Just in time for the holiday selling season, Fat Brain Toys introduced an entirely new way for customers to interact with its website. The Virtual Toy Tour gives visitors the ability to engage with select products in an interactive, 3-D browsing experience. It is available on a select number of bestselling toys this holiday season, with plans to add more 3-D models in 2018.
“We’re always seeking out new ways to deliver the toy store experience directly to a customer’s computer or mobile phone,” said Mark Carson, Fat Brain cofounder, in a press release. “Our new Virtual Toy Tours system is an innovation designed to provide our customers with the most robust toy shopping experience available.”
While virtual reality ecommerce may still be years away, 3-D toy models allow customers to interact with products in surprising ways. For instance, a baby rattle called MiniSpinny is visible in 360º, but thanks to 3-D visualization, the spinning action that the toy is known for can also be demonstrated. Likewise, the 3-D representation of Quack Stack, a toy with soft silicone parts, bends and flexes to simulate the toy’s more sensory aspects.
Built on WebGL technology, the Virtual Toy Tour is optimized to run effortlessly on any device, including computers, tablets, and mobile devices.
“So much of it revolves around filling in the inherent gaps between shopping online and in store,” Carson explained to Loyalty360, the association for customer loyalty. “Specifically, as it relates to toys, e-commerce is still wholly lacking when it comes to tangible product interaction. You can see a picture of a stuffed animal, but can you really appreciate its cuddle-ability? While we haven’t come up with a solution for that yet, we felt that the Virtual Toy Tour functionality took us a step in that direction. By allowing the user to control their viewpoint and trigger playful interactions with the virtual toys, it provided yet another way to appreciate the toy in a way that a static image or even a video can’t do.”
He added: “All of the products that currently have this functionality are original products that we’ve developed here in our ‘toy labs.’ Through that development process, we’ve been looking at the 3D models of these products for more than a year. But it was only recently that we figured out an effective way to share that with our customers.”
Fat Brain Toys is one of the nation’s largest independent toy retailers. In addition to its online store, Fat Brain Toys also operates two retail storefronts and wholesales its original line of specialty toys and games to over 1,500 stores worldwide. Based in Elkhorn, Nebraska, Fat Brain Toys is a family-owned and operated company.