Product configurators in one of the most robust eCommerce trends in 2022, more and more brands are using these experiences to improve their sales, let's take some time to see why!
A 3D configurator is an interactive web interface that allows customers to visualize a product and customize it according to several options. It is a technology that uses a 3D model of a product that customers can interact with in real-time. Customers use configurators to change various attributes (colors, materials & accessories) and view a fully personalized product designed on their own.
The first companies to use configurators were car companies. The automotive industry is a pioneer and still lead many innovations int he 3D sector today. It is obviously the first industry that started using 3D configurators. According to our observations, this is still the market in which 3D configurators are most widely used, since all the major car brands in the world have their own configurators. However, in recent years, with the development of online businesses, this technology has been used in all sales sectors.
Nike is one of the brands whose 3D configurator "Nike by You" is the best known today, even though it was released in 1999. It enables online shoppers to customize their sneakers to make them unique and personal. Nowadays, more and more brands, such as Ikea and Chanel, use configurators to create unique and personalized shopping experiences.
We are witnessing a substantial growth of demand concerning 3D configurators for eCommerce. However, what are the objectives and expected results when proposing a 3D configurator to your customer?
In a time of very strong online competition, it's important to stay on top of trends and do everything you can to make your website and product stand out. First of all, your website needs to be different than other brands that sell similar products, in order to not blend in with the crowd. Customers are overwhelmed with options, and they want to quickly understand what makes one product different than another. In fact, your ad, your website, and your product descriptions reflect your image: Knowing the right way to position yourself and your products can really make yourself stand out. It starts with basic and clear design, usable technology, and a user-friendly experience. Therefore, using innovative and original 3D technology on your website can make your brand special and recognizable among the many other e-commerce.
Read more on how 3D is re-enchanting the web experience here in 🇫🇷 and here in 🇬🇧.
The disadvantage of online shopping is that customers don’t know exactly what they’re getting. Unless you are familiar with a brand, shopping online requires trusting the product. Because you can’t see and touch the product, you can't determine texture, fabric, fit, cut, or real-size just by looking at a photo. That’s why clients have difficulty presenting themselves with the product.
A 3D configurator allows to manipulate and transform a product by projecting its shape, size, and scale, making it more visual than a photograph. Customers can study materials and colors in detail, configure complex products with hundreds of combinations of colors, textures, parts, and other elements, and see the results immediately. Besides, according to a Cappasity market research 82% of product page visitors choose to activate the 3D view. This gives them a more detailed and in-depth knowledge of the product from all angles and gives the customers the confidence they need to buy online. Some configurators can rotate, disassemble and reassemble products. The presence of such a 3D configurator can be a decisive factor in increasing user engagement on your website.
According to a study entitled Predictive Analysis of E-commerce Search Behavior for Conversion, "the likelihood of purchase is highest when a person spends about 50 seconds on the item page". In other words, more time spent on a page translates into more sales. For this reason, it's essential to have a good and innovative product page to increase the average time a customer will spend on it. In fact, designing content for the final product page requires making it informative, brief, and immersive. Also creating interaction on a site makes people want to stay on it, it triggers clicks and it pushes them to look at the product longer. With a 3D configurator, the customer will explore the product page in more depth and even have fun making combinations with it.
A personalized experience will lead the customer to make a purchase. Customers are more likely to engage when they can make the product their own through customization. It unleashes the creativity of Internet users to design unique products that reflect their personality, thanks to real-time visualization. Plus thanks to new 3D technologies, these kind of configurator can now be enjoyed on any display. without installing plugins. Moreover, it allows you to consolidate the knowledge of your customers through their behaviors. Thus, you can personalize your loyalty campaign according to the profile of your target audience. Because they have personalized it the way they want, they also feel more ownership of their personalized product, which leads to higher conversion.
In addition to being a technology that drives sales - as seen in the previous points - 3D configurators greatly reduce costs. Over the course of 2018 in Europe, almost one in two online shoppers had returned at least one product. Furthermore, in the United States in 2020, e-commerce product returns cost the online shopping industry $550 billion. To grow your business and avoid additional expenses, it is important to understand what causes customers to return a product. For general purchases there are 3 main reasons :
The second and third points indicate that the customers regret their purchases, realizing that they made a mistake because the product was not completely suitable for them. In comparison, purchases made with a 3D configurator have a 35% reduction in the rate of the product return. Indeed, customers who configure their product themselves are less likely to make a mistake with their order because they customize it completely to their taste. The configuration also allows the customer to instantly receive the estimated cost of their product at the same time they configure i
We saw that there's plenty of reason to embed a product configuration experience and it seems that a new standard for eCommerce is rising. There's a last reason why configurators are more and more used and not the least important one: creating this type of experience is way easier and more accessible than a few years ago. You don't need anymore a custom-developed configurator made by your web agency, and many tools like Naker allow you to create and embed a configurator in a few weeks and for a reasonable investment.
And, spoiler alert, it's not the only way 3D is changing eCommerce and retail operations!