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 furniture manufacturers to sell their products online, but that doesn't mean it's impossible.
Furniture manufacturers have come a long way, from catalogs and sales reps, to selling their product online. According to Statista, online furniture sales encompass 12% of total eCommerce sales in the US. 3D models make it easier for customers to choose custom pieces that they like instead of settling on pre-selected sets because there aren't any other options available locally or through traditional channels.
Furniture manufacturers can build an online 3D product configurator to allow customers to pick the exact items they'd like in their home. With a custom-built product configurator, furniture 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) furniture manufacturers.
What is 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.
Examples of 3D Product Configuration
Furniture 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. Let’s take a look at some brands that have perfected product configuration and deliver custom furniture.
kiloJoule Table Configurator
KILO’s kiloJoule table can be configured to suit all kinds of applications, from a side table to a TV stand to a book rack. KILO’s online product configurator enables users to change the width, height, or color, and add one or more bookends. It also enables users to assemble and disassemble the product to understand how to put it together again.
IKEA 3D Kallax Shelf Configurator
IKEA’s online configurator gives users the option of choosing between several premade starter designs. After selecting one, it offers you different modular shelf options in a predesigned space so you can see how the chosen design would look in your living room.
Lovesac Couch Configurator
Lovesac offers shoppers a web-based product configurator that enables them to build furniture sets based on their specific needs. Lovesac offers users different pieces of 3D furniture that break the couch into different parts and models to visualize components and complex configurations in an online environment.
Why Do Furniture Manufacturers Need a 3D Product Configurator?
3D configurators for furniture 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 furniture 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 of furniture. 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.
Plus, most 3D configurators have drag-and-drop features perfect for D2C brands who have different product options but lack the infrastructure or the showroom to showcase every possible configuration. That way, instead of visiting a brick and mortar shop that may or may not have the model they're looking for, they can go online and try different configurations at home.
Also, drag-and-drop gives shoppers the tools to build a product that can really fit in their living spaces, reducing the risk of buying a piece of furniture that they can't fit through the door. 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 Furniture Manufacturers Benefit from a 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 furniture 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 furniture manufacturers tends to be slow and takes days, sometimes weeks. A product configurator software helps direct consumer furniture brands give customers a real-time quote based exactly on their specifications in real-time. Plus, a furniture 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 furniture 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 furniture they created.
Discover Salsita's D2C Product Configurator for Furniture Manufacturers
As explained above, Salsita's product configurator helps KILO's customers pick the right piece of furniture and gives them the tools to crystalize their vision into an aesthetically pleasing product that reflects their personality. KILO's customers have access to a personalized buying experience that produces a final product that customers can understand and feel like they created it.
Salsita offers a 3D product configurator that understands the needs of D2C furniture makers; a software solution that includes a 360º view of the product, zoom capabilities, different colors, sizes, and materiales, all seamless integrated into your e-shop and readily available for both mobile and desktop users. If you want to learn more about our 3D product configurator services and have a deeper look at the work we did for KILO, go ahead and read: Case Study: Product Configurator for KILO's Designer Furniture.
You can also try KILO's product configurator for yourself.