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3D Product Configuration For eCommerce – How It Works And How To Build It

A woman is using a tablet to engage in 3D product configuration in front of a bedroom.

Any eCommerce business that offers complex or bespoke products to a client base relies on a practical and appealing product configuration model.

Every customer has unique needs, and accuracy in measurement and aesthetics is paramount. 3D product configuration is one of the most effective ways to achieve this precision. 

What is 3D product configuration?

Product configuration is arguably the most critical element of any eCommerce business model, especially if a product is bespoke and designed to meet unique customer needs. Choosing the optimum product configuration gives service users greater insight and accuracy when placing an order. 

Many eCommerce website owners are embracing 3D product configuration to enhance user experience. The ideal example is the furniture giant IKEA, which has embraced 3D product configuration to place complete control over design measurement and adjustment to home furnishings. Luxury consumer goods brands, including Nike, Tesla, and Blue Nile Jewelry, have also embraced the 3D revolution. 

By bringing a product visual into three dimensions, potential customers can rotate the image and better understand how the finished item will look from all angles, make unique additions and modifications to meet particular needs, or even create a product from scratch. These edits will allow customers to see how their ideal product will look in real-time following adjustments and amendments, removing any guesswork and potential disappointment from the purchase.

A laptop is sitting on a table next to a tree.

Credit: VividWorks Configurator on Audo website

This flexibility is a game-changer in eCommerce, improving customer confidence and providing unparalleled opportunities for increased revenue. Embracing 3D product configuration helps remove significant guesswork from the creation process for customers, bolstering trust in a supplier. 

3D product configuration vs traditional product configuration

3D product configuration is a comparatively new addition to the eCommerce space, so there is still room for a more conventional approach. To avoid doubt, when we refer to traditional product configuration, we are referencing 2D. 

Some eCommerce businesses may prefer to stick with tried-and-true approaches that have succeeded in the past, including 2D product configuration. This will invariably be cheaper, faster, and simpler to implement. However, comparing 2D and 3D product configurations is akin to likening analog to digital. 

While 2D offers a degree of functional comfort and familiarity, 3D product configuration is at the cutting edge of modern eCommerce web design. This approach is considerably likelier to attract the attention of a progressive and forward-thinking client base, in addition to a superior probability of customer satisfaction. 

Why is 3D product configuration necessary for eCommerce?

There are numerous key benefits to adopting 3D technology when creating a product configurator for ecommerce. Let's take a moment to explain more about the fundamental benefits of 3D product configuration and how such an investment can boost your business revenue. 

Improved online shopping experience

eCommerce may be the backbone of the modern global economy. However, some users still consider online shopping an inferior experience to an in-store purchase, primarily when investing in a complex product. Intangibility can be a factor in a customer's shopping decision, as the inability to physically hold an item and visualize how it will fit into a home or lifestyle can be an insurmountable obstacle. 

While 3D product configuration cannot precisely replicate the experience of casting eyes over an item in-store, it is undeniably the next best thing. The ability to rotate a product image and view it from all angles will go some way to reassuring a nervous buyer, enabling a customer with even the most limited imagination to picture how the product will look in their home.

You can also use this technology to subtly upsell by demonstrating the many and varied additions and improvements that can be made to a product. When customers know they can make changes to suit their desires at the touch of a button, they will feel increasingly confident that your business understands their unique pain points and is keen to offer resolutions with minimal fuss. 

Never overlook how enjoyable a user will find this interactive shopping experience, too. Embracing 3D provides a buyer with a sense of control, demonstrating a willingness from a vendor to ensure that the customer is wholly satisfied that a product will meet their unique needs. This ability to showcase all product features will be considerably more valuable to a consumer than any 2D image and written description. 

Selling modular and complex products with ease

Selling complex and modular products can be time-consuming for an eCommerce business, with sales reps working with 2D product images forced to create modifications and variations to the existing product upon request. This will frequently cause a wholesale redesign of the product image. 

3D product design encourages guided selling and removes many of these lengthy roadblocks from the process, as these adjustments can be made on the spot – usually by the customers themselves. Elements of the product can be added for upselling and ensuring suitability or removed if the user has concerns surrounding space or cost. 

In addition to providing the customer with a greater sense of control over the design of a product, your team will be free to focus on other tasks. At the same time, the user makes adjustments to a panoramic image of the product – or, if you prefer to retain a hands-on approach to sales, your business will be able to make these changes in real-time rapidly.

By cutting out this back-and-forth between customers and a sales representative, everybody undertakes a significantly reduced manual workload. Wholesale automation will speed up the design and sales process for all concerned! 

Precise measurements

Precision in measurements is fundamental when selling many products, especially fixtures and fittings. A single centimeter of inaccuracy in dimensions can render a product unusable if the customer is working with limited space and can result in a return as the product is deemed unfit for purpose. 

3D product confirmation ensures wholesale accuracy, removing guesswork and hopeful purchases. Users will take significant comfort from this exactitude and are thus likelier to proceed with a purchase.   

Save time and boost sales efficiency  

The sales and order process can be entirely automated by embracing 3D product configuration. Any adjustments a customer makes will be captured immediately, with changes to the total cost reflected in real-time. This will cut down on a great deal of back-and-forth between business and customer, exchanging quotes and explaining fluctuations in price. 

Customers are assured that a product offers accurate configuration and measurements, so they are also considerably likelier to complete an automatic checkout. Again, this will shorten your sales funnel and keep revenue flowing into your eCommerce business, cutting down on administration for your sales team while ensuring you can produce and ship products at an incredible speed and enhance your business reputation. 

Reduced product returns

Managing product returns is an unavoidable element of any eCommerce business model. While returns may be unwelcome, as they can negatively impact financial performance and create significant administrative and logistical challenges, a user-friendly return policy can make or break a business's reputation. 

By embracing 3D in product configuration, your customers are considerably less likely to return any product. This is a consequence of the benefits we have already discussed. Rather than basing a purchase on an estimate or limited knowledge, customers will enjoy complete control over the design process. 

So, the finished product will meet the specifications outlined before purchase. This means that a customer will not be subjected to any unwelcome surprises when they receive their order and will not have grounds to return a product and request a refund. What is unboxed upon delivery will match all expectations expressed during design.

This increased consumer confidence will enhance your stock itinerary's average order value (AOV). If every product you sell results in customer satisfaction, you will better understand what to focus on with future marketing strategies and purchasing.

You must select the ideal technology and software to bring 3D product configuration into your eCommerce business model. This will typically involve entering into a partnership with an external expert body.

There are numerous critical factors to consider when introducing 3D product configurators to your business. These include:

  • A user-friendly interface with all customers, including technophobes and online novices, can easily interact. This interface should also be mobile-friendly, as over 60% of all eCommerce transactions now occur on mobile and handheld devices.  
  • Real-time pricing. Cost considerations should always play a significant role in 3D product configuration. Always ensure that customers can see any adjustments in price in real-time when making amendments to a product online to minimize cart abandonment. Naturally, any additional profit that 3D product configuration will bring your business must also outweigh your investment.
  • Realistic and interactive visualization. The purpose of 3D product configuration is to ensure that customers create a wholly accurate representation of a product built to their own preferences and expectations. The more interactive the design experience, the more control – and eventual satisfaction – the customer will experience.  
  • Seamless eCommerce integration. A reputable 3D product configuration partner will seamlessly integrate the technology with existing eCommerce platforms and websites, including ever-popular formats like Shopify product configuration and WooCommerce. The process should be more straightforward and managed through extensions and plugins applied directly to your eCommerce site, keeping a sales funnel streamlined and encouraging rapid checkout. 
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM.) Adding effective 3D product configuration should create less work for your business, not more. Superior product configuration will streamline your ERP and CRM practices, automating all aspects of a purchase from production design to sales and checkout.

VividWorks is an example of a market leader and innovator in this sector, offering advanced 3d configuration solutions for businesses that focus on producing and selling complex modular products. A free trial or demonstration of how this technology can improve your business is available from VividWorks, enabling you to see how your business will benefit from utilizing this technology – while offering all of these critical benefits.   

You don't need any expertise or experience in coding to use 3D product configuration, so there is no need to be intimidated. A partner will care for this based on 3D models, design files, or computer-aided design. This will free up your business to focus on the most important – providing a wholly immersive and enjoyable online shopping experience that turns satisfied customers into dedicated brand evangelists.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is 3D product configuration?
3D product configuration is a technology that allows customers to visualize and customize products in three dimensions before purchasing.

How does 3D product configuration enhance the customer experience?
3D product configuration allows customers to see exactly what they're getting before they make a purchase, eliminating the guesswork and potential disappointment that can come with online shopping.

Why is 3D product configuration important for eCommerce businesses?
3D product configuration offers a unique way for eCommerce businesses to differentiate themselves from the competition by providing a personalized, interactive shopping experience.

How does 3D product configuration give businesses a competitive edge?
By offering customers the ability to customize their products in real-time, businesses can provide a level of service and personalization that sets them apart from the competition.

What is the future of 3D product configuration in eCommerce?
As technology continues to evolve, customers will come to expect the level of interactivity and personalization that 3D product configuration provides. Businesses that embrace this technology will be well-positioned to thrive in the future eCommerce landscape.

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