When it comes to the sale of construction materials, there is a lot of room for improvement in terms of innovation and digitalization.
While the wholesale building materials industry is stable and growing (with megaprojects, ports, and city expansion projects underway worldwide), the customer experience has been relatively stagnant. In-person meetings, sales calls, and material samples make up most of the sales interactions.
But what if there was a way to streamline the sales process?
The good news is that 3D product configurators are changing how companies sell building materials—but let’s first evaluate where the construction and wholesale building materials industry currently is and where it’s heading.
The Construction and Wholesale Building Materials Industry: A 10-year Outlook
The construction and wholesale building materials industry is undoubtedly one of the world’s most flexible and adaptable industries. It played a vital role in the recovery of the global economy after the strict measures imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic began to ease.
Global Construction Initiatives
The pandemic has acted as a catalyst for projects, promoting open public spaces, larger homes and gardens, and a more diversified supply chain comprising numerous ports and warehouse projects around the globe.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Construction isn’t going anywhere—from megaprojects in Saudi Arabia to ports in Africa to sprawling cities in North America. Statista reports indicate that the global construction market will more than double in size between 2020 and 2030, from $6.4 trillion to $14.4 trillion.
Investment in Home Improvement Projects
The pandemic gave rise to a massive spike in remote jobs, completely changing the way people view their homes and workspaces.
With statistics showing a remarkable increase in remote jobs since the pandemic, it’s a given that families want to invest in home office spaces and more accommodating outdoor spaces —think large desks, bookshelves, and a deck to sit on while you wait to join the weekly team Zoom call.
Moreover, the pandemic has driven the demand for larger homes away from densely populated areas. With this trend, comes a list of sub-trends, with new communities popping up around the outskirts of cities. Sewage systems, plumbing, power stations, and much more are needed to maintain larger homes further from the city center—not to mention the demand for building materials to build the houses themselves.
An Increase in Cost of Materials
The cost of items used in residential construction rose 0.5% in April, according to the most recent Producer Price Index (PPI) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which follows upwardly revised increases of 1.9% and 2.4% in March and February, respectively. This increase is attributed to inflation and a global supply chain disruption.
Since the beginning of 2022, the price of building materials has increased by 4.9%. Building material costs are up 19.2% year-over-year and 35.6% since the pandemic began. This has led to pressure on the construction and wholesale building materials industry to find ways to deal with rising prices.
Robotics and Digital Transformation
Construction materials companies have begun to utilize innovative technologies to combat rising costs as well as rising demand.
Construction Management Software is one example of software that helps document and keep tabs on project milestones and tasks. AR, drone, and 3D product configurator tools also help manage the volume of projects and reduce the pressure of increased costs.
Some building materials companies have even drafted robots to execute tasks like 3D printing of materials and warehouse automation.
Furthermore, companies like Easysteel have begun implementing 3D product configurator technology to efficiently streamline the entire sales process.
How 3D Product Configurators Can Propel Construction and Wholesale Building Materials Companies to Greater Success
Although the construction and wholesale building materials industry is just starting to implement 3D product configurator software, the benefits are already becoming clear.
Let’s look at how 3D product configurators can benefit manufacturers of building materials by enhancing the client experience, improving the presentation of materials online, and facilitating sales.
Interactive, 360-degree, and Augmented Reality Visuals
With a feature-rich 3D product configurator, clients can interact with building materials on your website—from the web or mobile—in an array of engaging ways, including:
- A full 360° view of the materials.
- Visualize the size of the materials or tools in context through augmented reality technology.
- High-definition zoom-in and zoom-out views
- Product customization (size, color, texture, et cetera) with real-time changes.
All of these enable buyers to make more informed decisions faster without an in-person meeting or call. All relevant information can be obtained directly through the 3D product configurator.
Automated Data Collection
By using a 3D product configurator, manufacturers and wholesalers can learn a lot about their target market. The software gives insights into which products are viewed the most, and which customizations or variations are preferred by customers.
Equipped with this data, companies selling construction materials can spot trends early and boost the production of in-demand product types. The data could also be used to adjust stock levels, save warehouse space, discontinue SKUs, and much more.
Speedier Purchases With Lower Acquisition Costs
Having a feature-rich product configurator on your website gives buyers a sense of quality right off the bat. But there’s more to improving the customer experience.
Because buyers can access more information and imagery alone, a sale can be sealed much faster and often without human interaction. But even when a sales representative is needed, this can be done with the help of the product configurator, enabling your sales team to show buyers the product configuration that interests them. Alongside your sales representative, whether on a call or through a chat system, buyers can inspect, ask questions, customize, and finalize their purchase in the same interaction.
A Customer Experience to Write Home About
Customers can customize a product to their needs using a 3D product configurator. 3D configurators have the extra benefit of enabling real-time online customer interaction with the products or materials. In other words, through immersive visualization, 3D configurators can help enhance the buying experience for the construction and wholesale building industry.
For example, suppose a client wants to purchase bricks. With a 3D product configurator, a client can visually interact with the bricks and make unique changes and customizations to the brick size, shape, color, material, embossing, thickness, and more.
Interactive purchasing experiences like these give power to customers that ordinary processes do not. This encourages customers to share their unique products with their peers and colleagues, as well as on social media. Ultimately, by utilizing this technology, you’re giving buyers something to look at, screenshot, and share with the rest of their team or social media following.
Learn More About Salsita’s 3D Product Configurator
Salsita Software is a web and mobile app agency specializing in compelling high-ticket experiences.
Companies like Easysteel have experienced the smooth transition from a sales process that’s aged and heavily reliant on sales teams to a streamlined sales pipeline that puts innovation, information, and engagement at your customers’ fingertips.
Contact us or book a demo to learn more about how Salsita can custom-build, implement, and maintain your 3D product configurator.