Pikcells / News / Tue 18 Jan 2022

Marshalls PLC team up with Pikcells to create 3D sample library

Marshalls PLC team up with Pikcells to create 3D sample library

As part of their ongoing investment to improve the customer experience and boost digital innovation, Marshalls – the UK’s leading hard landscaping manufacturer – has launched a virtual sample library of 1200 products. The 3D models can be viewed by customers on any web browser and in an Augmented Reality mode on mobile devices making it simpler for customers to envision paving products in real-world environments without the need to send out a sample. The web-based solution has been developed in partnership with award-winning Huddersfield based Content Creation Agency, Pikcells Limited.

Sion Harrison, Digital Director at Marshalls explained “Virtual samples are a more environmentally friendly way for our customers to plan their new outdoor spaces. By using AR to test different materials and colours in their gardens people can instantly narrow down their product choices and reduce the number of physical samples they order. It’s a great use of a new technology that helps provide greater online product certainty, allowing our customers to make decisions quicker and easier whilst reducing the impact on the environment.”

“It's early days but so far the metrics we are seeing show that pages with 3D / AR samples on have a much higher user engagement and conversion rates than those without, which is great news and hopefully means more people will adopt this method in the future.” Added Stephen Garside, Marshalls Digital Business Architect.

To create the 3D models, every product had to be scanned so that a digital twin could be created. To assist them with this task Marshalls turned to Pikcells again who designed and built the scanning equipment, then processed the scans to create accurate, usable 3D models which could be published and used online by anyone. To further avoid shipping lots of samples around, Pikcells installed the scanning equipment at Marshalls` HQ in Elland. 

Richard Benson, Co-founder of Pikcells went on to add “Digitizing 1200 heavy paving products is a huge undertaking and not something which has really been done before so a lot of the tech and processes had to be developed from scratch. Careful consideration was made to ensure colour accuracy and details so that the 3D models are as reliable as photography but with the advantage of being able to view it from all angles.” 

The web based solution uses a new technology named WebAR. Until recently AR required the user to download an app, which is often a barrier to new technology. However, Marshalls new 3D sample library works directly on their website, making the 3D models immediately accessible on any device that can browse a webpage and it doesn't eat up the customers data through chunky app downloads.

Pete Simpson, Head of Interactive at Pikcells explained, “With more customers shopping online, innovative tools like this also speed up the decision making process, allowing instant access to thousands of virtual samples. By using Augmented Reality we’ve added a cutting-edge experience to the Marshalls website that can be used on any device, anywhere.” 

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