CHICO, CA – Visualization expert Theia Interactive is providing a look behind the scenes at how it helped Pampered Chef, a leading provider of mealtime solutions, to create Table, a new and exclusive immersive virtual party experience.
The first-of-its-kind platform gives Pampered Chef consultants the chance to display products in photorealistic environments, letting attendees explore interactive, 3D models of the latest products available to purchase, all created by Theia, along with detailed information, videos, recipes and everything else a potential customer may want to make an informed decision.
“In 2020, e-commerce sales in the U.S. increased by 44% from the previous year, and now make up over 21% of all retail sales,” said Bill Fishkin, co-founder and CEO of Theia Interactive. “By creating immersive and customizable virtual environments, retailers can have the best of both worlds by taking advantage of the benefits of being online, while still offering that in-person touch.”
As a direct seller with a history of hosting in-person cooking demonstrations, Pampered Chef knew it needed a way to safely and remotely engage with potential customers in an increasingly unpredictable landscape. To create that experience, Theia’s artists began by developing a virtual 3D kitchen in Unreal Engine, explorable on 2D devices, then loaded three scenarios with a total of 31 products, each represented by 3D models created from the original CAD 3D files. Theia also added food and decor for a touch of authenticity.
Intended as a proof-of-concept that could replicate Pampered Chef’s in-person parties online, Theia created a 360-degree, photorealistic model kitchen. Guests at virtual parties in Table can explore the location and interact with the 3D replicas of the latest kitchen items, all available through a standard browser. Consultants who run Table parties can also pre-select customizable content developed in-house and personalize it to reflect their interests and address customer preferences, then speak directly with potential customers through a live video chat, to demo a recipe or share more details about products. They can also share images, product info, recipes, even interactive games and more.
Users can interact with everything from a cast iron skillet to Pampered Chef’s new cordless Flex+ multi-prep set, all in a kitchen environment, with the models simulating their real-world counterparts. When a model is selected, a display appears with information, images and videos explaining the product. Users can then explore it in depth, and get a sense of how it might fit into their own cooking experience.
“Theia’s reputation as a visualization expert capable of creative solutions made them an easy choice for the project,” said Shiv Dutt, vice president of experience innovation for Pampered Chef. “The pandemic highlighted the importance of a strong virtual sales solution, but the need will far outlast it. Now, we have a better way to incorporate those remote experiences for our consultants and consumers.”
Table made its debut at Pampered Chef’s annual PCNC21 conference in the summer, giving consultants a first look at the future of the company, and e-commerce as a whole. It is now available to the public.