Visual Configurators Drive the Future of eCommerce

Visual configurators offer immersive, personalized and interactive experiences that bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds. As we look to the future of online sales, the impact of visual content will continue to revolutionize the landscape of ecommerce. 

Key Takeaways

  • Personalization, customization and interactive product visualization are key elements in enhancing user experience.
  • Augmented reality enhances the shopping experience and increases customer investment in your product.
  • Seamless integration with pricing engines, inventory and digital asset management systems, ecommerce websites and resource planning programs allow you to utilize configurators without business disruptions.
  • The future of online sales will be driven by AI-powered, immersive shopping experiences and a focus on sustainability and ethical business practices.

The Impact of Visual Content in Ecommerce

High-quality images and videos have become essential tools for capturing consumer attention and conveying product details.

Additionally, visual content allows for better storytelling and emotional connection with the audience. This is evident in the way brands use compelling imagery to communicate their brand identity and values.

With evolving technology, ecommerce visual content goes beyond 2D images. Quality 3D rendering of products, augmented reality (AR) and real-time, AI-powered personalization options enhance the customer experience and result in increased sales and brand loyalty.

A recent study found a 40% higher rate in online sales for merchants using high-quality 2D or 3D images. This holds especially true for images with interactive capabilities.

Gif showing 3D image of football helmet exploded to show individual components of it

3D Image Rendering Creates Immersive Experiences

A 3D rendered image is created by skilled professionals from a few high-quality 2D images. It provides interactive elements, such as the ability to zoom in, rotate for a 360° view and see real-time customization of the product. This is especially helpful when the product is high cost, such as building a home.

One of the greatest strengths of 3D rendered product images is the ability to display an item in multiple environments, giving the consumer visual details they can't experience anywhere else. AI-powered algorithms can accurately replicate how the item will look in natural light, for example, as opposed to the indoor lighting of a showroom floor. 

By allowing the customer a no-risk was to explore their options, their confidence in purchase decisions increases dramatically. The same study cited above found an 80% reduction in returns when using immersive 3D technology that bolsters buyer confidence.

With such clear statistics, and increasing options for affordable rendering services for businesses, advanced visual commerce is continuing to increase in popularity.

Threekit 3D product configurator example of a customized front entry doors

AR Enhances Customer Investment

AR personalizes the shopping experience by overlaying digital information onto the physical world. A piece of furniture, for example, is digitally created in detail while the customer moves their phone around their room, allowing them to see how it fits within their environment. 

Using AR doesn't require extra effort for the consumer, and an Invesp study found that 63% of customers say that AR improves their shopping experience. This increases the likelihood of conversion and deceases the likelihood of product returns. 

GIF of a chair in a room seen with a 3D configurator

Visual Commerce Improves the Shopping Experience

Enhanced Customization Options

Personalization and customization play a crucial role in capturing the attention of online shoppers. By tailoring products and experiences to individual preferences, you create a more engaging and satisfying shopping journey.

Several studies have quantified the consumer demand for customization of products:

  • A Dynata survey found that 84% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that provides a personalized experience.
  • A survey by Segment found that personalization can increase customer loyalty by up to 39%.
  • A 2017 Epsilon study found that 80% of respondents are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences, and 90% indicated they find personalization appealing.
  • A recent consumer review by Deloitte found that at least one in five consumers would spend 20% more on a personalized or exclusive product.

With the demand for unique versions of existing products continuing to increase, visual configurators that can accurately and quickly display the offered options are necessary.

Image of product configurator integrated with Salesforce CPQ program

Seamless Integration with Business Management Systems

To reduce the impact to operations and ensure a frustration-free shopping experience, visual configurators must integrate with existing software, systems and ecommerce websites. Additionally, the solution must be able to scale up as business grows.

Versatile configurators, like Threekit's composable commerce solution, offer the most flexibility for each unique aspect of your business.

  • eCommerce: Product catalog data can be translated into Threekit’s product configurator and Threekit integrates with all shopping cart systems, including Salesforce. 
  • CPQ: Product and pricing rules and logic from CPQ inform Threekit’s product visual configuration rules and real-time pricing, even for complex products.
  • PIM and DAM: Threekit can create billions of visuals, which are tagged and pushed into a PIM or DAM for easy distribution to retailers, distributors and dealers.  
  • CAD and Autodesk: Threekit can reduce the file size of CAD to create highly performant visuals without exposing your important designs to the world. Threekit can also export configured products into CAD models, which can then go straight from ecommerce to manufacturing.
  • ERP: Product inventory and supply chain data from an ERP provide transparency to customers about shipping timelines and available stock.  

Puzzle graphic displaying how rules configuration, Threekit visual configurator and Salesforce work together

AI-Powered Visual Search

Generative AI enhances the ability to search for a product by providing visual-based search engines. The most well-known is Google Lens, but several apps employ this technology to help consumers identify and locate an item.

While AI-powered recommendations for upselling and cross-selling have been largely successful, they're restricted by lack of consumer information, particularly if the consumer is a new customer to your brand.

Visual-based search, on the other hand, is targeted to exactly what the consumer wants. It supports globalization, removing language barriers that exist in text-based search, and reduces the amount of overwhelming results a consumer must sift through when forced to use general descriptions in text-based search. 

Supporting Sustainability

With increased consumer concerns for ethical and environmentally responsible manufacturing, businesses adopting visual commerce solutions stand out from their traditional competitors.

Visual ecommerce solutions lessen waste in the following ways:

  • Reduces the need to make and stock all customization options of a product.
  • Greater customer satisfaction from 3D rendering and AR shopping experiences means fewer returns.
  • Reduces the need for a brick-and-mortar store, especially with AR shopping abilities.
  • With lifelike 3D modeling, there's no need to create a product in order to show it to a customer.
  • Reduces the time and resources needed to generate a product visual. Threekit utilizes rendering tools in a highly optimized and scaled, automated fashion so you can create hundreds of high-quality visuals at once as opposed to doing it one-by-one. 
  • Enables better trend forecasting and supply chain optimization.
  • Enhanced product discoverability means less waste in consumer product hunting. 
  • Reduces the time and resources needed to create and test product image renders. Threekit uses all forms of configuration logic to develop 3D configuration, photorealistic images and AR with as many test renders as needed.

Unnecessary product returns result in 15 million tons of CO2 emissions every yearConclusion

Visual configurators continue to be a key driver of sales, and emerging technologies prove an even greater potential for customer satisfaction than ever before. With the ability to personalize solutions for each consumer via AI, Threekit's visual configurator has nearly unlimited potential to shape the future of ecommerce.

Want to get ahead of the curve by integrating a robust visual ecommerce solution into your business? Schedule a demo with Threekit and see how their game-changing product can put you above the competition.