When we started Wayfair Next – Wayfair’s R&D group that explores next generation experiences, we spoke to a lot of AR and VR application developers who were interested in creating experiences for us. In line with our engineering culture, we wanted to create the experiences ourselves and figure out how to help our customers better visualize our products. Home decor lends itself very well to the application of AR and VR technology. As we ventured further into AR and VR territory, we realized that visualization technology was not the barrier. The bottleneck was the dearth of 3D content out there, especially in the E-commerce V-commerce space.

In January 2016, we were beginning to digitize our catalog and create 3D models of our products to be used for photographic rendering. More on that later. While developing WayfairView, our AR application for Google’s Tango platform, we started laying down the foundation for a 3D content pipeline to create app-ready real-scale 3D models of our products.

We saw an opportunity here – why not empower other application developers to create amazing 3D V-commerce experiences in AR and VR just like we are, and push the envelope of mixed reality!

Real estate developers are beginning to use VR experiences to showcase spaces to their clients and customers. Why not decorate the space with real products!

Game developers can begin to embed 3D models of real furniture products in their games!

3D interior design applications that assist with room planning and creating inspirational content can use and offer Wayfair products!

Is this beginning to sound like an affiliate model for product sales via partners… but in mixed reality apps and 3D games? That’s exactly what it could be – Developers can choose to redirect users to Wayfair and earn money when product purchases originated from their apps.

So lo and behold, we’re releasing our first public API that offers 3D models of our products for developers, so that you as developers can spend less time worrying about content and more time enhancing your app’s experience.

There are two ways to interact with our API, using standard HTTP GET requests or using GraphQL. If you haven’t heard of GraphQL, it’s Facebook’s internally developed interface to their data, which they have opensourced for general use, with implementations in a number of languages. It’s a very fast on-ramp for React.js-based apps, but we have found it quite useful at Wayfair, along with its ecosystem of tooling, even though we don’t use React. You as a developer can use Wayfair’s instance of GraphiQL to get information about our 3D ready products.

What kind of 3D models you ask? For now we’re offering models in the universally supported Autodesk FBX format. If you’re a Unity developer, we also offer platform specific Unity asset bundles.

Below are some examples of data users will be able to retrieve from the API –

Information about all dining chairs that are 3D ready –

{
...
  "pdp": "https://www.wayfair.com/Daniel-Tufted-Side-Chair-HOHN2381-HOHN2381.html?refid=3DAPI.2"
},
{
  "sku": "HOHN2563",
  "product_name": "Maza Parsons Chair",
  "sale_price": 153.99,
  "product_description": "A dining chair ...",
  "image_url": "https://secure.img2.wfrcdn.com/lf/43/hash/37313/28458225/1/custom_image.jpg",
  "class_name": "Dining Chairs",
  "class_id": 168,
  "pdp": "https://www.wayfair.com/Parsons-Chair-HOHN2563-HOHN2563.html?refid=3DAPI.2"
},
{
  "sku": "HOHN3044",
...

List of 3D models for the Maza Parsons Chair –

{
  "HOHN2563": {
    "viewer": "https://www.wayfair.com/v/api/model_viewer...",
    "android": "http://img.wfrcdn.com/docresources/37313/40/408920.android",
    "web": "http://img.wfrcdn.com/docresources/37313/44/441369.web",
    "fbx": "http://img.wfrcdn.com/docresources/37313/44/444894.fbx"
  }
}

Sample GraphQL query for fetching 3D models for the Maza Parsons Chair –

{
  product(sku: "HOHN2563") {
    sku
    name
    three_d_models(page: 2, user: "xxx", api_key: "xxx") {
      fbx
      web
      android
      win
      viewer
    }
  }
}

 

Screenshot of the 3D model of the a web viewer we built to view the 3D models of our products

Screenshot of the 3D model of the Maza Parsons Chair being displayed in a web viewer

At the time of writing this post, we have ~10,000 products, distributed across all our categories, that are 3D ready. We are hard at work applying our engineering chops to scale our 3D catalog. We’ll talk about how we’re doing that in another post.

Meanwhile, if you would like to start using this API, e-mail us at Next3DApi@wayfair.com with a short description of how you would like use our 3D models, and we’ll hook you up with an API key and documentation on how to use the API.

We would love to hear from you!

Happy developing!


If you’re local, and this sounds exciting, we would highly recommend checking out the Reality, Virtually Hackathon hosted by the MIT Media Lab from Oct 7 – 10, 2016. We’re going to be giving participants beta access to the API for the weekend and are also conducting a workshop on how to use the API.