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It turns out that locking people in at home for a year is precisely the type of transformational catalyst the eCommerce industry needed. With more time on their hands, customers unleashed their credit cards and indulged in online shopping. Like the home decor and furniture sector, some categories posted more than a 50% boost in digital sales.

London-born Buster + Punch, a home fashion label specializing in making extraordinary items for everyday use, has also experienced a surge in demand. With a global clientele and a taste for innovation, the brand felt the standard static-image approach to digital merchandising wasn’t enough to fully showcase its extraordinary product designs.

We talked to Scott Washer, VP of eCommerce at Buster & Punch, about the main challenges in the industry and the brand’s decision to partner with CGTrader ARsenal and move to 3D product visualization and augmented reality.

The Background Story: a London-based brand dedicated to transforming the ordinary into extraordinary

Buster + Punch transforming the ordinary into extraordinary. (Source: Buster + Punch)

Buster + Punch started out in a garage in East London with the love for rare, solid metals and the goal to create unforgettable designs.

The company’s founder, a renowned London architect and industrial designer, Massimo Buster Minale, designed houses by day and made custom motorbikes by night. Slowly, he began receiving requests for custom-designed furniture, such as rock star bars, unique home fittings, and various other items for bespoke design lovers.

Recalling the company’s humble beginnings, Scott Washer shares:

Minale’s initial mindset became the brand’s mission statement to make the ordinary extraordinary.

Today, Buster + Punch sell various home fashion items that they refer to as affordable luxury.

Their online store caters to design enthusiasts and has a great range of products, including:

  • custom motorcycles;
  • larger furniture items, such as rock star bar, pop star bar, whiskey bar, gym bar, tables, and more;
  • accessories, including jewelry, candle holders, dog collars, leashes, etc.;
  • home fashion items, in particular, fashion lighting;
  • kitchen hardware, like cabinet hardware, cabinet pool bars, etc.;
  • electricity items, such as general switches and USB chargers.

When discussing their products, Scott Washer mentions:

In a way, the things we sell are optional to have at your home. You could go to your normal hardware merchant and pick up a switch for a couple of pounds. However, Buster + Punch products give you a certain feeling that really can completely transform a room.

It seems that both direct and business customers are all after the unique feeling that Buster + Punch brand provides, as the company is expanding globally.

Today, the company has offices in the UK, Sweden, the US, and China and is delivering orders to every country in Europe and places like small islands out in the Caribbean.

And with a list of more than 150 new lights products to be released into the market this year, the company is really just getting started. But with quick global expansion comes new challenges, such as finding ways to establish a brand and get ahead of the competition…

Cue 3D & AR solutions.

The Challenge: creating an innovative and remote-friendly shopping experience for customers around the world

Buster + Punch website
As physical stores closed and in-person shopping was out of the question, both end consumers and wholesale clients moved online. (Source: Buster + Punch)

Innovation has always been a core aspect of everything the company does.

To remain competitive and continue innovating while scaling a business takes bold thinking and uncompromising attention to customer needs. The onset of the global pandemic disrupted the buying process – as physical stores closed and in-person shopping was out of the question, both end consumers and wholesale clients moved online. Improving the digital experience became a key driver for growth and success for any retail brand, including Buster + Punch.

Right before the pandemic, we made our business very remote-friendly so that anyone in the world could feel like they're in our store and working with us,

-said Washer

On top of that, the company needed a smarter and more effective way to battle the buyer’s remorse. As the brand’s portfolio is on the pricier side, helping shoppers better evaluate the products and prevent any mismatch with their expectations was crucial.

Buster + Punch leadership team started considering 3D and AR technology more seriously right after IKEA launched its ‎IKEA Place app.

It was a game-changer. That's when it really came into production. Before that, we'd all heard about AR, and we’d seen basic examples of it, but the IKEA app made it seem like it was possible.

Initially, they considered creating an AR app in-house, but decided to wait for the technology to become more widely available.

When back in 2017, Apple launched ARkit and Android launched ARCore, the team realized AR solutions weren’t just another hyped-up vapourware product, but a breakthrough moment for the industry. They began actively looking for an implementation partner that could help them roll out 3D and AR on their website. Collaboration with CGtrader ARsenal seemed only natural as they were already well known in the industry.

The Solution: collaborating with CGTrader ARsenal to deliver a better user experience for the customers

We've known that CGTrader ARsenal were experts in the 3D model industry as they’ve established their leadership in the 3D model marketplace. Therefore, based on their many years of experience it was a no-brainer to get in contact and see if we could work together.

For Buster + Punch, opting for AR and 3D technologies was always about ensuring a great customer experience. By implementing 3D visualization and AR technology, the brand was able to empower their customers to make better-informed decisions while shopping online.

Instead of guesstimating, website visitors could now check whether bulkier items like furniture fit in their home space and match their interior as well as peruse all the details up-close. And putting the customer experience first has really paid off.

Let’s look at the tangible results the collaboration has generated.

The Outcome: time spent on product pages increased by 50%

Recreated in-store experience illustration
Buster + Punch brand re-created an in-store experience by improving the digital space on the web. (Source: Buster + Punch)

Working with CGTrader ARsenal, Buster + Punch won in more ways than one:

  • time spent on the product pages increased by 50%;
  • thanks to the 3D Viewer and AR technology, the brand’s potential customers are now able to make more informed purchasing decisions without needing to go into a physical store;
  • the company is experiencing lower return rates since the implementation of 3D viewers on their product pages;
  • the company is leveraging 3D & AR to create a smoother collaboration with their partners and resellers.

Speaking about the biggest impact for the company, Scott Washer emphasizes:

We found that adding 3D solutions to our product pages at least doubled the amount of time a user spends on the page. This is a game-changer if you want your users to get to know your products better.

A flawless shopping experience is something that customers have grown to expect from every brand. And those that can’t meet this expectation are punished with soaring drop-off and bounce rates. In the case of Buster + Punch, the increased visitor engagement is a clear sign the company is moving in the right direction.

What’s more, Buster + Punch noticed that the 3D viewer improved the product imagery on their web, while AR technology enabled visitors to experience products in the comfort of their homes.

In fact, the company asked for customers’ feedback on using AR, and the majority responded positively, explaining that they use the AR mode to really evaluate the products and decide if it’s a good fit.

Brand specializing in affordable luxury products must think about the customer loyalty and excellent post-shopping experience – most people are making decisions they’ll have to live with for years to come. Every improvement in the buying process helps shoppers feel more confident and build trust in the company. Ultimately, happy customers mean fewer returns.

Last but not least, Buster + Punch said they’re using 3D models internally to showcase products to retailers, B2B clients, and architects. Doing so ensures a more interactive and immersive product viewing experience as well as saves time for retailers and partners, which is key in business.

Want to replicate the success Buster + Punch experienced? Speak to our 3D experts to see what solutions would work best for your business.

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How home fashion label Buster + Punch used 3D & AR to increase time on product pages by 50%

Ieva Smitaite is the Content Lead at CGTrader Arsenal. She has 7+ years of experience working within photography, eCommerce, and tech startups. In her free time, Ieva loves traveling, exploring modern art & experimenting with cooking. More than anything, Ieva loves building a good story, so reach out to her at pr@cgtrader.com to talk about any possible content collaborations!

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