Modern consumers are more knowledgeable than ever. They research products before making a purchase, and their shopping habits have changed considerably. In fact, according to BigCommerce research, 96% of Americans shop online. This change in consumers' shopping habits makes it challenging for custom product manufacturers to sell their products online, but that doesn't mean it's impossible.
Custom product manufacturers have come a long way, from catalogs and sales reps, to selling their product online. Now they can build an online 3D product configurator to allow customers to pick the exact items they'd like. With a custom-built product configurator, manufacturers will be able to take advantage of big data and increase sales by offering consumers the ability to customize their purchases.
In this article, we’ll talk about the benefits of a product configurator for direct-to-consumer (D2C) custom product manufacturers.
What is 3D Product Configuration?
Product configuration is the process of creating customized products using 3D visualization techniques.
Product configuration often entails developing a software solution that takes the manufacturer’s product and enables consumers to select different configurations and designs to build a custom product. Product configuration is usually part of configure-price-quote (CPQ) software and offers a powerful way of interacting with customers as they develop their product in a 2D or 3D space.
Why Custom Product Manufacturers Need a 3D Product Configurator
3D configurators for custom products come in all shapes and sizes. They enable you to select colors and materials and combine various arrangements in different ways until the customer has created a personalized option of their choosing. By offering different configuration options, manufacturers can also achieve design automation and simplify the CPQ process.
One of the greatest advantages of 3D models is that they allow customers to see every nook and cranny of the products in full 360º and explore it extensively from every angle. Configurators also include zoom features that enable shoppers to closely analyze and inspect unique designs and components to understand them better.
D2C brands can also use configurators to let customers create their ideal piece. Product configurators are designed to display different customizable features such as color, materials, additional accessories, backrests, and seats. The myriad of different customization options empower the customer and give them control over the design process, which results in an informed decision with less chance of item return.
Configurators also offer a level of immersiveness that you won't ever get from a catalog, which empowers customers and results in higher conversion rates.
How Can Custom Product Manufacturers Benefit from a 3D Product Configurator?
Consumers today crave experiences and, in the increasingly virtual world we're living in, product configurators are one way to deliver those experiences right to their fingertips. Besides, 3D configuration is changing the purchasing process, empowering consumers to choose custom solutions that reflect their personality and tastes. As a seller, manufacturers need to take advantage of technology to empower their customers.
But that's not all. Here are more benefits of product configurators for custom products makers.
Shorten Time Between Offer and Production
A product configurator gives you the ability to streamline your production process, reducing the time between quote and delivery because the whole process—including modelling, quote, production, and logistics—can be handled by the configuration software, making it easy for manufacturers to meet the customers' requests without production hiccups.
The quoting process of custom product manufacturers tends to be slow and takes days, sometimes weeks. A product configurator software helps the brands to give customers a real-time quote based exactly on their specifications in real-time. Plus, a custom product configurator can show you how much each custom module costs, offering immediate and seamless upselling opportunities.
Integration with Third-Party Software
Configurators and CPQ solutions have the added advantage of integrating with third-party tools like ERP systems and CMSs to gain insights into customer trends, best-selling products, and gather customer data to offer personalized options the next time they visit. Plus, configurators can be integrated with customer support tools to offer shoppers enhanced support options and better response times to maximize conversions.
Boost Customer Confidence
D2C marketing is all about trust. Configurators are the perfect blend between photorealist images and 3D visualization and help the customer assess the value of the piece of custom products they are purchasing. They beat catalogs and serve as an interactive aid to both brick and mortar and online stores because they put the control in the hands of the shopper, who in turn will feel more persuaded to buy because they will be inclined to trust the piece of custom products they created.
Example of 3D Product Configuration
Custom product manufacturing requires personalized products that adapt to precise specifications. A product configurator specially designed for D2C brands has the potential to adapt those specifications to suit the customers’ needs.
L' Atelier Paris Haute Design - Case Study
L’Atelier Paris Haute Design, LLC designs, manufactures and sells custom, high-end French ranges, cabinets, appliances, and entire kitchens.
Since appreciation of the finer things in life extends well beyond the physical reach of their four showrooms, L’Atelier decided to take to the internet to reach this untapped market. This presented some unique challenges, however. Since the products on offer are custom-built by hand to exacting specifications, they are also highly customizable, offering virtually unlimited options in terms of size, configuration, colors, finishes, and more.
This was a tall order indeed. Finding a digital solutions partner able to combine L'Atelier's luxurious design and aesthetics with intuitive user experience design and the engineering muscle needed to bring it to life seemed like an insurmountable challenge. L’Atelier de Paris found Salsita Software, a unique solutions provider leveraging our 3D Product Configurator Framework as a powerful foundation, the engineering team, in conjunction with our UX and design professionals, then went to work bringing the vision of L’Atelier to life.
The reaction to the new configurator has been universally positive, from prospective customers, kitchen designers, as well as the team at L'Atelier, whose sales staff regularly use it as a sales tool.
I’ve never experienced the delivery team living up to the sales team’s hype, but in Salsita’s case, they actually exceeded it. - Ricardo Moraes, L’Atelier Paris
Since the initial launch in late July 2021, L’Atelier de Paris Haute Design has seen the engagement rate on their website increase dramatically as hundreds of prospective clients have accessed it to configure their dream kitchen. Giving customers the ability to design their dream products uniquely tailored to their needs also provides a powerful competitive advantage that drives sales. Research shows that this leads to higher conversion rates and increases average transaction size.
Read the full case study here: L’Atelier Paris - Making an ultra-luxe product fully configurable online
Salsita's 3D Product Configurator and Visualization
With our configurator framework, you can display all types of complex products. You can start small with simple 3D models and a few configuration options, then add new features. Also, with a hybrid product configurator, your product becomes cloud-native immediately.
From manufacturing processes to eCommerce features, you can integrate with everything to help visitors configure their dream product and gain insights about sales and customer preferences. Our product configurator is built on open standards, and it's entirely API-based, which guarantees maximum compatibility with third-party software.
Also, since we are a web development agency, you get all the benefits and the close support of having a world-class software team to back you up. Plus, with Salsita’s hybrid product configurator you gain a future-proof solution that leverages the novel MACH architecture to supercharge your eCommerce presence.
With our cloud-native solution, you can scale your project as much as you want as it can be hosted on AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud, making it easy to scale up and down with traffic. This approach enables you to modify it to suit your and your consumers' needs. Plus, you don't need to think about maintenance because we can assist with that, too.
Do not hesitate to contact us for consultation. We will be happy to hear your story, answer any questions, or give you expert advice.