of linking to products in the store is an added bonus. One can imagine taking a tour of Harrod’s in London, for example, walking through one of its magnificent rooms and then clicking on a watch, statue or other item that is available for purchase.
[Above is a 3D tour of the McKinsey & Company offices in Toronto, located a block south of the Bloor Street 'Mink Mile'. Below is a multi-room tour of a beautiful new residence in Toronto]
Mr. Vandal also has camera technology that can be converted to Google Street View tours. What that means is after a store is photographed, the retailer can upload the tour directly to Google Maps for the world to see. The Azadi Jewellers store in Toronto is now viewable in Google Street View, for example.
The 3D technology has been used for some time for various real estate tours, including office, industrial and residential. It’s a fairly new concept for retail, however, particularly with its e-commerce functionality. It’s an exciting technological advancement that will make touring retail stores online even more dynamic — though potentially dangerous to one’s pocketbook, given the potential to purchase from featured stores.
Mr. Vandal is available to coordinate 3D camera tours for retailers in the Greater Toronto area, and can be reached at:
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