It’s been a while since we’ve written about DIY online shop, Zazzle. But the company has grown to be one of the largest customization companies out there, with 20 million unique visitors a month. And today the company is pressing forward with developing its own innovative new ways to help users more accurately customize and visualize their products.
For eShopping, one of the next big technology trends will see augmented reality and artificial intelligence allowing customers to try on clothes without actually being in-store, test products, and so on before buying them.
As to its own play into this world, Zazzle is today announcing AR technology that will show online shoppers exactly what art, prints, canvass wraps, photos, etc. will look like on their office or home walls. Online art buyers — both high end and not — are generally lacking in ways to accurately visualize art on their walls, which is something that we’d all like to do, especially before committing a sizable chunk of our income to a specific piece.
Using its so-called “Zazzle Realview” technology, shoppers can easily snap a picture and upload it to the site, then interact with 3D-rendered photos to see (in realtime) how the prints will appear on their very own walls. Users can upload personal graphics or photos, or choose from thousands online — and as they make changes to size and frame type, for example, those changes are instantly reflected in Realview’s visualizations.
What’s cool about this is that Realview works for all art, personal or stock art on Zazzle, regardless of price, allowing you to check it out via AR. Of course, Zazzle is not alone here. Art.com, Panasonic, and even Lego have comparable AR services, but Zazzle thinks that by offering features like automatic calibration of user placement, simulated lighting over products, interactive view of a 3D model with a webcam, as well as high-res views of customizable products within a user environment, they’ve got a leg up on the competition.
It’s pretty cool: The company’s patent-pending computational photography tech combines computer graphics, object recognition, image processing and digital photography to produce interactive assets. While most other AR in this space are processing video data at around 1 to 1.5 megapixels, Realview ups that to between 5 and 6 megapixels, which Zazzle hopes will put it in the “glossy” web magazine space.
It seems like a niche space, but Zazzle is currently processing billions of dollars in customize products each year, and sees millions of art buyers and visitors each month — which brings some neat technology to a fairly wide audience and to a space that traditionally suffers from legacy models.
For more, check Realview out here.
In 1999 Robert Beaver and his two sons founded Zazzle.com, a service which enables users to create their own products. Zazzle.com users can create virtually anything, from customized t-shirts to postage stamps. Users can also recieve a commission on products that they sell and design themselves. Zazzle is funded primarily by Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures, who in 2005 provided $16 million in seres A funding. Major competitors include Cafepress, Spreadshirt. ...